Everyone has their own favorite chicken noodle soup recipe. Most are handed down from our mothers or grandmothers and are laden with memories as much as with flavor.
However, many older recipes involve hours of cooking.
But most of us don’t have time to watch a pot on the stove for half of the day, so instead we have found a simple homemade chicken noodle soup that only takes half an hour to cook.
This dish still has an abundance of flavor but is a much more manageable recipe for busy households who still want tasty and comforting food.
What’s Great About This Recipe
There are many things that are great about this recipe. It is simple and easy to follow but with amazing flavors and a whole lot of nutrition.
It’s also low in calories and carbohydrates, so you will feel full but without breaking your diet.
As well as the comfort of a chicken noodle soup on a cold day it is a classic, family favorite. Even the kids will enjoy the subtle flavors and nutritious veg in this warming soup.
It also doesn’t require a great deal of work as there is a minimum of vegetable chopping which could just as easily be done with a food processor.
Dicing your veg this way also makes them small enough to pick up on a soup spoon.
You can also use up any leftover roast chicken that you have to make this a great weekday supper. This saves you buying a rotisserie chicken specifically for this recipe (see also “15 Best Healthy Chicken And Broccoli Recipes“).
The herbs that you use are completely up to your personal taste. Some people like thyme while others prefer rosemary or basil.
Or you can use whatever herbs you have in your pantry or are growing in your herb garden right now.
Why These Ingredients?
So why are we using these particular ingredients for this homemade soup? Let’s take a look at them and discover what each ingredient brings to the overall flavor of the dish.
Olive oil is considered a healthy fat and a rich source of antioxidants. It contains monounsaturated fat acids such as oleic acid which are beneficial for brain and joint function.
Physical and health benefits aside, olive oil is a good option for frying vegetables for soups as it is lightly flavored and not greasy.
Carrot, Celery & Onion
The combination of carrot, celery and onion lightly sautéd in olive oil is called a mirepoix.
It is a classic mixture of these three vegetables cooked gently to coax out the flavors in each, without browning or caramelizing them.
This acts as a flavor base for many dishes including soups, stews and braised meats.
This is the main liquid ingredient in this soup and as such is an essential component. Getting the broth right will be the difference between a good soup and a great soup.
Using commercial broths is fraught with questions about the saltiness so using a low sodium broth is a good idea.
An even better idea is to make your own chicken broth when you have time and freeze some for occasions such as this.
Bay leaves are best used fresh but if you do use fresh instead of dried, wait till near the end of cooking time to add them and use one rather than two.
Dried bay leaves offer a more subtle flavor, like a mixture of pine tree and mint. Although you won’t be able to pinpoint the taste your palate will pick it up.
Thyme is added at the beginning of cooking and imparts an aromatic flavor. Add the whole stem as there is flavor in the stalks.
We use flat leaf parsley in this recipe which gives a milder flavor than its curly cousin. Chop it up finely and add it near the end of cooking.
Oregano gives a strong flavor to soup so use it quite sparingly. Fresh oregano will be stronger than dried, so you will need even less.
Garlic is one of the most widely used flavoring in numerous dishes and has a distinct flavor and taste. It adds to the overall flavor of the chicken noodle soup, but garlic also has many health benefits.
It is not surprising, then, that a dish synonymous with helping people feel better should include garlic.
From boosting the immune system to improving heart health, garlic has been attributed to several positive health effects.
Chicken is one of the healthier meats that you can eat as it is typically low in fat and high in protein (see also “How You Can Make A Low-Calorie Protein Shake“).
The chicken in this recipe has already been cooked once and will only be warmed through in the soup, so it should still contain plenty of protein and nutrients.
Egg noodles are listed in the ingredients list, but you can also use pasta for this dish.
Egg noodles have fewer calories than pasta but also less protein. In this chicken noodle soup, the noodles may hold their shape better than pasta and be less likely to fall apart.
You should season your chicken noodle soup to taste. Some store bought chicken broths are very salty so check the taste before adding additional salt.
The lemon juice is an optional extra and if added will brighten up the flavor of the soup.
Easy Chicken Noodle Soup
This chicken noodle soup is so easy to make that it can be cooked in 30 minutes with only 5 minutes of preparation time.
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 cup celery
- 1 cup carrots
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 cup yellow or sweet onion
- 8 cups chicken broth
- 2 bay leaves
- ½ tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp fresh thyme (or 1/2 tsp dried thyme)
- 1 tsp pepper
- 12 ounces wide egg noodles
- 2 cups cooked chicken
- 3-4 tbsp fresh parsley leaves
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
Trim, peel and thinly slice 1 to 1 ½ large carrots and 2 stalks of celery. Peel and finely dice 1 medium yellow or sweet onion and mince 2 cloves of garlic.
Make up 64 ounces or 8 cups of chicken broth. You can use low sodium or even better, make your own and use that.
Gather your herbs together. You’ll need 2 bay leaves, some fresh or dried thyme, fresh flat leafed parsley and dried oregano. For seasoning grab your salt and pepper.
Your main ingredient is 2 cups of cooked chicken breasts, this needs to be shredded. You will also need 12 ounces of wide egg noodles. Alternatively, you can use your favorite pasta.
Finally, squeeze some fresh lemon juice, although this is optional. Leave it out if you prefer.
- Add the 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a stock pot or Dutch oven. Heat over a medium to high heat until it is getting warm.
- Add the diced onion, sliced carrots and celery and saute them for 5 to 10 minutes or until they begin to soften.
- Put the garlic in and continue to saute for another minute or two.
- Now pour in the chicken broth and add the oregano, thyme, bay leaves, and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil then reduce the heat slightly until it is gently simmering.
- Check the vegetables, they should be tender when pierced with a fork.
- You can now add the wide egg noodles or pasta. Let the soup simmer on a high to medium heat for around 10 minutes until the noodles are cooked through and soft.
- As the noodles absorb the broth and during the simmering the level of the liquid will drop. You can either add more broth or plain water, adjusting the salt level if necessary.
- At this point you can add the shredded chicken, the flat leafed parsley and the lemon juice, if you wish.
- Simmer the soup for another couple of minutes until the chicken is warmed and has absorbed the flavors of the soup.
- Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning if needed. Remove the bay leaves and serve.
Although this chicken noodle soup only takes 30 minutes to cook with just 5 minutes of preparation there are still ways to cut down your time in the kitchen.
Remember the mirepoix? This mixture of carrots, celery and onion can be bought in some grocery stores already combined.
And while you’re at the store grab a rotisserie chicken and use the breasts for the soup. Keep the rest of the chicken for making broth, a quick curry or salad.
You can buy ready made chicken broth too, look for a darker colored liquid as this should mean it will be more flavorful.
If you don’t want to use store bought mirepoix then you can still save time by using a food processor to chop up the vegetables. While you are at it, you might as well chop up an extra batch or two and freeze them for next time you want to make a chicken noodle soup.
You might want to make this soup ahead of time. If you do, store the cooked noodles in a separate container otherwise they will absorb a lot of the liquid, swell up and be soggy.
There are many variations of chicken noodle soup. You can experiment with all sorts of additions and flavors.
For a more filling and heartier soup, add some potatoes. The added vegetable will increase the volume of the soup and the starch in the potatoes will thicken it. You should add the potatoes to the oil and sauté before the onion, carrot and celery.
You could also add some healthy ingredients to the recipe such as quinoa, wild rice, spinach or kale (see also “10 Superb Healthy Italian Recipes To Make This Weekend“). But these additions will need to be cooked separately before being added to the finished soup.
Try experimenting with some different herbs and flavorings. Add a handful of chopped chives to the soup at the end of cooking or a splash of Worcestershire sauce.
Put some pearl barley in your chicken noodle soup next time you make some and don’t forget to add a little sage for some extra flavor.
Add some tomatoes (see also “A Quick Guide To Roma Tomatoes“), zucchini, chopped green chilies, and cumin for a zesty and warming version of this soup. Great on a winter’s day.
Or go all out and make Avgolemono soup which is a Greek lemon chicken soup!
How To Store This Soup
So once you have made your chicken noodle soup you may want to keep some for another day. You have several options of storing your soup depending on how soon you intend to use it.
If you let the soup cool and put it in an airtight container, you can keep it in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days.
Alternatively you can put the soup in a freezer safe container and freeze it. This will last for up to 4 months.
When you freeze your chicken noodle soup you can either store the whole batch in one large container or divide it between individual containers or even freezer safe bags. That way you can thaw out and reheat only the amount that you want.
For reheating your soup, simply put it in a pot on the stove and use a low to medium heat to warm it through. Stirring it occasionally will help to disperse the heat and speed up the heating process.
Sometimes, the soup may have thickened when stored. To achieve the consistency that you want, add some extra chicken broth and stir to mix it into the soup.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Chicken Noodle Soup Good When You Are Sick?
The ingredients in chicken noodle soup provide flavor and texture, but they are also rich in nutrients. A chicken soup will provide hydration and electrolytes for someone who is not feeling well.
The meat and vegetables give nourishment and give the immune system a boost to fight infection.
What Goes With Chicken Noodle Soup?
You can serve biscuits, crackers, or pretzel rolls with chicken noodle soup. For a more filling meal try a grilled vegetable panini alongside your soup or even a grilled cheese sandwich.
How Do You Add Flavor To Chicken Noodle Soup?
There are plenty of choices for adding flavor to chicken noodle soup. Your favorite herb or spice is a good start. Try rosemary, sage or turmeric.
Or for something different how about adding some paprika, chipotle or chili powder?
Can This Soup Be Frozen?
Yes, you can freeze this soup in a suitable container for three or four months. For individual portions use smaller containers or freezer safe bags.
If you are making the soup ahead of time, store the noodles separately to avoid them absorbing all the liquid and swelling up.
Making your own chicken noodle soup is much nicer than buying it from the store. There is a wonderful sense of care when you feed your family a homemade soup.
You also have the advantage of knowing exactly what’s in the soup and that all the ingredients are fresh.
When your family are next feeling the chill of winter days or a bit under the weather you will be able to make them feel brighter with this recipe.