This Leftover Chicken Soup (Chicken Carcass Soup) is the best way to put your leftover roasted chicken carcass to use. Packed with veggies, herbs, collagen, and protein, enjoy this comforting soup and all of its benefits on sick days or for family dinners.
My brother and I called this “dot soup” growing up.
It was a soup that my Nana LaMancuso would on the regular. And since we lived right next door to her, we ate it on the regular too. And absolutely loved it! And since we grew up in Western, NY, the cold winters absolutely called for big batches of this soup.
I remember one year flying back to college, in Oregon, and even taking a frozen Tupperware container of the soup back with me.
I have no idea if that meets food safety standards… but I’m still here today.
My Nana has since passed on, but I think that I’ve mastered her recipe. And I’m here to share it with you today!
So, the next time you’re making roasted chicken for dinner, plan to make this Leftover Chicken Soup recipe the next day! It’s made with what’s already in your fridge so you can throw everything together in a pinch. Boil the chicken carcass together with the veggies, broth, and pasta, and enjoy the delicious chicken flavors and health benefits from the bones.
This easy homemade chicken soup with leftover chicken has the best of both worlds: meaty, herbaceous flavors and all of the benefits from bone broth. The collagen and protein from the leftover chicken meat and bones are boiled right into the soup! Each bowl will warm you up and keep you full for hours.
Chicken carcass soup ingredients
- The carcass of one 4 to 5 pound roast chicken
- Chicken broth – I like to use my homemade chicken stock that can be made in the instant pot or the slow cooker.
- Bay leaf
- Acini de pepe pasta
No leftover chicken carcass at home? Feel free to make this chicken soup with freshly cooked shredded chicken, storebought rotisserie chicken, cornish game hens, or leftover bone-in chicken thighs instead.
How to make chicken soup from the chicken carcass
Saute the onions, celery, and carrots in a large stock pot over medium-high heat. Once they’re softened, add the garlic and cook until fragrant.
Add the chicken carcass to the stockpot along with the broth, cold water, and bay leaf. Bring to boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer for about 20 minutes. Skim any foam or fat from the broth with a ladle as necessary.
Take the carcass out of the broth and set it aside to cool.
Stir in the pasta and let the soup continue to simmer until the pasta is tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
When the chicken is cool enough to handle, pick off the meat, and shred it into bite-size pieces. Stir the chicken meat back into the soup, season to taste, then serve and enjoy!
How to store leftover roast chicken
Roast chicken is perfect for both meal prep and family dinners. When you’re done with it, wrap the leftover carcass as well as extra parts, like the neck, wings, or tips, in aluminum foil and place it in a sealed ziplock bag. Store it in the fridge or freezer until you’re ready to make this chicken carcass soup.
How long can you keep a chicken carcass for broth?
- Fridge: Store the chicken carcass within 2 hours of cooking and carving. It’ll keep in the fridge for up to 4 days.
- Freezer: Freeze the wrapped carcass for up to 3 months. Let it thaw in the fridge for a few hours before adding it to the soup.
Which pasta is best in chicken soup?
- I prefer to use acini de pepe pasta in soup recipes (like my Italian wedding soup) for small, easy bites but any short pasta noodle will work. You can use egg noodles, ditalini, orzo, elbow macaroni, shells, or anything else you have at home.
Can you freeze chicken soup?
- YES! With one caveat – smaller pasta shapes like acini de pepe pasta, ditalini or orzo freeze perfectly, since they don’t absorb too much of the broth. However, if you are using larger pasta noodles like egg noodles, macaroni or shells, I recommend freezing the batches without the pasta because it can become quite soggy. In this case, when you’re ready to serve the soup, cook the pasta separately, then add it into the reheated chicken soup.
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Chicken Carcass Soup Recipe
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- ¾ cup yellow onion (diced)
- 3/4 cup diced carrots (diced)
- 3/4 cup celery (diced)
- 3 cloves garlic (minced)
- Carcass of one 4- to 5-pound roast chicken
- 4 cups chicken broth (32 oz )
- 6 cups water
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cup acini de pepe pasta (uncooked (½ package) (or ditalini or orzo))
- Kosher salt and pepper (to taste)
- Parmesan cheese (for topping (optional) )
- Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onions, carrots and celery and season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Saute until veggies have softened, 6-8 minutes. Add garlic and saute for an additional 30 seconds, until fragrant.
- Add the chicken to the pot, along with the broth, water and bay leaf.
- Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes. Skim any foam or fat from the broth with a ladle as necessary.
- Remove the carcass with tongs and set aside to cool.
- Add the pasta to the broth and stir to combine. Simmer for 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until pasta is tender. Season with additional salt and pepper, to taste.
- Meanwhile, when the chicken is cool enough to handle, pick off the meat, and shred it into bite-size pieces.
- When the pasta is done, add the chicken to the broth and season with additional salt and pepper, to taste. Enjoy topped with parmesan cheese, if desired.
This post was originally published in 2022. It was updated in 2023 to add new content. The chicken carcass soup recipe remains the same. Enjoy!
1 thought on “Easy Leftover Chicken Soup (Chicken Carcass Soup)”
great and yes, I definitely love chicken soup as a curative, it works for me always for colds, even flu, like it even when well, so thank you!