Russian Chicken Meatball Soup

Russian Chicken Meatball Soup is so light and fresh, made with aromatic vegetables, potatoes, rice and the most tender chicken meatballs. This is a soup that is a favorite with the whole family.

Russian Chicken Meatball Soup

Russian Chicken Meatball Soup with rice, potatoes and fresh herbs is so easy to make, but is both healthy and filling. The light, “brothy” soup with the tender chicken meatballs is the perfect comforting meal any time of year. It seems every culture loves their meatballs in many ways.  A great option is to serve it in soup. My mom made this Russian Meatball Soup, which we called Суп с Фрикадельками, quite often and I make it for my own family now. This soup is light and healthy, but absolutely delicious.

This is definitely a quick dinner option, since there is very little prep work and the cooking time is fairly short. The ingredients are very simple pantry staples, but marry together to create an incredibly tasty soup. I really prefer using chicken for the meatballs, with their clean flavor and such moist, plump and succulent texture. You will feel light and fresh when sipping each pleasing spoonful, not only from it’s healthy goodness but also because you’ll still have some energy left, instead of spending it all on the cooking.

Watch the Video of How To Make Chicken Meatball Soup


  • butter or oil (for sauteing)
  • onion (for the soup and the meatballs)
  • carrot(s)
  • celery
    • celery was not a popular ingredient in the Russian cuisine, so many recipes of this soup do not use celery, but I really love it.
  • garlic
  • potatoes
  • water
    • Most of the time when I make soup, I use broth but in this soup I prefer regular water. It will be make the soup really light and fresh, resulting in a delightful broth. The clean flavor of this soup is absolutely amazing because of that and I actually prefer it.
  • dry bay leaves, dry herbs and spices
  • rice (I use long grain white rice, you can use other rice if you want, adjust the cooking time depending on the rice that you use.)
  • fresh herbs (parsley, dill, green onions)
  • salt, pepper

Chicken Meatballs

  • ground chicken
    • Of course, you can use other ground meat, like ground beef, ground pork, ground turkey. My favorite, by far, is ground chicken. It is the secret to the best version of this soup.
  • breadcrumbs (panko is m favorite, you can use any that you like)
  • milk
    • any dairy free milk will work in this recipe as well. Even water can be used, although in my opinion, milk is better.
  • onion
    • I use half of the onion in the soup and half in the meatballs. Grating it finely on a box grater will ensure that the onion will be cooked through in the meatballs, since they cook really quickly.
  • salt, pepper, dry herbs and spices, garlic powder

How to make Chicken Meatball Soup

  1. Saute the vegetables. Heat the butter or oil and add the onion, carrots, celery and garlic. Season with salt and ground black pepper. Cook over medium heat for 5-7 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.
  2. Pour in the water, bay leaves and potatoes. Season with salt, pepper and any herbs and spices that you like.
  3. Cook, at a simmer, until the potatoes are cooked through. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until everything is cooked and the potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, make the meatballs.
    • Pour the milk over the breadcrumbs and set it aside for about 5 minutes, until bread has been absorbed by the milk and is soft.
    • Add the rest of the ingredients to the meatball mixture (including the grated onion) and mix until well combined. 
    • Using moistened hands, form the ground meat mixture into approximately 1/2 – 1 Tablespoon meatballs and drop into simmering soup. (I like to use a small portion scoop to form the meatballs first.)
  5. Add the rice to the soup. The rice and the meatballs will take about the same amount of time, about 10 – 15 minutes, depending of the size of the meatballs. 
  6. Garnish with the fresh herbs. Serve:).
How to make chicken meatball soup. 
Russian meatball soup with frikadelki.
Step by step photo tutorial.

Serving the Soup:

Our favorite way to serve the soup is with some bread, like my Simple Homemade Bread or the Crunchy No Knead Bread.

This recipe makes a big batch, so feel free to halve it. It reheats really well, so I like having this big batch to enjoy the soup the next night too and have a night off from cooking. Oftentimes, I will give soup to my boys for lunch the next day or two. It’s great to have something healthy and nutritious as an easy lunch option on hand.

A bowl of Chicken Meatball Soup Russian Frikadelki Soup

Russian Meatball Soup

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5 from 14 reviews

Russian Meatball Soup with rice, potatoes, fresh herbs is so easy to make, but is both healthy and filling. The light, “brothy” soup with the tender chicken meatballs is the perfect comforting meal any time of year.

  • Author: Olga’s Flavor Factory
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 8 1x
  • Category: Soup


  • 1 Tablespoon butter or oil
  • 1/2 of a large onion (finely diced)
  • 12 carrots (shredded on large holes of box grater)
  • 24 celery stalks, finely minced
  • 23 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 12 bay leaves
  • 10 cups water
  • 3 medium potatoes (chopped)
  • salt (pepper)
  • 1/3 cup long grain rice
  • 1/2 Tablespoon dry herb mixture (optional)
  • fresh chives (parsley, dill, minced, for garnishing)


  • 1 lb ground chicken (or ground turkey, pork or beef)
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/41/3 cup milk
  • 3/41 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 of an onion (grated on the finest setting on the box grater, to form a pulp)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry herb mixture (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder


  1. Heat the butter or oil and add the onion, carrots, celery and garlic. Season with salt and ground black pepper. Cook over medium heat for 5-7 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.
  2. Pour in the water, and add the potatoes and bay leaves. Bring the water to a boil. Season with salt, pepper and dry herbs and spices to taste. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes, until the potatoes are cooked through.
  3. Meanwhile, make the meatballs. Pour the milk over the breadcrumbs and set it aside for about 5 minutes, until bread has been absorbed by the milk and is soft. Add the rest of the ingredients to the meatball mixture and mix until well combined.
  4. Using moistened hands, form the ground meat mixture into approximately 1/2 – 1 Tablespoon meatballs and drop into simmering soup. I use a small portion scoop to form the meatballs first.
  5. Add the rice to the soup.  Allow to cook until the rice and meatballs have completely cooked through, 10-15 minutes. Garnish with the fresh herbs.
  6. Serve the soup hot/warm. 

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  • Emma

    olchik ur recipes are mouthwatering. Can you by any chance post some more dessert recipes! having guest (lots) and need some new stuff hehe thanx

  • yanna

    I made this today. It was very good. we make it with beef but it seems like chicken works so much better. Thank you for the recipe!

  • Natasha of

    Thanks Olga!! This makes me feel warm and cozy inside 🙂 I love Russian and Ukrainian soups. They are generally the healthiest and taste awesome! Your recipe looks really good. We’ve tried your cookies and katleti and both were awesome! Thanks again!

  • Cook and Tell: Russian Meatball Soup « DimpleArts Photography

    […] found a great recipe for Russian Meatball Soup. Once I started making the soup, the scents from my Mom’s kitchen, filled my own kitchen. […]

  • Tanya

    I followed the recipe exactly and added 1 cup of breadcrumbs. It was way too much, you couldnt even taste the meat. So sad. otherwise it was good.

    • olgak7

      Hi Tanya,
      I’m sorry to hear that it wasn’t to your liking. Taste is very subjective, so I know not everybody will agree with my opinion on food. I like my meatballs that way, you like them differently.

  • Tanya

    Tried it… LOVED IT!! Just added the herbs in the meatballs and threw in a few cloves of garlic in the mix. Very yummy soup! Kiddos love it 🙂 Blessings to you and your hubby!

    • olgak7

      I’m so happy to hear that, Tanya! This is definitely a great choice for kids. I agree with adding herbs; they bring so much freshness and brightness to the bowl.

  • lanchick7

    Made this delish soup today!! EVERYONE absolutely LOVED it! Thanks so much, dear Olga!!! Bless your heart <3

  • Natalie

    This turned out amazing!!! I think I may have overcooked the potatoes so the consistency is more like split pea soup or stew-like but I think it will be a hit tomorrow! 🙂 Thanks for the great recipe!

  • Elena

    I made this soup last week and loved it! All I had at home was ground turkey and the meatballs tasted great.
    It tastes almost the same as my moms and reminds me of my childhood 🙂 Thank you!

    • olgak7

      That’s great, Elena. This is such a simple soup to prepare but so comforting and healthy too. It reminds me of my childhood too; my Mom made it a lot.

  • Ksenia

    I made this soup a couple of days ago. Outstanding!
    This is my favorite cooking blog for sure!!!
    My American husband is enjoying all the new foods I’ve been making for him. 🙂
    I now made 4 of your recipes and you do not disappoint!

  • olga

    olga- what herbs do you add to the soup? also do you buy the bread crumbs or grate dry bread? does it have to be dry bread? sorry im a little confused on the bread part.

    • olgak7

      Hi Olga,
      I add fresh dill, parsley, green onions, whichever I have on hand.
      In regards to the breadcrumbs – you can use one slice of bread, ground in the food processor or you can grate on a box grater. You can also use panko bread crumbs.

    • olgak7

      I wouldn’t recommend it, Olga. Like you said, because of the potatoes.
      This is one of those soups that cooks up in no time at all. I save it for the days when I want to cook something really quickly, so I usually don’t freeze dinners that take less than 45-30 minutes to make in the first place.

    • olga

      Hey olga.. made this soup a few times already… Love it. The broth is delicious. one of my fave comfort soups. Thanks a bunch for sharing… even took it to work. Cant get enough of the broth :))))

  • Helen

    I made this soup 2 days ago. It is so good. I can say it’s best soup with meatballs i ever tried. 🙂 Thank you! Only one thing i did different after i read comments of meatlovers here no breadcrumbs and milk in meatballs 🙂

  • Anna

    So delicious!! I made this yesterday and we just loved it! Usually when I make soup, there is so much left over that my husband and I end up not being able to eat it all within a few days and throw away the rest. But this recipe, it’s the perfect amount for two people to last for about 2 days. It is so flavorful and light, and very easy to make. The meatballs are so juicy and delicious! I will definitely be keeping this recipe for those chilly winter months ahead. (By the way, I am anxiously waiting on more updates on your baby. Hopefully you are making another post soon. God bless 🙂 )

    • olgak7

      This soup is such a staple in our house, Lindsey, you can pair it with just about anything. Sometimes we have it simply with some Homemade Bread, and other times serve an entree too. Check out my other Russian Recipes. Just about anything will go well with this soup.

  • Valentina

    I made this last week and am making it again tomorrow. So simple but so full of flavor. Amazing. My kids wolfed it down in no time.

  • Jennifer

    Easily the best soup I’ve ever made or tasted. It’s so easy to make, too! I can’t believe how good the broth is–even though the recipe just calls for water, the broth develops into a beautiful pale yellow. The meatballs cook so soft…. Mmm. My husband requested I use pasta instead of rice, so I used small bits of angel hair. I am literally about to make it for the second night in a row at his request! Thank you so much for this wonderful recipe. I will use it forever and teach my daughter how to make it someday, too.

  • Nelli

    Hello olga, I am planning on making this soup today, for the breadcrumbs, after I soak them in the milk do I add the soaked breadcrumbs with the milk to the meat mixture, or should I strain the crumbs?

  • Tammy Tyler

    I know this recipe has been posted for many years but I made this for dinner last night, sort of in tribute to my son who is taking Russian in college right now, and it was super delicious!!!! I made it exactly as the recipe described (which is somewhat of a miracle for me not to modify a recipe). I was skeptical that it would not be very flavorful but it was perfect, especially for a chilly evening. Everyone loved it, even the picky eater. Thank you so much for this recipe!

  • Zhanna

    Can this be converted to an Instant Pot recipe? 🙂 you know what that would look like in the IP? Thank you! 👍🏻😉

    • olgak7

      I think this soup cooks so fast, there’s no reason to make it in the Instant Pot. However, if you do use the Instant Pot, take care not to overcook the rice, because it will explode and disintegrate in the soup.

  • Lena

    I love this soup! Everytime I make the soup I also make the Cheese Biscuits and they both go very well together! I also add some homemade pickled cucumbers to the soup. I love how they add a special flavour to the soup! Love all of your recipes Olga! 😀💕

  • Arlene White

    I made this for my family last night it was a H
    it! I’m going to make more tonight for my Mother! It was easy to prepare to! Thank you!

  • Luba

    This soup came out rocking and rolling! Seriously, I didnt expect it to be so good. It’s better than my moms shhhhh dont tell her ;). Great flavor in the frikadelki (meatballs) and the instructions and pictures are great and easy to follow. Will make it on the regular now. My kids love it too!

    • olgak7

      Awwww… Thank you so much, Luba! You made my day:). Thank you so much for taking the time to write. I’m happy to hear you enjoyed the soup so much.

  • Alice K

    Excellent soup! Filled with flavor and inexpensive, I actually had most of the ingredients on hand. I used half of a boneless, skinless chicken breast, and it was plenty for four adults. I added a little celery as suggested, and seasoned with fresh parsley and dried dill and chives. A keeper! Thanks, Olga!

  • Fay Everett

    I printed out this recipe years and years ago and it has become a family favorite. My mom has called it “the best soup” she’s ever eaten and asks me to make it for her whenever I visit.

    I noticed you changed the recipe slightly from the original (or, at least, from the one I printed out many years ago). In the recipe I printed out originally, the vegetables were cooked/sweated in a separate skillet and then added to the simmering water afterwards (in which the potatoes were already cooking). In the current recipe, the soup is made all in one pot.

    The only reason I mention this is that recently I was in the kitchen preparing to make this soup and I was too lazy to go find my recipe folder, so I looked it up on my ipad and followed the updated recipe (except we use angel-hair pasta, not rice). The soup was really, really good–but it definitely wasn’t the same as the original we were used to. I thought it was just me, so the next week I made it following your original (?) recipe, and my husband even commented, “The soup tastes better this time. What did you do differently?”

    I’m not a natural at cooking (at all), but in my mind I think cooking/sweating the vegetables separately made a big difference, probably because the ingredients are very simple and pure–by which I mean the technique adds something I can’t name to the final dish.

    Just thought I would mention this in case anyone else had a similar experience. Oh, also–in the original printout I had, it called for angel-hair pasta (broken into thirds) instead of rice, which we always use, and it is soooooooo goooooood. (I boil the pasta separately to keep the soup broth light and fresh and not too starchy.)

    I hope you read this *NOT* as a criticism of the above recipe, but only as one person’s observation, as this has truly become a beloved recipe in my family. I always appreciate combining steps and everything to make the cooking process easier, but in this case we all noticed that some of the “magic” or “brightness” of this simple soup was lost when I didn’t sweat the veg separately.

  • Zhanna Bombeshko

    Can this be converted into an instant pot recipe? Can you make a version of that on your blog/website? That would be amazing!!!

    • Fay Everett

      I’m not Olga, but FWIW, I make this recipe in our Instant Pot ***all the time,*** (not pressure cooking–just by using the saute feature and adjusting the temp as needed). There’s no reason to use the pressure cooker feature for this recipe itself, tho, b/c the veg really needs to “sweat” to develop their flavors first, and also the meatballs cook in the simmering broth very quickly–much less time than it would take for the IP to come up to pressure. The IP is great, however, for keeping the soup warm until serving once cooked.

      Also, I’ve made this soup sooo many times–it’s such a well written recipe because one step leads to the next and there’s very little down-time. While the veg is sweating, you’re dicing the potatoes / While the potatoes are cooking, you’re making the meatballs / As soon as the potatoes have finished cooking, you’re ready to carefully pop the meatballs in the broth one at a time. Once you’ve done that last step, the soup is basically done in 10 or so more minutes.

      I could be wrong, but I don’t see how this recipe could be a typical dump-and-go IP pressure-cooked recipe w/o messing up the meatballs…? But I looooooove assembling the soup in the IP and using the “keep warm” feature on while everyone’s eating their first bowl (because they will immediately want seconds).

  • Abigail @ OhMyVegan

    This is a delicious recipe for a fast soup!
    I don’t eat meat so I replaced the meat balls with soft tofu. I’m not sure how similar it is to the original recipe but it’s pretty good in my book!

  • Shana

    Thank you so much for sharing this recipe. I made some for my elderly babushka (a brutally honest critic when it comes to food) and she was very impressed. It is sometimes hard for me to find authentic Russian recipes in English so I went off the picture of the soup on your site and knew this had to be close to what I grew up on and I was right! I especially enjoyed the brightness a little fresh dill and parsley added to the soup. I followed the recipe almost exactly except I had some leftover vegetable broth (3 cups) and used it plus the rest water. I loved the process of making the little freekadelyiky too! Thank you again! I will be making this soup again and again 🙂

  • Lena Tarasoff

    Olga, just made the soup today per your recipe. Delicious!!! Brought back sweet memories of watching my.mama make this soup, and of course, eating it with her at the kitchen table. Thank you for documenting these recipes!

  • Lena

    Just made it- so good!! The broth/veggie base is so delicious and hearty, but very light at the same time. I’d maybe omit the rice next time as I like my soups thinner, but overall, this was pretty quick and easy to make.

  • Maria

    Thank you for the yummy recipe!!! I used 1/4 cup progresso Italian breadcrumbs. 1/4 cup buckwheat instead of rice. Tony’s creole seasoning for salt and fresh dill. The 10 cups of water came out perfect, no broth needed!

  • Lena

    Made this soup so many time and it’s always a bit hit. My mom used to make it growing up and now I make it for my children. Thanks for the recipe .I did notice that your picture and instructions mention celery but the ingredients list does not..

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