A childhood favorite, homemade chicken and stars soup is one of those comforting must-have recipes. This version is super easy to make and loaded with shredded chicken, tiny star pasta, and healthy veggies cooked in a hearty chicken broth. You’ll want to make this again and again!
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Homemade chicken and stars soup
Chicken and stars are comfort food at its best! It’s good old classic chicken noodle soup but with star-shaped pasta.
Star soup checks so many boxes. It’s a simple soup with everyday ingredients, yet it packs so much satisfying flavor and hearty goodness.
Chicken stars soup is one of those dishes my mom would make for me as a child when I needed a pick-me-up-I’m-not-feeling-so-well meal.
Somehow, star soup made everything better. To this day, I’m convinced that the cute little pasta stars are magical, and now I’m making stelline soup for my family.
What is chicken and stars soup?
Chicken stars soup is a clear chicken broth served with small pieces of chicken, vegetables, and tiny star pasta, aka stelline pasta, aka the cutest noodles ever.
Campbell’s chicken and stars soup is a beloved classic, and folks went absolutely frantic when the company made changes to their original star soup in 2015. So much so that Campbell’s reversed some of those changes back.
Why you’ll love this chicken and stars recipe
It’s the most wonderful time of year: soup and stew season! I have a feeling you’ll be making this chicken noodle soup on repeat, and here are all the reasons why it’s sooo good.
- Comforting: Chicken, noodles, carrots, and celery are meant to go together. The flavors and textures are perfect for each other and create the best comforting chicken soup.
- Quick + easy: Chicken and stars comes together fast! It’s the perfect family dinner for busy weeknights, and you can easily double the recipe if you need to feed a crowd.
- Few ingredients: The original Campbell’s star soup had over 30 ingredients (yes, thirty!). My stelline pasta recipe requires only 13 easy-to-find materials, mostly pantry staples.
- Great meal prep: Star pasta soup is freezer-friendly and stores well.
- Kid-friendly: You’ll have zero trouble convincing your little ones to eat star soup. Each spoonful is packed with delicious chicken and fun star pasta!
Ingredients & substitutions
Okay, what will you need to make the best chicken and stars? My chicken and stars recipe calls for your typical chicken soup ingredients with the addition of small star pasta. Here’s your shopping list:
- Chicken: Prepare this soup with boneless skinless chicken breasts or boneless skinless chicken thighs. I always recommend chopping the chicken into small pieces before getting started, so you don’t have to cut hot chicken later.
- Tiny star pasta is the star of this homemade chicken soup! Pun intended, lol. You need 1 cup / 150 g / 5.3 oz, which doesn’t sound much. Yet, the noodles soak up broth as they cook and fill the soup.
- Chicken broth: A good-quality low-sodium chicken stock is best. Vegetable stock is fine as well. The recipe calls for 7 cups, which is four 14-oz cans or 1700 ml.
- Carrots + celery build the backdrop of the soup. Feel free to substitute the celery with more carrots, in case it isn’t your thing.
- Onion + garlic infuse so much tasty aroma into the soup. Onions can be replaced with shallots or spring onions, and garlic powder is a good substitute for fresh garlic.
- Olive oil is needed for sautéing the vegetables. Butter works, too.
- Seasoning + herbs: Salt and pepper add taste. I also like to include fresh herbs such as thyme, rosemary, and parsley. Get a poultry herb package, so you don’t have to buy all 3 separately.
How to make chicken and stars soup
Before simmering noodles in the broth, it’s important to sauté the vegetables until tender and the chicken just until slightly browned around the edges. Let’s go over each step!
Step 1: Heat oil
- Warm the olive oil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Step 2: Sauté vegetables
- Add the carrots, celery, and onion. Sauté for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Step 3: Roast chicken and garlic
- Add the chicken and roast until lightly browned, approximately 5 minutes.
- Add minced garlic and sauté for another 1 minute.
Step 4: Boil, then simmer
- Pour the chicken stock into the pot. Add the herbs and season with salt and pepper according to your taste.
- Bring the soup to a boil over high heat.
- Once the soup boils, reduce the heat to medium, cover the pot, and let simmer for 10 minutes.
Step 5: Cook star noodles
- Add the pasta stars and cook for 5 to 6 minutes (or as directed on the package). The stelline should be al dente, soft but still a bit chewy.
- Stir occasionally, so the noodles don’t stick to the bottom of the pot.
Step 6: Serve
- Serve warm with a slice of crusty bread or crackers. Garnish with fresh herbs if desired.
Tips for the best chicken and star soup
To make these quick chicken and stars soup the best it can be, have a look at these helpful tips!
- Simmer the vegetables until tender because no one likes chicken soup with undercooked celery or crunchy carrots.
- Cook the noodles until just al-dente. The hot stock mixture will continue to simmer the star pasta once you take the soup off the heat.
- Add more chicken stock. The star pasta continues soaking up liquid the longer the soup sits. If you cook the soup in advance, you may need to add a little more broth to thin it out and season with additional salt and pepper.
- Carrot stars: To make the carrot stars you see in the photos, cut your carrots into thin slices. Then use a small star-shaped cookie cutter and cut out mini stars from the carrot slices. Add both, the carrot stars and cutoffs to your soup. Creating carrot stars is time-consuming, and you can certainly just chop the carrots. The kids love the soup even more with the extra star power.
Chicken star soup
Can I use cooked chicken breasts or rotisserie chicken?
Yes, the recipe is perfect for using up leftover chicken breast, shredded chicken, or a small rotisserie chicken. You need 2 to 3 cups cooked chicken.
The recipe instructions remain the same, except that you can skip roasting the chicken. Instead, simply cut the cooked chicken into small pieces and sauté with the garlic for 1 minute.
Can I use dried herbs?
Of course! Simply replace the fresh herbs with 1/2 tsp of each dried sage, thyme, and rosemary.
What are star noodles?
Stelline noodles (aka pastina stars) are small star-shaped pasta. They cook faster than other noodles and are usually done in 5 to 7 minutes.
Where can you find star noodles?
You’ll find stars pasta in the pasta aisle for large supermarkets and some Italian food stores. Star pasta is also available online.
Barilla sells star pasta labeled as “Stelline” or “Pastina.” La Moderna calls them “Star Macaroni Pasta”. DeCecco offers “Stellette” and “Stelline.” Pasta Reggia and Racconto refer to them as “Stelline”, too.
What about a star pasta substitute?
Can’t find star noodles? Not a problem! Simply replace it with another small, quick-cooking pasta such as acini di pepe, orzo, or puntine.
Storage & reheating instructions
- To refrigerate leftover chicken star soup, transfer the soup into an airtight food container and put it in the fridge for 2 to 3 days.
- To freeze, fill the stelline soup into freezer-safe containers or freezer bags, and store in the freezer for up to 2 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight before reheating.
- Reheat in a covered stockpot until hot. You may have to add extra liquid or chicken stock. Alternatively, microwave portions for 60 seconds at a time until warmed through, stirring between each heating.