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Chicken and Stars Soup

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Chicken and Stars Soup -- quick, easy, all-natural, and SO good |

Have you ever had that thing happen when you’ve been pushing 100mph to get through some big project, and once you reach the end, you finally get a chance to rest…and then totally get sick?!?

Yep, right here.

I’m actually on about day 7 of an annoying winter cold, which is probably justified due to the mildly insane work schedule I’ve had the past few months. I definitely know how to push through just about anything, and have been known to do so at the cost of my health or sleep in some seasons. (Not good.)  Usually I’m better at listening to my body and knowing when to stop. But it has been an exceptionally busy season. And sure enough, just like always, at the end of it my body caught up with me. This week, it was almost like clockwork. Big project ends, and literally by the end of the day, I had a sore throat, the extra Kleenex box came out, and I was in bed at 8pm. It was like my body was saying, “alright, since you didn’t give me time to deal with this cold before, it’s my turn”. They have a way of reminding us we need a break, don’t they?

Anyway, that said, I have spent most of the past week with cozy slippers on my feet, a box of Kleenex nearby, and my favorite hot tea in hand. But after a few days of little appetite, I finally felt like some warm winter comfort food at the end of the week. So as a throwback to childhood and my college years, I figured out how to make a homemade batch of the ultimate comfort soup that I probably made a few hundred times (literally) from the can — Chicken and Stars.

Chicken and Stars In College

An interview that my roommate and I did for our college newspaper, where she listed all of my quirky food habits. Judge away. ;)

Yes, chicken and stars soup and I go way back.

We ate a lot of Campbell’s chicken noodle soup as kids. But one time when Mom brought home the stars as a special treat, I was instantly hooked. I mean, why have noodles when you could have chicken and stars?!? Especially on the days when I was home sick, I was convinced that there was something about eating tons of those tiny stars that always made my day a little brighter.

So chicken and stars became my “thing”. When I went to college, I would stock up on those cans at the grocery store and come home to make myself some “homemade” (it was a loose term back then) soup as a cheap dinner. And you’d better believe that whenever I or any of my college friends got sick, I would have a steaming bowl of “stars” ready (just like in the commercial!) to make everything better. You might just say it was mmm, mmm, good.

Chicken and Stars Soup -- quick, easy, all-natural, and SO good |
Well of course, fast forward a decade and my pantry is no longer filled with canned soups. But I did recently discover that one of my favorite pasta brands makes a “stelline” pasta, which turns out to be Italian for — you guessed it — stars!!!

(Aren’t they adorable?)

Chicken and Stars Soup -- quick, easy, all-natural, and SO good |

I had been waiting for a good sick day to use them. So sure enough, when this cold finally caught up with me this week, I decided it was time. And just like that — 10 years later — chicken and stars are back in my life. And I couldn’t be happier. :)

Chicken and Stars Soup -- quick, easy, all-natural, and SO good |

For anyone who has never had the good fortune of trying this rockstar of a soup before, it’s basically a very simple chicken noodle soup, using the stelline pasta in place of traditional noodles. I stayed true to the original and kept the recipe basic, with very finely chopped carrots, celery, onions and cooked chicken to look like the original. Although mine included a little more chicken (those silly cans hardly had any), and I also used my favorite chicken stock and seasoned it with a few herbs. And there it was definitely free of preservatives and any mysterious added ingredients.

Chicken and Stars Soup -- quick, easy, all-natural, and SO good |

If you want to get fancy, you could add in even more extra herbs and toss some fresh parsley on top as a garnish.

But if you want to harken back to childhood, feel free to leave it simple so that the focus stays on the stars. :)

Chicken and Stars Soup -- quick, easy, all-natural, and SO good |

It’s simple, easy, lighter, and delicious. But more than anything, it’s just pretty fun. And I’m still convinced there’s something magical in those stars that is guaranteed to make you feel better. I definitely did after enjoying a steaming bowl.

So stars, I’m so glad to have you back in my life.

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Chicken and Stars Soup

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 6 -8 servings 1x


For anyone else who loved Chicken and Stars Soup as a kid like I did, here is the all-natural homemade version that tastes even better! Plus it’s quick and easy to make, and so delicious.


  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1.5 cups diced white onion (about 1 medium onion)
  • 1 cup diced carrots (about 2 medium carrots, peeled)
  • 1 cup diced celery (about 2 stalks celery, stems removed)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 8 cups good-quality chicken stock (*you may need 1 or 2 cups more, see below)
  • 2 cups chopped cooked chicken (*I chopped mine into pretty small pieces)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (or more to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
  • 1 cup dried stelline (star-shaped pasta, I used DeLallo stelline)
  • optional garnish: chopped fresh parsley


  1. Heat oil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Add onion and saute for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add carrots, celery and garlic and saute for an additional 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add chicken stock, chicken, bay leaves, rosemary, salt, thyme, and black pepper, and stir to combine.
  2. Bring the mixture to a simmer, then reduce heat to medium and stir in the stelline.  Continue cooking the soup over a simmer until the stelline reach al dente and are soft yet still slightly chewy, stirring occasionally so that the pasta doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot.  Taste and season with additional salt and pepper or herbs, if needed.
  3. Serve immediately, with optional garnish if desired.
  4. *The longer this soup sits, the more the pasta will continue to soak up the broth.  So if you let it continue to sit and cook after the pasta reaches al dente, you may need to add in more chicken broth to thin the soup out, and add a little more salt, pepper and herbs accordingly.

Chicken and Stars Soup -- quick, easy, all-natural, and SO good |

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73 comments on “Chicken and Stars Soup”

  1. Hope you feel better soon!
    This soup looks fantastic – even though its summer here, I would love a nice big bowl of that right now. Loving the stars! :)

  2. omg those stars are so cute! I don’t see them here though, maybe in specialty shops


  3. So I’ve been making a version of this for years. I have end stage renal disease and thanks to dialysis I frequently can’t handle “real” food so I turn to my childhood favorite, chicken and stars!  My version is more basic than yours, but I will definitely be trying this one soon!

  4. I used to love this when I was little too. I have to make this for my favorite kiddos, they’ll love it! Thanks for sharing! Pinned!

  5. A squeeze of lemon on top at the end makes this soup even more sublime. (and extra vitamin c)

  6. This looks perfect, Ali! Hope you feel better soon!

  7. I hope you feel better soon! Nothing worse than daylight savings time AND a cold in the same week!

    P.S. It might just be wishful thinking, but I’m looking back here ( ) and hoping all of the hard work had something to do with #31 ;)

    Feel better :)

  8. Oh, how our bodies totally tell us when we need a break.  I LOVE the looks of this soup! Those little stars are adorable.  My kids are weirdos and don’t like soup, but maybe cute stars will help?!

  9. How have I NEVER had Chicken and stars??! Or even seen the ADORABLE star pasta?! I need to get my hands on that go swimming on a big of bowl of this cute and comforting soup!! And feel better Ali!

  10. I will definitely be making this for my kiddos!

  11. At least you weren’t sick while the projects were due? But still, hope you’re feeling better! This soup definitely looks like it would help :)

  12. This looks like just what we need today!  I’ve got a pot of chicken stock waiting for its big moment, a half package of stelline pasta in the pantry, and an errant sniffle.  I think a pot of soup is just what the doctor ordered! ;)

  13. I had no idea you could buy stars!! Seeing as cold season is upon us, I’m saving this recipe in my back pocket (and on my pinterest board). Hope you feel better soon!! 

  14. I can’t get over how cute the stars are in this! I love it. Homemade soup is so delicious, and even more so when you’re sick. Get better soon!

  15. That happens to me all the time, then I just launch back into work and ignore the sickness. This soup – fabulous – sick or not, this is a bowl of comfort. 

  16. Anything with stars in it is my kind of soup!! ;)

  17. Chicken and stars soup was the ONLY soup I’d eat when I was sick growing up. I’d eat this soup and mango Gatorade. That’s it. Now? That’s still what I crave when I’m sick. Isn’t it funny how things like that really stick with you? 

  18. I am also starting week 2 of this ridiculous cold and soup (broths mostly really) have been the only thing that sounds half good. Hopefully I can find myself some stars.
    I also wanted to add, I found your blog recently and then saw that you are also a MOUNDBUILDER! Glad to have found ya!

  19. Aww I’m sorry friend. I literally got sick right after Chopped and then Asher, Rich and now Jacob (and I think Asher again? Can’t tell anymore.) So funny how the body holds on until the moment we stop. :) Feel better soon.

  20. Oh man, you recalled so many of my childhood memories with this one. First of all, feel better soon. And secondly, my Italian grandma ALWAYS made me something akin to stelline when I had a cold. Grandma made homemade chicken stock, with slivers of tomato, and added “pastina” – the little stars sans teeny holes in the center. It’s such a guilty pleasure of mine and I always have a box of pastina in my cupboard for those under-the-weather days. Loved this post, thanks for sharing your story. :)

  21. I love chicken soup and this one looks scrumptious.

  22. This is the perfect cold-weather soup! I love those little stars!

  23. I love Chicken & Stars soup. we got a cold front coming in. know what I’m going to be making.

  24. Chicken and stars soup will always be my favorite!!! I’m definitely making this!! Thank you!

  25. Looks so cute and tasty! My daily lunch now !

  26. Magnifique ! it’s looks like my grand mother soup with stars ! bravo. Even

  27. this soup takes me back! btw…I love those little pots!

  28. Mmm, the chicken soup looked great before adding the parsley, but the greenish vitamin bomb made it gorgeous! I can’t think of a meal that I don’t put a bit of parsley – it not only completes it, it raises the quality of the dish to a whole new level.

  29. thank you! This was my favourite soup, growing up. Can’t wait to try it!

  30. This soup looks amazing! You mentioned you had a favorite chicken stock.  Can you share the brand?  Hubby and I have horrible colds and we would enjoy this soup.

  31. FYI, I had a terrible time finding the Stellini locally, but then the hubs found the Barilla Stellini at Wal Mart! I’m letting the chicken soup simmer in the crockpot all day and will add the stars at the end. It’s going to be amazing!

  32. I have made this twice in the last week, it is sooo good! My boyfriend, who is notoriously fussy (no bits, not a fan of soupy dishes) LOVED this and ate all the chunks! Last night I made a large batch of it and now have 3 big lunch boxes for the weeks ahead. Thanks for such a delicious and heart-warming recipe, it’s perfect for our chilly British evenings.

  33. got a pot cooking now. I was surprised to find the pasta in my store. I grew up on canned chicken and stars, too and I hope to share this homemade version with my pre-schooler. In your pics it looks like you have more than 1 cup of pasta. I’ve got one cup and 8 cups of stock going already. I think I’ll add more pasta so she’ll see all of the stars. Can’t wait, it smells good and was quick and simple. Also, most recipes have you remove the bay leaf before eating and, though you didn’t specify, I’ll be removing these 2 before serving. Thanks for bringing back the memories!

    • That’s great Ella, we hope you enjoy it! And yes, you can remove the bay leaf after cooking. :)

  34. This is called Chicken and Stars. But your recipes does not say how to cook the chicken, or when to add it. Kind of confusing. 

    • Hi Ally, The recipe actually states: Add chicken stock, chicken, bay leaves, rosemary, salt, thyme, and black pepper, and stir to combine. (Last sentence in the first paragraph of instructions.) You may use roast, grilled, baked, poached chicken, etc. You can buy it already cooked, or raw, and then cook it how ever you like. We’d recommend the baked chicken breast recipe: We hope you enjoy the soup! :)

  35. Can’t find the star pasta so used alphabet pasta for the kids. Left out the thyme and bay leaves and used chicken thighs and old veggies to make the stock. Great soup as the fall sets in and soup season begins!!!!

  36. I have been making your soup for the past year and my daughter absolutely loves it! Thank you! 

  37. If you have a Hispanic store locally or a Hispanic section in your grocery store, you can generally find stars pastas. Here in Seattle they many times go on sale for 28 cents per packet and I stock up on them.  Nothing like a quick, hot bowl of soup.

  38. Quite interesting and novel soup

  39. That red and white can was a staple in my apartment in college too! I even ate a can of it about four years ago when I discovered I had skin cancer. True comfort food for the childhood soul. I love that you have offered a homemade version, as the red and white cans are BANNED from this household now. Pinning!

  40. Sorry if this had already been asked, but is there any substitutions you suggest if the stars can’t be found? I’ve had this recipe pinned for probably a year now waiting for the right night and lo and behold, the hubs is sick tonight! I can’t wait to finally make this! :)

    • Hi Tiffany! Yes, you could just use Ditalini or Orzo (will be similar in size). We hope you enjoy and that your husband feels better soon!

  41. This looks like the perfect soup recipe! Will have to try this out, thanks for the share!

  42. What year did Campbell’s First Can chicken with stars soup? Every time I have asked that question, nobody has the answer and that seems too bad as I had some many good things to say about Campbell’s until now! Every one of hte 5 pages I have been to including wiki-pedia has not been able to tell me when the stars were added to campbell’s soup but every one has a story about them and they also don’t say what years they were getting them for the first time.

  43. I am just finding your website! Chicken n Stars was always my favorite “sick” soup also. It always tasted better to me and had more body than chicken noodle soup. I am thrilled to see your recipe as I have stopped eating it due to preservatives, etc in it. Your pictures look great and I cannot wait to try this! Thank you for sharing a favorite!

  44. I was wondering where you got the star pasta.

  45. I love this recipe! Heart and soul warming. Pretty nutritious and healthy too! Thank you for this! It’ll be a staple in my household.

  46. This soup is quick, easy and DELICIOUS!!!! I make it all the time. I can’t get enough of it!!

  47. Thank you, I love Campbell’s C&Ss so I’ll cook this for sure

  48. My chicken soup search is over! This is THE perfect chicken soup recipe. I’ve made it about a dozen times now and am so thankful you posted it! Oh and I think the stars or small pasta really is key with this one. I’ve tried others like traditional egg noodles and it’s not quite as good!

  49. I’ve made this for Christmas lunch 2 years running. This will be year 3! We love it here.
    Maybe you can give me some advice: Can I make the stars separate to add them later? Any leftovers turn into chicken and stars pasta instead of soup!

    Was actually thinking of switching to your herb loaded chicken noodle to change it up, but I might have a revolt!

  50. So I’ve only ever attempted chicken noodle soup once and it was a crock pot recipe. After that I was so hesitant to try again. But so glad I did. Omg this is amazing!! After reading the comments I saw you mention using your oven baked chicken recipe, and again was hesitant but figured I’d give it a go and A-mazing!! Thank you so much for bringing this soup to my life!!!