By Tiffany Stevens
Updated September 21, 2020
Advertisement

It’s easy to forget, what with the last few days of summer lingering in some parts of the country, but fall weather is on the horizon. That means soup season is almost upon us, and with it, hankerings for hearty bowls of broth loaded with noodles and veggies. Although any warm bowl can obviously be a comfort on chill days, chicken noodle soup is a particular evergreen favorite. And while you could simply buy your chicken noodle soup canned, we promise you’ll be a lot happier with the end results if you take the time to make your own. Whether you’re eager to make a pot full of chicken noodle as soon as the leaves start dropping, or you’ve never put together your own stock before, you’ll find our chicken noodle soup guide is a delicious place to start.

Step One: Make Your Stock

Credit: Photo: Sang An; Styling: Philippa Brathwaite

When it comes to creating delicious soup, it really is all about the broth. Your soup base will contribute considerably to the dish and ensure that you’re left with something far more flavorful than a watered down soup. Most chicken stocks can be started when you cook the chicken itself. For example, you could place your chicken thighs or breasts in a dutch oven container with spices, herbs and water; once the chicken is done cooking in the oven, the resulting liquid can be used to enhance your chicken noodle soup. You can also save your chicken bones and boil them along with onion ends and other leftover kitchen scraps; that broth can be added to your dutch oven, along with the chicken thighs, to create an even more flavorful broth.

You can also, of course, use premade stock to enhance your base; if you’re looking for a creamier chicken noodle soup, you can also add milk in, or add a can of cream of chicken soup to thicken up your base.

When creating your broth, don’t be afraid to experiment by adding in different flavors, seasonings and sauces. If you’re a fan of Thai peanut sauces, for example, you might be a fan of mixing peanut butter and coconut milk in with your chicken broth. Fish sauce can also make a savory addition to Vietnamese-style chicken noodle soups, or a chef could add salsa verde to the broth for a Southwestern twist. Classic chicken noodle soup is delicious, but there’s no reason not to mix things up.

Credit: Randy Mayor; Styling: Missie Neville Crawford

Step Two: Choose Your Noodles

Chicken Alfredo Soup image
| Credit: Photo: Kelsey Hansen; Food Styling: Adam Dolge; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis

Chicken Alfredo Soup image Photo: Kelsey Hansen; Food Styling: Adam Dolge; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis

In most canned or restaurant chicken noodle soups, either rotini or straight pastas are the noodles of choice. There’s no reason to limit yourself to those options alone, however. Cheese tortellini, for example, can add a delicious twist to your chicken noodle soup, and Alfredo noodles could provide an interesting accent to a chicken alfredo inspired soup dish. Even using udon or soba noodles in Japanese-inspired chicken noodle soups can provide chicken noodle soup a new profile. Switching up your noodles from time to time might require less routine shopping at the grocery store, but it will certainly make dinner more fun.

It’s also important to remember that you don’t have to limit yourself to noodles alone. Adding in rice, star-shaped pasta, or even orzo, can be a fun way to make your chicken noodle soup stand out.

Step Three: Add Your Chicken (and Everything Else)

Credit: Photo: Aaron Kirk; Prop Styling: Christina Daley; Food Styling: Rishon Hanners

Now that the soup’s base and noodles are in place, it’s time to add your other ingredients. If you cooked chicken thighs or breasts earlier, then you can shred or cut those pieces into bite-sized amounts and add them in. However, you could also always simply buy a rotisserie chicken and use that meat instead if you want a shortcut to delicious soup without having to cook the meat. At this point, you should also add any other vegetables you might enjoy, such as carrots, celery, potatoes or broccoli. Remember to saute some of your more aromatic additions before adding them in, like garlic or onions, as that will further enhance your soup’s flavor. Once the soup has come together and the veggies are as tender (or as crunchy) as you prefer, you’ll be ready to slurp up the fruits of your labor.

Additional Soup Styles

How to Make Chicken Soup in an Instant Pot

Get the Recipe: Instant Pot Chicken Soup

Credit: Meredith Food Studios

Meredith Food Studios

While you can obviously make your chicken noodle soup on the stove, it might be easier to simply throw all of your ingredients into one pot. Making your chicken noodle soup in the Instant Pot will allow you to cook your chicken, make your broth, and finish up the recipe, all in one container. To cook chicken noodle soup in your Instant Pot, start by sauteing your chicken and any veggies before setting your device to pressure cook the meat. Then, take out your chicken, start deboning it, and add in your broth and noodles. The soup should be done by the time you’re ready to add your chicken back in. Just make sure to discard any bay leaves you might throw in there while the noodles are cooking. They certainly won’t make for a comforting meal.