Chicken Meatball Soup Recipe

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A healthy, easy chicken meatball soup recipe made with ground chicken, brown rice and a nice flavor kick from fresh ginger in a lime tomato broth. Also known as Sopa de Albondigas in Spanish or Ciorba de Perisoare in Romanian cuisine. 

Chicken Meatball Soup Recipe ( Ciorba de Perisoare )

Just when you think winter is gone and summer on its way, you get a gloomy overcast chilly rainy day that requires you to still hold on to your favorite sweater and demands a big pot of mom’s chicken meatball soup recipe. 

Honestly I couldn’t wait to bring back one of my favorite soups, from way back in time when i was jotting down notes to self in this recipe journal. One of the first and most loved, just like the Italian chicken cacciatore, is this rustic meatball soup recipe that literally gives chicken soup a run for its money. 

Chicken Meatball Soup Recipe
Chicken Meatball Soup

Traditionally the meatballs for this soup are made with ground pork and rice, but instead I used dark meat ground chicken. I promise you that it makes the most amazing healthy broth that will give you beautiful glowing skin as well. Can’t beat that right ?!

That magical unique flavor to the meatball soup recipe comes from celery root and celery leaves. There’s nothing like it. 

Chicken Meatball Soup Recipe (Celery Root)Chicken Meatball Soup Recipe

This meatball soup recipe is different than most:

  • The meatballs are not fried but poached in a tomato chicken broth. 
  • Rice is used as a binder to keep the meatballs together and at the same time super fluffy and moist.
  • A pinch of baking soda make the chicken meatballs soft as cloud.
  • A touch of freshly grated ginger puts this meatballs soup recipe in a class of its own. 
Chicken Meatball Soup Recipe
Chicken Meatball Soup Recipe
Meatball Soup Recipe ( Ciorba de Perisoare )
5 from 1 vote

Chicken Meatball Soup Recipe

A healthy, easy chicken meatball soup recipe made with ground chicken, brown rice and a nice flavor kick from fresh ginger in a lime tomato broth. Also known as Sopa de Albondigas in Spanish or Ciorba de Perisoare in Romanian cuisine. 
Print Recipe
Prep Time:30 minutes
Cook Time:40 minutes
Total Time:1 hour 10 minutes


  • 1/4 c extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 large carrots -diced
  • 1 large parsley root -diced
  • 1 celery root -diced
  • 2 stalks celery diced
  • 1/2 green bell pepper diced
  • 1/2 yellow bell pepper diced
  • 1 onion diced
  • 28 oz canned diced tomatoes
  • 1 lime or lemon juiced + more to taste
  • 1/4 c celery leaves roughly chopped
  • 2 leaves bay
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt + more to taste
  • 2 qt water + more as needed
  • 3 tbs snipped chives for garnish optional
  • sour cream or yogurt for serving

Meatball Ingredients:

  • 1 lb organic ground chicken organic dark meat
  • 1 slice bread soaked in milk and squeezed well
  • 1/2 c quick cook brown rice
  • 1/4 c minced parsley
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper freshly cracked
  • ⅓ onion grated
  • 1 scallion thinly sliced
  • 1 egg small
  • 3 tbsp ginger root grated
  • 1 pinch nutmeg freshly grated
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda


  • Heat up the olive oil in a large enameled cast iron pot. Add the diced onion with a pinch of sea salt and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the diced carrot, parsley root, celery and celery root, together with the bay leaves and give it a good stir. Cook for an additional 5 minutes.
  • Add the canned tomatoes and the water and bring to a slow simmer. Season with the sea salt. Allow the soup to simmer on very low flame while you prepare the meatballs.
  • To make the meatballs combine all the meatball ingredients in a large bowl and shape them into golf ball size. Add them one by one to the soup and bring it back to a simmer before covering with a tight lid. Add the bell peppers and cover with a tight lid. Allow to cook on low flame ( just gentle simmering ) for 20 minutes.
  • Remove from flame and without peaking inside allow it to sit for 10 minutes for the rice in the meatballs to cook completely.
  • Squeeze in the lemon or lime juice and serve with a dab of sour cream or a drizzle of heavy cream. Sprinkle with celery leaves and snipped chives and a light drizzle of extra virgin olive oil !


It is very common for these meatballs to be made with ground pork as well, so you do as you please. I would suggest bumping up the ginger If you prefer a more intense flavor.
Course: Main
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 6
Author: Florentina

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  1. 4 stars
    The soup was delicious!

    First time I made chicken meatballs — they were really mushy so I added GF bread crumbs still mushy. Any suggestions? Other then this, the sour cream and lime were a flavorful addition!

    1. Hi Carrie, I honestly don’t know why they were mushy, mine always turn out fluffy especially with the little baking soda addition. Did you remember to use the rice ? That’s the only thing I can think of, I know a couple of people who liked it with more rice, otherwise this soup is always a winner for us 🙂

  2. 5 stars
    I am in a meatball craze these days and I would love to try this soup specially because it has celery in it. We usually only use celery in our Persian celery stew, that’s why I think it will be a great way way to use more celery!

    1. So did we in Los Angeles. Rainy and col and windy, this soup is just what the doctor ordered. So nutritious and flavorful, hope you give it a try ! ~ Florentina Xo’s