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How to Make Our Test Kitchen's All-Time Favorite Chicken Noodle Soup

Just the thing to get you through winter! Here, we guide you through our tried-and-true recipe step by step, plus share three fuss-free variations.

Senior Associate Food Editor
chicken soup
Photography by: Armando Rafael

This classic comfort food brims with flavorful protein, vegetables, herbs, and everything you crave in a warm winter meal. Master our ultimate recipe and you’ll be able to easily cook up exactly what the doctor ordered on a sick day -- or any day. One of the key secrets behind our next-level version? Adding the chicken backbone and extra wings -- they infuse the broth with more flavor and depth.

 

Grocery List

Whole chicken, plus 8 wings

Fresh parsley

Fresh thyme

Bay leaves

Black peppercorns

Onion

Carrots

Celery

Egg noodles

Fresh dill

Lemons

 

Get the Test Kitchen's Favorite Chicken Noodle Soup Recipe
chicken in pot
Photography by: Emily Kate Roemer

1. Cook Chicken

Fill a large pot with 14 cups water, a 4 1/2 pound chicken cut into pieces with the backbone, 8 chicken wings, 4 large sprigs parsley, 2 large sprigs thyme, 1 bay leaf, 1 tablespoon kosher salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns. Bring to a boil. Skim foam, reduce heat, and simmer 25 minutes. Remove chicken (except wings); continue simmering while you discard skin and meat from bones. Cover meat and refrigerate; return bones to pot and simmer 3 1/2 hours more.
uncooked chicken wings
Photography by: Emily Kate Roemer

2. Stir in Vegetables

Strain broth through a mesh sieve and discard solids, including bones and wings. Skim fat and transfer broth to a clean pot. Add 1 cup diced onion, 1 cup peeled and thinly sliced carrots, and 1/2 cup thinly sliced celery. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until vegetables are very tender, 25 minutes.

 

Get Schmaltzy

After you skim the fat in step 2, keep it! This rendered fat, called schmaltz, is a rich, butter-like spread for toast or to use in matzo balls. It’s also a flavorful option for sauteing and stir-frying. Just keep it in a container in the freezer. (If you make the broth a day ahead, the fat will solidify overnight, and you can scrape it off easily with a spoon.) Schmaltz is like money in the bank!

dill, lemon, and noodles
Photography by: Emily Kate Roemer
Fresh dill adds some zing to the soup.

3. Season & Add Noodles

Cut or tear chicken into 3 cups of bite-size pieces. (You’ll end up with an extra cup of meat; save it for a salad or a sandwich.) Add to broth, along with 6 ounces cooked egg noodles, 1 teaspoon chopped dill, and 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice. Heat through, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper; serve.

 

 

Around the World with Chicken Soup: 3 Global Renditions

Basil & Tomatoes
Photography by: Armando Rafael

Italian: Basil & Tomatoes

If we had a nonna, this is what she would make. In step 2, replace celery with 1 cup chopped fennel and one 14.5-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, broken up. In step 3, replace dill with 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil and noodles with 8 ounces cooked ditalini (small, tube-shaped pasta). Top with red-pepper flakes and grated Parmesan.

 

Get the Italian Chicken Soup with Pasta and Tomatoes Recipe
Shiitakes & Bok Choy
Photography by: Armando Rafael

Asian: Shiitakes & Bok Choy

Here’s a great way to get some extra greens: Peel and slice a 2-inch piece of ginger into matchsticks and add in step 2, along with 5 cups sliced shiitake mushrooms and 3 tablespoons soy sauce. In the last 3 minutes, stir in about 3 heads thinly sliced baby bok choy. In step 3, replace noodles and dill with 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper.

 

Get the Restorative Chicken Soup with Ginger Recipe
Rice & Potatoes
Photography by: Armando Rafael

Peruvian: Rice & Potatoes

Pack more heat with a pepper. In step 2, add 1 cup white rice and 1 3/4 cups peeled and diced russet potatoes. In step 3, replace dill, noodles, and lemon juice with 2 packed cups chopped fresh cilantro, 1 stemmed and seeded serrano chile, and 2 garlic cloves (blended together), along with 2 cups thawed frozen corn.

 

Get the Peruvian Chicken Soup with Rice and Potatoes Recipe
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