Chicken Noodle Soup

White bowl filled with chicken noodle soup on a white plate with two slices of garlic bread

How to make chicken noodle soup

  1. Shred some cooked chicken
  2. Use homemade or store-bought noodles
  3. Saute vegetables in a soup pot with butter or olive oil
  4. Add in the chicken stock (store-bought or homemade broth)
  5. Bring to a boil, then let it cook on medium for 15 minutes
  6. Add in shredded chicken, noodles, herbs and seasoning

Close up of white bowl with chicken noodle soup and silver spoon on a kitchen table

What you’ll learn in this article:

  1. The benefits of chicken noodle soup
  2. A brief history of chicken noodle soup
  3. How to make a classic chicken noodle soup 
  4. How to store chicken noodle soup
  5. Frequently asked questions about chicken noodle soup
  6. More great recipes

      1. The benefits of chicken noodle soup

      Chicken noodle soup with carrots and garnish in a white bowl on a kitchen towel that's on a brown wooden table

      Ah, chicken noodle soup. If you want to talk about “comfort food,” it doesn’t get much more comforting than the delicious, thoroughly satisfying warmth of a good bowl of chicken noodle soup. There’s something about it that just feels like “home.”

      It’s hard to pinpoint exactly why this is. Whether it’s a result of cultural osmosis, of a clever marketing campaign, or of the inherent qualities of the broth itself, there’s something very wholesome about homemade chicken noodle soup. Most likely, it’s a combination of all these factors.

      One of the reasons for the enduring popularity of chicken noodle soup might be the simple fact that it’s an extremely easy dish to make -- just vegetables, chicken, noodles and broth--  that is just loaded with flavor and textural goodness. Any ingredient that is this easy to put together using simple ingredients and that yields such a remarkably satisfying result, is sure to endure through the ages.

      The ultimate comfort food

      Another great example of a meal that feels nice and comforting is lasagna -- there’s a similar satisfying warmth to both dishes. Must be something about the noodles. Pasta is magic!

      But chicken noodle soup has an additional bit of cultural baggage that other “comfort foods” do not.

      Over the years, chicken noodle soup has become closely associated with rainy days, and with getting over a cold. The fact that this is the meal that people reach for when it’s cold and rainy outside, or when they’re sick and trying to feel better, speaks to the warm, healing properties of this delicious soup.

      As I write this, I check off both those boxes. It is raining outside, and I am getting over a nasty cold, and believe me, there’s nothing I crave more right now than a big bowl of chicken noodle soup.

      Thankfully, it’s extremely easy to make. In this article we’ll show you how.

      2. A brief history of chicken noodle soup

      Large white bowl of chicken noodle soup with two chop sticks resting on the edge

      Chicken noodle soup is now a household name, but as its name implies, it’s actually a combination of two different types of soup: chicken soup and noodle soup. As for how chicken soup and noodle soup became “chicken noodle soup,” it was only a matter of time, a bit of culinary experimentation, and a tongue-tied radio broadcaster. We’ll explain.

      The parallel origins of chicken soup and noodle soup

      Chicken soup has been with us for a very, very long time, in many forms. The ancient Greeks first developed a combination of chicken and broth, and it was used by ancient physicians as a cure-all. We can see here that the classic chicken soup recipe has long been ascribed healing properties!

      Noodles were also being partnered with broth-based soups, but a bit more recently; there are records of “noodle soups” dating back to 13th century Asia. In 18th century Italy, pasta or noodle soup was being given to the sick due to the broth’s easy digestibility. And by the 20th century, noodle soup had become an extremely popular food item in the USA. 

      A perfect pairing

      The fact that both chicken soup and noodle soup had been separately regarded as curative is both a fun coincidence and part of the reason why they go so well together. So who made it this flavorful combination of chicken, broth and pasta happen?

      Well, as we know, it’s often a bit tricky to pinpoint the exact point of origin of a recipe, but it is widely believed that chicken noodle soup was first invented by Ernest Lacoutiere, a chef at Campbell Soup Company. Yes, that Campbell’s! That’s right, it is believed that chicken noodle soup first debuted as part of Campbell’s line of canned products, back in 1934.

      Chicken noodle soup’s accidental name

      When Campbell first released the product, it wasn’t labeled  “chicken noodle soup.” Instead, it carried the name “Campbell’s Noodle with Chicken Soup.” A considerably less catchy name. So what happened?

      The story goes that five years after Campbell’s product was first introduced (and fared modestly well), a radio host accidentally called it “chicken noodle soup,” and it revived interest in the food item. Consumers reportedly flocked to the grocery store to try it out. And so a rebranding was quickly carried out. 

      3. How to make a classic chicken noodle soup

      Ariel view of a bowl of chicken noodle soup with a silver spoon

      As delicious and convenient as Campbell’s product is, putting together your own homemade chicken noodle soup from scratch is much more satisfying. Not only is it super easy to make, but this soup recipe will also result in a better end product, and it will add to the overall satisfying nature of this delicious broth.

      Let’s start with a crucial decision. Will you be making your own homemade egg noodles?

      For our purposes, we’ll be laying these out as separate recipes. This is because we want to stress the point that making your own egg noodles is completely optional. Homemade pasta is amazing, but sometimes you just don’t have time for that, and that’s more than understandable.

      You can get fresh egg noodles at your grocery store pasta section (look for the fresh pasta options in the refrigerated goods). If you can’t find that, then dried egg noodles or dried spaghetti or other pasta noodles will work! It won’t be exactly the same but it will provide that delicious carb-y pasta textural goodness.

      So if you’ve decided against making your own egg noodles, skip to the “making easy chicken noodle soup” section below.

      Making homemade egg noodles

      Prep time: 15 minutes

      Cook time: 3-5 minutes

      Calories: 320

      Serves: 4 servings


       Here’s what you’ll need to make these homemade noodles:

      Eggs

      2

      Flour

      2 ¼ cups

      Salt

      ⅛ teaspoon

      Butter

      1 tablespoon

      Milk

      ⅓ cup


      This recipe is very similar to other kinds of homemade pasta.

      • Stir flour together with salt in a large bowl, then set it aside. 
      • Whisk eggs together in a small bowl. Then add the eggs to the flour mixture in the large bowl, as well as milk and butter. Stir it with a fork, and then mix well with your hands.
      • Knead the dough on a floured surface, and add in a little bit more flour if it’s sticky. Continue kneading it for 5 minutes or until it’s smooth. Wrap it in plastic wrap and let it rest for 20 minutes.
      • On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough to ¼ inch thickness. Cut it into strips and then dust with some flour.

      You’ve made your fresh, homemade egg noodles! Now it’s time for the homemade chicken noodle soup recipe.

      Homemade chicken noodle soup recipe

      Prep time: 5 minutes

      Cook time: 25 minutes

      Calories: 253

      Serves: 6 people


      These are the ingredients you’ll need for this classic chicken noodle soup recipe:

      Cooked chicken (shredded, homemade or rotisserie chicken)

      2-3 cups (1 large chicken breast)

      Egg noodles (homemade or store-bought)

      6 oz

      Small yellow onion, chopped

      ¾ cup

      Chicken stock (alternatively, store-bought broth or homemade chicken broth)

      8 cups

      Ribs of celery

      2, half-inch chopped

      Crushed garlic cloves

      4

      Bay leaves

      2

      Chopped parsley

      1 tablespoon

      Sea salt

      1 tablespoon

      Fresh thyme (or, in a pinch, dried thyme)

      1 tablespoon

      Freshly ground black pepper

      ¼ tablespoon (or to taste)

      Peeled large carrots, 1/2-inch sliced

      1 ½ cups (about 2 carrots)

      Olive oil (or butter)

      1 tablespoon


      Some people add in other ingredients, such as carrot, dill, and even Italian seasoning. Some folks prefer to use vegetable broth instead of chicken stock. You might also see some recipes that call for using kosher salt. These are all options, but the easy chicken noodle soup recipe below is what we believe will get you the best results.

      Note : It is important to use high-quality chicken broth. If you are going with store-bought broth, buy low-sodium broth. It is also generally a good idea to go with a broth that is darker in color, since it usually means your broth will be more flavorful. 

      Tools you will need

      Dalstrong Professional Chef's Kitchen Apron - American Legend

      Dalstrong Professional Chef's Kitchen Apron - American Legend

      The absolute first thing we need to do for this homemade chicken noodle soup recipe is make sure the chicken is cooked and shredded. If you’re using rotisserie chicken, your work’s already half done (you can even use some leftover chicken if you have any). If you have raw chicken, cook and shred a large chicken breast or two small ones. Set the cooked chicken aside for later.

      For this chicken noodle soup recipe, you can use homemade broth or store-bought. Up to you!

      Then we need to saute our veggies, but hold off on the garlic for now. Heat the butter or olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add in the onion, carrots and celery, and saute for about five minutes, until the onions are translucent.

      Add in the garlic and saute for one more minute (add in afterwards to avoid burning your garlic! Burnt garlic will leave a nasty, bitter taste).

      Then, add in the chicken stock (or homemade chicken broth) and the bay leaves. Bring the chicken stock and the rest of the ingredients to a boil over high heat, then bring the heat down to medium and let it cook for about 15 minutes, until the veggies are tender. By this point you have a rich, flavorful broth.

      Add the shredded chicken breast, the egg noodles, parsley, thyme, salt, and pepper into the broth. Keep it at a low boil until the noodles are tender and the chicken is fully warmed through.

      Voila. A delicious homemade chicken noodle soup, to cure what ails you.

      4. How to store chicken noodle soup

      A freezer packed with various types of frozen food such as soups and vegetables

        If you found yourself making too much chicken noodle soup… I feel you. I’ve been there! But it’s not a bad spot to be in. At the end of the day, all it means is you’ll have more chicken noodle soup to consume later!

        To properly store chicken noodle soup, let it come down to room temperature. Then put it in an air-tight container. Properly stored in your refrigerator, it should easily last 3 or 4 days. 

        Can you freeze chicken noodle soup? Absolutely! It freezes very well. With one caveat: the noodles will become mushy. So if you’re making a large batch of chicken noodle soup to freeze and serve later, simply make it without the noodles, because you’ll add them later. 

        If you’re trying to freeze leftover chicken noodle soup, you’ll have to fish out the noodles. It can be a little challenging, but it’s definitely doable! When it comes time to heat it up, add in fresh noodles. 

        The chicken pieces, the veggies, and everything else will work perfectly. By adding in fresh noodles, you are breathing life into this delicious meal.

        5. Frequently asked questions about chicken noodle soup

        Brown bowl of chicken noodle soup next to two spoons with another bowl of soup in the background

        How can I improve a bland chicken noodle soup?

        Chicken noodle soup should not be bland. It should be a delicious mix of flavors. So if your chicken noodle soup came out bland, something went wrong. But not to worry -- it’s a soup, we can just add more stuff to it! 

        Try a little bit of lemon juice -- a nice, zesty lemon kick goes really well with the richness of the soup. Some folks swear by adding a little splash of soy sauce. You could also deepen the flavor profile by adding a bit more chicken broth -- like we said above, if you’re buying broth at the grocery, look for a broth that’s darker in color. 

        Alternatively, if you’re cooking the chicken (instead of using shredded rotisserie chicken or chicken leftovers) you could try cooking the chicken in broth to intensity the flavor. Broth has so many uses! 

        Another option would be to increase the presence of other ingredients. For me, celery and parsley are incredibly important to the overall flavor of the soup. You can also add in a bit more garlic, but be careful -- unlike what some people say, there can be such a thing as too much garlic! 

        How can I make a creamy chicken noodle soup?

        Chicken noodle soup is delicious in all its forms, and the creamy variety is no exception. If you’re a fan of a creamier consistency, simply add in a half cup of heavy cream. Easy peasy.

        Should I use chicken breasts or chicken thighs for soup?

        Ah, the eternal question of which chicken pieces to use. Chicken breasts and chicken thighs are different parts of the chicken that come with their own advantages. In the recipe above, we recommend chicken breasts because of the texture that they add to the soup.

        Chicken breasts don’t tenderize as much as chicken thighs, which to me is a plus in this soup. Instead of strands of chicken that disintegrate immediately, it provides a bit more bite, and hence a textural contrast to the noodles.

        Of course, using chicken thighs does have its advantages. Darker meat becomes tender and soft, and maybe that’s what you’re looking for. They are also often more flavorful, which is always a plus. This is one of those things that depends a lot on personal preference.

        6. More Great Recipes

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        Written by Jorge Farah 
        Born on the coast of Colombia and based in Buenos Aires, Jorge is a cooking enthusiast and kitchenware obsessive with a tremendous amount of opinions.