Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup is incredibly cozy, easy, hearty, comfort food all made in one pot!
This Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup is destined to become your new favorite chicken noodle soup recipe made without any canned soups! It’s easy comfort food all made in one pot for any night of the week. You can’t beat the juicy chicken, plump noodles, tender carrots and celery, swaddled in a swoon-worthy creamy herb and Parmesan laced broth. This recipe is also extremely versatile and pantry friendly – swap in any of your favorite veggies, your favorite pasta and/or use rotisserie chicken, thighs or breasts. This creamy dream also reheats beautifully for make ahead dinner or lunches! Serve your Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup with sweet cornbread and apple salad for a complete feast!
If you love cozying up to a big bowl of creamy soup, don’t miss these favorites: Creamy Chicken Wild Rice Soup, Chicken Pot Pie Soup, White Chicken Lasagna Soup, Potato Soup, Corn Chowder and Clam Chowder.
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how to make creamy CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP video
Creamy cHICKEN NOODLE SOUP RECIPE
If I’m being completely honest, this Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup recipe leaves classic chicken noodle soup in the dust. Here’s why I’m slightly obsessed:
This recipe delivers all the cozy comfort of classic chicken noodle soup AND THEN SOME – because it’s creamy! Creamy soups warm you from the inside out in ways brothy soups can only dream of. Every spoonful of this recipe is a warm, aromatic, creamy symphony finished with a crescendo of complex, nutty nuances of freshly grated Parmesan. It’s comfort food at its finest.
Too often creamy soups are bland and boring – not this recipe! The Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup is seasoned to perfection with adept Italian seasonings and my secret ingredients of chicken bouillon, ground cumin and red pepper flakes which really make it sing. The bouillon delivers all the flavor of cooking a whole chicken – and using homemade chicken stock – without any of the work!
This recipe is all made in one pot – even the noodles! This means you only have one pot to wash! Many Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup recipes have you simmer the soup in one pot and make a roux in another then add it to the soup – but there’s no need for that! We make the roux directly in the soup pot at the start of the recipe to give our soup body then make the soup creamier at the end by whisking half and half with cornstarch which is added directly to the soup. Now we have luxuriously rich, creamy, hypnotic broth without dirtying any more dishes – winning!
The ingredients for this recipe are simple, inexpensive and you probably have almost all of them on hand. This recipe can be made with any chicken you have on hand from chicken thighs to chicken breasts to rotisserie chicken. It can also be made with any veggies (including frozen!), any pasta and even evaporated milk instead of half and half. In addition, I’ve included all sorts of recipe variations, so it’s amendable to whatever ingredients you have at this moment!
This Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup is a meal-in-one chock full of protein, veggies and starch. Just add some no-fuss sides like a simple green salad and crusty bread and dinner is served! It’s the perfect easy dinner for any night of the week.
LOOKING FOR MORE CREAMY SOUP RECIPES?
- Chicken Gnocchi Soup
- Broccoli Cheese Soup
- Crock Pot Creamy White Chicken Chili
- Mexican Chicken Corn Chowder
- Zuppa Toscana
WHAT CHICKEN IS best?
I highly recommend chicken thighs for this Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup recipe (and for any soup recipe), but you may use any cut of chicken you prefer. Here is the breakdown:
- Chicken thighs (boneless or bone-in): I didn’t always use chicken thighs for my soup recipes, but once I started, there was NO going back. Chicken thighs are dark meat which means they are inherently juicier, richer tasting and produce far more tender meat than chicken breasts. They are also harder to overcook and stay tender for days with a more palate pleasing texture, even when reheated for leftovers. In addition, chicken thighs are browned first so all those golden, flavorful bits become part of the broth.
- Chicken breasts: You can absolutely still use chicken breasts for this recipe if that is what you prefer. Please note that chicken breasts are leaner than chicken thighs, so they will not be as juicy or as flavorful, especially if overcooked. If using chicken breasts, I suggest bone-in chicken breasts but boneless will also work. You will want to slice your breasts in half through the equator if they are extra-large, otherwise, the simmer time will be much longer and the veggies can break down too much.
- Rotisserie chicken: Is my second choice to use in chicken noodle soup after chicken thighs. Rotisserie chicken comes lightly seasoned for an added depth of flavor and is a mix of both light and dark meat. It also comes perfectly tender and ready to slurp up. I always like to stock shredded rotisserie chicken portioned into 2-3 cup measurements in my freezer so they’re ready to add to any soup or casserole recipe. I recommend shredding your rotisserie chicken as soon as you get home from the grocery store because the chicken is easier to shred while it’s still warm.
- Leftover chicken: Just make sure your chicken isn’t overly seasoned or you may need to reduce the seasonings in the recipe. Add about 2 ½ cups shredded or chopped leftover chicken to the soup when the recipe calls for adding the shredded chicken back to the pot with the Parmesan.
What I love most about this Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup recipe is that it’s packed with flavor, but is made with pantry friendly, easy to find ingredients. Here’s what you’ll need to make this recipe:
- Chicken: Use boneless skinless thighs that you’ve patted dry and seasoned with salt and pepper for the juiciest chicken. You can also use chicken breasts or rotisserie chicken.
- Noodles: My personal favorite noodles for Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup are egg noodles. Egg noodles are made with a higher proportion of eggs to flour than traditional pasta resulting in a softer, fluffier, lighter and almost buttery texture. They are slightly chewy and their wavy texture dances in your mouth.
- Olive oil: Always use a high-quality extra virgin olive oil for the best flavor.
- Butter: Whenever I sauté anything in butter, I always pair it with some olive oil. The oil prevents the butter from burning. Use unsalted butter otherwise reduce the salt in the recipe and salt to taste.
- Onion: Use one diced yellow onion. When a recipe doesn’t specify a specific onion, use yellow onion. You may substitute with 1 ½ teaspoons onion powder if you’re in a bind.
- Garlic. 4-6 garlic cloves, depending on your garlic love or substitute with 1 teaspoon garlic powder.
- Celery: You’ll need 1 ½ cups chopped celery. Chop the celery on the larger side, just shy of ½ -inch so they don’t become mushy in the soup.
- Carrots: Also enough for 1 ½ cups, sliced ¼-inch thick so they cook in the same amount of time as the celery.
- Chicken broth: Use low sodium chicken broth otherwise your soup will be too salty. Using low sodium broth also allows us to use chicken bouillon which amps up the flavor. Don’t swap out the chicken broth for veggie broth because it doesn’t have the same satisfying chicken flavor.
- Chicken bouillon: The bouillon adds an even richer, deeply satisfying chicken flavor. You can use granulated bouillon (powder), bouillon cubes or better than bouillon. Add the bouillon to the soup without dissolving in liquid first. If using cubes, you will need 3 cubes which you crush up and then add directly to the broth.
- Half and half: I often don’t keep half and half on hand, but keep heavy cream on hand. If you’re like me, you can substitute the half and half with half cream and half milk. For a healthier alternative, you may substitute the half and half with evaporated milk mixed with ½ tablespoon additional cornstarch.
- Parmesan: Is optional, but I love the subtle nutty saltiness it adds. Use freshly grated Parmesan grated on the smallest holes so it’s like powder – don’t use the canned green stuff or it won’t melt as well.
- All-purpose flour: Helps thicken the soup by creating a roux. You may substitute with gluten free all-purpose flour.
- Cornstarch: Also helps thicken the soup by mixing with the half and half; this allows us to use lower calorie half and half as opposed to heavy cream.
- Seasonings: Italian herbs such as fresh or dried parsley, oregano, basil, thyme, sage and bay leaves infuse the broth with earthy goodness. Salt and pepper awaken the entire soup. The ground cumin adds a kiss of earthy, lemon flavor. The red pepper flakes add a slight kick of heat, which you really can’t taste but rather cut through the creamy half and half.
creamy chicken noodle soup ingredient substitutions
Add about 2 ½ cups shredded rotisserie chicken to the soup at the end when the recipe calls for adding shredded chicken back to the soup. If using rotisserie chicken, you will have skipped the step of seasoning the chicken thighs with salt and pepper so season to taste at the end of cooking.
Aside from egg noodles, other favorite pastas for Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup include rotini pasta, cavatappi, fusilli, cellentani or pasta shells. Some even like to use broken up spaghetti or fettuccine. You will need to cook these pastas longer than egg noodles. Another favorite pasta of mine in soups is tortellini. I use it my Crockpot Chicken Noodle Soup and the cheesy, melt in your mouth pillows are divine.
Absolutely! I’ve stuck with the classics of celery and carrots, but you can add zucchini, squash, mushrooms etc. I’ve included all sorts of variations below.
Yes, frozen vegetables are a great shortcut in recipe! Add the vegetables after you remove the chicken to shred, no need to thaw.
Absolutely! Fresh herbs can be used in place of any of the dried herbs, you will need three times the amount. Also, take care to add them towards the end of cooking so they stay fresh and flavorful.
I do not recommend vegetable broth unless you need to make the recipe vegan because it does not have the chicken flavor which is essential in homemade Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup. That doesn’t mean you can’t use vegetable broth, but it does mean the soup will not taste rich and flavorful. If you do use chicken broth, then you may want to add additional chicken bouillon, but taste as you go because you don’t want to make your soup too salty!
Yes! To make this recipe gluten free, use gluten free flour and your favorite gluten free pasta – the rest of the ingredients are gluten free.
To make vegan “chicken” noodle soup, omit the chicken and chicken bouillon, replace the butter with oil, the chicken broth with vegetable broth, and the half and half with plain, unsweetened non-dairy milk of your choice whisked with 1 ½ tablespoons cornstarch. You can add mushrooms, tofu or additional veggies in place of the chicken.
HOW TO MAKE CREAmY CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP
This soothing Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup is wonderfully easy! It fills the belly and warms the soul and you can make it in your slippers and slurp it curled up in a cozy blanket for breakfast, lunch and dinner!
Don’t let the number of steps scare you. Essentially, we are just searing the chicken, sautéing the veggies, simmering the soup, then adding the noodles and half and half. Here’s how to make it (full recipe with measurements in the recipe card at the bottom of the post):
- Step 1: Season chicken. Start by patting the chicken dry with paper towels then evenly sprinkle with salt and pepper. Drying the chicken allows the seasonings to stick and letting the chicken rest while you prep the veggies helps the seasonings penetrate the chicken.
- Step 2: Sear the chicken. Sear chicken in ripping hot olive oil until golden, about 3 minutes per side. Remove to a plate but leave the glorious drippings. Searing the chicken results in the Maillard reaction, in which amino acids and reducing sugars produce browning, and as we know, color= flavor! The delicious brown bits left in the bottom of the pan will season the entire soup as they permeate the broth.
- Step 3: Sauté the vegetables. This recipe boasts the classic combination of carrots, onions and celery sautéed in olive oil and butter. They are known as the holy trinity of cooking and provide a richness and depth of flavor that can’t be achieved any other way. You’ll sauté them for a few minutes and then add the garlic. The vegetables will not be completely tender at this point but will soften as they simmer with the chicken.
- Step 4: Add the flour. The flour is sprinkled over the vegetables and cooked for a couple minutes until the raw flour taste and smell is gone. This roux provides the rich base for the soup so it’s thicker and creamier than just using half and half (and less fattening too!).
- Step 5: Add the broth and seasonings. Add the seared chicken back to the pot along with chicken bouillon, all seasonings, bay leaves and chicken broth.
- Step 6: Simmer the soup. Cover the soup and simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until chicken is tender enough to shred. This technique of simmering meat in liquid creates succulently juicy chicken and creates even more flavorful broth.
- Step 7: Shred the chicken. Transfer chicken to a cutting board and shred into bite-size pieces once cool enough to handle.
- Step 8: Cook the noodles. Now the fun part! Add half and half and the noodles to the pot and simmer just until noodles are al dente, approximately 5 minutes. During this time, the broth will transform from brothy to luxuriously creamy.
- Step 8: Finish the soup. Stir in Parmesan until smooth. The broth is so hot that the Parmesan should melt pretty instantly. Add the shredded chicken and let the soup rest for a few minutes so the broth can permeate every nook and cranny of the chicken. Now slurp away!
How do you thicken up chicken noodle soup?
You can easily thicken soups by adding flour, cornstarch or other thickeners such as mashed potatoes or beans. This Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup should already be creamy due to the flour, half and half and cornstarch, but if you would still like a thicker soup, you can use any of these methods:
- Mash potatoes: This method works well because it doesn’t involve simmering the soup which will overcook the noodles. Microwave a few potatoes, mash them and add them to the soup.
- Add creamed corn: Add one can of creamed corn to add corn flavor and thicken the soup.
- Puree soup: Remove 1-2 cups of the soup and puree it in your blender or food processor. It will add body to the soup while preserving the flavor and not overcooking the noodles.
- Puree beans: Add cannellini beans to a blender along with some of the soup. Puree until smooth to create a paste. Stir back into the soup and warm through.
- Cornstarch: You’ll only want to use this method if you haven’t already added the noodles, otherwise they will overcook and become mushy. Whisk 1-2 tablespoons cornstarch with ¼ cup broth or water until smooth then whisk it back into the soup. Simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes. Repeat if needed.
- Flour: This method should also only be used if you haven’t already added the noodles. Flour is half as potent as cornstarch so you will need twice as much. Remove about ½ cup soup, whisk in 2-4 tablespoons flour with a fork until smooth then whisk it back into the soup. Simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes. Repeat if needed.
TIPS AND TRICKS FOR BEST creamy CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP RECIPE
Here is a summary of tips and tricks for the best Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup recipe:
- Chop vegetables the correct size: Chop carrots and celery as prescribed in the recipe. Avoid chopping your vegetables too thin or they can become mushy.
- For the juiciest chicken: This recipe will work chicken breasts or chicken thighs, but for best flavor use chicken thighs or shredded rotisserie chicken.
- Rotisserie chicken hack: Stock shredded chicken or rotisserie chicken portioned into 2 1/2-cup freezer bags so you always have chicken ready to add to any soup.
- Don’t burn the bits: When searing the chicken, you don’t want blackened bits, or they will make your soup taste burnt. If the chicken is browning too quickly, turn the heat down.
- Simmer chicken until tender: Whether using chicken thighs or breasts, check the pieces individually for tenderness when simmering because they may cook unevenly. Be prepared to remove pieces of chicken at different times. The chicken is ready when it easily pulls apart with two forks, not any sooner.
- Don’t forget to stir. The soup can stick and burn due to the roux, so make sure you are stirring every few minutes and replacing the lid.
- Don’t overcook the noodles! It is better to undercook than overcook the noodles. Cook the noodles al dente (meaning they have a little bite) because they will continue to cook in the creamy hot broth even after you remove it from the heat. If you don’t overcook the noodles initially, they will not get mushy or soggy when reheated – otherwise be prepared for mushy soup.
- Test noodles for doneness right at 5 minutes: Remove a noodle from the soup with a slotted spoon and rinse under cold water before testing.
- Cook noodles separately if needed: As written, the noodles cook in same the pot with the veggies and chicken. If you aren’t prepared to babysit your noodles towards the end of cooking, then cook your pasta separately and add to individual bowls. You will also want to cook your pasta separately if you plan on freezing the soup.
- Scale up or down: This recipe can easily be scaled up or down by using the sliding scale next to the servings in the recipe card.
- Consistency: The “chunkiness” of the soup is personal preference. For a less chunky soup, simply add additional broth or half and half at the end of cooking.
- Be prepared to add additional liquid: The noodles will absorb the broth as they sit in the soup so you may need to add additional broth or half and half if not immediately serving or when reheating. I personally love how thick it becomes!
This homemade Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup recipe is comforting in its classic ingredients and flavor, but can also be used as a springboard to make it your own:
- Shortcut Easy Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup: To make this recipe in a hurry, purchase pre-chopped vegetables and rotisserie chicken and use garlic and onion powder. Now, almost all of the prep work is done, turning this recipe into a “dump and simmer,” winner!
- Creamy Chicken Rice Soup: Swap the noodles for pasta. Long-grain white rice will take 8-12 minutes to simmer in the soup. I do not recommend using brown rice unless you cook it separately.
- Chicken Quinoa Soup: For a higher protein option, swap the orzo for quinoa, rinsed and drained and simmer for about 25 minutes.
- Chicken Potato Soup: Swap the noodles for 3 Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1/2-inch chunks, or even sweet potatoes and simmer until tender, about 20 minutes.
- Creamy Chicken Tortellini Soup: Swap the egg noodles for 12 oz. uncooked fresh cheese tortellini. Tortellini only require a couple minutes to cook, so watch them closely!
- Other pasta options: In addition to tortellini, you can swap the egg noodles with cellentani, rotini, bowtie pasta, small shell pasta or broken spaghetti noodles.
- Swap cheese: Instead of Parmesan, stir in Swiss or Gruyere like I do in my chicken Cordon Bleu Soup.
- Swap veggies: Carrots, onions and celery are classic in Chicken Noodle Soup – but there’s a lot of flexibility! Green beans, corn, peas, bell peppers, mushrooms, broccoli, cauliflower, butternut squash, canned tomatoes, or fresh spinach or kale would be tasty. Add green beans, bell peppers and cauliflower the last 10 minutes of cooking so they don’t overcook. Add leafy greens at the end of cooking to wilt and frozen petite peas at the end just to warm through.
- Swap protein: You can use any of your favorite proteins in place of the chicken – lean ground beef, ground turkey, ground chicken, etc. Brown the protein with the onions, carrots and celery, crumbling as you cook. Ham would also be a tasty swap. Add ham at the end of cooking and heat through. Ham can be quite salty so omit the salt in the recipe and add salt to taste.
- Add beans: Add cannellini beans for their slight sweetness, creaminess and meaty texture.
CAN I MAKE this recipe AHEAD OF TIME?
Yes! The flavors of this recipe get better the next day so it makes amazing leftovers! You will want to take care to cook the noodles al dente so they don’t get mushy when reheating OR for best results if serving company, omit them completely and add fresh noodles cooked separately. If you do add the noodles ahead of time, they will also soak up some of the broth, so be prepared to add more when reheating.
WHAT CAN I PREPARE AHEAD OF TIME?
This Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup recipe is simple but it does require some prep work as far as trimming the chicken and chopping vegetables. You can save time by:
- Trim chicken: Trim excess fat from chicken then store chicken in an airtight container or freezer bag in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.
- Chop vegetables: Chop the vegetables a couple days ahead of time, the night before dinner or just a few hours before cooking, then store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
- Measure Spices: It doesn’t take long to measure out the herbs and spices, but you can certainly do it beforehand and store the mix in an airtight bag or container.
- Grate Parmesan: Finely grate the Parmesan and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
CROCKPOT Creamy cHICKEN noodle soup
To make Crockpot Chicken Noodle Soup, you will use almost all of the same ingredients except omit the butter, olive oil and flour and increase the cornstarch. Please note that the crockpot version won’t as thick so you may wish to to replace the half and half with heavy cream as detailed below:
- Season the chicken with salt and pepper and line on the bottom of a lightly greased 6 quart (or larger) slow cooker. You don’t have to sear the chicken first, but it will add additional flavor.
- Top the chicken with onion, carrots, celery, garlic, bay leaves, chicken bouillon, all seasonings and 7 cups broth; gently stir. (You will use less broth because less is evaporated in the crockpot.)
- Cover and cook on LOW for 6-8 hours, or HIGH for 3-4 hours; until vegetables are tender and chicken is tender enough to shred.
- Remove chicken to a cutting board and shred into bite size pieces then transfer back to the crockpot.
- Whisk 1 ½ cups heavy cream with 3 tablespoons cornstarch and stir into the soup in the crockpot. Cover and cook on HIGH for 20-30 minutes to thicken.
- Meanwhile, cook pasta al dente separately on the stove. I do NOT recommend cooking pasta in the slow cooker because it needs to be cooked at a rolling boil in order to not become gummy. You can cook the pasta al dente at any point on the stove, rinse in cool water and toss with a little olive oil to prevent it from sticking, then transfer to an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to stir into soup.
- Stir in cooked pasta and serve! If the soup is too thick, thin with a little chicken broth. If it’s too “chunky” add additional broth or heavy cream.
HOW TO store and REHEAT
- Storage: Let the soup cool to room temperature, then cover and store in your Dutch oven or transfer to an airtight container. Refrigerate for up to 4 days.
- Stove: Reheat large batches on the stove over medium low heat, stirring occasionally until warmed through, adding additional broth as needed.
- Microwave: For smaller batches or individual servings, transfer soup to a microwave-safe dish, cover with a microwave-safe lid or paper towel. Microwave for 90 seconds, stir, then continue to microwave for 30-second intervals, if needed.
CAN I FREEZE creamy chicken noodle soup?
As a general rule of thumb, creamy soups with pasta do not freeze well as the pasta turns to mush and the texture can become unpleasantly grainy as the dairy and fat separate. You can still freeze the soup with these expectations, or omit the half and half when freezing, then add the half and half to the soup after thawing – then you will have no problem. Alternatively, you can swap the half and half for evaporated milk (see tips below).
- Cook: Cook the soup according to recipe directions but omit the pasta and use evaporated milk in place of the half and half (see tips below).
- Cool: Allow soup to cool completely before freezing to preserve the integrity of the ingredients and prevent it from entering the “danger zone.”
- Package: Transfer soup to an airtight freezer safe container or freezer bag. You can even use sandwich size plastic bags for individual portions. Squeeze out any excess air to prevent freezer burn and label
- Freeze. Freeze for up to 3 months.
- Thaw/Reheat. When ready to use, thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Cook a batch of noodles separately and add to the warmed soup. Reheat in the microwave or stove according to aforementioned instructions.
TIPS FOR FREEZING THIS SOUP
- For the best texture, omit the half and half if you plan to freeze, then it will freeze and thaw without becoming grainy. Once thawed, add the half and half mixed with cornstarch to the thawed soup and simmer until thickened. You can also add the noodles to cook at this time.
- Regular (not low-fat) evaporated milk, or heavy cream freeze much better than half and half. The higher the fat content, the better it freezes. If you think you might freeze this soup, then plan on using either of these alternatives.
- If freezing with half and half, reheat the thawed soup very gently over low heat to help incorporate the cream back into the soup.
- If freezing with half and half, add some fresh cream or softened cream cheese to improve the grainy texture.
WHAT TO SERVE WITH easy creamy CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP?
This Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup is hearty and comforting full of protein, carbs and veggies, so it doesn’t need much as far as sides go. We love this cozy soup with fresh sides such as salad and fresh fruit. Here are some of our favorites:
- Salad: Caesar Salad, Wedge Salad with Blue Cheese Ranch, Cucumber Tomato Salad, Strawberry Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette, Apple Salad, Pear Salad, or Green Bean Salad.
- Bread: Mopping up soup with bread is always a win! Serve this cozy recipe with a big loaf of crusty bread, Moist Sweet Cornbread, softy and fluffy Dinner Rolls, Parmesan Breadsticks, Garlic Bread or Pesto Pull Apart Bread.
- Fruit: Bright, fresh fruit is always a welcome side to creamy soups. Go as simple as grapes, melon, etc. or you’ll love Fruit Salad with Honey Lime Vinaigrette, Winter Fruit Salad with Honey Lime Poppy Seed Vinaigrette or Pina Colada Fruit Salad.
LOOKING FOR MORE CHICKEN SOUP RECIPES?
- Chicken Enchilada Soup
- Crockpot Creamy White Chicken Chili
- Chicken Pot Pie Soup
- Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
- Crockpot Chicken Tortilla Soup
- Chicken Fajita Soup
- Copycat Olive Garden Chicken and Gnocchi Soup
- White Chicken Lasagna Soup
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Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup
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- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs OR 2 ½ cups rotisserie chicken (see notes)
- salt and pepper
- 1 1/2 cups carrots sliced 1/4-inch thick
- 1 1/2 cups celery sliced 3/8-inch thick
- 1 onion, diced
- 4-6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 8 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon granulated chicken bouillon, bouillon cubes or better than bouillon
- 1 tablespoon dried parsley or 3 TBS fresh
- 1 tsp EACH dried oregano, dried basil
- 1/2 tsp EACH dried thyme, dried sage, ground cumin
- pinch -¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 cups half and half (or evaporated milk + ½ TBS cornstarch)
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 cups wide egg noodles, uncooked
- 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Season chicken with ½ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat in a large Dutch oven/soup pot. Once hot, add the chicken and sear until golden, about 2 minutes per side. Remove chicken to a plate but leave the drippings.
- Melt 2 tablespoons butter with 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat in the drippings. Once melted, increase heat to medium-high and add onions, carrots and celery; sauté for 4 minutes scaping up the golden bits on the bottom of the pot.
- Add garlic and sauté for 30 seconds. Sprinkle in the flour then cook, stirring constantly for 2 minutes (it will be thick); don’t let flour stick to the bottom of the pot or it will burn later. You can add additional oil if needed.
- Add chicken back to the pot along with chicken broth, bouillon, all seasonings, ½ teaspoon salt, and bay leaves. Cover the soup and bring to a simmer over high heat, then reduce and simmer, covered, for 12-15 minutes or until chicken is tender enough to shred, stirring occasionally so the bottom doesn't burn and replacing the lid.
- Remove tender chicken to a cutting board and shred when cool enough to handle. Meanwhile, whisk cornstarch with half and half until smooth in a small bowl or liquid measuring cup then stir into the pot. Add the noodles and bring to a boil; simmer until noodles are al dente, approximately 5 minutes (don't overcook noodles!).
- Reduce heat to low and stir in Parmesan until smooth followed by shredded chicken. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper if desired. Stir in additional broth or half and half if desired for a less “chunky” soup.
Tips and Tricks
- Shortcut Easy Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup: To make this recipe in a hurry, purchase pre-chopped vegetables and rotisserie chicken and use garlic and onion powder. You can also use frozen vegetables and add them the last 10 minutes of cooking. Now, almost all of the prep work is done!
- Rotisserie chicken: Add about 2 ½ cups shredded rotisserie chicken to the soup at the end when the recipe calls for adding shredded chicken back to the soup. If using rotisserie chicken, you will have skipped the step of seasoning the chicken thighs with salt and pepper so season to taste at the end of cooking.
- Chicken breasts: You can use chicken breasts if that is what you prefer but note they are leaner than chicken thighs, so they will not be as juicy or as flavorful, especially if overcooked. Slice your breasts in half through the equator if they are extra-large, otherwise, the simmer time will be much longer and the veggies can break down too much.
- Chicken bouillon: The bouillon adds an even richer, deeply satisfying chicken flavor. If using cubes, you will need 3 cubes which you crush up and then add directly to the broth, don’t dissolve in water first.
- DIY Half and half: Make your own by using half heavy cream and half milk. For a healthier alternative, substitute the half and half with evaporated milk mixed with ½ tablespoon additional cornstarch.
- Pasta options: Aside from egg noodles, other favorite pastas include rotini pasta, cavatappi, fusilli, cellentani or pasta shells. Some even like to use broken up spaghetti or fettuccine. You will need to cook these pastas longer than egg noodles. Another favorite pasta of mine in soups is tortellini. I use it my Crockpot Chicken Noodle Soup and the cheesy, melt in your mouth pillows are divine
- Veggie options: Green beans, corn, peas, bell peppers, mushrooms, broccoli, cauliflower, butternut squash, canned tomatoes, or fresh spinach or kale would be tasty. Add green beans, bell peppers and cauliflower the last 10 minutes of cooking so they don’t overcook. Add leafy greens at the end of cooking to wilt and frozen petite peas at the end just to warm through.
- Protein options: You can use any of your favorite proteins in place of the chicken – lean ground beef, ground turkey, ground chicken, etc. Brown the protein with the onions, carrots and celery, crumbling as you cook. Ham would also be a tasty swap. Add ham at the end of cooking and heat through. Ham can be quite salty so omit the salt in the recipe and add salt to taste.
- Gluten free: Use gluten free flour and your favorite gluten free pasta – the rest of the ingredients are gluten free.
- Vegan: Omit the chicken and chicken bouillon, replace the butter with oil, the chicken broth with vegetable broth, and the half and half with plain, unsweetened non-dairy milk of your choice whisked with 1 ½ tablespoons cornstarch. You can add mushrooms, tofu or additional veggies in place of the chicken.
How to Make Ahead, Store and Reheat
- Make Ahead: The flavors of this recipe get better the next day! Take extra care to cook the noodles al dente so they don’t get mushy when reheating OR add noodles cooked separately.
- Prep Ahead: The chicken can be trimmed, the veggies chopped, the spices measured and the cheese grated ahead of time. You can even make the soup up to the point of adding the noodles, then pick up from there – just make sure the soup is simmering before you add the noodles or they can become gummy.
- Storage: Let the soup cool to room temperature, then cover and store in your Dutch oven or transfer to an airtight container. Refrigerate for up to 4 days.
- To freeze: See in depth instructions in the post. You will need to omit the noodles and half and half or swap the half and half for evaporated milk.
- To reheat on the stove: Reheat large batches on the stove over medium low heat, stirring occasionally until warmed through, adding additional broth as needed.
- To reheat in the microwave: For smaller batches or individual servings, transfer soup to a microwave-safe dish, cover with a microwave-safe lid or paper towel. Microwave for 90 seconds, stir, then continue to microwave for 30-second intervals, if needed.
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