A perfect, easy chicken noodle soup! The only recipe you need for this classic soup!
When one of us first got pregnant we felt an urgent need to achieve a few motherly goals. We were convinced that we could not reach the status of Mama without knowing how to a) knit, b) sing at least a dozen lullabies, in Greek, English and French and c) make the perfect pot of chicken noodle soup. The knitting was easy – our dad whipped out his old knitting needles (yes, that’s right…our dad) and showed us knit and purl, and we were on our way to making baby a blanket. Lullabies were easy too; out of tune perhaps, but easy. As for the soup, our parents convinced us that the only chicken soup recipe we needed was avgolemono soup. In fact they told us that we didn’t even need the recipe – our job was to rest and care for baby, and they would make us soup by the gallon if we wanted them too. We love them!
And so it was. For the longest while the classic chicken noodle soup was something we ate out of a can, or in a family owned diner that had 15-page plasticized menus. This was fine, but as the girls grew so did our confidence and willingness to experiment in the kitchen. Given that chicken noodle soup is good for the stomach, and the soul, we could wait no longer. We grabbed a pot, grabbed some chicken, and threw the basic ingredients together to make soups which were, meh.
We couldn’t understand where we went wrong. Every chicken noodle soup we had ever eaten and enjoyed seemed to be a slight variation on a common theme. Basic vegetables like onion, celery and carrots, chicken, noodles, and maybe something green for colour. Why, then, were we always so underwhelmed?!
How to make the best, easy chicken noodle soup
Many pots of soup later, many tweaks and much research has led us to the following conclusions. To make a delicious and easy chicken noodle soup you need:
- Prepared chicken broth. Yes, yes, we know that homemade stock is the ultimate, but you know what? A fantastic homemade chicken broth takes a long time to make – and we want easy, and quick. Find a good quality prepared chicken broth and you will be rewarded with a depth of flavour in your soup that you can’t get simply by boiling your chicken.
- Use butter. We don’t use a lot of butter in our soup, but the little we do helps to caramelize and onions, celery and mushrooms into something lovely.
- Prioritize dark chicken meat. We have made this soup with an entire chicken, or with several chicken thighs as we do here. If you want to make a leaner chicken noodle soup you can use only chicken breast, but nothing beats the flavour of dark meat.
- Mushrooms are non-negotiable. Unless you despise mushrooms or are deathly allergic to them, don’t skip this ingredient! Mushrooms are not a staple in many chicken noodle soups, but they should be!
- Add your pasta at the right time. You can use any pasta shape you like for your easy chicken noodle soup. We have made this recipe with elbow macaroni, vermicelli noodles, orzo and fusilli pasta. Check the package directions for the pasta you will be using to ensure that you boil the pasta long enough.
Freeze your easy chicken noodle soup.
You can easily freeze your fully cooked chicken noodle soup, or freeze it just before adding your pasta. If you choose the latter option, in reheating your soup, add the pasta until the noodles are cooked. We prefer it this way as some pasta gets mushy when frozen and then reheated.
Make an easy turkey noodle soup instead
If you find yourself with leftover turkey, perhaps from a delicious roast turkey that you make for Thanksgiving or another holiday, then use that to make an easy turkey noodle soup. Prepare the stock by using the turkey carcass, and chop up the turkey meat to add to the soup.
Looking for more soup recipes? Check these out:
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Easy chicken noodle soup
- 1 large pot
- 8 cups chicken broth
- 6 cups water
- 6 chicken thighs (skin removed) with bone
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium onion
- 2 stalks celery
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 cup diced mushrooms
- 2 garlic cloves
- 2 carrots
- ½ pound pasta of your choice See Recipe Note
- 1 tbsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- ⅓ cup chopped parsley, optional
- In a large pot combine the chicken stock, the water and the chicken thighs. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook until the chicken is cooked through, approximately 20 minutes. Be sure to skim off any foam that rises to the top.8 cups chicken broth, 6 cups water, 6 chicken thighs (skin removed) with bone
- While the chicken is cooking, prepare your vegetables. Finely dice your onion, celery and carrots, chop up your mushrooms and finely dice your garlic. Keep these ingredients separate and set aside.1 medium onion, 2 stalks celery, 1 cup diced mushrooms, 2 carrots, 2 garlic cloves
- In a large skillet over medium high heat add the butter, olive oil, dry thyme and the bay leaf and saute the onions and celery until softened. Next, add the garlic and mushrooms and cook until the mushrooms no longer release any water - approximately 5 minutes. Set aside.2 tbsp butter, 2 tbsp olive oil, 1 bay leaf, 1 tsp dried thyme
- Once the chicken has cooked, remove it from the soup pot and set aside.
- Add the carrots and the pasta (see Notes below) to the soup pot, along with the sautéed onions, garlic, celery and mushrooms. Bring to a boil and then reduce to simmer.2 carrots, ½ pound pasta of your choice
- While your pasta is cooking, shred your chicken using two forks, being careful to remove all bones.
- Return the chicken to the soup pot and season with salt and pepper. Cook until the pasta is cooked, according to package directions.1 tbsp salt, 1/4 tsp black pepper
- Remove soup from heat and serve. Garnish with chopped parsley, if desired.⅓ cup chopped parsley, optional