Using leftover chicken meat that’s diced or pulled into 1/2-inch pieces, this simple stovetop recipe for homemade chicken noodle soup comes together quickly with a handful of basic ingredients you probably already have on hand.

homemade chicken soup with fregola

What to do with leftover roasted chicken? Make soup!

This is the simplest of simple chicken noodle-ish soups. The stock is made with the leftover carcass of a whole roasted chicken, and the vegetables and seasonings are classic:

  • carrots
  • onions
  • celery
  • parsley
  • salt and pepper

I like the texture of fregola, a toasted Italian pasta, but any shape pasta you like will do. The key? Cook the noodles and the soup separately — don’t combine the two until just before serving. A few tips:

  • Boil noodles in well salted water.
  • Boil noodles al dente because they’ll continue cooking after you drain them as well as in the hot broth upon being served.
  • Store extra boiled noodles in an airtight container in the fridge separate from the soup.
  • When reheating, try to bring the noodles to room temperature an hour before serving. I like to divvy them up into the serving bowls, too, to allow them to come to room temperature more quickly. There’s no need to reheat them — the heat from the hot broth ladled overtop will warm them up completely.

No leftover chicken? The pulled meat from a store-bought rotisserie chicken works beautifully here. Or simply bring a pot of water to a boil, add two chicken breasts, cover, turn off the heat, and let stand for 15 minutes. Remove breasts, let cool briefly, then pull or chop into 1/2-inch pieces.

What to do with leftover chicken?

An overhead shot of a pot of homemade chicken soup with fregola.
A bowl filled with just-cooked fregola.
A bowl filled with homemade chicken soup with fregola and a spoon.
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A bowl of simple, homemade chicken soup with fregola.

A Simple Recipe for Chicken Noodle Soup

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  • 1.5 to 2 quarts homemade chicken stock
  • 2 cups diced onions
  • 2 cups diced carrots
  • 2 cups diced celery
  • 2 cups leftover boiled or roasted chicken meat, diced or pulled into 1/2-inch pieces
  • kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 pound dried pasta, your choice (I’m using fregola here)
  • crusty bread for serving


  1. In a 4-quart pot, combine the stock, onions, carrots, celery, and chicken. Bring to a simmer. Taste. Add salt and pepper to taste. Don’t be shy with the salt — the broth should be well seasoned.
  2. Adjust heat so the stock is simmering very gently. Simmer soup for 20 to 30 minutes or until the carrots are knife tender. Stir in the parsley. Taste again. Add salt or pepper to taste.
  3. Meanwhile, fill a separate large pot with water, and bring to a simmer. Add 1 tablespoon kosher salt. Boil pasta till al dente. Drain.
  4. When ready to serve, place cooked pasta in soup bowls. Ladle the soup over top. Serve with more pepper and crusty bread on the side.
  5. Store leftover soup and cooked pasta separately — the pasta gets too mushy when stored together.
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Category: Soup
  • Method: stovetop
  • Cuisine: American