If you’re looking for a fast chicken noodle soup recipe, look elsewhere. BUT, if you want a rich, flavorful, and slow-cooked homemade chicken noodle soup recipe, make this the one you try. With its rich, homemade chicken broth, this soup is the primo comfort meal. Read on to learn how to make your own rich and homemade chicken broth!
Who else relies on comforting soups to get them out of a rain-induced funk? If you grew up eating your Mom’s (or Dad’s!) chicken noodle soup, this recipe is sure to bring back all the best memories of that delicious homemade soup.
The absolute most critical part of chicken noodle soup is the homemade chicken broth. The broth is going to be the vehicle for all your ingredients, so you want that broth to pack as much flavor as possible.
My chicken soup is a process, so buckle up. The good news is that it is well worth the wait!
Let’s figure out how to make the best homemade chicken broth.
First, the bird. I use a whole, 3-pound chicken. You can cut it up, sure. But I don’t bother. I find it’s easier to remove the meat from a whole bird rather than fishing out the individual pieces. The most important part? Don’t skimp on the fat! If using pieces, be sure to use a mix of dark and light meat, and be sure to use bone-in, skin-on.
Next, the herbs. My broth is loaded with tons of fresh herbs like rosemary, thyme, fresh bay leaves, and parsley. This just creates that je ne sais quoi quality to the broth.
Finally, the aromatics. Again, don’t skimp! Use a few ribs of celery (with the leaves!), a whole onion, plenty of black peppercorns, and a whole head of garlic. Don’t bother peeling the garlic; just cut it in half cross-wise and toss that baby in there. You’ll be using the garlic later, so try to keep the cloves of garlic in the paper as much as possible!
Once all your ingredients are in the pot, cover everything with water by 1 inch. Season liberally with salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 3–4 hours, skimming off any foam that floats to the surface.
Once the chicken is nearly falling off the bone, use tongs to remove the chicken and the garlic from the pot and transfer it to a large bowl. If some of the garlic fell out of the paper, fish it out with a spoon and transfer it to the bowl. Let the chicken cool.
This is a step that may seem redundant, but you must continue to hard-simmer the broth. There are a lot of factors here so I can’t tell you exactly how much you want to hard-simmer it for, but you want to keep going until you’re left with a very dark, salty, and rich broth. My golden rule for the most perfect golden chicken broth is at least 30 minutes of hard simmering.
From there, simply strain the broth through a sieve and discard the solids. At this point, you can allow the broth to cool overnight so you can let the fat congeal and remove it. Personally, I like a fatty chicken broth, so I continue on with the recipe and remove any fat the next day right from the soup.
How to make the chicken noodle soup:
Now that you’ve learned how to make a delicious homemade chicken broth, let’s make our chicken noodle soup. Wipe out the stockpot, pick the chicken from the bones. Discard the skin and the carcass. Pop the garlic out of the paper and into a small bowl and set it aside.
Heat a little oil in the pot and add diced onion, carrots, and celery ribs and cook for 10 minutes until softened and beginning to char in places. Next, melt butter into the pot. Once it’s frothy, add the garlic and mash it into the aromatics until a smooth paste forms.
From there simply add the shredded chicken and the broth. Add about 3–4 cups more water and bring to a boil. You want to cover the soup ingredients by about 2 inches. Simmer the soup for about 20–30 minutes or until the carrots are tender.
Now, depending on your preference you can either add 1 cup of short pasta (like fusilli, farfalle, or orzo) straight to the broth and cook until al dente or you can cook the pasta separately and ladle the soup over top. It’s your choice! I don’t mind a little swelling of the noodles, so I add them straight to the broth and cook until al dente.
To finish the soup, simply stir in more minced fresh herbs–I used dill and parsley–along with the juice from one lemon and a touch of white pepper and simmer for 5 minutes more. That’s it!
It requires a lot of time, but not a TON of effort but the payoff is well worth it.
Looking for more soup recipes? Check my archives!
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Easy Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup
- Large stock pot
- Heatproof bowls
- 3- pound whole chicken giblets removed and discarded
- 5 ribs celery roughly chopped
- 1 onion quartered
- 1 head garlic halved lengthwise
- 5 sprigs thyme
- 1 sprig rosemary
- 2-3 fresh bay leaves or 1-2 dry bay leaves
- 1 bunch parsley torn or cut in half
- 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
Chicken noodle soup:
- 1 tablespoon oil for sautéing
- 1 yellow onion peeled and diced
- 4 ribs celery with leaves trimmed and diced
- 5 carrots trimmed, peeled, and diced
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1½ cups noodles of choice such as fusilli, farfalle, orzo, or wide egg noodles
- ¼ teaspoon white pepper
- 1 tablespoon fresh dill minced
- ⅓ cup fresh parsley minced
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
Simmer the stock:
- Place the chicken in a stock pot. Add the celery, onion, garlic, thyme, rosemary, bay leaves, parsley, and black peppercorns on top. Season liberally with salt. Add water, covering the chicken by 1 inch.
- Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for 3–4 hours, skimming off any foam or scum that floats to the top.
Cool the chicken:
- Remove the chicken and garlic halves from the broth and set them aside cool.
Hard simmer the broth:
- Bring the broth to a hard simmer (just below boiling) for 30 to 40 minutes or until it reduces slightly and takes on a dark golden color.
Strain the broth:
- Strain the broth through a fine-mesh sieve. Discard solids. Wipe out the pot and return it to the stovetop.
Prepare the chicken and garlic:
- Discard chicken skin and pick meat from the bones. Shred the meat into bite-sized pieces. Discard carcass. Pop the garlic from the paper and transfer to a small bowl.
- At this point, you may refrigerate the broth, chicken, and cooked garlic for 4-8 hours and remove the congealed fat from the top of the broth. Or you can continue on with the recipe as-is and simply remove any congealed chicken fat from the soup the next day.
Sauté the soup aromatics:
- Heat 1 tablespoon oil in the stockpot over medium heat. Add the diced onion, celery, and carrots and cook, stirring occasionally, for at least 10 minutes until they begin to soften and char. Season lightly with salt.
Cook the garlic paste:
- Melt the butter into the aromatics. Once bubbly, add the reserved, cooked garlic and mash it into the aromatics until a smooth paste forms.
Simmer the soup:
- Add the shredded chicken to the pot along with the strained broth. Add an additional 3–4 cups water or enough to cover the soup ingredients by 2 inches. Simmer for an additional 20–30 minutes or until the carrots are tender. Note: you may need to add more water, as necessary, depending on how salty and reduced your broth became from the hard simmer. Just taste and add ½ cup of water at a time as necessary!
Cook the noodles:
- Taste the broth and adjust the seasonings as necessary. Bring to a boil. Add the noodles and cook for 8–12 minutes or until just al dente.
Finish the chicken noodle soup:
- Once the noodles are tender, reduce heat and add the white pepper, dill, parsley, and lemon juice. Cook an additional 5 minutes. Once the herbs are bright green and the noodles are tender, turn off the heat.
- Ladle the soup into bowls and serve with crusty bread. Enjoy!