One of the original comfort foods, chicken noodle soup is a surprisingly quick & easy recipe to make from scratch using either cooked or boneless chicken. Once the ingredients are prepped, it's almost as fast as a can of soup and WAY better tasting.
I love soup and make it at least once a week, if not more, in the cooler months. I didn't grow up watching people make soup (other than to open a can), so I always thought it must be hard to make.
Guess what I learned when I started growing a garden and cooking with real foods? It's EASY to make! Seriously, it's one of the easiest things to make in the kitchen, yet after growing up on canned soups I used to consider them a pantry staple for the longest time.
Here's a fun story to illustrate how easy and delicious homemade soup can be:
When I taught preschool, each year I would ask the kids to bring in a vegetable to make a simple vegetable soup to go along with a book we were reading (Stone Soup). The kids always surprised me with the variety they'd bring, not just corn and potatoes, but carrots, broccoli, and squash. My contribution was always an onion, because everything just tastes better with onion in my opinion.
We'd cut up the vegetables into uniform pieces, the kids threw them in a pot of water with a couple of bouillon cubes, and we set it to cook on a stove in the home ec room connected to ours.
During the 15 minutes it would cook, it was not unusual to have at least 5 different people in the building stopped by to ask what that delicious smell was! The soup was AMAZINGLY flavorful and almost laughably easy and simple.
Most of the kids loved it (one actually described it as "an explosion in my mouth of goodness," lol), although I had some vegetable haters, of course, who just tasted the broth.
The lesson? If preschoolers can do it, we can, too!
The two canned soups that you'd find most in my pantry were tomato and chicken noodle. Once I figured out how to make a way more delicious version of tomato soup easily and then this recipe for chicken noodle soup, I've NEVER bought them again.
My family enjoys soup in the colder months like me, thankfully, and homemade chicken noodle soup is one of the ultimate comfort foods, isn't it? Warm, soothing, and delicious, it's even thought to have properties that makes it help colds and flu.
Is chicken noodle soup good for you?
There are actually studies that show chicken noodle soup DOES help fight colds. Whether it's from the broth, the vegetables, the gentle protein, or the combination, it does relieve congestion between the steam and the salt and is full of vitamins and antioxidants that fight inflammation. (source)
Comfort and health in one yummy bowl? That's a very good thing.
How to Make Chicken Noodle Soup From Scratch
Probably the most important ingredient in any chicken soup is the broth. You can buy it, but it will be better for you (and use up typically wasted food!) to make it yourself.
Check out this Chicken Broth 101 Guide for four different easy ways you can make bone broth. Keep it in the freezer to make easy recipes like this when you want.
To make this recipe really easy, I often use cooked rotisserie chicken (store bought or homemade in a slow cooker), but you can start with uncooked chicken and add it to the broth to cook while you're prepping the vegetables. It adds just a few minutes to the cooking time.
Don't eat noodles or pasta? Leave them out and add more vegetables for a chicken vegetable soup variation!
Grab an onion, some celery and carrots. Trim, peel and dice them in uniform pieces (you want things to fit on a soup spoon) and add to the broth.
I sometimes like to throw in a clove of minced garlic, which may be considered controversial - I think it adds nice flavor even though it's not traditional.
Once your vegetables are ready, add them to the broth, bring it all to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until the vegetables are tender, 10 minutes.
Then it's just a matter of adding the cooked chicken and noodles, cooking until the noodles are barely tender, about 8 minutes more.
If you're using homemade broth, you'll definitely need to taste and adjust for salt to flavor the soup. I start with 2 teaspoons, then taste to see if I need more.
The great part about homemade is you can tailor it to your tastes and needs, as far as salt goes. We also like a lot of pepper, but some people find it too hot, so adjust as you like.
Serving Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup
There it is - you've made soup! It's delicious and so easy, I bet like me you'll never go back to canned.
What to serve with chicken noodle soup:
- Orange Almond Salad with Orange-Balsamic Vinaigrette
- Kale Cranberry Salad Recipe with Feta & Pecans
- Easy Artisan Bread Recipe
- Easy Sourdough Artisan Bread Recipe
- Simple French Baguettes Recipe - The Bread You Can't Stop Eating
Can you freeze chicken noodle soup?
Yes, this freezes well - cook the noodles to just al dente, cool and transfer to freezer-safe containers. Alternately, you can freeze without the noodles and add when reheating (or just leave out for a lower carb option).
Quick & Easy Chicken Noodle Soup Recipe
- 8 cups chicken broth
- 1 onion diced
- 3 stalks celery diced
- 2 large carrots peeled and diced
- 1 clove garlic peeled and minced (optional)
- 3 to 4 cups cooked chicken cubed and/or shredded*
- 6 ounces egg noodles**
- 2 teaspoons salt or to taste, depending on type of broth used
- 1 teaspoon black pepper or to taste
- Put the broth in a large soup pot, add the vegetables (onion, celery, carrot, and garlic if using) and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes, until vegetables are tender-crisp.**
- Add the noodles and cooked chicken to the soup, bring back to a boil, and simmer 8 minutes or until the noodles are just barely tender.
- Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.
- Either sauté boneless chicken breasts or thighs in a pan or add them to the broth before the vegetables and cook thoroughly, 15-20 minutes for whole breasts, 10 minutes for diced chicken.
- When the chicken is cooked, allow to cool and then cut into pieces, if needed while vegetables are cooking.
- Set it aside to add with the noodles. I've found adding it later helps retain the chicken flavor by not letting it boil out in the soup while the vegetables are cooking.
Other Easy Soup Recipes to Try:
- Best Homemade Tomato Soup Recipe (You'll Never Go Back To Canned)
- Amazing Cauliflower Cheese Soup (in 30 Minutes)
- Turkey Noodle Soup Recipe From Leftover Meat & Bones
- Mexican Chicken Corn Soup - 30 Minute Recipe
This recipe has been updated - it was originally published in March of 2009.
[email protected] Oregon Cottage says
Thanks, Heidi! They are the dishes we use everyday. The red transferware-type bowl was at Target years ago and the white plate is part of my vintage Rose Point collection from Pope Grosser. I'm a firm believer in surrounding each day with beauty! Go for it.:-)
Your serving dishes, for this soup, are so pretty and inspiring. I need some dishes, like this, so I can feel pretty with a bowl of soup, too! Thanks for sharing!
Hi, I'm Heidi from CarolinaDreamz. I'm a Cali Mom transplanted to the LowCountry, South Carolina.
Jami @An Oregon Cottage says
Thanks Elizabeth! I don't have a recipe for minestrone, I usually try a new one each time looking for that elusive "perfect" one - so I'll be sure to try this one. I'm so glad you mentioned it! One of my children will eat anything and the other will NOT - not if she grows it, helps make it, or if I hide it. It has made for some frustrating meal times, I can tell you. You really did find a good one if your toddlers ate it all...
This looks exactly like the chicken noodle soup I make for my family (not for me; I'm vegetarian). Last night I made Olive Garden style minestrone soup (http://www.recipezaar.com/Copycat-Olive-Garden-Minestrone-Soup-by-Todd-Wilbur-77585) and it was amazing. My toddlers even gobbled up the spinach and zucchini. Success! I don't know if you have a good minestrone recipe but this one was really yummy. I did double the vegetables in the recipe because it seemed a bit light on the vegetables compared to the beans.
Thanks again for your wonderful blog!