Real Recipes From Real Home Cooks ®

soup essentials: the ultimate chicken noodle soup

Recipe by
Andy Anderson !
Wichita, KS

I think that everyone has their own “ultimate” chicken noodle soup. I think most of it is based on the wonderful memories we have made while sharing it with friends and family. I love this soup for its flavor, and its ability to make me feel good no matter my mood. Because of this, it is on my top-ten list of all-time comfort foods. It’s not labor intensive; however, it does take a bit of time to make, so I usually split it into two days: Day One: I make the stock, and the chicken. Day Two, I pull it all together with the veggies. Yummy. So, you ready… Let’s get into the kitchen.

yield 6 - 7
prep time 30 Min
cook time 5 Hr
method Stove Top

Ingredients For soup essentials: the ultimate chicken noodle soup

  • 2-3 lb
    whole chicken
  • filtered water, as needed
  • 1 md
    onion chopped
  • 4 stalk
    celery, chopped
  • 3 lg
    carrots, peeled, and cut thickly on the bias
  • 3 clove
    garlic, minced
  • 2 md
    bay leaves, dried
  • 1 tsp
    thyme, dried
  • 1/4 Tbsp
    salt, kosher variety
  • 1/4 tsp
    black pepper, freshly ground
  • 1 tsp
    parsley flakes, dried
  • freshly-made egg noodles

How To Make soup essentials: the ultimate chicken noodle soup

  • 1
  • 2
    Gather your Ingredients (mise en place)
  • 3
    Place the chicken in a large pot, cover with water, add a pinch of salt, and set the heat to medium high.
  • 4
    Allow the pot to come to the boil, and skim of the congealed foam that rises to the top, about 15 minutes of skimming.
  • 5
    Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook the chicken until it becomes tender, about 75 – 80 minutes.
  • 6
    Remove the chicken from the pot and allow to cool down.
  • 7
    When it is cool enough remove all the chicken from the bones, and discard the skin; but reserve the bones.
  • 8
    Add the bones back into the liquid and lightly simmer, covered for an additional 60 minutes.
  • 9
    After 60 minutes remove all the bones.
  • 10
    Chef’s Tip: The reason we are removing the bones from the liquid is because this is a shredded chicken soup, and if you leave the carcass in until the end, when you attempt to remove it, all the shredded chicken will cling to the carcass… I speak from experience.
  • 11
    Be careful to remove ALL the bones, sometimes little tiny pieces can come off the carcass, and get missed, and we don’t want our guests choking on a chicken bone. I will usually pass the liquid through a strainer… just to be sure.
  • 12
    Chef’s Note: You are now at the crossroads. Since we still have a bit of cooking time left, you have a choice to make. You can continue with the recipe, or you can stop here, refrigerate the liquid, and the chicken, and finish this dish the next day… Up to you.
  • 13
    Chef’s Note: If you are choosing to refrigerate, then when you take the liquid out of the fridge, remove the congealed fat that is on the surface. If you are continuing with the recipe, then use a small spoon to remove some of the liquid fat that will rise to the top. But don’t take it all away… A little fat is good for flavor.
  • 14
  • 15
    Return the liquid to a burner over medium-high heat.
  • 16
    Add the chicken back into the liquid, along with the bay leaves, thyme, salt, pepper, and parsley, and slowly bring to the boil.
  • 17
    Chef’s Note: Don’t bother to cut up the chicken, it will shred naturally, during the cooking process.
  • 18
    Reduce to a slow simmer, and allow to cook covered for about 60 minutes.
  • 19
    Chef’s Note: Every 10 minutes, or so, remove the cover, and give the soup a stir.
  • 20
    After the cooking process has been going on for 30 minutes, uncover and add the chopped onions. Cover, and then resume the last 30 minutes of cooking.
  • 21
    After 60 minutes, add the remaining veggies, and continue to cook covered, for an additional 30 - 40 minutes, or until the veggies have achieved the desired tenderness.
  • 22
    Chef’s Note: As before, give it a stir about every 10 minutes.
  • 23
    Chef’s Note: If you are adding homemade egg noodles, then add them about 10 minutes before the end of the cooking process.
  • 24
    Chef’s Tip: This soup freezes quite well, but not with any noodles. If you freeze this soup with noodles, when you reheat it, the noodles will come out as mush. I hate it when that happens.
  • 25
    At the end of the process, remove the bay leaves, do a final check for proper seasoning, and add a bit more salt and/or pepper, if needed.
  • 26
  • 27
    Bring the pot to the table, stick in a ladle, and let your guests dish up their own portions. That’s called serving it up rustic, or “family” style. Or, you could choose to put it into some nice homey bowls, but don’t forget the bread and/or some nice crackers. Enjoy.
  • 28
    Keep the faith, and keep cooking.