Carrabba’s Copycat Mama Mandola’s Chicken Soup


UPDATED: There are some recipes in which I never deviate & then there are others that as I make time and time again, such as this soup, I modify & adjust just enough that it warrants an update. The original post is listed at the bottom, the updated version is just below. It’s still one of our favorites!

Updated Ingredients: 

  • 3 tbsps. butter
  • 3 – 4 celery ribs, chopped small, approximately 1 1/2 cups
  • 5 carrots, peeled & sliced, approximately 2 cups
  • 3 medium size russet potatoes, diced
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 8 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 10 cups water
  • 3 tbsps. Better Than Bouillon Chicken Base
  • 1 rotisserie chicken, skin removed & deboned, shredded in large chunks
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 15oz can of diced tomatoes, do not drain the liquid
  • 1 1/2 tsp. white pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup ditalini pasta, cooked in boiling water for 6 minutes, less than al dente*
  • Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 tsp. dried thyme
  • 2 tsps. (or more, as needed) each of Litehouse poultry seasoning, oregano, & basil

Updated Preparation: 

In a large stock pot, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the onions, celery, carrots, potatoes, onion, & garlic. Season with 1 1/2 tsp. Kosher salt, stir to incorporate, cover, and sautés for 10 minutes, stirring every couple of minutes.

Add the 10 cups of water, stir in the chicken base, add the can of tomatoes & included liquid, and stir in the white pepper, bay leaf, basil, oregano, poultry seasoning, thyme, & shredded chicken. In a separate small pot, cook the pasta in boiling water for 6 minutes. It is less than al dente, but will continue to cook in the soup, and expands the longer it sits in the soup. Drain & add to the soup.

Allow the soup to come to a low boil, lower heat, simmer, cover, and & cook for 10 minutes.

Season with extra kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper, per taste.

Note: This makes a lot of soup! It’s perfect for a party or potluck or if you don’t mind having soup for days.

Original Post:

We heart Carrabba’s, BIG time. We’ve been going for years now and have yet to try a dish we haven’t liked. It’s only been in the last couple of years I’ve ordered the soup in lieu of a salad as my side, and boy, was I missing out! Now, there are times when I order just the soup and salad for my dinner. This soup is so good, and actually, I’d say it’s more like a stew because it’s so hearty. Plus, with all the pepper, it gives it that good extra kick and umph.

By the time it’s all said and done, this makes quite a bit to have and share. I also made the crusty overnight artisan bread to serve it with. Yum and yum! Perfect for those fall and winter nights.

Interestingly enough, while I’ve added the link to the Carrabba’s recipe, I have to say, their picture doesn’t do their product justice. Also, if I do say so myself, the recipe itself needed some doctoring. I wonder if they do that intentionally to make sure you’ll come back to the restaurant…as if we wouldn’t.


  • 1 rotisserie chicken, deboned and skin removed, shredded in large chunks
  • 2 32oz boxes of low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 8 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 5 celery ribs, diced
  • 1lb. bag of baby carrots, diced (or 3 big carrots, diced)
  • 3 medium sized russet potatoes, diced
  • 1 15 oz. can of tomatoes with liquid (I used fire roasted)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. white ground pepper
  • 1 cup ditalini pasta, cooked according to package directions
  •  Kosher Salt & Freshly Ground Black Pepper, to taste
  • 2 tsps. (or more, as needed) each of poultry seasoning, oregano, and basil. I like to use the following seasonings because more often than not, I don’t have the fresh herbs on hand:



I made this once with a whole chicken and it seemed to take all day. The beauty of a rotisserie chicken is that you can buy it, debone it, remove the skin, and shred the chicken, put it in a Ziploc bag, freeze it and grab it when you need it. This works perfectly for a soup like this.

In a large pot (and I do mean large) pour one of the 32oz. boxes of low sodium chicken broth into the pot. Add the onion, garlic, celery, carrots, potatoes, can of tomatoes with its juices, white pepper, seasonings, and bring to a low boil for 45 minutes.  Remove the bay leaf. Add the chicken, lower the temperature to medium. Season with S&P as needed, using generous amounts of freshly ground black pepper. Once it’s been on the stove a while, the liquid decreases so this is when I add the other carton of chicken broth.

Cook the 1 cup of ditalini pasta, according to package instructions in a small pot. Drain and add to the soup. Stir together to incorporate.

Serve in large bowls with crusty artisan bread on the side. Sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

Adapted from:

This entry was posted in Chicken, Copycat Recipes, Soup. Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Carrabba’s Copycat Mama Mandola’s Chicken Soup

  1. Marylyn Woudstra says:

    Made this and I loved it. The family loved it it too. I did use left over turkey instead of chicken, but everything was the same. It tasted just like Carrabas own.

    • Angie says:

      I’m so glad you liked it. Over the years I’ve tweaked it a bit so I updated the original post to reflect the modified changes, but kept the original recipe too.

  2. Tim Hopkins says:

    How many servings does this make?

    • Angie says:

      I’ve never measured it out in cups or bowls. However, I made 2 pots of it for my husband’s 15 man crew & there wasn’t any left. It freezes well, too.

  3. Carolyn says:

    Would love to make this soup. Can it be done in a crockpot.

    • Angie says:

      I’ve never done it, but I don’t see why not. If you opt this route, I would still cook the the onions, celery, & potatoes until the onions are translucent & potatoes are at least somewhat soft. Toss in the minced garlic for a minute before transferring to the crockpot. The potatoes will take the longest to cook so if you decide to add it all in and let the crockpot work its magic, plan for 7 or 8 hours.

  4. Nancy says:

    Just made this soup soo good.this recipe is a keeper.

    • Angie says:

      So glad you liked it! And, yes, it stands the rest of time & is always a hit.

    • Theresa says:

      Hi! Was wondering which recipe version you made? The updated or original recipe?

      I want to make but don’t know which version to choose?

      • Angie says:

        Hi, Theresa! For a long time I used the original before making subtle changes & created the updated one. I use the updated one because I prefer the taste of the Better Than Bouillon Chicken Base than chicken broth. Also, I upped the quantity of celery & carrots. Otherwise, outside of that the other changes are nominal. Honestly, you can’t go wrong with either one.

  5. Tiffany Fox says:

    You nailed it! I never follow the recipe and usually add things but I didn’t touch it and it’s amazing! Thank you for the updates!

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