This creamy sun-dried tomato chicken soup is a heavenly winter soup recipe that will warm you up on even the most frigid of days.
As I continue my quest to be a veritable soup lady, sun-dried tomato chicken soup just seemed like something that needed to be added to the recipe box. I love anything with sun-dried tomatoes in it, and this soup is no exception.
How to make this creamy sun-dried tomato chicken soup recipe:
This recipe can be made in one of two ways. You can either go the scenic route by making your own chicken broth using a whole, raw chicken. Alternatively, you can take the shortcut by grabbing a rotisserie chicken from your go-to grocer and a 32-ounce container of chicken broth.
I always find making my own chicken broth to be a satisfying adventure, and I love how it makes my house smell. It’s not always a realistic option, though, so do what works best for you! The meal will still be delicious.
The following recipe assumes the scenic route, but it’s easy to swap in the rotisserie chicken approach instead.
What you need
- Broth: You need just three ingredients, including chicken, water, and salt. That’s it. You can get as fancy as you want, and throw in an onion, a bay leaf, or a few crushed garlic cloves, but I opt for simplicity here.
- Soup aromatics: You need an onion, celery, and carrots. I use spices like garlic powder, thyme, and crushed red pepper. You can use freshly minced garlic instead, but I love garlic powder for a shortcut. The last thing you’ll add with the aromatics is sun-dried tomatoes. I use the tomatoes in oil and throw in a teaspoon or two of the oil from the jar for extra flavor.
- Finishing touches: Finish the soup with cooked ditalini, heavy cream, spinach, and lemon juice.
- Garnish: I garnish with freshly grated Parmesan and fresh basil leaves, but they’re not required. Garnish the soup with them if you like.
How to make it
- Step 1: Make the broth. Simply cook the bird in water with salt for about an hour. Simmer the broth rapidly to reduce it to about 8 cups. Pick the meat from the bones and shred the chicken into bite-sized pieces. Wipe out the pot and put it back on the stove.
- Step 2: Make the soup! Fry up your aromatics, and then add the spices and sun-dried tomatoes.
- Step 3: Simmer the soup. Add the broth and chicken and simmer the soup for 30 minutes.
- Step 4: Cook up the pasta and drain it.
- Step 5: Finish the soup! Add the pasta, cream, and spinach and simmer for about 5 minutes. Finish with lemon juice.
From there, you’re ready to serve it up! Ladle the soup into bowls and scatter Parmesan cheese on top and finish with fresh basil leaves. A crack of black pepper on each bowl is never a bad idea either!
Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Chicken Soup
- Large pot
- Medium pot
- Fine mesh sieve
- 3–4 pound whole chicken, neck and giblets reserved for another use
- 10–12 cups water
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, peeled and diced
- 4 small carrots, peeled and diced
- 4 ribs celery, trimmed and diced
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder, or use 6–8 minced garlic cloves
- 2 teaspoons dry thyme
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, more or less to taste
- ½ cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained and chopped
- 8 cups chicken broth, from above
- 1 cup dry ditalini
- ½ cup heavy cream, more if desired
- 4 ounces baby spinach, roughly chopped
- 1 lemon, juiced
- ¼ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, for garnish
- 16 fresh basil leaves, for garnish
- Salt and pepper
Make the broth (see note):
- Place the chicken in a large pot and cover with water by 1 inch. Add the salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour.
- Remove the chicken from the pot and transfer to a bowl. Turn the heat on the broth to medium and low boil for 15–20 minutes or until the liquid reduces down to about 8 cups. Strain the broth through a sieve into a large bowl. Wipe out the pot and return it to the stovetop.
- Once the chicken is cool enough to handle, pick the meat from the bird and shred or dice into bite-sized pieces. Reserve the skin for another use (like snacking on it or frying it up for a crispy garnish) and reserve the carcass for stock if you like.
Start the soup:
- Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in the pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, and celery and cook for 8–10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add the garlic powder, thyme, and crushed red pepper flakes and cook for 1 minute.
- Add the sun-dried tomatoes along with a teaspoon or two of the tomato oil from the jar. Cook for 1 minute more.
Simmer the soup:
- Pour in the broth and add the shredded chicken. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasonings.
Cook the pasta:
- Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Add the ditalini and cook for 1-2 minutes under al dente. Drain.
Finish the soup:
- Taste the soup once more. Stir in the cooked ditalini, heavy cream, and baby spinach. Simmer for 5 minutes. Add the lemon juice and season a final time. Turn off the heat.
- Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with freshly grated Parmesan and a few basil leaves. Finish with freshly cracked black pepper, if you like. Enjoy!