Chicken Noodle Soup

Homemade chicken noodle soup, made from scratch, light and nourishing.

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 2 hours
  • Yield: Makes about 3 quarts of soup.

Ingredients

  • One 3 1/2-pound chicken, cut into parts—breast, thighs, backs, wings and neck (if available)
  • 5 carrots (2 carrots scrubbed clean, but not peeled, cut into 2 inch chunks for the stock, 3 carrots peeled and cut into 1/4-inch rounds for the soup)
  • 5 ribs of celery (2 ribs cut into 2 inch pieces for the stock, 3 ribs cut into 1/4-inch thick slices for the soup), including celery tops for the stock
  • 1 onion, quartered (for stock, peel on is okay)
  • 3 cloves of garlic, peel on, cut in half
  • 2 to 3 sprigs of fresh thyme (or a teaspoon of dried)
  • 1 bunch of parsley
  • 5 whole peppercorns
  • Salt
  • 8 to 12 ounces of  egg noodles (depending on how noodle-y you want your soup)
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Method

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1 Remove the breast meat from the breast bones, and the thigh meat from the thigh bone, place in a bowl, cover and chill in the refrigerator until needed towards the end of preparing the soup. Discard the breast and thigh skin. Remove and discard excess fat from chicken pieces. Place breast and thigh bones, the back, leg, neck, and wings in a large (8 quart) pot. Cover with water. Bring to a full rolling boil.  Boil for 5 minutes, skimming away and discarding the scum that comes to the surface. After 5 minutes, remove from heat, drain off the water, rinse the bones and the pot.

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2 Return the now parboiled bones to the clean pot.  Add a couple carrots and a couple celery ribs, each cut into 2 inch chunks, and some celery tops if you have them, to the pot with the chicken. (Fennel tops or leek greens can be added too, if you have them.) Add the quartered onion, garlic cloves, thyme, one-half of the parsley, and the peppercorns to the pot.  Cover with an inch or two of water (about 3 quarts).  Bring to a low simmer (about 185°F) and let simmer (the stock should be just barely bubbling), partially covered, for 1 1/2 hours.

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3 At the end of 1 1/2 hours strain out the bones and vegetables, reserving the stock. If you want, set aside and strip the bones of any remaining meat. After parboiling and 1 1/2 hours of cooking the meat will be rather dry and tasteless, though you can use it in a chicken salad.  Rinse out the pot and return the stock to the pot.

 4 Taste the stock. It should be rather bland because up to now, no salt has been added. Add salt to taste. As a guideline, for 3 quarts of stock, start with 2 tablespoons of salt.

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5 Add the sliced carrots and celery to the stock, bring to a simmer.  Cut the chicken breast and thigh meat into bite-sized pieces.  Add to the pot with the carrots, celery, and stock.  Add the egg noodles and return to a simmer. Note that the noodles will expand substantially in the soup broth as they cook. Simmer for until the egg noodles are just barely cooked through, al dente (about 5 minutes or so, depending on your package of noodles), and the chicken is just cooked through. Stir in a handful of chopped fresh parsley.

Add freshly ground black pepper, more thyme, and more salt to taste.

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Comments

  1. Gerry @ Foodness Gracious

    Mmm, love those big fat noodles and chunks of chicken. Pure comfort…

  2. Linnea Smith

    When I make my stock for my chicken noodle soup, I sometimes add some cabbage to give it a different flavor.

  3. Jayne

    I’ve never met a chicken noodles soup that I didn’t like. It’s predictable and comforting. I use your method when doing this. Cut up the meat and add it in later. Sometimes i have it with rice. Even better!

  4. Mary Ellen

    Sometimes I make soft dumplings for a change of pace. Light and fluffy cooked in the soup instead of noodles–what a treat!

  5. Robyn

    I’m always on a quest to make the perfect chicken soup. I’ve found a couple of things add to the flavour substantially – including a leek in the stock, and roasting the chicken first, eating a bit (of course) and then using the leftover carcass and any drippings in the stock, and using the leftover meat in the soup. Having been roasted, the meat is so much more flavourful than if I just poach it in the broth, and I think the caramelization on parts of the roasted carcass also adds deep flavour!

  6. shirley farley

    A freezer full of home made stock is a treasure beyond price. Eager to try your method….’til now I’ve always made the stock from leftover roasted chicken or turkey.

  7. Judy @Savoring Today

    You are right about chicken soup being the most comforting. Dealing with a head cold right now, so this looks especially wonderful right this minute. I like the idea about the hard boil and starting with fresh water to finish making the stock — great idea.

  8. LJ

    I like to brine my chicken for a few hours, up to over night to give the meat a nicely seasoned flavor. I drain the brine water out and catch all the spice bits and then use those in the broth boil. I get my brine mix from The Spice House.

  9. Tasha Zee

    Perfect for the chill going on outside right now… warm and yummy!

  10. T. Hannibal Gay

    Thank you Elise for that tip on parboiling the bones and meat for five minutes. I have always filtered the stock using cheese cloth. Your way is cleaner and much easier. Thanks.

  11. anonymous

    My Greek mama uses the juice of one lemon when making stock. The acid helps liberate more of the minerals from the bones of the chicken, and lemon makes everything taste better, too (pre-cooking and post-cooking)!

  12. Marl

    And of course…one can use rice noodles if they are gluten intolerant. Thinking GF lasagne noodles cut into thirds would work well. Anyway….old style comfort food. Great stuff.

  13. Susan

    I’ve found that the “no yolks” noodles seem to hold up better in the soup than regular egg noodles. They don’t get quite as soft and soggy when the pot of soup sits for a couple of days…if it lasts that long!

  14. liliyasrecipes.com

    Love chicken noodle, I usally cook noodles on the side and pour hot broth over noodles. mmm

  15. Lindsey

    This looks wonderful. I made chicken and rice soup for dinner tonight.

    I always start with a roast chicken; we have that for dinner one night and then take the extra meat off and make stock with the bones. I usually make two more batches of stock from the bones over the next several days. The subsequent batches aren’t as flavorful, but they are still better than the store-bought stuff! Making several meals from one bird helps me justify spending $20 on a chicken from a local farm.

  16. Dipti Joshi

    Yesterday, I made ‘chicken clear soup’ but I felt it was not filling. Your soup recipe is perfect. I am going to try it out tonight.

  17. Sandra B

    Okay, question:
    if you end up throwing out the water you parboil the bones in, then pray tell, what’s the point in skimming off the scum? Couldn’t you just throw it out with the rest of the parboil water?
    I’d like to try your method, just want to understand your madness ;)
    I’ve been searching endlessly for the ‘perfect’ chicken soup recipe! Hope I’ve found it…
    thank you!

    • Elise

      Great question Sandra. You are totally right. I just find it hard to resist skimming that scum. I also think that skimming it leaves the chicken less likely to have any residual scum after straining out the liquid, as it might if I forget to rinse the chicken after it is strained.

      • Sandra B

        Ah, sounds reasonable. Thanks!
        Can’t wait to try this.

      • Thyria

        Martha Stewart says to never use the word “scum” when talking about your food. She says to use the word ” foam”. Just saying, lol.

        • Elise

          LOL is right! Tell you what, take a look at it and let me know what it most resembles, foam or scum. Actually it’s more like foamy scum IMHO.

  18. fabiola@notjustbaked

    Mmmmm, the way you describe this soup is really making me wish I had noodles in my house right now. A good stock and chicken soup is so comforting, warming, and good for the soul.

  19. Bobby

    Warm and Comforting, yummy. Sounds real good about now. Purchased some Campbell’s chicken noodle in the short can and I declare I could count about 10 noodles in the whole can. I don’t recommend the small wide cans, but the larger cans have more noodles. Even Campbell’s is skimping on the noodles. Shame on Campbell’s!

  20. Michelle

    Finally!! I have been waiting for simplyrecipes to put out a chicken noodle soup recipe forever! Thankyouthankyouthankyou.

  21. marsha hayes

    I made your soup, following your directions carefully, yesterday. We all loved it. It was definitely worth the trouble to skim the scum and rinse the pan between steps. I ended up with a clear, flavorful soup.

  22. Lori Bonzelaar

    I found that one tablespoon of salt was perfect for this recipe. Very good. 2 sons loved it!

  23. Lisa

    Someone told me once to use star anise, which really just adds that little something to chicken noodle but I think next time I make it I’ll also add peppercorns, as that never occurred to me. Thanks!

  24. Shannon @ TheDrinkBuzz

    I was just thinking about making chicken soup next week, I’m glad I stumbled upon your recipe, it looks delicious :)

  25. Laura

    Great idea about the first boil to get rid of the scum…so simple, yet I never thought of it. One thing I do is partially cook the noodles before adding them to the soup to get rid of some of the starch. Also, if I know all the soup won’t be eaten within a couple days, I portion out some of the broth before adding the noodles. Then when I use the left-over broth later, I add more noodles. (I guess I have a thing about how soggy the noodles get after a few days.)

  26. Kristine Norberg

    That is my favorite chicken noodle soup. That’s how my Mom made it :-) Like your step by step with pics also :-)

  27. Lesterk

    Sick kids at home. I made this delicious soup. Lets hope it works its magic.

  28. cash s

    another amazing recipe. thanks, Elise, for continuing to be my go-to place for great ideas that produce tasty results. last week it was the kahlua brownies hehe.

    muchas gracias
    cash

  29. Paul M.

    I always boil the noodles separately and rinse off the surface starch before adding them to the soup. Otherwise, I get a goopier stew-like consistency. What brand of noodles did you use to get such a clear broth if they were cooked in the stock? This is a new one.

    • Elise

      Hi Paul – just the Whole Foods house brand (I think it’s called 365?) of egg noodles. Love them.

  30. Cheri

    Elise-I just had to let you and everyone know that this soup was by far the tastiest (and easiest) classic chicken noodle soup I ever made. I made it exactly as written–Perfect! My broth usually has blah taste…not this time! You’re suggestion of water and salt amounts made all the difference, I believe. Thank you so, so much!!

  31. Karen

    Couple of things… I have never, ever heard of parboiling the bones before making stock. Can you explain the reasoning for this? What purpose does it serve? I have been using the method described by Sally Fallon in her book Nourishing Traditions. Here is a link to an article by her for the Weston A. Price Organization describing why broth is so healthy and explaining her method. http://www.westonaprice.org/food-features/broth-is-beautiful
    Second…
    I grew up on canned Campbell’s soups. What you eat as a kid is your comfort food, right? Well, when I started cooking from scratch in an attempt to get rid of preservatives, chemicals and such garbage from my diet, it took me a while to adjust my palate. Sometimes I crave the chemicals. sigh. I made homemade chicken broth and used it in a variety of recipes and loved it. But for some reason my chicken noodle soup never tasted “right”. When I got sick, I wanted my campbells. Well, I recently found out the secret ingredient in Campbell’s chicken noodle soup and was surprised to find out it wasn’t even a chemical. It is TUMERIC. I started adding it to my foods because it is a natural anti-inflamitory. I added to my chicken broth and surprise! It was the missing taste. I have tried so many chicken noodle soup recipes online and they have always fell short. Tumeric adds a golden color and just the right flavor. Just FYI to anyone else who is trying to capture the flavor they were used to growing up.

    Thanks for all your recipes!

    • Elise

      Hello Karen, I think the first place I encountered boiling the bones was in an Adele Davis book. The idea is that it releases a lot of the gunk that you would be skimming throughout the cooking, but it does so all at once. I started using that method for when making stock from chicken feet. It was mentioned in virtually every recipe for chicken feet stock that I researched. And then I was reminded of the method by my friend Jaden, and again from a guy delivering some furniture to my house the other day. Thank you for the suggestion about turmeric. Love that spice. It’s so good for you they sell it in capsule form as a supplement! It does tend to stain everything it touches though.

      • Karen

        Thanks for the explanation. I started doing home made broth with Sally Fallon’s method and never actually “researched” it. Hers made some fine broth so I just stuck to that. I’ve reviewed other blogger’s methods and soup recipes … mostly looking for variations in chicken soup seasonings, but never saw the parboil method before.

        Do you have any idea what is in the “gunk” that is skimmed off? Is there a particular chemical that comes out? Is it like removing the phytic acid when soaking beans? How harmful could it be if it were not removed?

  32. Kevin

    I just made this and it was great! I like to get a good serving of vegetables with my meat so I thought I could try adding broccoli. I made the stock using the thick stalks from the broccoli, and then I used the florets for the actual soup. It turned out to be a great addition!

  33. margaux

    Just made this today, it’s awesome !!! I didn’t change anything except used angel hair pasta !
    thank you !

  34. angie

    Just so you all know, it’s really good dipping butter croissants in them!

  35. Amy

    Came here looking for the perfect chicken noodle soup. I am going to try this recipe. I like the addition of thyme and parsley.

    Though, I was shocked about the hard boil to bring about the ‘scum”. My grandmother and mother taught me to make beef vegetable soup using soup bones, and that the only way to avoid the scum is to never let it boil. It works. The ‘scum’ is what creates the gelatin. It’s that goodness, which makes a perfect broth.

    I use onion skins and turmeric to get that golden color.

    • Elise

      Hi Amy,
      I think if you look through the comments you’ll see plenty of discussion about the blanching of the bones first. The “scum” isn’t actually what creates the gelatin. The gelatin in the bone marrow and cartilage is where the soup’s gelatin comes from, and requires a long cooking time to be released into the stock. The scum is just from surface protein on the bones and meat. Blanching the bones helps the surface proteins coagulate so that you can remove them, making it much easier to have a beautiful clear stock. You can also get a clear stock from never letting your stock get anywhere close to even a simmer, but that’s hard to do in practice. So, a well established way of helping one have a clear stock is to blanch the bones first. You could also roast the bones first for a darker stock.
      Try it, you’ll see! This approach makes a beautifully flavored stock for the soup.

  36. Amy

    Elise, Thank you for the response– I am on it. . . So far, so good. I cracked the big bones in half to better leach out the marrow.

    Next time, I’ll experiment and try it your way.

    For now, the house smells… ohh soo good!

  37. Miriam

    Awesome recipe – thanks!!

  38. Es

    Great recipe. I used corn pasta to keep it GF. I suppose corn would work better as rice make the water a little murky and didn’t want it taking away from the broth.

  39. Joe Bob Jones

    Throw away the skin? No thanks. Skin and bones go in mine! Plus, I simmer the stock for at least 4 hours to get the gelatin going. So silky. If it solidifies in the fridge, I’m happy. A sprig of rosemary in with the thyme, splash of soy sauce for umami, and the juice of one lemon brightens it beautifully. I’m a soup whisperer…

  40. LisaC

    Not a big fan of the sweetness of so many carrots and the thyme. I go heavier on the onion and celery and toss in a handful of parsley. Two carrots is plenty for me. If wanting more carrot for looks in the finished product, I will cook separately and add. And a big squeeze of lemon really finishes the taste.

  41. Judith

    The biggest secret to great chicken soup is the chicken – fryers just don’t do it. I prefer a capon but will use a roaster when necessary – and no, they are not the same as newbie clerks at the poultry store where I purchase all my poultry have tried to tell me. My Russian grandmother made the very best soup, IMO – she added dill.

  42. Darlene Mood

    Just want to tell you about one ingredient that I learned from my grandmother. It adds a taste that absolutely tops off the resulting soup. Following your directions for preparing veggies in two different way–one for the hard boil and the other for the soup–add some parsnip prepared like the carrots, that is, some chunks for the first step (I use bigger ones for this step) and then sliced rings for the soup. It adds a magical dimension to the taste of the soup.

    • Elise

      I love parsnips! They would make a wonderful addition to this soup. Thank you for the suggestion Darlene!

  43. FrankW

    Made this Sunday and it is delish! Substituted the noodles with rice (white Carolina) that was first browned in a combo extra virgin olive oil and butter. Added in some bok choi and used a large onion. So very good!