Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup is easy to make from scratch!
This classic Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup recipe is nourishing comfort in a bowl! It’s a favorite tried and true MUST HAVE recipe you’ll want to make again and again! It’s healthy, satisfying, warm, cozy, easy, and family friendly. This easy Chicken Noodle Soup recipe is loaded with juicy chunks of chicken, tender carrots, celery and silky egg noodles all swaddled in flavorful chicken broth on your table in 55 minutes and all made in one pot! It’s made with bone-in chicken thighs and chicken stock for extra rich flavor but I’ve also included how to make with rotisserie chicken too – and in the slow cooker! This Best Chicken Noodle Soup recipe is make ahead friendly (tips and tricks included!) stores and reheats beautifully, is freezer friendly and irresistibly delicious!
Chicken Noodle Soup Recipe
It’s been raining here in southern California which has me bundling up and curling up with my favorite Chicken Noodle soup recipe! I’ve been making this homemade Chicken Noodle Soup for years, so I thought it was time I actually write it down and share it with you all – because everyone needs the BEST Chicken Noodle Soup recipe in their soup repertoire; it’s comfort food at its best that warms you from the inside out. It’s 1000X better than anything from a can and you can make it in your slippers and slurp it curled up in a cozy blanket for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Best Chicken Noodle Soup recipe
EASY. I hadn’t written this homemade Chicken Noodle Soup recipe down until now because it is SO EASY! In fact, it is one of the easiest soups to make. It’s straightforward, doesn’t require a roux and the veggies can be chopped ahead of time.
PANTRY FRIENDLY. The ingredients for this Best Chicken Noodle Soup recipe are simple, inexpensive and you probably have almost all of them on hand. This recipe can be made with bone-in chicken thighs or rotisserie chicken. I like to keep portioned bags of shredded rotisserie chicken in my freezer so I always have everything I need to whip up this soul food.
FLAVORFUL. While this is homemade Chicken Noodle Soup, it does benefit from a few shortcuts. Instead of simmering a whole chicken to make the stock, we stay true to the rich flavor by using bone-in chicken thighs and store-bought chicken stock. Bone-in chicken thighs produce the juiciest chicken with multi-dimensional stock seasoned with all those yummy golden bits from browning the chicken. Every spoonful is a hot, savory symphony of juicy chicken, tender veggies and layers of complex brothy, aromatic flavor.
VERSATILE. I’ve kept this nourishing Chicken Noodle Soup recipe very traditional with shredded chicken, carrots and celery but it’s a great springboard to make it your own. I’ve included a whole section on how to customize it such as substituting the veggies for zucchini, corn, etc. and the chicken for leftover turkey, ham, sausage, etc.
QUICK. In addition, this homemade Chicken Noodle Soup recipe takes less than an hour from start to finish but delivers all the flavor of cooking a whole chicken – and most of that is hands off simmering. Winning!
What Chicken is Best for CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP?
For the most flavorful soup with the most tender chicken, use chicken thighs, or better yet, bone-in chicken thighs – after all this is CHICKEN Noodle Soup!
Chicken thighs are dark meat which means they are inherently juicier, richer tasting and produce far more tender chicken 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 which adds an important layer of flavor to the broth/stock and overall soup as all those golden, flavorful bits become part of the broth.
Can I use chicken breasts?
Absolutely! You can still use chicken breasts in this homemade Chicken Noodle Soup recipe, but because they are leaner than chicken thighs, they will not be as juicy or as flavorful. If using chicken breasts, I suggest bone-in chicken breasts.
Can I use Rotisserie Chicken?
Please do! Rotisserie chicken is my second choice to use in easy Chicken Noodle Soup after bone-in 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.
To use Rotisserie chicken, shred the chicken, discarding the bones and add about 3 cups shredded chicken to the soup after it has been simmering for 10 minutes. Continue to simmer for an additional 10 minutes so the chicken can soak up all that brothy goodness. Stir in the noodles and cook until done, 6 to 10 minutes depending on the type of noodles used.
Should I use Chicken stock or Chicken Broth?
You can use either chicken broth or chicken stock for this Chicken Noodle Soup recipe, but I recommend chicken stock for more flavor, especially because Chicken Noodle Soup is a “brothy” soup.
Chicken stock is made from long simmering bones which results in a fuller mouth feel and richer flavor due to the gelatin released from the bones as they cook.
Chicken broth, on the other hand, is made from simmering meat which results in a lighter, less complex flavor. An exception, and more flavorful broth, is boxed bone broth.
When purchasing chicken broth or stock, look for a brand that’s darker in color because this usually means richer flavor.
Can I use vegetable broth instead?
I do not recommend vegetable broth because it does not have the chicken flavor which is essential in this homemade Chicken Noodle Soup recipe. That doesn’t mean you can’t use vegetable broth, but it does means the soup will not taste rich and flavorful.
What Noodles are best for easy Chicken Noodle Soup?
There are no “best” noodles for easy Chicken Noodle Soup, as this is a highly personal matter – rather there are “favorite” noodles – so use your favorite twirly pasta and you can’t go wrong!
My personal favorite noodles for Chicken Noodle Soup are egg noodles. Egg noodles are made with a higher proportion of eggs to flour than traditional pasta. The resulting noodle are softer, fluffier, lighter and almost buttery. They are slightly chewy and their wavy texture dances in your mouth. Egg noodles cook up perfectly every time and hold their form and texture well.
Can I Use Another Type of Noodle?
Yes! Aside from egg noodles, other favorite pastas for homemade Chicken Noodle Soup include rotini pasta, cavapait, 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.
WHAT SEASONINGS FOR easy CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP?
The flavor in this easy Chicken Noodle Soup is built upon layer and layer of flavor. First the browned chicken, then the sautéed veggies including aromatic onions and garlic, and then the herbs.
Even if a Chicken Noodle Soup follows the firsts two steps with browned chicken and plenty of veggies, it can still taste lackluster if not seasoned with plenty of herbs – herbs are a MUST!
- Dried herbs: In this Chicken Noodle Soup recipe, I’ve used dried parsley, dried oregano, dried basil dried thyme, and a bay leaf at the beginning of the simmering soup which infuse the stock with earthy goodness.
- Fresh herbs: You may also use fresh herbs, but you will need three times the amount of fresh herbs to dried herbs. Also, take care to add them towards the end of cooking so they stay fresh and flavorful.
- Salt and pepper: This easy Chicken Noodle Soup recipe is further seasoned with salt and pepper to awaken the entire soup. Remember you can always add more salt and pepper to taste, so it is better to start conservative then add more to taste to individual servings later.
- Oomph: My secret seasonings that elevate this to the best Chicken Noodle Soup recipe are chicken bouillon, ground cumin and red pepper flakes. The bouillon adds an even richer, deeply satisfying chicken flavor. The ground cumin adds a kiss of earthy, lemon flavor. The red pepper flakes are optional, but if you like a kick to awaken the senses further, they’re sensational.
What Vegetables for best Chicken Noodle Soup Recipe?
This Chicken Noodle Soup recipe boasts the classic combination of carrots, onions and celery sautéed in olive oil. 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.
- onion: use one diced yellow onion. When a recipe doesn’t specify a specific onion, use yellow onion.
- carrots: you will need about 3 medium carrots to equal 1 ½ cups.
- celery: you will need about 3 stalks of celery to equal 1 ½ cups.
- garlic: 4-6 garlic cloves depending on your garlic love
Can I make Gluten Free Chicken Noodle Soup?
Yes! If you want to make gluten free Chicken Noodle Soup, then use gluten-free noodles – the rest of the ingredients are gluten free.
TIPS AND TRICKS for Best Chicken Noodle Soup recipe
Here is a summary of tips and tricks for the Best Chicken Noodle Soup recipe:
- For the juiciest chicken: this homemade Chicken Noodle Soup recipe will work chicken breasts or chicken thighs, but for best flavor use bone-in chicken thighs or shredded rotisserie chicken as thighs are far more tender than chicken breast and impart even more flavor to the stock.
- Use chicken stock: vs. chicken broth for maximum flavor. If you choose to use broth, use high quality chicken broth.
- Vegetable size. chop carrots and celery at least 1/4” thick. Avoid chopping your vegetables too thin or they can become mushy.
- Cook noodles al dente: (meaning it has a little bite) to it because it will continue to cook in the 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.
- To test pasta: remove a noodle from the soup with a slotted spoon and rinse under cold water before testing.
- Cook pasta separately: as this Chicken Noodle Soup recipe is written, the pasta cooks in the pot with the veggies. If you aren’t prepared to babysit your pasta towards the end of cooking and take it off the heat once al dente, 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 Chicken Noodle Soup.
- Customize vegetables: carrots, onions and celery are classic in Chicken Noodle Soup, – but there’s a lot of flexibility! You can use whatever veggies you have on hand or mix it up just for fun! Green beans, corn, zucchini, cabbage, spinach, etc. would all be delicious. Just be aware of veggie cooking times – for example, green beans take longer to cook than peas and cabbage which just takes minutes.
- Scale up or down: this homemade Chicken Noodle Soup recipe can easily be scaled up or down. You can scale down if you don’t have a large family and don’t want leftovers. If you do love leftovers (raising my hand high), then you will love leftover Chicken Noodle Soup for an easy lunch or dinner!
- Consistency: the “chunkiness” of this easy Chicken Noodle Soup is personal preference. For a less chunky soup, simply add additional stock at the end of cooking.
- Fresh herbs: add a pop of freshness with fresh parsley or other herbs at the end of cooking. You may also cook the soup with fresh herbs such as rosemary or thyme tide into a bundle so it’s easily removable at the end of simmering.
- Add additional liquid: the noodles will absorb the stock as they sit in the soup so you will need to add additional stock if not immediately serving or when reheating.
How to Make Chicken Noodle Soup
This soothing Chicken Noodle Soup is wonderfully easy! Simply sear chicken, sauté veggies, simmer veggies and chicken in broth then add noodles and cook until al dente. Here’s the breakdown:
Step 1: prep chicken:
- Remove skin from bone-in chicken thighs. You can do this a day before making the soup. We don’t want to cook the chicken with the skin on because we want to directly season the chicken and not the skin and we want to brown the actual chicken for more flavor.
- Pat chicken dry with paper towels; 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 chicken:
- Heat one tablespoon oil over medium-high heat in a large Dutch oven or soup pot. Sear chicken until golden, about 3 minutes per side. Remove to a plate.
- 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 be season the entire soup as they permeate the stock.
Step 3: Sauté vegetables:
- Heat one tablespoon oil over medium-high heat in then now empty pot.
- Add onions, carrots and celery and sauté for 4 minutes scraping up the golden bits on the bottom of the pan; add garlic and sauté one minute.
- The vegetables will not be completely tender at this point but will soften as they simmer with the chicken.
Step 4: Simmer Soup:
- Add chicken back to the pot. Add chicken stock, bouillon and all seasonings.
- If you really don’t want to sear your chicken or are using chicken breasts, you can add the raw, chicken on top of the veggies at this point.
- Cover the soup to bring to a simmer, then displace the lid so it’s partially covering the pot, with about a one-inch gap. Simmer the soup for approximately 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until chicken is tender enough to shred.
Step 5: Shred Chicken
- Transfer chicken to a cutting board and shred into bite-size pieces once cool enough to handle.
Step 6: Cook Noodles
Add the noodles to the soup and bring to a simmer; cook until al dente approximately 5 minutes. Don’t overcook noodles! It is better to undercook than overcook the noodles, so test early for doneness.
Step 7: Add shredded chicken
Stir in shredded chicken, and heat through, 1-2 minutes. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper if desired. Stir in additional chicken stock for a less chunky soup.
Easy Chicken Noodle Soup
If you want to make shortcut easy Chicken Noodle Soup in a hurry, purchase pre-chopped vegetables and rotisserie chicken. Now, almost all of the prep work is done, turning this recipe into a “dump and simmer,” winner!
CROCKPOT CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP
Chicken Noodle Soup is also easy to make in the slow cooker:
- Add seasoned chicken to 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 chicken with onion, carrots, celery, garlic, chicken stock and all seasonings; gently stir.
- 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. Transfer shredded chicken to slow cooker and let it cook on LOW for 20 minutes.
- 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 past and serve!
WHAT TO SERVE WITH HOMEMADE CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP?
This Chicken Noodle Soup is hearty and comforting full of protein, carbs and veggies, so it doesn’t need much as far as sides go. I love serving it with crusty bread, garlic bread, dinner rolls, , breadsticks, or cornbread along with a fruit salad and big green salad, green bean salad, or wedge salad,
What CAN I PREPARE AHEAD OF TIME?
This homemade Chicken Noodle Soup is very simple but it does require some prep work as far as trimming the chicken and chopping vegetables. You can save time by:
- Trim chicken: remove the skin from the bone-in chicken thighs and trim off excess fat. 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 spices, but you can certainly do it beforehand and store the mix in an airtight bag or container.
Chicken Noodle Soup Variations
This homemade 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:
- Chicken Rice Soup: Transform Chicken Noodle Soup into Chicken Rice Soup by swapping 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.
- Lemon Chicken Soup: add 2 tablespoons lemon juice at the end of cooking or more to taste.
- Chicken Potato Soup: swap the noodles for 3 Yukon gold potatoes, chopped into 1-inch chunks or even sweet potatoes.
- 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 Noodles: in addition to tortellini, you can swap the egg noodles with cellentani, rotini, bowtie pasta, small shell pasta or broken spaghetti noodles.
- Swap protein: replace the chicken with hot Italian sausage, lean ground beef, ground turkey, leftover turkey or ham.
- Add cheese: add freshly grated Parmesan cheese for a salty bite or stir in Swiss or Gruyere like I do in my chicken Cordon Bleu Soup.
- Swap veggies: green beans, corn, peas, bell peppers, mushrooms, broccoli zucchini, butternut squash, canned tomatoes, or fresh spinach or kale.
How to Make Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup
Chicken Noodle Soup can also be made tantalizingly creamy by adding flour and half and half with cornstarch in place of all chicken broth.
- To make creamy Chicken Noodle Soup, cook vegetables with 4 tablespoons butter.
- Sprinkle 1/3 cup flour over the onions and carrots the last minute of cooking and cook for one minute.
- Instead of using all chicken broth, use 6 cups chicken broth and 4 cups half and half mixed with 2 tablespoons cornstarch OR 4 cups heavy cream without the cornstarch.
How to Thicken Chicken Noodle Soup
This comforting Chicken Noodle Soup is delicious as is or you can add a little body with a cornstarch slurry.
- Remove some stock from the soup and whisk in 1-2 tablespoons cornstarch with a fork until smooth then whisk it back into the soup.
- Simmer for 5 minutes or so, stirring occasionally.
- Don’t add the cornstarch directly to the soup or it will clump and never dissolve.
- Don’t add the slurry and simmer after you have already added the noodles or they will become mushy.
CAN I MAKE Chicken Noodle Soup AHEAD OF TIME?
Yes! The flavors of this homemade Chicken Noodle Soup get better the next day so it makes amazing leftovers! You will want to make sure to cook the noodles al dente so they don’t get mushy when reheating OR for best results if serving company, leave them out completely and add fresh noodles cooked separately.
If you do add the noodles ahead of time, they will also soak up some of the stock, so be prepared to add more when reheating.
HOW DO I STORE easy CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP?
Let Chicken Noodle 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.
HOW DO I REHEAT homemade CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP?
- Crockpot: transfer soup to crockpot and heat on low for 1-2 hours, adding additional stock or water as needed.
- Stove: reheat large batches on the stove over medium low heat, stirring occasionally until chicken is heated to 165 degrees F, adding additional stock or water as needed.
- Microwave: For smaller batches or individual servings, transfer Chicken Noodle Soup to a microwave-safe dish, add additional stock or water as needed, cover with a microwave-safe lid or paper towel. Microwave for 2 minutes, stir, then continue to microwave for 30-second intervals, if needed.
CAN YOU FREEZE CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP?
Chicken Noodle Soup freezes very well without the noodles or else they will get mushy. When you’re ready to serve, simply defrost and add freshly cooked noodles.
To freeze Chicken Noodle Soup:
- Cook: Cook the easy Chicken Noodle Soup according to recipe directions WITHOUT the noodles.
- Cool: Allow Chicken Noodle 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.
- Defrost/Reheat. When ready to use, thaw overnight in the refrigerator then reheat in the microwave, crockpot or stove according to aforementioned instructions, adding cooked noodles.
Want to try this Chicken Noodle Soup Recipe?
Pin it to your soup or chicken Board to SAVE for later!
Find me on Pinterest for more great recipes! I am always pinning :)!
©Carlsbad Cravings by CarlsbadCravings.com
Carlsbad Cravings Original