Using thick chewy homestyle noodles is just one of the secrets to an old fashioned bowl of hearty chicken noodle soup … just like grandma used to make. Let’s take a look at how to make homemade chicken noodle soup from scratch.
Is there anything better than a steaming hot bowl of chicken and noodle soup on a cold evening, especially on a cold evening when you’ve got a cold? Simple, delicious and rumored to heal the ailing, this soup is comfort food at its best.
It’s not rocket science to throw this soup together. No matter what you put in it, it’s going to be good, but I wanted to share with you my version that has evolved over the years. Seasoned just to our liking.
What Noodles Are Best For Chicken Noodle Soup
If you truly want a hearty chicken noodle soup, it’s a must to use those fat plump homemade noodles. My mom always made her own. Sadly to say, I’ve never tried making them, so I purchase homestyle noodles from the freezer section at the grocery store.
They’re thick, they’re chewy, the are already cooked and very reminiscent of homemade.
Please try not to use dried thin egg noodles from the packaged pasta aisle at the market, they just don’t have that same homemade comfort food feel. They’re thin and the end result will have you feeling more like you’re eating canned soup. With that said, they will work for this soup.
Ingredients To Make Hearty Chicken Noodle Soup
- Chicken: Purchase about 2 – 2 1/2 pounds of chicken. Bone in. Skin-on optional. A combination of a split boneless skinless chicken breast (about 1 pound) and a package of (4) bone-in skin-on chicken thighs, or chicken leg quarters is a good combination. Using both white meat and dark meat, with a portion of that meat bone in, skin on, brings pure chicken flavor to this soup. Searing them in the soup pot before cooking the soup is another secret to adding an additional depth or pure chicken flavor.
- Onion: Sweet or yellow onion
- Homestyle Noodles
- Spices: Sage, thyme, fennel seeds, garlic powder, bay leaf are good simple seasonings.
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Lemon Juice to finish
Ingredient Swaps and Substitutes
Spices: Try using a scoop of my homemade Soup Seasoning Mix. It’s fabulous for any soup. The bold flavors are good for seasoning this chunky chicken noodle soup.
How To Make Chicken Noodle Soup From Scratch
- Step 1: Sear the chicken. Using a large Dutch oven, heat the pan over medium high heat. Once the pan is hot, add canola oil. Once the oil is hot, add the chicken pieces, skin side down and sear until golden brown. About 5 minutes per side. This all important step is referred to as creating Maillard Reaction, which brings flavor to the soup. If you’d like to read a bit more about the process, you can check out my Pork Posole Recipe where I explain how to get the most out of browning meat.
- Step 2: After all the chicken meat is browned, remove from the Dutch oven and place on a plate. Set aside.
Step 3: Add the sliced vegetables to the same hot pan. Using a wooden spoon, be sure to scrape up all of that meat flavor that’s on the bottom of that pan = yummy flavor.
Step 4: Saute the vegetables until just starting to become tender. Don’t overcook because the vegetables will cook for a period of time with the chicken.
Step 5: Once the vegetables are browned, add the seared chicken pieces on top. At this point you can make the decision to remove or not remove the skin. The skin will add fat to the soup, which means adding flavor. But you’ll have to skim the fat once the soup is cooked to avoid it becoming too greasy.
Step 6: Add enough chicken broth or water to cover the chicken. Add the seasonings. Simmer about 30-45 minutes. Remove the chicken from the soup and once cool enough to handle, discard the skin and bones and shred the chicken with forks. Return the shredded chicken meat to the soup.
Add The Noodles
Once the chicken has been returned to the pot, add the noodles. Following package direction simmer until noodles are tender. Don’t cook them to death! Please. Remember, egg noodles from the freezer section are already cooked. They just need to heat through. Cover and let them simmer until nice and hot.
Those thick homestyle noodles will take about 10 – 15 minutes. If you’re using those thin egg noodles from the pasta aisle, only a few minutes will do.
Spices for Chicken Noodle Soup
Chicken noodle soup is a great canvas to add your favorite combination of spices. The seasonings I’ve listed above, sage, thyme, fennel seeds, garlic powder and bay leaves are good simple seasonings, but make it your own.
Chives, onion powder, thyme, marjoram, rosemary are a few good choices.
Or take a look at my Spice Mix for Bean Soup recipe a try. Even though the name indicates it’s for bean soup, it’s a great all purpose spice mix for soup and will give this soup an awesome kick of flavor.
I use it for most every soup I make. The spice mix makes a big batch and you’ll have it in your pantry all Winter long to keep you comfort food cozy.
FAQ’s and Tips
To make this hearty chicken noodle soup even easier, use rotisserie chicken. Instead of adding uncooked chicken to the soup, shred meat from a rotisserie chicken. Since the rotisserie chicken is already cooked, decrease the cook time for the chicken from 30 minutes to 10 minutes. This also works very well if you have leftover homemade roasted whole chicken.
For a creamy chicken noodle soup, swirl in 4 tablespoons of heavy cream once the soup is cooked and removed from the heat.
Use a good quality chicken broth. Homemade is best.
Whenever using dried herbs, add them at the beginning of the cooking process. The long simmer will release the flavor from the dehydrated leaves.
Whatever chicken pieces you choose for this soup, I highly recommend including a couple of chicken thighs. Simply stated, they make a better soup. And always remember there’s flavor in those chicken bones. You can most certainly use boneless skinless chicken breasts, but be aware they may dry out if over-cooked and you’ll be sacrificing flavor.
Bay leaves are completely safe to cook with. However, don’t forget to fish them out of any cooked dish before serving. First of all, they’re impossible to chew. And if you accidentally swallow one, it could damage your throat or even cause problems in your digestive system.
Yes. Simply follow the stovetop instructions for searing the chicken and vegetables. Transfer all ingredients, minus the noodles, to a crock pot. Cook on low for 6 hours. Remove chicken and shred. Return chicken to crockpot, add noodles and cook on high for another 30 minutes.
To make this soup nice and chunky, slice carrots and celery rather than chop. Slice them about 1/4 inch thick. For the onions, chopping is a better option for texture and flavor.
Recipe for Hearty Chicken Noodle Soup
At one point it seemed every one in our office had a cold, so I made a big crock pot of my Chicken Noodle Soup and delivered to my sniffling aching co-workers. They commented that it sure is “handy” having me around. 🙂
I hope you give this recipe for hearty chicken noodle soup a try, and if you do, please come back and give the recipe a star rating. I value your opinion.
And if have a favorite recipe for homemade chicken noodle soup from scratch, I’d love to give it a try. Let me know.
More Comfort Food Chicken Soup Recipes:
- White Wine Chicken Potato Soup
- Classic Chicken Soup with Sweet Potatoes
- Wintery Chicken Pasta Soup
- Chicken and Cheese Soup with Poblano Peppers
- Yellow Curry Chicken Noodle Soup
And if you’re looking for a ton of soup recipes, check out my category on Soup.
You’ll find the most popular soup recipe on my site; Anthony Bourdain’s New Mexico Style Beef Chili
This recipe was first published November 2010 and republished with new step by step photos.
Farmhouse Hearty Chicken Noodle Soup
- 4 chicken thighs skin on, bone in
- 1 pound split chicken breast boneless, skinless or skin on, bone in, or 2 – 2 1/2 pounds of chicken pieces of your choice.
- 1/4 cup Canola oil
- 3 stalks celery sliced, about two cups
- 3 carrots peeled and sliced, about 2 cups
- 1 medium onion medium dice, about 1 cup
- 2 quarts chicken broth or water
- 1 heaping tablespoon Soup Seasoning or use following 4 spices. Pick recipe back up at parsley.
- 1 teaspoon dried sage leaves
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 3 tablespoons minced flat-leaf parsley
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 pound Frozen homestyle Egg Noodles Thick noodles
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1/2 lemon juiced
- Heat a Dutch Oven over medium high heat. Once hot, add oil. When oil is hot and shimmering add chicken pieces skin side down. Cook until nicely browned, about 5 minutes per side. When they easily release from bottom of pan using tongs, remove chicken to a plate.
- Using the same hot pan, add carrots, celery and onions. Cook until just starting to become tender and starting to brown around the edges. Use a wooden spoon to scrape up all of the bits left from the chicken. That means flavor.
- Once the vegetables are browned, add the seared chicken pieces on top. At this point you can make the decision to remove or not remove the skin. The skin will add fat to the soup, which mean adding flavor. But you'll have to skim the fat once the soup is cooked to avoid it becoming too greasy.
- Add enough chicken broth or water to cover the chicken. Add the seasonings. Simmer about 30-45 minutes. Remove the chicken from the soup and once cool enough to handle, discard the skin and bones and shred the chicken with forks. Return the shredded chicken meat to the chicken noodle soup.
- Once the chicken has been returned to the pot, add the noodles. Following package direction simmer until noodles are tender. Don't cook them to death! Please. Remember, egg noodles from the freezer section are already cooked. They just need to heat through. Cover and let them simmer until nice and hot.
- Remove bay leaf, add a squeeze of lemon juice and serve in wide rimmed white bowls. Or your favorite comfort food soup bowls. Garnish with parsley leaves.
Hearty Chicken Noodle Soup … It’s Whats For Dinner