Growing up, my mom’s chicken corn soup was one of the most comforting meals we used to eat. It’s hearty, rich, and perfect for a cold day.
When I think of the dinners I loved most from my mom, a handful immediately come to mind. My favorites are her spaghetti and meatballs, chili, chicken tenders, fried pork chops, and chicken corn soup. There are others that I loved, but those are my top five.
Chicken corn soup was always especially good because you could smell it before entering the house. I used to help cut the potatoes and pick the chicken from the bones (sneaking bites of chicken along the way).
How to make my mom’s chicken corn soup:
I’ve been eating a LOT of chicken soup lately. I don’t know if it’s just a craving or the time of year, but it’s all I want to eat. I laid out chicken thighs this morning and decided it might be fun to try my hand at my mom’s recipe. I texted her and got the basic gist of the recipe.
Now, I maintain that I prefer the farfalle cooked in the soup, but that’s because I’m lazy. Given that this is her recipe, I acquiesce and make it her way.
The only thing I do differently is strain the broth through a sieve to get rid of any extra impurities and so I can have an empty pot to briefly sauté the vegetables. That’s entirely preferential, so you can just throw everything right in the broth exactly the way my mom does.
There are two secrets to the chicken corn soup. The first is using a can of Campbell’s Cream of Chicken Soup. The second is canned sweet corn. Be sure not to drain it. You want to add the liquid from the sweet corn straight to the soup; it adds a really nice sweet undertone to the soup.
What you need
You only need a few ingredients for this soup, and you probably have most of them in your fridge, freezer, and pantry already.
- Chicken: Use a whole bird, a cut-up bird, or bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs or leg quarters. If using a whole bird, the chicken takes longer to cook, so be mindful of timing if going that route.
- Vegetables: You need just onions, potatoes, celery, carrots, and canned sweet corn.
- Cream of Chicken Soup: Don’t skip this one! Just be mindful of salt throughout the recipe, as this is very salty. I almost only used half a can of it but ultimately used the entire can to honor the original recipe. As long as you don’t oversalt the broth or salt too heavily throughout the dish, I promise you’ll have a well-balanced soup!
- Farfalle: You can use any short pasta you like. Elbows, rotini, or orzo would be delicious. If you want a more traditional chicken noodle soup, use your favorite brand of egg noodles.
How to make it:
- Step 1: Start with the chicken broth. Boil it in water with an onion and salt until cooked through. Remove it from the pot and pass the broth through a sieve into a large bowl. If you want to skip this step, then I recommend not using an onion. Once the chicken cools, pick the meat from the bones.
- Step 2: Start the soup. Sauté the potatoes, carrots, celery, and diced onion briefly.
- Step 3: Prep the cream of chicken soup. Mix the cream of chicken soup with a ladleful of hot broth and water so it doesn’t clump.
- Step 4: Throw it all together. Add the broth to the pot with the vegetables along with the chicken. Stir in the corn and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes, though you can simmer even longer if you like.
- Step 5: Make the farfalle. Boil it up in a separate pot and then drain and add to the soup.
That’s it! You’re ready for a big bowl of comfort. You can serve it with fresh minced parsley, crusty bread, or lemon wedges if you like. I think you’ll find that this soup truly needs no accompaniments (except black pepper, according to my mom).
My Mom’s Chicken Corn Soup
- Large pot
- Medium pot
- Fine mesh sieve
- 2½ pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
- 8–10 cups water
- 1 yellow onion, peeled and quartered
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, peeled and diced
- 4 carrots, peeled and sliced into rounds
- 4 ribs celery, trimmed and diced
- 1 pound russet or Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and medium-diced
- 10.5- ounce can of Campbell’s condensed cream of chicken soup
- 2 cups water
- 2 15- ounce cans of sweet corn
- 2 cups dry farfalle
- Salt and pepper
Make the broth:
- Place the chicken in a large pot and cover with water. Add more water if needed to immerse the chicken fully. Add the onion and salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 1 hour.
- Remove the chicken from the pot and transfer to a bowl to cool. Strain the broth through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl. You should have about 6 cups of broth. Discard the spent onion and wipe out the pot. Return it to the stovetop. Note: Quickly rinse off the sieve, so you can use it to drain the pasta later.
- Once the chicken is cool enough to handle, pick the meat from the bones, discarding the skin and bones. Shred with your fingers or two forks. Set aside.
Prepare the soup:
- Heat the olive oil in the pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery, and potatoes and cook for 5 minutes. Season lightly with salt.
- Meanwhile, add 2 cups of water to a large glass measuring cup. Add 1 ladleful of the hot chicken broth. Slowly whisk in the cream of chicken soup until well combined.
- Pour this mixture–along with the remaining chicken broth and the shredded chicken–into the pot. Add both cans of corn, along with all the liquid from the cans. Taste and season with salt and a generous shake of black pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes or until the potatoes and carrots are fork-tender.
Cook the pasta:
- Bring a medium pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the farfalle and cook until al dente. Drain.
Finish the soup:
- Add the farfalle to the pot and simmer for 5 minutes. Taste and season. Turn off the heat.
- Ladle the soup into bowls and serve immediately with more black pepper on top. Enjoy!