Pantry Chicken Soup with Homemade Croutons

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soup bowl with croutons on top, spoon and napkin on the side all sitting on a placemat

This pantry chicken soup is one of my favorite recipes because the only “special” ingredients you need are ones that you already have in your pantry! You can make it entirely vegan by using vegetable stock, water or tomato juice as the base, but I like to use chicken broth for additional nutrients. As for ingredients, you can basically use whatever you like. In this recipe, I used up some potatoes and kale we had fresh left from our fall garden. But if you don’t have these and you only have carrots, celery, and pasta, use those instead!

Some general guidelines for this recipe are that you can make the soup more hardy by adding a protein. I recommend ground beef, shredded chicken, cooked bacon pieces, lentils, kidney beans, cannellini beans- you get the idea. Second, taste, taste, taste! With versatile soups like this, you need to constantly be checking for what the flavor of the soup tastes like with each new ingredient. Think SALT, FAT, ACID, HEAT. Does the broth need more salt? Maybe a squeeze of lemon or splash of red wine vinegar? Does it need a fat like cheese or cream or olive oil? Does it need a kick like red chili pepper flakes? Your taste buds are the best indicator of knowing what is perfect for you. And once you master being in tune with what you enjoy, it will be much easier to intuitively create amazing dishes because you taste the flavor combos along the way.

A Word about Homemade Croutons for Any Soup

If you want to “wow” your family or friends, make your own homemade croutons! Gone are the days where you need to settle for crunchy, store-bought, bread-like substances they market as croutons. Instead, just chop up any old bread you have on hand (it can be a store-bought loaf or leftovers from a homemade loaf of sourdough bread or focaccia bread) and chop it into small pieces. Drizzle and toss them with olive oil or avocado oil, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Bake them in a toaster until they are crispy and brown, and top your soup with this mouth-watering treat. I guarantee you, every single time I have served homemade croutons with a meal, I get at least one compliment about how incredible they are. You won’t go wrong with adding this to your soup!

homemade croutons  with spices on parchment paper
pantry soup with homemade croutons on a table with a napkin and spoon

Pantry Chicken Soup with Homemade Croutons

This pantry soup is very easy to make and you can basically put any ingredients you have in your pantry in it. You can also make a vegan version by using vegetable broth and omitting the chicken.
Print Recipe


  • 1 quart-sized jar vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 pint or quart-sized jar tomato juice
  • 2 potatoes chopped
  • 3-4 cups kale washed and chopped with spines removed
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 box of pasta optional
  • 1 cup chicken, sliced or shredded
  • sea salt and pepper to taste about 1-2 tsp of each
  • additional spices oregano, thyme, rosemary, and garlic powder are good
  • For Croutons
  • Old bread chopped into cubes
  • Olive oil
  • sea salt and pepper
  • garlic chopped, or 2 tsp garlic powder


  • In a pot, add 2-3 tbsp olive oil and heat on medium heat. Add in your onions and sauté them until translucent.
  • Add in the chopped potatoes until slightly browned on the outsides.
  • Add the vegetable broth and tomato juice into the pot with the onions and potatoes. If adding pasta, boil water in a separate pot and follow instructions for cook time. Otherwise, add the dry pasta directly to your main pot once broth is boiling so that the pasta can cook, which will take about 10-12 minutes.
  • Add in your spices and let simmer until the potatoes are fork tender and the pasta is al dente, which will be about 10-20 minutes. Season with any additional flavorings you may like, making sure to add salt generously.
  • Add in your shredded chicken, and then about 5-10 minutes before you are going to serve, add in your chopped kale to let it simmer down.
  • Meanwhile, to make your croutons, put your chopped bread pieces onto a baking pan or toaster pan. Coat them with olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder (or chopped garlic cloves), and put in the toaster for 3-5, or in the oven on 375 degrees F for 15-20 minutes until they are crispy and crunchy but not too black.
  • Garnish the soup with homemade croutons and enjoy!
  • For longer storage, keep the soup in the fridge for 3-5 days, and keep the croutons separately in a plastic bag at room temperature for 3-5 days.
Course: Main Course, Soup
Cuisine: American, Italian
Keyword: easy soup, sourdough
Author: Olympia Rusu

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