A classic homemade chicken noodle soup is the ultimate comfort food! This one is made using a whole chicken and a double-concentrate broth for maximum chicken flavor. Since the noodles are kept separate from the soup base, it's perfect for leftovers or freezing.
One of the things marriage has taught me is that there's a reason phrases like 'dude flu' and 'man cold' exist. Not to say this is a phenomenon that affects all men, but my own experience has pushed me away from the suspicion that these phrases were born out of thin air.
One weekend last fall, Josh proclaimed he felt very, very ill. I assumed this meant he had a mild headache, left him in bed with some tylenol, and went about my regular Saturday morning activities. When I returned home, he hadn't moved. NOT EVEN TO EAT. I knew it was serious.
So I loaded the car back up and went in search of comfort food ingredients. What resulted was the best chicken noodle soup I had ever had. At first I though I was maybe just swelling with pride at the fact that I had overcome the usual selfish annoyance that accompanies having a sick husband, or maybe it was that the food fit the mood so perfectly that it couldn't NOT be good.
But then I kept making it. And eating it. And decided it was the real deal best chicken noodle soup.
A few things that make this the best chicken noodle soup:
I think chicken noodle soup is really only as good as its broth. It should be very rich and robust with all the comforting chicken flavor.
The trick here is to use Better than Bouillon to make a strong broth and then use that to cook an entire chicken. So it's like a double concentrate chicken stock that is INCREDIBLY DELICIOUS.
I was hesitant at first to get on the Better than Bouillon train. The idea of a concentrated chicken paste sitting in my fridge did not initially appeal to me. But, motivated by a lack of pantry storage space and high chicken broth usage, I gave it a try. And have never looked back. It is just as good as homemade broth, and I love that you can make it as strong or diluted as you want. I use it in almost all of my soups!
The finished soup also gets a heavy squirt of fresh lemon juice. Which doesn't give it a distinct lemon flavor at all, but makes the whole soup a little lighter and more dynamic.
A WHOLE CHICKEN
Using a whole chicken will give you the perfect amount of meat, and will give the broth so much flavor. Plus, there is something about cooking with a whole chicken that just feels so homecookin'.
If you don't like dark meat...
I would still cook the whole chicken, then just shred the white meat to return to the pot once it's done cooking. All the fat in the dark meat gives so much flavor to the broth that I think it's definitely worthwhile to cook it in there.
If you REALLY don't like dark meat...
You can use split (bone-in, skin-on) chicken breasts instead.
NO SOGGY NOODLES
One of the problems with noodles in soup is that they tend to get soggy. Especially if you're making a big batch of soup and benefiting from all those leftovers (which is one of the best things about soup!).
I like to keep the noodles separate when making this soup. So I make what I call the 'base,' which is everything but the noodles, and then cook the noodles in a pot of water.
When ready to serve, you can either add cooked noodles just to the soup you'll be serving, or have everyone get their own. I like the make-your-own bowl option so that everyone can craft their ideal soup : noodle ratio!
If you'd rather cook the noodles directly in the soup, use 12 ounces instead of the 16 ounces listed in the ingredients, as the noodles will soak up liquid as they cook.
IDEAL FOR LEFTOVERS OR FREEZING
Having a chicken soup base makes this perfect for leftovers and freezing. Reheat however much you want and cook noodles to go with it.
EAT THIS WITH:
- The easiest garlic bread
- This baked applesauce
- Saltine crackers
- A batch of cheesy biscuits
- This baked ham and cheese sandwich casserole
The Best Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup
- 3 tablespoons reduced sodium Better than Bouillon chicken base
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped
- 1 1/2 cups sliced carrot
- 1 cup sliced celery
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 (5-6 pound) chicken, giblets removed
- 1/3 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (from about 1/2 a small lemon)
- 1 (16 ounce) bag egg noodles
- Dissolve the Better than Bouillon in 10 cups of boiling water.Melt the butter in a large stock pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, celery, and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened slightly - about 5 minutes. Add the salt, pepper, and prepared broth and stir to combine. Gently submerge the chicken in the liquid and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook over low heat for an hour, until the chicken is cooked to 165 degrees and is falling off the bone. Remove the chicken to a cutting board. Once cool enough to handle, shred the meat and return to the pot. Stir in the parsley and lemon juice. Adjust seasoning to taste. In a separate pot, cook noodles according to package directions in generously salted water. Strain well. To serve, divide noodles between bowls and ladle soup over top.