Quick Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup
This homemade chicken noodle soup is ready in under 15 minutes. The key is a couple of secret ingredients.
Did you know that Chicken Noodle Soup got its name by accident? Here’s what happened…
How Chicken Noodle Soup Got Its Name
Campbell’s had a canned condensed soup called Noodle with Chicken Soup. Weird, right? That soup with that weird name was around for awhile but never became popular. Then a radio announcer made a mistake on air and called it Chicken Noodle Soup. People suddenly got excited about this “new” soup with its cool new name and sales skyrocketed. The name stuck and came to be applied to canned versions and homemade versions alike.*
I’m so glad that the name and the type of soup were around in my childhood. I have vivid memories of eating homemade chicken noodle soup at my Baba’s kitchen table. She made it so often that her house smelled like chicken soup even when there wasn’t any in sight.
How to Make Quick Chicken Noodle Soup
These days I don’t often make a big batch of slow-simmered chicken noodle soup like my Baba did. Instead, when one of us is sick or in need of comfort, I tend to make up a quicker version. I came up with this specific Quick Chicken Noodle Soup recipe when my daughter had a cold a little while ago. She had a fever and a stuffy nose and a cough and she was so grumpy. I felt sad for her.
For this soup to be done so quickly, you also have to cut the chicken into small pieces before adding it to the broth. The small pieces of chicken cook faster.
Also, look for quick-cooking noodles. I went with some thin egg noodles that specified a 3-4 minute cooking time on the package. That’s what you need!
How to Get Delicious Flavor in Chicken Noodle Soup
There’s a little trick that makes this soup delicious in such a short time. It has to do with butter.
My Baba’s chicken soup contained a bit of rendered chicken fat which gave it a rich full flavor. I never have rendered chicken fat on hand. Instead, I saute the onions and carrots for this soup in butter. The butter flavor adds so much richness to the soup.
The butter also makes up for something. When doing a slow-simmered soup, all kinds of flavor gets extracted from the chicken. The fat and cartilage doesn’t have time to render and deepen the flavor in the same way. The butter helps a lot with this. The result is a rich and flavorful broth that you would swear had taken hours to make.
What Kind of Chicken to Use for Chicken Noodle Soup
If you’re doing the slow-simmered method for chicken soup, then you want to either use a whole chicken, or chicken pieces. I find that the chicken leg quarters are usually very reasonably priced.
You simmer the chicken with other flavorful ingredients for a long time (an hour or two). Then remove the chicken and let it cool. Then separate out the meat from the fat and the skin. Add the meat to the soup and discard the rest.
For the quick chicken soup below, I buy boneless skinless chicken thighs. Boneless and skinless is really helpful because you don’t need to ever spend time removing skin or bones. Using thighs instead of breasts adds a ton of flavor, and the chicken is so moist in the soup.
You can use chicken breast if you really love it and that’s your thing, but it won’t be nearly as good.
What Kind of Noodles to Use for Chicken Noodle Soup
I mentioned above that for a quick soup, you want a quick-cooking noodle. There are “fine egg noodles” at the grocery store (“fine” refers to how finely they’re cut, as opposed to “wide” egg noodles). The fine egg noodles cook in 3-4 minutes.
Any pasta shape with a similarly short cooking time will work for your quick chicken soup. If you’re not making a quick soup and don’t care about the time, then I’d go with wide egg noodles for sure. They’re my favorite and don’t take that much longer to cook.
Should You Cook Noodles Separately for Soup
If you’re trying to be speedy, then cooking the noodles right in the soup, as I’ve done in the recipe below, is the quickest option.
However, if you have leftovers from the meal, the noodles will continue to soak up liquid while the soup is in the fridge. You’ll end up with something more like noodle stew.
So if you’re making enough to have leftovers, cook and store the noodles separately from the soup. Then just add them in when you’re reheating the soup.
Read more tips for making homemade soups in a really short time here. And to see all my quick soup recipes go here.
*The info about the history of the name Chicken Noodle Soup comes from PopSugar and Wikipedia
Okay, here’s the Quick Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup recipe!
This homemade chicken noodle soup is ready in under 15 minutes. The key to the quick soup is to microwave the broth to get it up to cooking temperature quickly, buy carrots that are already cut into matchsticks, cut the chicken into small pieces so that it cooks quickly and make sure to use noodles with a short cooking time (3-4 minutes, like fine egg noodles). Before starting this recipe, read through it and gather together all of the tools and ingredients that you’ll need. Then start cooking. See you in 15!
- 7 cups no-sodium or low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 Tbsp. neutral oil (vegetable or grape seed)
- 1 Tbsp. butter
- 2 cups carrot matchsticks
- 1 small onion
- 1 clove garlic
- ½ tsp. salt
- ¼ tsp. coarse black pepper
- 1 bay leaf
- ¾ lb. boneless skinless chicken thighs (about 3)
- 2 cups uncooked fine egg noodles (or other noodles with very short required cooking time)
- Pour the chicken broth into a large microwave-safe bowl and microwave it on high for 6 minutes.
- Put a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the oil and butter. Roughly chop the carrot matchsticks and add them to the butter.
- Stir. Chop the onion and add it. Stir. Peel and mince the garlic and add it along with the salt, pepper and bay leaf. Stir and cook for 30 seconds.
- The broth in the microwaves should be finished around now. Carefully add the hot broth to the pot. Stir. Cover and increase heat to high.
- Chop the chicken into ½ inch pieces. When the broth comes to a boil, stir in the chicken. Bring it back to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook until chicken is cooked through, about 1 minute.
- Increase the heat to high and add the fine egg noodles. When it comes back to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook until noodles are al dente, about 3 minutes. Remove bay leaf. Taste and add more salt and pepper if desired.
This post originally appeared in September,2014 and was revised and republished in January, 2020.