Ultra-Satisfying Chicken Noodle Soup

My favorite (and I think the best) chicken noodle soup! No food blog would be complete without a recipe for chicken noodle soup. Our version is healthy, satisfying, and tastes incredible. Bonus, you can make this soup from scratch in under 40 minutes! Jump to the Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup Recipe or read on to see our tips for making it.

Watch How We Make It

This Chicken Noodle Soup Is Easy

Every time I start to think about this soup, I want to make it. Classic chicken noodle soup is pure comfort food. Thankfully, our recipe is so easy, you can even make it tonight!

Chicken noodle soup is one of the easiest soups to make. The ingredients are simple and inexpensive. You are looking at about 40 minutes from start to finish for this soup. Not too bad, especially when 20 minutes of that time is hands-off!

We’ve made chicken soup for years and have tried it various ways. We’ve even started from a whole chicken before. I’ll take a bowl of satisfying chicken soup any day, but this version is the one we circle back to. It’s straight-forward and quick to make.

Pot of homemade chicken noodle soup

How to Make the Best Chicken Noodle Soup

It’s important to use good-quality chicken broth. While I wish we had homemade chicken broth in our freezer all the time, we don’t. When reaching for store-bought broth, we go for low-sodium. We also look for a store-bought broth that’s darker in color (usually means more flavor) and since I know it usually has more of a backbone, I like to buy boxed bone broth (we use homemade bone broth sometimes, too).

In case you are wondering, we use Pacific Foods Bone Broth and also like the stock sold at Trader Joe’s.

Don’t be afraid to season your soup. When it comes to soups, season early and check the seasoning often. Before we add the chicken thighs to the soup, we always check the seasoning level of the broth. If the flavor doesn’t pop, add a bit more salt.

Another option is to use fish sauce. It may seem odd, but whenever we’re tasting something and it’s just missing that something something, a small dash of fish sauce fixes it. Fish sauce is a major ingredient in our Pho soup recipe.

For the best chicken soup, I use chicken thighs. Chicken soup is better when made with darker meat. Chicken thighs become tender and soft in the soup — similar to how the chicken turns out in our recipe for shredded chicken. Chicken breast doesn’t tenderize and stays firm in the soup. You can use both cuts of chicken, but thighs will produce better soup.

Herbs are a must in this soup — we add thyme and bay leaves at the beginning, which help to add a herby backbone to the broth. For a pop freshness, stir in a handful of chopped fresh parsley at the end. Other herbs will work, too. Instead of (or in addition to) the thyme and bay leaves, try rosemary. For the herbs at the end, try fresh chives for a mild onion flavor.

As for the noodles, you can use whatever you love. We love the lightness of egg noodles, but you can throw just about any pasta into the pot. For another recipe that uses egg noodles, see our easy parmesan buttered noodles.

The Best Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

Make Ahead and Storing Tips

The soup can be made and refrigerated for 3 to 4 days and frozen up to 3 months.

If you are not planning on enjoying the soup straight away or plan to freeze it, you might want to hold off on adding the noodles. As the soup sits, the noodles soak up the broth. You can deal with this in two ways:

  • When reheating the soup, add a bit more broth/stock to the pot. I’ve even been known to add a splash of plain water to the soup when reheating. As long as you don’t need to add a lot, it won’t thin the flavor of the soup too much.
  • When making the soup ahead of time, for the freshest, least soggy noodles, leave the noodles out then refrigerate or freeze the soup. When you are ready to reheat, bring the soup to a low simmer and add dried noodles. Cook until they are done and enjoy.

Quick Recap

Let’s recap, for the best chicken noodle soup from scratch, keep the following in mind:

  • Use high-quality stock/broth
  • Season the soup early and check it often
  • Chicken thighs make a better soup and are far more tender than chicken breast
  • Add extra flavor with herbs, both at the beginning and at the end
Serving chicken noodle soup
Chicken thighs make a better chicken noodle soup and are far more tender than chicken breast.

What Can I Add to Soup for More Flavor

Our recipe sticks to classic ingredients and flavors, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t things you can add to make it your own:

  • For a creamy chicken noodle soup, add 2 to 4 tablespoons of heavy cream, half-and-half or whole milk.
  • Add three to four lemon slices for a lemon chicken soup — similar to this Lemony Chicken and Vegetable Soup.
  • Add three or four slices of lime, swap the parsley for fresh cilantro, and then add diced tomatoes and cubed avocado for Mexican-style chicken soup. You can even add diced corn tortillas as we do for this tortilla chicken soup.
  • Add a teaspoon of toasted sesame oil and a few dashes of fish sauce for an ultra-satisfying, umami-packed soup.
  • Swirl in fresh spinach or kale at the end of cooking for more of a vegetable-heavy soup.
  • Swap the noodles for potatoes, winter squash, rice, quinoa or grains. Add hearty veggies (like potatoes) to the pot along with the onions and carrots. When it comes to rice and grains, add them already cooked. (Take a look at our sausage and potato soup or our homemade creamy potato soup for some inspiration)

Save Time And Use Rotisserie Chicken or Leftover Chicken

For the easiest chicken noodle soup, if you have a rotisserie or leftover chicken, instead of adding chicken thighs to the pot, add two to three cups of shredded or diced cooked chicken to the soup at the same time as adding the dried noodles.

Since there is no need to cook the chicken thighs anymore, reduce the simmer time by 10 minutes. We use this method whenever we’ve roasted a whole chicken the night before.

For even more tips, you can also take a read through our article for How to Make the Best Leftover Chicken Soup.

What Our Readers Are Saying

If you don’t believe that our recipe helps you achieve amazing chicken noodle soup at home, take a look at what our readers are saying about the recipe! More reviews are in the comments section below.

“My first time ever making chicken noodle soup and it came out amazing!!” – Sharon

“My new go to recipe for Chicken Noodle Soup! I made this while visiting family a few weeks ago. Six adults and four kids, everyone LOVED it…. twenty thumbs up!” – Haley

“This soup is so flavorful! Reminds Me of great chicken noodle soups you can only get at a NYC deli. This combination of herbs is what I have been missing in my recipes.” – Amanda

Easy Chicken Noodle Soup

Recipe updated, originally posted in 2018. Since posting this, we have tweaked the recipe to be more clear and added a quick recipe video. – Adam and Joanne

Ultra-Satisfying Chicken Noodle Soup

  • PREP
  • COOK
  • TOTAL

This quicker version of homemade chicken noodle soup skips cooking a whole chicken and calls on boneless, skinless chicken thighs instead. The soup still tastes incredible, satisfying, and classic. The significantly reduced cook time makes this chicken soup from scratch possible on a weeknight. We highly recommend chicken thighs for this because of their flavor and soft texture when cooked, but if you prefer them, chicken breasts will work.

Makes 6 servings

You Will Need

2 tablespoons butter, chicken fat or olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

2 large carrots, chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped (optional)

Heaped tablespoon minced garlic (4 cloves)

2 bay leaves

3 sprigs fresh thyme or use 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1 pound skinless, boneless chicken thighs (4 or 5 thighs)

8 cups chicken stock or broth, low sodium or use homemade stock

5 ounces egg noodles (or pasta of choice)

Salt and pepper, to taste

1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped

Water or more stock, as needed

Directions

    Melt butter in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions, carrots, and celery. Cook, stirring every few minutes until the vegetables begin to soften; 5 to 6 minutes.

    Stir in the garlic, bay leaves, and thyme. Cook, while stirring the garlic around the pan, for about 1 minute.

    Pour in the chicken stock and bring to a low simmer. Taste the soup then adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Depending on the stock used, you might need to add 1 or more teaspoons of salt.

    Submerge the chicken thighs into the soup so that the broth covers them. Bring the soup back to a low simmer then partially cover the pot with a lid and cook, stirring a few times until the chicken thighs are cooked through; about 20 minutes.

    If, during this time, the broth seems low, add a splash more stock or a bit of water. Turn the heat to medium-low.

    Transfer the cooked chicken to a plate. Stir the noodles into the soup and cook until done, 6 to 10 minutes depending on the type of noodles used.

    While the noodles cook, shred the chicken into strips or dice into cubes. Slide the chicken back into the pot and then taste the soup once more for seasoning. Adjust with more salt and pepper, as needed. Stir in the parsley and serve.

Adam and Joanne's Tips

  • Refrigerating Chicken Noodle Soup: As the soup sits, the noodles soak up the soup broth. When reheating, add a splash of extra chicken stock or if you don’t have any, water.
  • Freezing Chicken Noodle Soup: The noodles don’t fare too well when frozen. If you plan on freezing the soup, remove the portion of soup you plan to freeze before adding the noodles. Freeze the broth, chicken, and vegetables. When you are ready to reheat the soup, add dried noodles to the soup and simmer until done.
  • Seasoning the Soup: If you feel the soup is missing some zing, add a bit more salt. You can also add a pop of flavor with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, a dash of fish sauce (we use this trick for store-bought stocks and broths often) or Worcestershire sauce.
  • Nutrition facts: The nutrition facts provided below are estimates. We have used the USDA database to calculate approximate values.

If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #inspiredtaste — We love to see your creations on Instagram and Facebook! Find us: @inspiredtaste

Nutrition Per Serving: Serving Size 1/6 of the recipe / Calories 298 / Total Fat 11.4g / Saturated Fat 4.4g / Cholesterol 97.7mg / Sodium 748.7mg / Carbohydrate 22.9g / Dietary Fiber 1.7g / Total Sugars 7.5g / Protein 24.8g
AUTHOR: Adam and Joanne Gallagher

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149 comments… Leave a Comment
  • Melanie January 19, 2021, 1:49 pm

    Made for lunch today and it was absolutely outstanding! The recipe as is written is an excellent place to start and I added more according to our liking. I used 3 large carrots, but will up to 4 next time. Also, added turmeric and curry powder. Just a little at a time to suit your taste. Very easy and not terribly time consuming. DEFINITELY a winner that we will make again! Thanks so much for this great recipe!

    Reply
  • Brianna January 11, 2021, 10:10 pm

    First time making chicken soup. Left out the noodles but it was soo good! Reminded me of how my mom always made it for me when I was a kid. My husband and my 1 year old even went for seconds

    Reply
  • Sharon January 6, 2021, 6:17 pm

    This is the best recipe ever. Make it a lot. So tasty and colorful. Thank you

    Reply
  • Kenia December 31, 2020, 2:14 pm

    The best and so easy! I love that it’s a one pot meal so less to juggle and less to clean! I have 2 toddlers and they both love this soup. It’s the only way I get them to eat carrots. Hubby and I also love it. Thank you so much for sharing, this is a recipe we will be keeping forever! 😊

    Reply
  • Jan December 24, 2020, 12:26 pm

    Made this soup this morning. It is fantastic! My husband said it is the best I’ve ever made and I’ve made a number of recipes over the years. I roasted two bone in, skin on breasts and then shredded the chicken and added at the end. All else stayed the same except no celery as we’re not fans. You won’t be disappointed!

    Reply
  • Janette December 17, 2020, 4:15 pm

    First time making chicken noodle soup and it turned out really well. My husband and toddler boys loved it. It was easy to make and nutritious. We had to use gluten free pasta as my kids have a gluten free diet and it worked out well.

    Reply
  • Amy S. December 8, 2020, 3:38 pm

    Very good and very easy! I just put all the ingredients (except the noodles) in a crockpot for six hours on low and then shredded the chicken and put the noodles in right at the end. Highly recommend!

    Reply
  • T December 6, 2020, 8:11 pm

    Very disappointed. I saw all of the great reviews so I decided to give this a try. I followed the directions exactly and used fresh ingredients. This soup had no flavor. Not sure why so many rave reviews. Don’t waste your time on this one.

    Reply
    • Joanne January 2, 2021, 1:16 pm

      Hi there, It might be the stock that you used. We love using a rich stock/broth for soups. If I’m making homemade, this is the recipe I use and if I’m buying stock, I go for bone broths since they tend to have a bit more flavor.

      Reply
    • Melanie January 19, 2021, 1:50 pm

      I would give the soup another try, but perhaps add some spices of your own a little at a time. The broth for our soup was VERY tasty. Maybe adding a little more salt would also help.

      Reply
  • Sarah December 6, 2020, 9:23 am

    So good! I’m always worried about meat being undercooked so I was worried about using raw chicken straight in the soup but it was perfect. The veggies were perfect using this amount of cook time. I personally cook the noodles separately and add them in when I eat the soup because it keeps them from getting mushy. I also added a shake of Worcestershire, a squeeze of ketchup and a shake of lemon juice when I added the chicken. Will definitely be using this recipe again!

    Reply
  • Sarah Stephens December 4, 2020, 4:14 pm

    This is the best chicken noodle soup that I have ever made! Additionally, I added dill and fresh squeezed lemon. I also always cook the noodles separately because I don’t like the way they taste cooked the next day. This will be my go-to chicken noodle soup for sure, especially since my husband liked it.

    Reply
  • Cameron December 3, 2020, 9:02 pm

    Made this tonight. I added some Better than Bullion to really steep up the flavor. Best idea ever to use chicken thighs! I’ve always used chicken breast and it always dried out so bad. This was amazing! Thank you for the recipe!

    Reply
  • Keith November 30, 2020, 6:06 pm

    I finally chopped the water as the recipe asked for I feel like if I chopped cold water the soup would’ve come out better I chopped warm water. I think I’ll have to play with chopping water next time it runs off the cutting board.

    Reply

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