This chicken noodle soup is one of the tastiest, most comforting, meals that also happens to be super simple to throw together. This no-fail recipe is sure to become your new go-to.
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Chicken noodle soup — gosh, just those three words alone have a way of making me feel cozy and taken care of. I have to admit, I (Brandi…hi!) am not a huge soup person, but one of the soups that I can really get on board with is a really good, homemade, chicken noodle soup, and let me tell you, this one is the best I’ve ever had. Here’s why:
- It’s made with chicken thighs – I love the flavor that the chicken thighs add to the soup (especially if you’re pan-searing them vs. boiling them in the broth). The fat from the chicken thighs just brings a flavor that chicken breasts can’t bring!
- It’s got the perfect noodle to liquid ratio – This soup is loaded with veggies, chicken, and noodles…not just broth. I just don’t love SUPER brothy (read: lacking in good-stuff) soups, so I can really appreciate good-stuff to liquid ratio here.
If you’re looking for another REALLY delicious recipe featuring chicken thighs, this Chicken Thigh Pesto Bake is a great one to try.
Here’s what you’ll need for this really delicious, soul-filling soup:
- Extra-Virgin Olive Oil – to start, you’ll need 1 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil to cook your chicken (and saute your aromatics) in!
- Chicken Thighs – you’ll also want to grab 1½ pounds of boneless, skinless chicken thighs. Thighs provide such delicious flavor here, but if you’d rather use chicken breasts, that’s fine too.
- Salt and Pepper – a teaspoon of salt and a ½ teaspoon of pepper will be used to season the thighs before tossing them into the pot.
- Carrots – carrots are a must in chicken noodle soup! For this one, you’ll need 5 medium carrots that have been chopped into ½-inch coins.
- Celery – celery is another classic chicken noodle soup veggie! 5 stalks of thinly sliced celery will head into the pot too.
- Yellow Onion – ½ of a diced yellow onion will provide some really delicious flavor to the soup.
- Garlic – 2 cloves of grated garlic (a microplane makes grating garlic so easy) provide such a depth of flavor to the finished product.
- Chicken Broth – 12 cups (96 fluid ounces) of chicken broth provides the liquid base for the soup.
- Bay Leaves – for some added flavor, 2 bay leaves will hang out in the soup pot until it’s ready to serve.
- Noodles – chicken NOODLE soup has to include noodles! You’ll need 12 ounces of noodles (gluten-free rotini is pictured here) for your soup. Any small shape (think: rotini, penne, bowtie, etc.) will work great.
- Lemon – to brighten everything up, you’ll also need the juice from one lemon (about 2 tablespoons-worth of lemon juice).
- Parsley – fresh, chopped parsley will finish off the soup beautifully!
How to Make Chicken Noodle Soup
The process is really easy — here’s everything you’ll need to do:
- Add olive oil to the pot + season the chicken – to start, you’ll need to add the olive oil to a large pot on the stovetop over medium heat. While the pot is heating up, season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper.
- Pan sear the thighs – once the pot is hot, pan sear the thighs in the pot for 3 minutes on one side, then flip and cook for another 2-3 minutes, until cooked through.
- Remove the thighs – pull the chicken thighs out of the pot and place them on a cutting board to cool just slightly.
- Add the carrots, celery, onion, and garlic to the pot + slice the chicken – once the thighs are out of the pot, add the carrots, celery, onion, and garlic, and cook for about 7-10 minutes (stirring occasionally), until the vegetables are softened and slightly browned on the outside. While the veggies are cooking, slice the chicken thighs up.
- Add the chicken, broth, bay leaves, and noodles to the pot – add the sliced chicken thighs to the pot with the softened vegetables. Then, stir in the chicken broth and bay leaves. Cover the pot and bring to a simmer, then add the noodles and cook according to the package instructions.
- Add the lemon juice + salt and pepper (if needed) – once the noodles are cooked through, stir in the lemon juice. Then, taste the soup and add salt and pepper if needed.
- Garnish + serve – garnish the soup with parsley, serve, and enjoy!
Chicken Noodle Soup Video
Frequently Asked Questions
While pan searing the chicken in the pot before the rest of the ingredients go in really allows it to brown and build a ton of flavor, it isn’t necessary. You could definitely add the raw chicken thighs into the pot once the broth goes in, letting them boil to cook through, and then pull them out and slice them once fully cooked. Either way works just fine, but our preferred method is to sear them ahead of time!
You can! The chicken will definitely cook in the boiling broth. Once it’s fully cooked, you’ll just need to pull them out of the soup, slice (or shred) them, and then add them back to the soup.
The noodles actually absorb a lot of the broth, so it’s really unlikely that you’ll need to thicken the soup any further. If you feel like it’s still too thin once the noodles are cooked, though, you could definitely combine a bit of cornstarch (I’d start with 2 tablespoons) + water in a small bowl, stir it to create a flurry, and then stir that into the soup.
It is! Each of the ingredients included in this chicken noodle soup has something to bring to the table nutritionally, so unless you’re intolerant to one of the listed ingredients, it should be a really healthy option.
With the flavor that the seared chicken + sauteed veggies add to the soup, you really don’t need a whole lot else. If you’re looking to really kick up the flavor and put a fun spin on traditional chicken noodle soup, though, you could add a couple tablespoons of your favorite red pepper sauce (like Frank’s Red Hot)! My mom actually does this sometimes, and it’s really yummy. You could also stir in a dollop or two of pesto for another fun take (again, thanks mom!). Lastly, fresh lemon juice is always a great way to punch up the flavor of this soup just before you serve it.
The reason here is actually similar to the reason you feel so good (and sleepy) after eating Thanksgiving turkey — the chicken is actually a great source of tryptophan, aiding in the production of both melatonin and serotonin (hormones that are responsible for rest and mood stabilization). It’s also just a really nutrient-dense meal, which always helps to boost well-being.
You can. You can go one of two routes here: either freeze any leftover soup you have, OR make a double batch and freeze an entire batch for a busy night in the future. If you’re freezing leftovers, the noodles will have already been added to the soup, and there is a chance that they’ll fall apart slightly through the freeze and reheat process (it’ll still be yummy, though). If you’re freezing a double batch, I’d recommend waiting to add the noodles until you reheat: pop the frozen soup into a large pot on the stovetop, let it thaw completely, bring it to a boil, and add the noodles to cook at that point.
It’s best to enjoy frozen soup, whether you’ve added the noodles yet or not, within 5 months.
Best Chicken Noodle Soup Recipe
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 pounds of boneless skinless chicken thighs
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 5 medium carrots peeled and cut into ½-inch thick coins
- 5 stalks celery thinly sliced
- ½ yellow onion diced
- 2 cloves garlic grated
- 12 cups chicken broth 96 fluid ounces
- 2 bay leaves
- 12 ounces noodles
- Juice of one lemon
- Fresh chopped parsley for garnish
- Add the olive oil to a large pot over medium heat, and season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper.
- Once the pot is hot, pan sear the thighs in the pot for 3 minutes on one side, then flip and cook for another 2-3 minutes, until cooked through.
- Pull the chicken thighs out of the pot and transfer them to a cutting board.
- Add the carrots, celery, onion, and garlic to the pot, and cook for about 7-10 minutes, until the vegetables are softened and slightly browned on the outside.
- While the vegetables are cooking, slice the chicken thighs.
- Add the sliced chicken thighs to the pot with the vegetables. Stir in the chicken broth and bay leaves. Cover the pot and bring to a simmer, then add the noodles and cook according to the package instructions.
- Once the noodles are cooked through, stir in the lemon juice, taste and add salt and pepper if needed, then garnish with parsley and serve!