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+ servings
A bowl of mini chicken meatball soup with crackers.
Course Main Course, Soup

Mini Chicken Meatball Soup Recipe

By: Elysia
Servings 6 servings
This mini chicken meatball soup with barley tastes similar to an Italian Wedding Soup, but is much more hearty, healthy, and flavorful! It makes the perfect balanced and comforting dish that's kid-friendly too!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes


For the meatballs:

  • 1 1/2 lbs extra lean ground chicken
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 1/2 cup almond flour (or sub in panko or regular bread crumbs)
  • 2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For the soup:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 2 medium carrots diced
  • 3 celery stalks diced
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 8 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 3/4 cup uncooked barley
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Freshly grated parmesan cheese to garnish optional


  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients for the meatballs. Form into balls approximately 1/2 inch in diameter. The mixture should make about 35-40 mini meatballs. Place on a baking sheet about an inch apart and bake for 20 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, heat oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrots, celery, and thyme. Cook until fragrant and starting to soften, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add chicken broth and bring to a boil.
  • Add the barley and lower to a simmer for 25 minutes, stirring everyone once in a while to prevent the barley from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
  • Add the meatballs and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  • Garnish with freshly grated parmesan cheese, if desired.


  • If you let the soup sit for a few hours, you'll notice that the barley absorbs quite a bit of broth. You may wish to add more broth to the soup, especially if consuming as leftovers. Alternatively, if cooking this soup in advance, you can cook the barley separately and add it just before serving.
  • If serving this recipe to little ones, I like to slice the carrots and then quarter them so that they’re smaller and easier to chew.
  • I generally make mini meatballs for this soup to make it more kid-friendly, however you can make the meatballs larger if preferred. 
  • To save on prep time, make up a batch of the meatballs in advance and freeze for later. When ready to make the soup, add the frozen meatballs at the same time you add the barley to allow them to thaw.
  • We like to freeze this soup in these Souper Cubes for individual portions that can be easily served as a quick and easy lunch or dinner when pressed for time!


    Calories: 322kcalCarbohydrates: 35gProtein: 30gFat: 9gSaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 47mgSodium: 270mgPotassium: 1100mgFiber: 8gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 6500IUVitamin C: 61mgCalcium: 184mgIron: 7mg
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