Classic Chicken Noodle Soup

Chicken Noodle Soup. Seriously…so basic, right?

Yeah, unless you are me. I’m plenty particular when it comes to my chicken noodle soup which is why I finally decided to perfect the stuff. Here’s what I require: Lots of chicken. Lots of it. The same goes for the noodles. And not just any noodles. Good-quality, thick noodles (my brand recommendation is down in the Notes of the recipe). The noodles make the soup, baby. Oh, and lots of flavor doesn’t hurt either.

My preference is to cook my whole chicken up in the slow cooker all day with some pumped up broth (thanks to the veggies and seasonings added in with the chicken and broth) and then throw the rest of the soup together with the slow cooker broth in a flash about 30 minutes before eating. We love a slightly creamy chicken noodle soup, but I’ve left that part optional in case you fall among the more classic lines of chicken-noodle-soup-lovers.

Looks like I still have plenty of time to enjoy a good pot of this chicken noodle soup since we just got slammed with another six inches of snow. (Hey, Winter, it’s March already!!)

Classic Chicken Noodle Soup

What To ServeSaltine crackers
A really, great dinner roll (for homemade, I’d suggest French Bread Rolls or Buttery Cornmeal Crescents)
Fresh fruit or a light fruit salad like this Honey Lime Fruit Salad

One Year Ago: Honey Roast Chicken
Two Years Ago: Toasted Orzo with Peas and Parmesan
Three Years Ago: Asian Chicken Salad

Classic Chicken Noodle Soup

Yield: Serves 8-10 (maybe more?? This makes a huge pot of soup)

Classic Chicken Noodle Soup

Note: Not in the market for a huge ol’ pot of soup? Well, then, keep the Chicken and Broth ingredients the same but save half of the chicken for later (freezer for another use or another batch of soup) and halve the Soup ingredients. Quality of noodles counts big time! I love the Mrs. Weiss brand of wide Kluski noodles. And while we are talking brands, my favorite brand of chicken broth is Swanson’s Natural Goodness Chicken Broth (33% Less Sodium, all-natural).


    For Chicken and Broth:
  • 3-4 pound whole chicken, neck and giblets removed
  • 6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped in large chunks
  • 3-4 carrots, cut in large chunks
  • 1 onion, chopped in large pieces
  • Soup:
  • 12 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 4 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 pound carrots, chopped
  • 1-2 teaspoons salt (to taste, depending on the broth)
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 16-20 ounces egg noodles
  • 1 cup cream or half-and-half combined with 1 tablespoon cornstarch (optional for creamy-style)


  1. Rinse the chicken, removing the neck and giblets. Place the chicken in a slow cooker and add the other ingredients. Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours. Carefully remove the chicken and set aside in a large bowl until the chicken is cool enough to handle without burning your fingertips off. Meanwhile, remove and discard the large solids from the chicken broth and strain the chicken broth into a large pot.
  2. To the same pot, add another 12 cups chicken broth, the chopped vegetables and the salt and pepper. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook, covered, for 12-15 minutes, until the vegetables are slightly tender (they’ll cook more when the noodles cook). Taste the broth and add salt and pepper to taste, if needed. Add the noodles and cook according to package directions at a rolling boil. While the noodles are cooking, take the chicken off the bones and shred into bite-size pieces. For a creamy version, combine the cream (or half-and-half) and cornstarch in a liquid measuring, whisking to dissolve the cornstarch. Add the slurry to the soup and simmer rapidly for 1-2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the shredded chicken. Serve.

Recipe Source: Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

62 Responses to Classic Chicken Noodle Soup

  1. KateL says:

    Any tips for cooking this in a pressure cooker? Do you think it would fit in a 6qt instant pot?

    • Mel says:

      I think it might be too much for a 6-quart but I’m not sure…I haven’t had the greatest success using pasta in the pressure cooker so I’m not sure how to tell you to adapt this for the pressure cooker. Sorry I’m not more help!

  2. Brianne says:

    This question may have been asked so I apologize. I have never cooked a whole chicken. Could I skip that and buy and rotisserie chicken from Costco and use that?? What would I need to do differently because I wouldn’t get the broth you would get from cooking in the slow cooker. Add more broth?? Would love to try but want to do the short cut if possible.

    • Mel says:

      Absolutely – just use rotisserie chicken and storebought broth. I’m in the process of posting an easy 30-minute chicken noodle soup that will help, too!

      • Brianne says:

        You’re so awesome Mel to reply. Do I just use the 12 cups of broth then? Or do I add more? Can’t wait for your easy recipe. Winter is coming here in Utah and I love soup!!

        • Mel says:

          Yes, I would use 12 cups. It makes a huge pot of soup so you could definitely cut it in half (all the ingredients).

  3. stacey says:

    Made this tonight and my family loved it! Thank you Mel!

  4. Laurie says:

    I just finished making your Chicken noodle soup. I jused a whole cut up chicken and followed the recipe exactly. I didn’t add the cream because we like the clear broth. It is so good!! Homemade soup was easy when most of it is done in the crockpot!

  5. Cheryl says:

    Hi Mel,
    I was wondering if after you cook your chicken in the slow cooker, do you skim the fat off the broth or leave it there for taste. Thanks.

  6. Shanna says:

    Made it. Loved it. I paired it with your croissants. Your the best!!

  7. Maureen says:

    OK — I burned my tongue. I couldn’t help myself. Sure, I tasted the broth before adding the noodles, no biggie. I’ve made homemade chicken soup before, so I really wasn’t expecting this recipe to be much different. After it was all finished, it just looked so good I wanted a taste. Then another taste. Then a bigger spoonful… right out of the pot! It was so good I didn’t even grab a bowl or wait for the steam to stop rising from the spoon. Now today my tongue feels a little burnt — but it was worth it! 🙂 (I may have had more than a couple spoonfuls before I stopped.)

  8. […] Classic Chicken Noodle Soup […]

  9. kristen says:

    Chicken noodle soup is my family’s favorite meal. I have an amazing (and slightly unorthodox) recipe that comes from one of my aunts. It’s just like yours, but with home-made noodles and served over creamy mashed potatoes (with lots of butter and sour cream). The mashed potatoes make the soup creamy and really put it over the top. Also, serve with a dash of nutmeg. Trust me, you must try it this way. Love your recipes, by the way!

  10. Lori says:

    Hi Mel! Silly question but the broth you are using in step 2, comes from the slow cooker process in step 1, is that correct? Also, I have 4 bone-in, skin on chicken breasts, this should work instead of a whole chicken?


    • Mel says:

      Lori – yes, I reuse the broth that cooked with the whole chicken. I think you could definitely use the bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts. You may not get quite as much flavor as the whole chicken (that dark meat sure packs a lot of flavor) but I think it will still be delicious.

  11. Jessica says:

    Hi Mel, love all of your recipes! Have you ever tried this using your Best Roast Chicken recipe rather than the crockpot version? Just wondering if you think it might be a good substitute when there isn’t time for the crockpot way. 🙂

    • Mel says:

      Hi Jessica – I’ve subbed cooked, shredded chicken in this recipe many times so yes, I think the rock salt roasted chicken would work great here. The broth will be lacking a bit of flavor (the amount that comes from cooking the chicken in the slow cooker) but I still use the general recipe even when I don’t have time to cook the chicken in the crockpot.

  12. Jennifer says:

    Newbie here cooking a whole chicken, what if the whole chicken is frozen? I’m putting it in the fridge now just wondering if I should de-thaw it? Thanks in advance

    • Mel says:

      Jennifer – you’ll have to cook the chicken much longer if it is frozen. The time in the recipe is for a non frozen chicken so if you have time, defrost in the fridge before cooking. If not, keep an eye on it and add an hour or so until it is cooked through.

  13. Caitlin says:

    Made this yesterday – super delicious! Only problem was that I started a fire while making it. Whoops! 🙂

  14. Adventures in Cooking. . . And in Fire Safety « Caitlin Jacobs says:

    […] crock pot. I went to church, came home, took a nap, and woke up to the most delicious smell. This chicken noodle soup was gonna be da bomb. I went about chopping the vegetables and picking the meat off the bones. The […]

  15. Terri says:

    i’d like to make a bunch of soup and freeze it for my daughter in college (who lives where it is VERY cold), and this soup caught my eye, but I agree – noodle soups don’t freeze that well. do you think this would work with brown rice as a substitute?

  16. Aubri says:

    Mel…this soup was really good! It made me hungry all day smelling the chicken cooking, and then the broth was so flavorful! I tried using some “homemade” style egg noodles that I found in the freezer section, and it was a great addition. Loved the cream too… I’ve been wanting chicken noodle soup (pregnant craving!), and this really hit the spot. Thanks!

  17. Mel says:

    Lorrayne – the main purpose of the veggies in the first step is to flavor the broth. I throw them out because they are fairly overcooked by the time the chicken is done but if you want to keep them, by all means try it and see what you think!

  18. Lorrayne. Watson says:

    I have a really stupid question. When u make the broth and them move on to the soup do u discard the veggies you made the broth with and then add all new to the soup. Can u not use the veggies u made the broth with. Seems like a waste??

  19. Bliss says:

    This has GOT to be the BEST chicken noodle soup EVER!!! To quote my husband, who isn’t a soup fan….”I don’t like soup very much, but this is the best soup I’ve ever had!”

    Seriously, the time put into making your own broth is MORE than worth it. The flavors that develop in there make the boxed/canned stuff seem like water. Full of flavor, creamy, noodle-y goodness, and big chunks of ACTUAL chicken. (Mine was about 8 pounds! The smallest my store had!)

    I’ll definitely make this again, with enough to freeze!

  20. David Yotham says:

    I do NOT understand people’s love affair with shredded chicken! Does anyone you know like to remove shredded chicken meat from between their teeth? Shredded chicken looks nasty and the texture while eating it happens to be just as nasty, in my ever so humble opinion.

    A better way is to chill the whole chicken, and then de-bone it – cutting chicken meat into bite-size chunks. Roasting broth has already been incorporated into soup stock, so no flavor has been lost. Right before serving the chicken noodle soup, add the chilled chicken chunks. It will cool the soup so it can be enjoyed and people can identify what they’re eating as a real nice piece of tender chicken….not stringy mystery meat. Thank you for your patience! 🙂

  21. Mel says:

    Hi CeCe – thanks for your comment! I’m glad you are enjoying cooking more! As for your question, add all the other ingredients to the slow cooker listed under Chicken and Broth.

  22. CeCe says:

    This sounds wonderful! My mouth is watering. 15 months ago my hubby and I decided it best for our kids if I became stay-at-home mom. As a result, I have been cooking more– learning to perfect my cooking skills (which were limited, but not so much that we ordered out a lot or suffered starvation 🙂 Still, I never really enjoyed cooking. I think now that I’m not so stressed about work and have the time, I am learning to enjoy it more. So, I’m excited to try this recipe. Thanks for your website!!! (please clarify: When you say, “Rinse the chicken, removing the neck and giblets. Place the chicken in a slow cooker and add the other ingredients. ” What “other ingredients” do you mean? The top list of ingredients for Chicken and Broth)

  23. Andrea W says:

    Found your blog over the weekend and I love it! Busy mom of four with a super demanding DC career and your blog has inspired me to actually look forward to cooking again instead of dreading it. Love all the helpful tips, recommendations and pics! Made this soup yesterday in its entirety and it was the best chicken noodle soup I have ever had! Kids loved it too, thank you!!!

  24. […] Chicken Noodle Soup and Banana Bread–very similar to the pot pies, but it just sounds so good to me right now!  […]

  25. Our Family's adventures! » Blog Archive » Menu for the week says:

    […] With a cheese sauce…Nacho Cheese sauce Wednesday: Chicken Spicy stir fry, rice Thursday: Chicken Noodle soup, rolls Friday: Italian Sausage Tortellini Soup, French bread Saturday: Tortilla soup with toppings […]

  26. Jolene Beard says:

    Hi Melanie,
    I did make this last week with less broth and I made some homemade egg noodles. The soup was amazing! I think we were all fighting for the leftovers. Thank you!

  27. Kim says:

    I haven’t actually made this dish yet myself but my cousin made it for us after we had just moved. To me it tasted like the best chicken noodle soup I have ever had! We gladly accepted when my cousin offered us some leftovers to take home. Thanks for the great recipe! I’m going to have to try making this myself.

  28. Mel says:

    Hi Amanda – I don’t think chicken noodle soup fairs that well frozen because whenever I’ve tried it, the noodles get pretty mush and texturely weird after thawing. However, if you don’t mind that part, then yes, the soup should freeze fine, even with the creaminess.

  29. Amanda says:

    Can you freeze the creamy chicken noodle soup. It makes so much and it was so good I’d like to save it. thx

  30. Jolene Beard says:

    So after straining the broth from the chicken and adding it back to the pot, are you adding 12 more cups of broth or is that the broth you got from the chicken? Otherwise it seems like there will be close to 20 cups of broth. Is that right?

    • Mel says:

      Hi Jolene – this makes a HUGE pot of soup, so yes, it is around 18 cups of broth total. You can easily halve the soup, saving half of the chicken for later (freezing) or using a smaller chicken. The other alternative, if you like more noodles and less broth is to simply add less broth (maybe 8 cups instead of 12). Hope that helps!

  31. […] Get together with an old friend. 18.  Make this soup and this one and this one. 19.  Visit the zoo. 20.  Make a corn husk doll with […]

  32. Tasha says:

    Ok maybe this is a silly question, but do you cook the chicken with the skin on? I’ve never actually cooked a WHOLE chicken before, totally going into uncharted territory! This soup just looked too good to pass up.

    P.S. I totally agree with Jessica! If you did a book I would totally buy it! Then I could get rid of my binder full of your printed out recipes!

  33. Laurel says:

    Oh is there anything better than chicken noodle soup! This looks so yummy. I’d love for you to submit this to the M&T Spotlight at

  34. Yum! Looks so good! What would be even better is homemade noodles. (This is usually too much work for me.)

  35. Emily says:

    I so needed this recipe one day earlier. I was looking for a great whole chicken crockpot chicken noodle soup recipe and couldn’t find one. :o) But now I have one. Thanks!

  36. Valerie says:

    I am making this right now – what is the best way to freeze the extra cooked chicken? My market only had big chickens…
    Does the soup freeze ok? I could just make a jumbo pot and freeze 1/2.

    • Mel says:

      Valerie, I would probably opt to freeze the chicken instead of the soup. I usually just place the cooked and cooled, shredded chicken in ziploc freezer bags and freeze them that way. I usually drizzle a little chicken broth over the chicken before sealing to keep it moist.

  37. Janet H says:

    I make my own noodles for chicken noodle soup, and put part whole wheat flour in them for extra fiber……the best ever taste!! Have not tried cream in chicken noodle soup……that’s a new idea. Cooking a chicken is quite simple, after doing it a time or two. Many of our grandma’s only had chicken noodle soup if they raised their own chickens.

  38. Wow, looks like the perfect soup for a cold March day, My husband came home from work with a cold yesterday, this sounds like the perfect solution today! Thanks

  39. What a wonderful, cozy and warm soup! There’s nothing better for a cold day, and especially a sick cold! I’ve never had a creamy one, but would definitely love to try this. Great recipe! Thanks for sharing.

  40. Cammee says:

    We have the exact same taste in chicken noodle soup! I didn’t know there were others out there that liked it creamy and stuffed with noodles. I have never tried those noodles. I either make my own or in a hurry I buy the Grandma’s (I think? Granny or Grandma or something similar). They are in the frozen food section. Honestly, you can’t tell the difference between the Grandma’s and homemade.

  41. Kim in MD says:

    What a gorgeous bowl of soup! Everyone should have a great chicken noodle soup recipe, and this one looks perfect! 🙂

  42. Lauren at Keep It Sweet says:

    Definitely saving this recipe. I have never made my own chicken soup but I agree with you that lots of chicken is a must!

  43. Rachel says:

    Okay, this looks really great. I keep failing at homemade chicken noodle soup. I guess I’m going to have to put my big-girl panties on and try to cook a whole chicken. It’ll be a miracle if I get past the giblets, but the real test will be getting the meat off the bone. Nothing grosses me out more (weird, I know!!), but I will do it for you because I know the results will be worth it!

  44. Jessica says:

    Plus, you’re going to make me cook a whole chicken. And I will do it out of duty to my family. Plus pure joy!

  45. Jessica says:

    You did it! Bless your beautiful and sharing heart. Now, why is it you haven’t sought out an agent for a book deal? A little tour around the nation meeting moms whose lives have been changed by your offerings? Your Mel’s Kitchen Cafe is reshaping the views moms have of themselves as cooks in their own kitchens. Their husbands are proclaiming, “I LOVE you, you can cook!!! Your style, and of course the seamlessly foolproofed (plus, well-narrated) recipes,….that with confidence and a mentor, we make,…and put on our ‘to try’ lists, and for sure get the ingredients for at the store.

    Personally, I can’t wait to try your latest pork chops in the crockpot recipe, and your barley chili. Anyway, I know everyone agrees with me that you deserve to be of Pioneer Woman status, a household name. I just had to say it today.

  46. Kat says:

    My favorite chicken noodle soup uses the same “soup” recipe (minus the cream-excited to try that!) but I sort of cheat when it comes to the chicken. I buy the already roasted whole chickens from the grocery store. I boil it in water while I’m getting all my veggies ready and when it’s super tender I take it out, chop half the chicken for my soup, and save the other half in the freezer. I love the flavor the pre-seasoned/roasted chicken adds to the soup with no work from me! Oh, and I also make homemade noodles because my dad would never forgive me if I didn’t 🙂

  47. Adrienne says:

    I’m very particular about my chicken noodle soup too. I always make homemade noodles. They really are very quick and easy, and nothing compares! I’ve never thought to put cream in. Can’t wait to try that creamy version. Yum!

  48. StephenC says:

    No giblets in the slow cooker?

  49. Corinna says:

    With spring just around the corner, I can’t seem to get my fill of these deliciously warm and cozy winter soups. This one’s for dinner tonight!
    Thanks so much for the delicious recipes.

  50. Alicia says:

    Sounds simple and delicious! Can’t wait to try your version! But I’m a little embarrassed to admit I have never in my life cooked a whole chicken… so this could be interesting!

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