Best Chicken Soup with Orzo

Best Chicken Soup with Orzo

So, John was supposed to have a root canal today…lucky him.  However, after they got him all numbed up and took out his old filling just to see what was really and truly going on before they started doing whatever it is they do when they do a root canal, they found something odd.  Did you know that you can get tooth stones like some people get kidney stones?  Me neither.  Apparently John has one and it killed the root of one of his lower canines.  Instead of getting a root canal today, he has to go back to the dentist tomorrow, and get all numb and drooly again while they dissolve the stone and perform the root canal.  Oh well, at least there is plenty of left over soup so he can eat it while I am at work.  Tooth stones.  So weird.

Being the loving, caring, outrageously thoughtful wife that I am, I had made chicken soup in anticipation of my honey having a seriously sore mouth.  I know how much he loves chicken soup and I thought that it would be a tasty but easy thing for him to eat.  Plus it was cold today and to add insult to injury it snowed, so I thought that chicken soup would not only feel good on John’s mouth, I also thought that it would be the perfect thing to warm me up.

Global warming, global warming, global warming.  It’s killing me, I tell you!

Anyway, after all of the variations on a theme that I have used for this soup over the years, I have settled on one recipe that never fails to make me happy.  I start with a big, fat rotisserie chicken (from Costco) which gives a wonderful richness to the broth.  The requisite carrots, celery, and onions are added, along with salt, pepper, and some seasonings.  The #1 thing that makes this so great, though, is the pound of either orzo or ancini de pepe pasta that is added.  The small pasta makes the soup thick and so fun to eat.  (Orzo is a rice shaped pasta; ancini de pepe is small round balls of pasta).

Best Chicken Soup with Orzo

Chicken soup for the body, the mind, and the soul; it is ultimate comfort in a bowl.

Recipe by Terri @ that's some good cookin'


  • 1 whole rotisserie chicken
  • 4-6 quarts cooking water (I most often use 6 quarts because the soup reduces as it cooks.) Chicken stock may also be used instead of water or a combination of both water and chicken can be used.
  • 4 large carrots, diced
  • 4-5 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 very large onion (Costco size), chopped or two medium size onions, chopped
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 heaping tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 5 teaspoons poultry seasoning--(I used The Spice Hunter brand)
  • salt and pepper to taste--this soup actually takes quite a bit of salt because of the vegetables and noodles. It is best to taste and correct seasonings as you go.
  • chicken bouillon cubes or chicken soup base, optional for increased chicken flavor
  • 1 pound of either orzo or ancini de pepe pasta--(I used orzo for this soup.)


  1. In a very large stock pot place the rotisserie chicken and 4-6 quarts of water (enough to completely cover chicken by an inch or two.
  2. Sprinkle the water with salt (start out with 2-3 teaspoons) and pepper to taste. Bring the water to a boil over high heat, then lower the heat and allow chicken to simmer in the water for 1 hour.
  3. Remove chicken from the stock pot and set aside to cool. The chicken often falls apart while I am taking it out of the pot, so I use a large slotted spoon to remove all the pieces.
  4. When chicken is cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the bones and chop or tear (your preference) into bite-sized or smaller pieces. Some people like a chunky chicken soup whereas others like smaller pieces of chicken.
  5. While the chicken is cooling, add the diced vegetables to the broth in the stock pot. Add the bay leaves, parsley, and poultry seasoning. Adjust the salt and pepper as needed.
  6. Simmer over low heat until the vegetables are almost tender, about 15 minutes more or less, then add 1 pound of either orzo or ancini de pepe, stir, and continue to cook until pasta is almost tender.
  7. Return chicken pieces to pot and allow to cook until the pasta is ready. The cooking time for the chicken is only important in that the chicken needs to return to the temperature of the soup.
  8. Sometimes I find that I need to add a little more liquid to the pot. If so, I use chicken broth, chicken stock, or bouillon dissolved in water (1 teaspoon or 1 cube per cup of water) until I have the consistency I want. I like my chicken soup more on the thick side!
  9. Serve with warm bread and maybe a side salad.


This soup is very flexible. Toss in some sliced mushrooms near the end, if you prefer. My mom likes to add a couple of chopped boiled eggs. That may sound strange, but they are actually very good! Taste as you go and adjust seasonings as needed. I find that the salt is the seasoning I have to adjust most often. The soup, because of the vegetables and the pasta, takes more salt than most soups.

Best Chicken Soup with Orzo

You may also like:

Easy Mexican Chicken Soup
Easy Mexican Chicken Soup
New England-style Clam Chowder
New England-style Clam Chowder
Minestrone Soup
Minestrone Soup



  1. n82 says

    Hi Terri,

    I just have a question about this soup. It looks so good I can’t wait to make it.

    When you add the orzo you mention to cook it until tender. But the next point says to add the chicken and allow to cook until pasta is ready. But I thought the pasta was already meant to be tender and cooked. I hope its clear what I am trying to say.

    Once you add the chicken how long do you leave it on the heat?

  2. says

    Good question. I wasn’t very clear, was I? I sort of noticed yesterday that I should re-write those instructions, but I was working on another project and unfortunately didn’t take the time to fix them.

    I usually put the pasta in to start cooking a few minutes ahead of adding the chicken back to the soup. The chicken has already done its work to flavor the soup, so adding it back to the soup is saved for the last couple of minutes of cooking. At this point the only cooking necessary for the chicken is to bring it back up to a safe temperature for eating.

    I have found that usually the orzo only needs a couple of more minutes to complete cooking by the time I add the chicken. Even if the orzo was completely done by the time I added the chicken, it wouldn’t be a problem.

    Thanks for catching the writing error. I will re-write the instructions so that they make more sense. ~Terri

  3. Erin P says

    This looks so good! I do have a question though, when you say rotisserie chicken do you mean the fully cooked kind you can buy or is it raw when you start?

    • says

      Hi, Erin. You can use raw or cooked chicken. Either way, cook the chicken in the broth or water until it is pretty much falling off the bones. 🙂 To specifically answer the question you asked, though, I was referring to the whole chickens that have been cooked at the grocery store (or Costco, Sams Club, etc.). Here’s a link to a pic of a rotisserie chicken.

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