Creamy Chicken Soup

Family Dinner IdeasSoup and StewComfort FoodChicken Soup

This easy Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup skips the roux, cuts the cream, and gets a healthy protein and vitamin boost with the help of puréed cannellini beans. All of the flavor and creaminess, with none of the guilt!

Photography Credit: Alison Bickel

When the winds outside are barreling down from the north, and snow has covered every speck of green as far as the eye can see, I crave this soup.

HEALTHIER CREAMY CHICKEN SOUP

In most cases, the base is heavy cream, a roux made of fat and flour, or both. I love a good stick-to-your ribs soup as much as the next person, but for this Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup, I wanted to lighten it up a bit and increase the protein, without adding loads of heavy cream or making a roux.

To do that, I pureed a couple cans of cannellini beans. It gives the soup a creamy texture, without the extra step of cooking a roux or the heavy caloric load of heavy whipping cream.

I do finish the soup with a little cream to add a velvety texture that only cream can provide, but you can leave that out if you’re dairy-free or just want to skip it.

A white bowl filled with the best creamy chicken noodle soup set on a grey linen against a blue background with a bundle of thyme near by and a hunk of sourdough bread..

WHAT’S THE SCOOP ON CANNELLINI BEANS?

Beans are a great source of plant-based protein. One can of cannellini beans contains 28 grams of protein and 28 grams of dietary fiber. That’s the same amount of protein as one skinless chicken thigh!

Regardless of the nutritional value of beans, I eat them because they are affordable, and they taste good. For this soup, they add just the body I wanted. The texture isn’t exactly that of soup made with cream, which is why I add a little at the end, but honestly, you don’t miss it.

WHAT DOES APPLE CIDER VINEGAR DO?

I like to finish most of my soups with some kind of acid—usually vinegar, lime juice, or lemon juice.

In this case, I use apple cider vinegar. Acid in soup brightens the other flavors similar to the role salt plays on flavor. All the flavors of pepper, bay, garlic, and chicken are there; vinegar just helps you notice them more.

STORING AND FREEZING CREAMY CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP

This soup will keep in the fridge for about five days. Just reheat it on the stovetop or in the microwave. The soup will thicken as it sits, because the noodles will continue to absorb some of the liquid.

You can freeze this soup for up to three months. I like to freeze it in individual containers and reheat it for my lunches. Just make sure you leave about half an inch of headspace for the soup to expand once frozen.

LOOKING FOR MORE CHICKEN SOUP IDEAS?

Creamy Chicken Soup Recipe

  • Prep time: 20 minutes
  • Cook time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 large carrots, diced
  • 4 celery stalks, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 large onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 8 cups chicken stock, store-bought or homemade
  • 4 bone-in chicken thighs (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 8 ounces egg noodles
  • 2 (14-ounce) cans cannellini beans
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Method

1 Sauté the vegetables: Heat olive oil in a stock pot or Dutch oven set over medium heat. Add the vegetables, garlic, salt, pepper, thyme, and bay leaf. Stir only 2 or 3 times, then let it sit for 10 minutes, stir the veggies every 1 to 2 minutes for the next 6 minutes until you notice some color developing on the vegetables. You want them to brown a bit, but not too much.

Putting vegetables in a pot for homemade chicken noodle soup. Carrots, onions and celery in the bottom of a dutch oven for easy to make homemade healthy creamy chicken noodle soup

2 Add the stock and cook the chicken: Add the chicken stock, scraping any fond that has developed on the bottom of the pan. Bring to boil, then reduce the heat to medium to a simmer.

If the thighs have skin, remove it and trim them of any excess fat. Add the thighs to the simmering stock and let it cook uncovered for 20 minutes. If any foam forms on the surface, just skim it off.

Stock being used to delgaze the bottom of the pan filled with vegetables. Trimming chicken thighs for homemade chicken noodle soupRaw chicken thighs being placed into simmering stock.

3 Cool the chicken and cook the noodles: Check the chicken for doneness (160°F). If it isn’t cooked through, cook for an additional 5 minutes.

Use tongs to remove the thighs from the soup, and transfer to a cutting board to cool. Bring the stock up to a boil, add the noodles and cook for 8 minutes or until al dente. Reduce the heat to medium low. Remove the meat from the bones.

Temping chickenA blue pot full of homemade chicken noodle soup.

4 Make the bean puree: In a medium sized bowl, add the drained beans, 1/2 cup water, and apple cider vinegar. Puree using an immersion blender (or you can do this in a food processor or countertop blender).

Pureeing beans in a white bowl with an immersion blender for homemade creamy chicken noodle soup

5 Finish and serve: Add the meat back to the pot to reheat. Stir in the bean puree, along with 1/2 cup heavy cream and chopped parsley. Taste and add additional salt or vinegar to suit your fancy.

A blue cast iron dutch oven with easy to make homemade creamy chicken noodle soup and cream stirred into it.

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Summer Miller

Summer Miller is the Senior Editor for Simply Recipes based in Nebraska. Her work has appeared in Bon Appetit, Eating Well, Grit, SAVEUR, and Every Day with Rachael Ray, among others. Her first book is New Prairie Kitchen (Agate Publishing, 2015).

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6 Comments / Reviews

No ImageCreamy Chicken Soup

Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Julie

    Easy to make and delicious!

    xxxxxyyyyy

    Show Replies (1)
  2. Miriam

    I’ve made chicken soup for 40 years mostly for my family and then I made your recipe! It is so delicious, refined & the flavors are wonderful. I’m very impressed.
    Well done
    Also you showed me how to not over cook my chicken anymore ~ Take it out and put a meat thermometer in it. Simple
    I just never thought used it this way.
    You have a new fan
    Miriam

    xxxxxyyyyy

    Show Replies (1)
  3. Timbo

    I don’t see a single bean in the picture of the finished soup. What’s up with that?

    Show Replies (1)
A white bowl filled with the best creamy chicken noodle soup set on a grey linen against a blue background with a bundle of thyme near by and a hunk of sourdough bread..Creamy Chicken Soup