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Chicken Noodle Soup

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Old-fashioned chicken noodle soup always makes you feel better, no matter what ails you.

Everyone needs a good chicken noodle soup recipe (or at least a loving person to make it for them). The golden, rich chicken broth teeming with egg noodles and veggies is peak comfort food — it always makes you feel better, no matter what ails you. This recipe, adapted from One-Hour Comfort: Quick, Cozy, Modern Dishes for All Your Cravings by America’s Test Kitchen, is super cozy and easy. It relies on good-quality store-brought chicken broth to deepen the flavor, so the soup doesn’t need to cook for hours and rest overnight like traditional chicken soup. In fact, it’s ready in about an hour, so you can make it on a weeknight.

If you don’t plan to serve the soup right away, wait to add the noodles and chicken to the soup so they don’t overcook. It takes less than 10 minutes to boil the noodles and warm the chicken, so it’s easy to do right before serving. Alternatively, if you don’t plan to serve the soup all at once, you can boil the noodles separately and keep them separate from the broth, then simply add them as needed when serving. Serve chicken noodle soup with saltine crackers, crusty bread, or biscuits.

What You’ll Need To Make Chicken Noodle Soup

ingredients for chicken noodle soup

Step-by-Step Instructions

Begin by prepping the veggies.

chopped vegetablesNext, season the chicken with the salt and pepper.

seasoning the chicken with salt and pepper

Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or large soup pot over medium-high heat until shimmering. Place the chicken in the pot, skin-side down, and cook until browned, 4 to 5 minutes.

browning the chicken in a dutch oven

Flip the chicken and cook 4 minutes more.

browning the chicken on the other side

Add the broth, onion, carrots, celery, thyme sprigs, and bay leaf, and use a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.

adding the vegetables, broth, and herbs

Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce the heat to low.

bringing the soup to a boil

Simmer until the chicken is cooked through (15 to 17 minutes for breasts and about 20 minutes for thighs). Discard the thyme sprigs and bay leaf.

chicken soup after simmering

Using tongs, remove the chicken from the soup and transfer to a cutting board. Using 2 forks, shred the chicken into bite-size pieces; discard the skin and bones.
shredded chicken for chicken noodle soup

Return the soup to a boil over medium-high heat and add the noodles. Cook, uncovered, until the noodles are al dente (check the package instructions for timing, and keep in mind that the noodles will continue to cook for a few minutes while you warm the chicken).

cooking the noodles

Add the shredded chicken and cook over medium heat until chicken is warmed through, a few minutes. Season the soup with salt and pepper to taste (I usually add about ¼ teaspoon more salt, but it depends on the saltiness of the chicken broth you used). Stir in the dill and serve.

adding the chicken and dill to the soup

Make-Ahead or Freeze Chicken Noodle Soup

If you’d like to make the soup ahead of time or freeze, stop at the point where you remove the cooked chicken from the broth. Shred the chicken and store in a container in the fridge or freezer. Let the soup sit until it’s cool enough to put in the fridge, then cover and refrigerate until ready to serve (or put in a sealable container in the freezer and store for up to 3 months). When ready to reserve, defrost if necessary, and then bring the soup to a boil on the stovetop. Add the noodles and proceed with the recipe.

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Chicken Noodle Soup

Old-fashioned chicken noodle soup always makes you feel better, no matter what ails you.

Servings: 4 to 6
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 45 Minutes
Total Time: 1 Hour

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds skin-on bone-in chicken breasts and/or thighs, trimmed of excess skin or fat
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 8 cups chicken broth (preferably not low-sodium), best quality
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 2 celery ribs, cut into ¼-inch pieces
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 5 ounces (3 cups) wide egg noodles
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh dill

Instructions

  1. Season the chicken with the salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or large soup pot over medium-high heat until shimmering. Place the chicken in the pot, skin-side down, and cook until browned, 4 to 5 minutes. Flip the chicken and cook 4 minutes more.
  2. Add the broth, onion, carrots, celery, thyme sprigs, and bay leaf, and use a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce the heat to low. Simmer until the chicken is cooked through (15 to 17 minutes for breasts and about 20 minutes for thighs).
  3. Discard the thyme sprigs and bay leaf. Using tongs, remove the chicken from the soup and transfer to a cutting board. Using 2 forks, shred the chicken into bite-size pieces; discard the skin and bones.
  4. Return the soup to a boil over medium-high heat and add the noodles. Cook, uncovered, until the noodles are al dente (check the package instructions for timing, and keep in mind that the noodles will continue to cook for a few minutes while you warm the chicken). Add the shredded chicken and cook over medium heat until chicken is warmed through, a few minutes. Season the soup with salt and pepper to taste (I usually add about ¼ teaspoon more salt, but it depends on the saltiness of the chicken broth you used). Stir in the dill and serve.
  5. Make-Ahead/Freezer-Friendly Instructions: The soup can be made through step 3 (up until adding the noodles), and refrigerated for up to 2 days. Keep the chicken in a separate container in the fridge, and add to the soup before serving. If you don’t plan to serve the soup all at once, you can boil the noodles separately and keep them separate from the broth, then simply add them as needed when serving. You can also freeze the soup for up to 3 months.

Pair with

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (6 servings)
  • Calories: 508
  • Fat: 21 g
  • Saturated fat: 6 g
  • Carbohydrates: 33 g
  • Sugar: 7 g
  • Fiber: 2 g
  • Protein: 44 g
  • Sodium: 874 mg
  • Cholesterol: 126 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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Comments

  • My husband and I ended up sick after Thanksgiving, unfortunately, and needed something warm and healing. This soup was amazing and exactly what the doctor ordered!!! I placed an online grocery order to get all the ingredients and made the soup. It’s easy, made the house smell amazing, and tastes so delicious and nourishing. We had it with a loaf of homemade bread some kind friends dropped off for us. Hoping we’ll soon be on the other side of this! Thank you for a wonderful recipe.

    • — Aimee on December 5, 2022
    • Reply
    • Glad this hit the spot and hope you’re feeling better soon!

      • — Jenn on December 6, 2022
      • Reply
  • I have been craving a classic homemade chicken noodle soup and this was perfect for a chilly night in December- cozy, nourishing comfort food. I enjoyed the fresh dill.

    • — Meredith on December 3, 2022
    • Reply
  • Made this today for dinner and am really disappointed. I’m a huge fan of Jenn’s but this was extremely bland. The only change I made was to add a pinch of dried dill but did use fresh thyme.

    • — Cynthia Corcoran on November 15, 2022
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,
    How big of a Dutch oven is needed for this recipe? Would a 7quart pot be big enough? Thank you!

    • — Sabine on November 7, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Sabine, a 7-quart Dutch oven will give you plenty of room. Hope you enjoy the soup!

      • — Jenn on November 8, 2022
      • Reply
  • This was so good and your instructions so easy to follow. I recently broke my arm so can’t really cook. I gave my husband this recipe and he had no trouble with it at all.

    • — Cindy Swoveland on November 4, 2022
    • Reply
  • Super simple and easy to make if you need a quick, hearty meal! However, if you like added flavor from seasoning or just more potent flavor this recipe doesn’t really give that. The flavor is pretty bland as most of it comes from the veggies and chicken. The thyme is potent and good, but I used to soups with more spice so this was a little on the bland side for me.

    • — Ariana G on November 4, 2022
    • Reply
  • Question: The vegetable oil is in the ingredients but not in the instructions. Is it for the veggies or cooking the chicken or???

    • — Clare on October 31, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Clare, You use the oil to cook the chicken. See the second sentence of the first paragraph. Hope that clarifies and that you enjoy the soup! 🙂

      • — Jenn on October 31, 2022
      • Reply
  • I made this for the second time tonight for a family gathering. It’s an easy recipe with outstanding flavor. Thanks so much for posting it for us!

    • — Marvin on October 27, 2022
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  • Hi, I really enjoyed this! I used thighs as that’s what the grocery store had in a reasonable quantity. I have eaten this all week long, making it on Sunday night and just finishing it for lunch today (Thursday). Keeping the noodles separate from the soup made it totally doable. (I tossed the noodles with just a tiny bit of olive oil so they wouldn’t stick together in the fridge.) When I ate it on Sunday night, I was a little underwhelmed but as the days went on and the flavors melded, it just got better and better! So…if you can, I’d suggest making it a night or two before serving and then adding the cooked noodles when you’re ready to serve. I will definitely make again!

    • — Doreen on October 27, 2022
    • Reply
  • When I came into the kitchen this morning, the wonderful smell still lingered! Midway through prep, I realized that I didn’t have a pot big enough, so I used 2 thighs and half the mirepoix, etc., and froze the other 2 and other half, so now I have an instant soup ready to make. I stuck to the recipe (halved) and left out garlic and ginger, which I often add to chicken soup. It was perfect as it was.

    • — RenoSue on October 20, 2022
    • Reply
  • Best chicken soup ever. I have tried many different recipes for this classic meal, and this one wins. From now on this will be the only way how I make it. Thank you!

    • — Maya on October 18, 2022
    • Reply
  • Loved this recipe! The dill was such an unexpected and delicious touch. Thanks for sharing recipes that are easy for busy moms to execute, but taste like so much more than the sum of their parts.

    • — Julie on October 13, 2022
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn: I will be making this tonight, but bought skinless thighs instead, by mistake. Do they have to have the skin to add flavor to the soup? I am adding a few extra pieces since we are having a few people over. Hopefully adding the few extras pieces will be enough. Thank you so much for sharing your never-fail recipes. They are all so delicious!

    • — Frances on October 12, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Frances, The skin and bones do add wonderful flavor (and fat) to the soup, but it should still work. How did it turn out?

      • — Jenn on October 12, 2022
      • Reply
  • Absolutely delicious! Using store bought broth was a great shortcut. The vegetables and chicken really made a flavorful soup. I’ll definitely make it again! I love so many of your recipes.

    • — Susan on October 11, 2022
    • Reply
  • Anyone have success making this with gluten free noodles, and if so- what kind? I usually make chicken and rice soup as gf noodles can be tricky, in general, but especially in soup.

    • — Adriana L on October 10, 2022
    • Reply
    • I don’t even try cooking or storing GF noodles in water-based foods. My favorite noodles (Thrive brown rice organic) need to be rinsed once cooked. Furthermore, I’ve never had a GF noodle that will hold up in soup. So I cook my noodles in a separate pot and add them to personal soup bowls as needed. Leftover soup is stored separately from the noodles and reheated the same way. It’s less convenient but preferable to having mushy/disintegrated noodles.

      By the by, I have found that my rice noodles will hold up to being stored in some dishes with more of an oil/heavy cream-based sauce. So I will mix them into a prepared creamy pesto tomato dish, baked macaroni… I try to see this as a positive rather than dwell on the limitations of GF noodles.

      Maybe Barilla noodles would hold up better to liquids? I have wondered about them. Personally I hardly use them because I try to avoid conventionally grown corn.

      • — Lindsay on October 12, 2022
      • Reply
  • Delicious and simple! I really missed the rice wine vinegar I normally use for seasoning, and added a splash at the end. We also prefer barley, hominy, or spoon-sized pasta like starts or wagon wheels. Thanks for another great recipe for fall and winter.

    • — Rebecca on October 8, 2022
    • Reply
  • I made it this morning – it’s everything you want chicken noodle soup to be.
    Delicious!

    • — Walter on October 8, 2022
    • Reply
  • I made this for dinner tonight. It was GLORIOUS! Thank you for such a great recipe.

    • — Susan McMillan on October 6, 2022
    • Reply
  • Could a person use the whole cooked chickens, then shred it from Costco or other stores instead?
    Thank you

    • — Cheryl on October 6, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Cheryl, Unfortunately, I think you really need to cook the chicken in the soup to flavor the broth, otherwise it won’t have that homemade chicken soup taste. Sorry!

      • — Jenn on October 6, 2022
      • Reply
    • We do! I pull the meat and then simmer the bones for several hours, usually on my woodstove. However, the flavor profile of this recipe is an improvement and takes less time.

      • — Rebecca on October 8, 2022
      • Reply
  • This looks delicious, and is almost identical to the soup we’ve always made. This week we saw that ATK now recommends “Better Than Bouillon” (which I have used for a few years) over the boxed broths for flavor, cost, convenience, much longer time that it stays good after opening, and lower sodium. Also, since we prefer “homemade” noodles, we now use the Reames frozen egg noodles for their similar-to-homemade texture and flavor. They take a bit longer to cook than dried noodles.
    Since finding your cookbooks and website I use them so frequently/constantly that I can’t even remember what recipes we used to like. Thank you!

    • — Judy on October 6, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Judy, I agree, Better Than Bouillon is a great product. So glad you enjoy the recipes!

      • — Jenn on October 6, 2022
      • Reply
  • Hello. I am a total and complete fan and have made countless of your recipes because they emerge just as the recipe says. I am having trouble with this one – I appreciate that the intent is to get this on the table quickly. I use my chicken to create the tasty broth – adding 8 cups of chicken broth just seems over the top, especially with the rising prices of food.

    Thanks for all your recipes! Joanne

    • — Joanne Reimer on October 6, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Joanne, You could definitely use bouillon here to cut down on cost.

      • — Jenn on October 12, 2022
      • Reply
  • Perfection!!!!!

    • — Lisa on October 6, 2022
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn! Looks great! Is there a reason you just throw the veggies in to simmer instead of browning them first as with other soups? Thanks!

    • — Alana on October 6, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Alana, It avoids having to remove the chicken from the pan while the veggies cook, so one less step, and they cook long enough in the broth that it’s really not necessary to cook them in oil or chicken fat first.

      • — Jenn on October 6, 2022
      • Reply
  • I can attest to how easy and delicious this soup is! I’ve been making it since I watched an America’s Test Kitchen episode on PBS a year or so ago and wrote down the recipe. Just made it again a week ago, using a 2 1/2 lb package of chicken legs with back attached (good bones) and usually use about 4 to 5 oz of spaghetti that I break up into about 2 to 3 in pieces. It’s a winner! Thanks Jenn for including this in your recipes!

    • — Sandra H. on October 6, 2022
    • Reply

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