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5-Ingredient Pesto Chicken Soup

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5-Ingredient Pesto Chicken Soup -- seriously one of the best soups I've ever had! |

Whoa. I just realized that 2 weeks from today, I will be in Italy! Italia!!!

(Oh yeah, and today I also just realized when reading my flight confirmation email that I fly out next Tuesday instead of Wednesday, the date I’d had in my mind for months. Tiny detail. ;))

Still, assuming I catch the correct plane and actually make it across the pond, I cannot wait to be in Europe! I will be spending a few days in Austria, then a week in Germany, and then my sister and I are going to cap off the trip with four days in Florence. She’s an art teacher and is happily planning our artistic itinerary. And me? You’d better believe this food blogger is planning a mega food tour around the region. I have a list of recommended places to visit from friends, which include everything from fresh pasta…to gelato…to pizza…to gelato…to espresso…to gelato…to paninis…to local wine…to gelato…oh, and maybe some more gelato. It’s going to be magnifico.

So to (ahem) get my palate in the Italian spirit before leaving, I have been doing the hard work of making and eating endless batches of fresh homemade pesto. And one of the recipes I have re-fallen in love with is an oldie but goodie from the blog archives that I am renaming this 5-Ingredient Basil Chicken Soup. It’s basically like the Italian version of my favorite 5-Ingredient White Chicken Chili. And oh man, it is a winner.

5-Ingredient Pesto Chicken Soup -- seriously one of the best soups I've ever had! |

The old recipe that I had on the blog was just a simple spinach and white bean soup with pesto swirled in. But hey, something about chicken soup is always all the more comforting, right? So I decided to update the recipe with some shredded chicken stirred in, and the result was basically a 5-ingredient Italian version of my favorite Mexican soup.

And oh my goodness, just like the Mexi version, this soup could not be easier to make.

Homemade Pesto |

I have to say, though, this soup will rise or fall on the quality of your pesto. If you’re in a hurry, you can buy the store-bought stuff. (And if you do, the brand I genuinely recommend is DeLallo. This is not a sponsored post. It is just the best I’ve tried, times a hundred.)  But if you have a few extra minutes, I highly recommend pulling the food processor out and making a batch of my homemade pesto recipe. It’s classic, it is simple to make, and it is unbelievably good when made with fresh basil.

Actually, you can use any sort of pesto for this recipe — kale pesto, arugula pesto, pistachio pesto, etc. But if you want to go classic, basil pesto will never fail. :)

5-Ingredient Pesto Chicken Soup -- seriously one of the best soups I've ever had! |

To make the soup, simply stir together your first four ingredients — chicken stock, shredded cooked chicken, spinach and white beans — in a saucepan. Then bring them to a simmer. Stir in your pesto, and cook it for a few extra minutes. And then serve!!5-Ingredient Pesto Chicken Soup -- seriously one of the best soups I've ever had! |

I like mine topped with some extra freshly-grated Parmesan, and served with crusty bread. And I like to go back for seconds on this one, because it is just too good.

So if you’re looking for a quick meal, or a use for some leftover pesto, or even just a new take on comforting chicken soup, I genuinely can’t recommend this recipe enough. So, SO good.

Cheers to great Italian food!

5-Ingredient Pesto Chicken Soup -- seriously one of the best soups I've ever had! |

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5-Ingredient Pesto Chicken Soup

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 15 reviews
  • Prep Time: 3 minutes
  • Cook Time: 12 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 0 About 4 servings 1x


This 5-Ingredient Pesto Chicken Soup is super quick and easy to make. Plus it is full of the most amazing flavor!


  • 4 cups good-quality chicken stock
  • 3 handfuls (about 3 cups) fresh spinach
  • 2 cups shredded cooked chicken
  • 2 (14 ounce) cans Great Northern or cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/3 cup pesto
  • optional topping: grated Parmesan cheese


  1. Stir together chicken stock, spinach, chicken, beans in a medium saucepan. Cook over high heat until the soup reaches a simmer. Then reduce heat to medium, stir in the pesto, and let the soup continue to simmer for 2 minutes.
  2. Serve warm, topped with Parmesan cheese if desired.

5-Ingredient Pesto Chicken Soup -- seriously one of the best soups I've ever had! |

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99 comments on “5-Ingredient Pesto Chicken Soup”

  1. Ali, this sounds great to use up the bumper crop of basil I have going in my garden. The flight mix up is funny but I’m glad you figured it out now instead of showing up on the wrong day! That sounds like so much fun.

  2. Ahhh so so excited for you and your trip! I like your food priorities :) Tiramisu (and pistachio…and dark chocolate..and nutella) gelato for life!

  3. I’ve never tried pesto in a soup. This recipe looks like a great reason to give it a try!

    I have to mention this, even though you are probably swamped with recommendations, but my favorite restaurant in the world is in Florence. It’s called Coquinarias and if you go, you MUST get the pear ravioli. I’ve recommended this place and the dish to multiple people traveling to Florence and they have all told me that it was their best meal of the trip! Have a blast in that beautiful city!

  4. I was just reading the post and it hit me. Do you think there’re cooking courses for tourists in Italy or in France? I mean, imagine how cool it would be to learn a few recipes and learn more about their culture through cooking. When we were in Greece, there were such courses and they were great. You really start to understand the people and their lifestyle more.
    Oh, the soup looks great. Wish you great trip!

    • Those definitely exist — and they are so cool!! I think my sister and I are going to try a cooking course in Italy. But if you Google cooking courses in various countries, there are all sorts of websites that pop up with options. A great (and delicious!) way to travel, if you ask me! ;)

  5. This is brilliant! I just cooked some heirloom white beans the other day and have tons to us this week. Now I just need my basil plan to kick it up a notch. ;-)

  6. What a perfect weeknight soup! Can’t wait to see your adventures in Italy! Yay!!

  7. Sounds like such an amazing trip! I’m sure you are super antsy to go. Are you going to Berlin when you are in Germany? I studied abroad there in college and it is amazing – such a fun city. But any city you go to will be wonderful!

  8. this looks amazing – can’t wait to try it with my garden basil pesto. Great idea to use kale to make pesto, too.

  9. Your trip sound so amazing, can’t wait to hear all about it :)

    Pinning this soup, it sounds delicious :)

  10. I’m loving you’re easy recipes! This looks like a perfect way to highlight the best of summer. Can’t wait to follow along on on your European adventure! xo

  11. So jealous — SUCH a fun trip!! This soup looks incredibly fabulous.

  12. Love how easy this soup is! Can’t wait to follow your trip! Have so much fun! xo

  13. I absolutely love pesto. I could eat it on or in everything. This soup sounds divine.

  14. So jealous of your trip! Here’s a few Italy recommendations..including the best gelato in Florence!!

  15. Just returned from a European vacation with my family! If you’re a Sound of Music fan, be sure to go on the Fraulein Maria Bike Tour in Salzburg. Its great!

  16. Oh I’m so jealous of your European getaway! It sounds like a blast. I love to make my own basil pesto, but I’ve never ever thought to add it into soup. Love the idea.

  17. This looks so good! Enjoy your European trip. I recently got back from Italy and picked up a great gelato tip along the way. All of the gelato tastes amazing, but the real authentic gelato (according to a tour guide I had in Milan) comes in metal containers – not those delicious-looking mounds of gelato you’ll see in many shops. And check the pistachio – if it’s bright green it’s food dye (of course), but if it’s a nice white/creamy color then it’s more natural and authentic. I became a bit of a gelato snob, but it was all really great : )

  18. Do you think this could be made in a slow cooker instead? That’s how I normally make shredded chicken anyways. Throw all ingredients in together and cook until the chicken is done??

    • Yes, I think that would work well. I would just wait to add the pesto until the very end for maximum freshness.

  19. How exciting Ali!! Bet you can’t wait to go on holiday!
    This soup looks amazing and have a great time eating lots of yummy gelato in Italy! :)

  20. I think I speak for everyone when I say I’m so envious of the trip you have planned! I went to Germany and Austria a few years ago and was stunned by how beautiful the countries are! I have yet to eat my way through…errr….go to Italy!

    This soup looks magnifico indeed – I LOVE homemade pesto and can always use a hearty bowl of yum. Plus I’ve been sick lately, so I’m particularly drawn to that gorgeous bowl. A must-try for sure!!

  21. I will try really really really hard to be magnanimous, despite the fact I am envious of your trip. Lol. I am a major soup eater. I also work. This is quick and delicious. I pinned it.

  22. Italy sounds perfect. Pesto soup sounds perfect too. I love pesto and I love soup, this might be a relationship made in foodie heaven.

  23. Hi,

    this soup sounds really delicious! A nice summer recipe.
    Have fun in Italy by the way! Its great there and yes – the food is awesome. But as a german citizen I can recomment our food as well. Its maybe not as good as the italian, but we have a lot of delicious meals as well. And try the cake. A blackforest cherry cake or a quark cheesecake. And if you stay in Austria (Vienna?) a Sacher Torte.

  24. You will have the best time in Europe! This soup looks awesome!

  25. This looks so delicious! Enjoy your European trip. I recently got back from Paris and Amsterdam and tried so many different dishes. I am sure you will have fun ;-)

  26. Welcome to Germany! :-) Have fun – you might still get to see a little bit of the soccer world cup craziness we are all basking in right now.
    Please bring all the waterproof stuff you own, this is one WET july over here.

  27. I made tonight but I tweaked because no spinach but Kale and delicious!

  28. Made this right after you posted it and loved it! So great to have for dinner and leftovers for lunches :)

  29. Just had this for supper and it was so quick and simple to make. Delicious too. I also added zucchini and onions. I needed to add more pesto and salt to bring out the flavours.

  30. I have a ton of homemade pesto and I keep meaning to make things with it and I think this needs to be on that list.

  31. This looks delicious and I can’t wait to make it! We love pesto in our house!

  32. This was delicious! Added a few more veggies than called for but we loved it!!!

  33. Any idea if this would freeze?

  34. Fabulous!!! This was so good! I grilled the chicken first. Can’t rave enough about this! Delicious and easy!

  35. This looks delicious! I really wish you would post the nutrition facts for your recipes.

  36. I just made this 5 minutes ago and it is delicious! Didnt have time to make pesto from scratch just used one in a jar from fresh n easy. Cant stop eating it!

  37. Hi Ali, this was my first new recipe try of the year.  Man, was it a hit at our house!!!  Since it was new, my husband and son both turned their noses up at the idea, but when I sat down with my lone bowl topped with grated parmesan…they started hovering.  Needless to say, there are no leftovers.  We devoured it, and it was healthy too boot!  Thank you so much for this new staple!

  38. I just made this soup and it is delicious!! Not to mention my house smells amazing. Thanks for the great recipe :)

  39. Made this last night when we had guests over. Everyone loved it! I doubled the recipe (used 3 chicken breasts lightly seasoned with salt and pepper), added a little extra pesto and salt to taste. Seriously fantastic — definitely adding this to our favorites list! 

    Thanks for yet another fabulous recipe!

  40. My husband and I are addicted to this soup! It’s easy, fast, flavorful and simply delicious. Thank you for sharing this!

  41. Made this tonight- it was so yummy, and incredibly easy! I used ground Italian chicken sausage instead and added a cup or two of frozen corn. Served it with garlic bread too. It was a huge hit. Will definitely be saving it for soup season next year too. 

    • Thanks Caitlyn, and I bet it was awesome — I love that you added corn to it, I’ll have to try that next time!

  42. Lovely soup! Thank you for this article, sorry I can’t give you photos and really sorry that I can’t transfer the taste!
    So So So nice, if you have more Italian soups like this one, please share!!!!!

  43. Making this as a teacher gift with homemade focaccia and thanks for being a souper teacher cards! You think the spinach is okay cooled and reheated tomorrow for their lunches? Don’t wsmt it to get slimey. Thanks!

  44. Can I substitute stock for broth? I only have stock on hand.

  45. Wow, I never thought this would be so easy. Trying this as soon as can! :)

  46. Definately a keeper. I added an extra cup of broth one small potatoe and one small sweet potato. No chicken. The basil pesto makes it.

  47. This was just GREAT.

  48. This is by far my go to soup now. I’m obsessed & have passed it along to friends who are as well.  I substitute the spinach for kale and add a little extra – with red pepper flakes it’s the most amazing pesto spice bomb I’ve ever had. Thank you!! 

    • That’s so great to hear Liza! We’re happy you and your friends are fans! :D

  49. Thanks so much for another fabulous recipe!  I have loved all of yours and this was sooo easy and Delish!