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Old Fashioned Chicken Soup

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There is something so comforting to a recipe of old fashioned chicken soup. Made on the stove, the smell of this chicken soup cooking will transport you back to your childhood. There is an abundance of veggies and chicken in this soup that will soothe you whether you have a cold or not.

A close up of carrots floating in a chicken soup with a salad in the backPin

One of my favorite things growing up was my mom’s chicken soup. She made it so often that it seems like we had it every week which excited us all because it was delicious and so comforting.

But because my Dad grew up in the Depression and my mom was naturally thrifty, she used to make her chicken soup with… drumroll please… chicken necks.

Do you realize how many chicken necks you have to eat to feel satisfied? Trust me, it’s a lot. And even though I was thankful that we had such a nice meal, I no longer eat that meat.

Now, I make chicken soup with the whole chicken. I love a lot of chicken to accompany the vegetables and orzo in my soup.

Wait until you try this recipe! You’re going to love it.

Do you have a pressure cooker and want to try cooking whole chicken soup? Check out my recipe here.

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What is Orzo Pasta?

Despite its grain-like shape, Orzo pasta isn’t rice but a type of pasta. Originating from Italy, Orzo, meaning ‘barley’ in Italian, is made from semolina flour, a coarse ground flour of durum wheat. This tiny, short-cut pasta has a unique oval shape and slightly yellow hue, resembling large rice grains. 

It can be served alone, used in soups like the one in this recipe, or tossed in salads. Its versatility and quick cooking time make Orzo a popular choice in many cuisines worldwide.

Helpful tips

  • I usually get organic, free-range chicken because I prefer the taste. I also like that there aren’t any added antibiotics, hormones, or anything else I don’t want to ingest. Try buying organic, and you’ll never go back.
  • They’ve changed their recommendation on whether to wash poultry before cooking it. They now say that washing chicken increases the chances of food poisoning and cross-contaminating other things, like kitchen tools, surfaces, and utensils. Just take it from the package and pat it inside and out with paper towels.
  • I use orzo in my soup, but if you prefer, you can add noodles, rice, or another small pasta like ditalini.
  • Consider using a gluten-free pasta instead of the Orzo for a gluten-free option.


Leftover chicken soup can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 7 days. Transfer the soup to an airtight container and let it cool considerably before placing it in the fridge. 

This soup is also freezer-friendly. To freeze, let the soup cool completely before transferring it into freezer-safe containers or heavy-duty freezer bags. Leave some space at the top, as the soup will expand when it freezes. Properly stored, it will maintain the best quality for about 4 to 6 months but remain safe. 

To reheat, thaw the soup overnight in the refrigerator and warm it on the stove over medium heat. You may need to add some water or broth if the soup is too thick after freezing and thawing.

a crock filled with chicken soup with carrots floating in itPin
Photo Credit: Dishes Delish.

How to make old-fashioned chicken soup


Get a medium stockpot.

Step one

Gather the ingredients – chicken, carrots, celery, onion and chicken broth.

Organic whole chicken all wrapped up, carrots, celery and an onion for the chicken soupPin

Step two

Dry the chicken inside and outside and place it into a medium stockpot. Add chicken broth, turn the heat under the pan to high, and bring to a boil.

Step three

Meanwhile, cut the onion, carrots, and celery in chunks.

Step four

Lower heat under the pot to a simmer and add veggies and herbs and spices to stockpot. Carefully stir.

Overhead view of all the ingredients in the pan for the soupPin

Step five

Cook for 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Step six

Add orzo and continue cooking for 15 minutes.

Step seven

Take out the chicken and remove the meat from the bones. Place chicken pieces back in the stockpot.

Close up of the chicken soup in the pan with a wooden spoon in it and a salad in the backgroundPin

I make a salad, take out a crusty roll, and butter, and then ladle some old-fashioned chicken soup into a couple of crocks.

Time to eat.

A spoon beside a crock of soup with another in the backPin

And one more photo.

Close up of a crock of chicken soup, salad and rollsPin


I hope you enjoy this old-fashioned chicken soup recipe! It’s comforting, delicious, and perfect if you have a cold.

And as always, may all your dishes be delish!

If you’ve tried this or any other recipe on the blog, I’d love the hear what you thought about it in the comments below.  I love hearing from you!  You can also FOLLOW ME on FACEBOOKTWITTERINSTAGRAM and PINTEREST  to see more of my delicious food and delightful cocktails!

A crock of chicken soup with a salad in the background - squarePin

Good Old Fashioned Chicken Soup

Always have old fashioned chicken soup ready for those coughs and colds or just for a warming winter meal option with this recipe
5 from 13 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Soup
Cuisine: American
Keyword: old fashioned chicken soup
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Servings: 12 cups
Calories: 190kcal


  • 2 – 3 pounds whole organic chicken (washed and dried)
  • 1 pound carrots (cut in chunks)
  • 1 large onion (cut in chunks)
  • 1 stalk celery (cut in slices)
  • 32 ounces chicken broth (organic, I use Trader Joe's brand)
  • 2 cups water
  • bay leaf
  • 2 tablespoons basil
  • 2 tablespoons parsley
  • 2 tablespoons tarragon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup orzo pasta


  • Place chicken in stockpot and pour chicken broth and water in the pot. Turn heat on high and bring to a boil.
    2 – 3 pounds whole organic chicken, 32 ounces chicken broth, 2 cups water
  • Immediately lower to a simmer and add carrots, onion, celery, bay leaf, basil, parsley, tarragon, salt and pepper.
    1 pound carrots, 1 large onion, 1 stalk celery, bay leaf, 2 tablespoons basil, 2 tablespoons parsley, 2 tablespoons tarragon, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • Cook for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
  • Add orzo and stir. Cook for additional 15 minutes.
    1 cup orzo pasta
  • Take chicken out of pot and remove meat from bones and return meat back to the pot and stir.
  • Ladle chicken soup in some bowls or crocks.
  • Eat
  • Enjoy


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Helpful tips
  • I usually get organic, free-range chicken because I prefer the taste. I also like that there isn’t any added antibiotics, hormones or anything else I don’t want to ingest. Try buying organic and you’ll never go back.
  • They’ve changed their recommendation on whether to wash poultry before cooking it. They now say that washing chicken increases the chances of getting food poisoning and of cross contaminating other things, like tools, surfaces and utensils in the kitchen. Just take it out of the package and pat it dry inside and out with some paper towels.
  • I use orzo in my soup but if you prefer, you can add noodles, rice or another small pasta like ditalini.


Serving: 1.5cups | Calories: 190kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 40mg | Sodium: 541mg | Potassium: 373mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 6530IU | Vitamin C: 10.6mg | Calcium: 45mg | Iron: 1.4mg
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From lighting up stages with her BA in theater to crafting delightful dishes and cocktails, Elaine Benoit's journey is a testament to passion's transformative power. As the CEO of Dishes Delish, she offers a blend of healthy, comforting recipes and exquisitely crafted cocktails. Beyond the kitchen, Elaine voiced her culinary adventures on her podcast, "Dishing," and co-owns Food Blogger Help, extending her expertise to guide budding food bloggers to success. Whether it's for a heartwarming dish or insights into food blogging, Elaine's diverse experiences make her a beacon in the culinary digital landscape.

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  1. I think we were poor too – because my Mom did the same frugal stuff. Being a kid, I was oblivious – it was just the way things were. This chicken soup will be making an appearance on our table this week for sure! Cold weather is a’ comin’!

    1. It’s funny how we are oblivious! It’s been freezing cold up here in Boston and has been for a few weeks. I’m looking forward to Wednesday when it goes up to a balmy 28 degrees F. 🙂

  2. Yes that does sound thrifty! I’m not sure I’ve eaten the neck. I’m a bit squeamish about raw chicken though – probably not the best thing since I’m a food blogger too. I usually take the easy way out when I make chicken soup and use an already cooked rotisserie chicken and store-bought chicken broth. I need to try this recipe next time.

    1. Jill, I get the squeamishness, I feel it too but I just pretend it’s a fake chicken and I’m good. Thanks for your comment!

  3. I’m not sure I could eat chicken necks – anything that reminds me it used to be a living creature running around and I can’t lol. But your soup however… I would devour easily!!

  4. Sometimes you just can’t beat a classic! This looks so good- perfect for the Arctic temps that are absolutely crushing me right now. Definitely need to try!

  5. Yum with Tarragon flavored. It’s such an underrated herb and it does go well with chicken and bay leaf. I hadn’t actually thought of using tarragon that way, what a wonderful soup idea Elaine!

  6. I’ve never made chicken soup, but I do love it. My mom used chicken necks when she made soup when I was a kid, but we never ate the necks. I love that you make the soup with the whole chicken, and then pull it apart at the end. I never would have thought to do that. Pinning this to make very soon

    1. Thank you Karyl! Yay! Or not so yay that your mom made it with the necks too. You’re the first person I’ve heard that from. At least you didn’t have to eat the necks 😉

  7. Spices for the win!! I love homemade chicken soup and this recipe sounds and looks just delightful! I love the seasoning and orzo pasta here. NOM.

    1. Thanks so much Dominique! I love how orzo puffs up the day after!! I almost prefer leftover soup to fresh. Weird, I know.

  8. Everyone needs a good, classic chicken soup recipe in their arsenal! It’s been so bitter cold and snowy here, this looks like the perfect way to warm up.

  9. There is nothing better than a scratch-made chicken soup – This reminds me of the one my Grandma made when we were young. It made the whole house smell amazing!

  10. Good chicken noodle soup always brings my family together around the table! It’s all about good vibes and friendly atmosphere, and of course the delicious taste of soup.

  11. nothing goes wrong with good warm and delicious soup in these freeze days. İt’s most scrumptious looking soup İ’ve seen this week. YUM!

  12. Perfect, soul-soothing comfort food, just the way I like it! There’s only one thing I want when I’m sick, and this looks an awful lot like it. 🙂

  13. I haven’t made a good chicken soup in months. Your version looks so good. I use a lot of bay leaf in my cooking as well. I think its a staple in my cooking

  14. This looks like the perfect bowl of comforting soup! You’re right – something about family recipes always sets them apart. I especially love the addition of tarragon here!

  15. My family was relatively thrifty in my formative years. We often shopped and sold our old clothes at second hand stores and even went so far as to hike out into the wildness and pick fresh berries for jams and other preserves, but I don’t remember any chicken neck soup. That sounds both thrifty and like quite the labor-intensive eating experience!

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