With the temperature beginning to drop, we've officially entered soup season. When the leaves begin to turn, it can only mean one thing: it's time to light a candle, snuggle up in your warmest knits, and cook up the most classic soups in the book.
No matter how many types of soup recipes you have up your sleeve, you need a classic chicken noodle soup recipe. It's the comfort food staple that warms your heart and tummy with cozy memories and delicious flavors.
Whether you make it for your family when the sniffles start going around, or for a cozy day on the couch at home, this recipe's for you. Keep reading to learn how to make the best homemade chicken noodle soup you've never had.
- Secrects to Great Chicken Noodle Soup
- Ingredients for Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup
- Steps for Making Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup
- Chicken Noodle Soup for Kids
- Vegetarian Chicken Noodle Soup
- What to do with Leftover Chicken Noodle Soup
- Enjoy Soup Season Like Never Before
Secrets to Great Chicken Noodle Soup
There's good soup. And then there's great, how-mom-used-to-make-it, give-me-that-recipe-right-now kind of soup. These are the secrets that help you achieve that homemade soup taste.
Handmade Soup Noodles
The key to a great bowl of chicken noodle soup? It's all about texture.
No one wants to take a bite of mushy pasta. Too-soft noodles can ruin a great pot of soup. Instead, you want noodles to have the perfect firmness for a hearty, satisfying mouthful.
Some recipes call for egg noodles to achieve the right texture. We recommend handmade dried pasta instead. Handmade pasta gives you a firm texture with that perfect chewy, bouncy bite.
Another advantage of dried pasta: you can get creative with the pasta shapes. Egg noodles pretty much only come in long linguini-like rectangles. With dried pasta, you can play around with different pasta shapes so that your soup looks as good as it tastes!
Perfect Herb Blend
Rosemary, bay leaves, and parsley make this soup an aromatic dream. Always choose fresh herbs if you can get them. However, if you only have dried herbs, you can still simmer them in the soup and remove them before serving for the best flavor.
Choose the Right Oil
Choosing the right fat can transform your soup's flavor. Most soup recipes call for olive oil to sauté your aromatics (onion, garlic, and carrots). If you choose olive oil, make sure it's the extra virgin variety to get the richest taste.
However, don't be afraid to try another fat. Unsalted butter is an unconventional, but delicious, choice. It activates different taste receptors and gives your soup a subtly richer mouthfeel.
Ingredients for Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup
- 2 tablespoons olive oil (or unsalted butter — see note above)
- 3 cloves of garlic, finely minced
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 carrots, chopped to bite-sized pieces
- 2 ribs of celery, chopped to bite-sized pieces
- 1-2 bay leaves
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley leaves
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 8 cups chicken stock
- 1 1/2 cups of cooked chicken (diced or shredded)
- 8 ounces rotini pasta (or another shape as desired)
- Salt and pepper to taste.
This recipe serves 4.
Steps for Making Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup
In a large soup pot over medium heat, heat the oil until shimmering. If using butter, heat until butter is melted and browned (no longer bubbling).
Add garlic, onion, carrots, and celery. Toss in the oil for 1 minute. Add bay leaves and rosemary; continue cooking for 5-7 minutes, until vegetables are tender.
Add chicken stock; stir so that none of the vegetables stick to the bottom. Bring the liquid to a boil. Add noodles and simmer until almost tender, 3-5 minutes.
Add chicken and simmer for a few minutes until the chicken is heated through and noodles are tender-firm. Remove the bay leaves and rosemary sprigs.
Add salt and pepper to taste. Finally, add parsley just before serving.
Chicken Noodle Soup for Kids
Are you adapting this classic recipe for kids? Swap out regular noodles for a fun pasta shape like Alligator Shaped Pasta. Kids will love the alligators swimming in their soup as much as they love eating it.
If your little ones are picky eaters, they might not appreciate the vibrant spices of the grown-up version of this soup. Try using half the herbs or omitting the bay leaves altogether. This makes the soup a little more bland, which is exactly how many kiddos like it.
Vegetarian Chicken Noodle Soup
Even if you're a vegetarian, you can still enjoy the warm comfort of homemade "chicken" noodle soup! Try these variations:
- Swap out the shredded or diced chicken for "veggie chicken"
- Cook tofu as desired and use in place of chicken
- Leave the chicken out altogether and add more vegetables instead
All of these options create delicious savory soups. Whether you include meatless meat or just pack in the veggies, you'll have some seriously healthy comfort food on your hands — no meat required.
What to do With Leftover Chicken Noodle Soup
It's safe to freeze chicken noodle soup, but it will change the texture of the noodles. It will taste just as good, but the noodles may be too soft and squishy. Since the hearty noodle texture is what gives this recipe its wow factor, we don't recommend freezing chicken noodle soup after it's been cooked.
That doesn't mean you can't get the benefits of this recipe as a freezer meal. Just cook the recipe without adding the noodles, separate it into portion sizes, and freeze.
When you're ready to eat your soup, thaw it out and heat through. Cook your noodles separately and add to the soup. Voila — quick and easy freezer soup that tastes like it was freshly made.
Enjoy Soup Season Like Never Before
When the weather turns chilly, it's time to pull out soup recipes, both old and new. We hope this warming chicken noodle soup recipe becomes a classic in your home!
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