Hearty chicken noodle soup made from scratch. Chicken pieces are simmered with vegetables and fresh herbs for a tasty homemade chicken stock that’s turned into everyone’s favorite comfort food.
Homemade Chicken Stock
I start my soup with a homemade stock because I love the rich and deep flavors of slow simmering. My stock starts with chicken, vegetables, parsley, and thyme.
We start with a whole chicken. It’s economical and adds a ton of flavor to the stock. The longest part of the entire recipe is the time needed for simmering the chicken just until the joints start separating.
Chicken breasts, thighs, or drumsticks can be used. Bone-in and skin on will produce the best flavor. Chicken parts will cook quicker than a whole chicken. When using chicken parts rather than a whole chicken, the simmering time for the chicken will be reduced.
Rotisserie chicken can also be used. The chicken skin and bones can be simmered with the other broth ingredients and will add an extra depth of flavor. Use all of the liquid that has accumulated on the bottom of the container as well! If using rotisserie chicken, do not buy one that has been seasoned with barbecue or lemon-pepper. Stick to traditional or herbed.
Vegetables for Stock/Broth
When making the broth, the vegetables are used in their whole state. None of them are peeled. They are simply washed before using. No one wants mud in their dinner!
I use large carrots because I think they taste better and look better in the finished soup. An added bonus, whole carrots tend to be cheaper than baby carrots.
I use all the parts of the celery so there is no waste! The tops and bottoms are cut off and toss into the soup broth which means you can buy don’t have to buy those pricey packets of celery pieces. You can use celery pieces though, just know that the celery that is cooked in the initial simmer will be pretty flavorless and bland when they come out.
Parsnips are my secret ingredient for making flavorful broths and stocks. They add a subtle sweetness and hint of brightness. I only add one or two based on the size. You can omit the parsnips but give them a try at least once.
I cut yellow onions in half and toss the whole thing in there, skins and all. The skin will not provide any flavor and it can be peeled off. It also won’t hurt anything the be left on, so I just leave it on.
Spices and Herbs
The only spices I use are whole black peppercorns, fresh parsley, and thyme. I’ll use dried thyme if fresh is unavailable. Fresh parsley is generally available year-round at most mega-marts and is reasonably cheap. I promise that the use of fresh parsley in any cooked dish will make a huge difference in the finished flavor!
Vegetables for the Soup
The vegetables I use for the actual soup are just a little different than the vegetables used in the stock. Everything used in the stock will be strained out before finishing the dish.
The only vegetables I add to the actual soup are carrots and celery.
Other vegetables can be added as desired. Just remember to cook the harder vegetables like carrots longer than quick-cooking vegetables like cauliflower.
I tend to just toss the noodles into the simmering broth and allow them to cook slowly. Boiling the noodles for the recommended time listed on the package will get the job done quicker. I
My favorite noodles are wide Amish homestyle noodles. Thicker egg noodles like these hold up better during freezing and reheating.
Frozen Egg Noodles
Frozen Egg Noodles would be my second favorite noodle for my soups. These noodles will be fine during refreezing but may break apart more during the thawing and reheating processes.
Wide Egg Noodles
Wide egg noodles will cook much faster than my other choices. Re-heating may cause the noodle to fall apart from overcooking the second time around.
Small thin egg noodles like the ones found in a can of soup can also be used. The cooking time on these is pretty short and they are easy to overcook. Pay close attention to the directions listed on the package and follow the recommended cooking times.
Using a Crockpot
A crockpot can be used. Add all of the broth ingredients, including the whole chicken and cook on high for 6 to 8 hours, or low for 10 to 12 hours. Once the chicken starts to separate at the joints, the chicken is done. Remove the chicken and spent vegetables.
Add the sliced vegetables and cook on high until the vegetables are tender. Depending on the thickness of the sliced vegetables this will take 15 to 35 minutes.
When the vegetables are ready, add the noodles and continue cooking on high until the noodles are cooked. Just like with the vegetables, the thicker the noodles the longer this will take. The thin soup noodles and regular wide egg noodles will take 15 to 30 minutes, while thicker Amish style noodles and frozen egg noodles may take up to an hour to cook.
In a Hurry?
We have a cheater version! This one starts with some serious shortcuts. While it is technically homemade, it doesn’t have the same depth of flavor as a true homemade soup made with homemade stock.
You’ll need some cooked chicken on hand. You can also use rotisserie chicken for this. Youll also need some canned broth.
Simply heat the broth, add some carrots, onions, and celery and cook them just until they are tender. Dice up the cooked chicken and toss it into the pan along with your noodles. Cook just until the noodles are cooked.
The one advantage to a 30-minute version is you can make a batch small enough for one or two people. The flavor is slightly better than what comes out of a can. For this reason, I do not plan for leftovers when making it this way.
Food safety guidelines recommend placing the leftover soup into shallow containers before placing into the refrigerator or freezer so that the soup can cool down quickly.
Store in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days and the freezer for up to 60 days.
Thaw frozen soup in the refrigerator first for the best results. To get the frozen soup out of the freezer container I place it into a sink and fill the sink with water until it reaches just below the lid. Once it has released itself from the sides it’s ready to be placed into a pan.
When I want to reheat frozen soup in a hurry I bring about 1 cups of water to a saucepan and bring it to a rolling boil, reduce the heat to simmer, add the frozen soup and cover it with a lid. I try not to stir the soup too much because the noodles will fall apart. Once the soup is heated through I immediately remove it from the heat and serve it.
Reheating from thawed is easier. Just add it to a saucepan and heat over medium-low heat until it is heated all the chicken pieces are completely heated through.
Place the soup into a microwave-safe container and cover loosely with a lid or some paper towels. I have had carrots explode and make a mess. Microwave on high for 2 to 3 minutes, stopping to stir about halfway through. If it’s an extra-large bowl of soup it may take an additional minute or two.
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Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup Recipe
- 1 whole Chicken
- 1 box Chicken Stock 32 ounces
- 2 cans Condensed Chicken Broth
- 2 Parsnips
- 1 bunch Parsley divided
- 1 bunch fresh Thyme divided
- 5 large Carrots divided
- 4 Stalks Celery top 4 inches cut off and reserved, slice the rest medium thin and reserve for the end
- 1 large Onion skin on, cut in half, reserve half for the end of the recipe
- 4 cloves Garlic skin on
- 3 Chicken Bouillon Cubes optional
- ½ teaspoon Whole Black Pepper
- Water to cover ingredients in pot
- 8 ounces dry Noodles my favorite is wide Kluski noodles but I have used dry egg noodles, frozen egg noodles, pasta shells, orzo, even rice
- Cut 2 of the 5 carrots into one-inch chunks. Set the 3 remaining carrots aside for now.
- Cut the parsnips into one-inch chunks
- Cut the large onion into half, set the other half aside.
- Cut the garlic cloves into half, they do not need to be peeled.
- Cut the top 4 inches off of the celery and set the rest of the celery aside.
- Place the carrot chunks, parsnip pieces, celery tops, one unpeeled onion half, and unpeeled garlic into a large stockpot.
- Add the whole chicken, chicken broth, condensed broth, bouillon cubes if using, half of the fresh parsley, half of the thyme, and the whole black pepper to the stockpot.
- Add enough water to cover chicken completely.
- Place pot on the stove and bring to a boil over medium high heat.
- Once boiling, reduce heat to maintain a slow simmer. Simmer for 2 hours or until chicken just starts to separate at the bones. If you leave the chicken in too long it will become dry and flavorless.
- Remove chicken to colander in a bowl to cool. Pour any extra liquid that accumulates in the bowl throw a fine sieve back into the stock pot.
- To the stock pot add the other half of the parsley and thyme.
- Bring the broth back to a simmer and continue simmering for another hour.
- Once the chicken has cooled, debone and skin it. Discard bones and skin and cut meat into small pieces and set aside.
- Using a colander with a bowl under it, strain chicken broth carefully one more time.
- Place strained chicken broth back into a pan.
- Remove the tough ends from the celery and slice thinly.
- Peel the carrots and slice thinly.
- Remove skin from the last half of the onion, dice it and add it to the pan, along with sliced carrots, celery, and diced chicken meat.
- Simmer until vegetables are tender.
- Add noodles to pot, and continue simmering until noodles are cooked as desired, some take longer than others.