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The Best Chicken Noodle Soup

Chicken soup is a comforting classic, and this creamy recipe is a family favorite! With tender chicken, hearty egg noodles, garlic, herbs, and more, it’s The Best Chicken Noodle Soup ever!

Homemade chicken soup in bowls.

My Family’s Favorite Chicken Noodle Soup

Guys, I don’t want to brag. I am being totally sincere when I say that this is the best chicken noodle soup ever! I have been making and feeding this soup to my family for years, taking it to tailgates, and bringing it over to friends who are under the weather… and the comment I always hear is, “That is the best chicken noodle soup!”

So just what makes it so good, you may be wondering. It’s not any special magic of my own – anyone can make this simple recipe. It’s just the perfect balance of flavors, from garlic to bay leaves to slow-simmered chicken, with some creamy goodness (from real heavy cream!) to put it over the top.

Feeling hungry yet? Me too, actually. Let’s make some soup!

(And if you’re looking for a different take on chicken soup, try this Lemony Chicken and Orzo Soup, or a bowl of my hearty Chicken Tortilla Soup!)

Whole chickens and other soup ingredients arranged on a work surface.


For ingredients, the most important thing to remember is that bone-in chicken makes the best chicken noodle soup. I use two whole chickens, but you could substitute bone-in thighs, drumsticks, breasts, or a combination.

  • Whole Chickens: Or a combination of bone-in chicken pieces.
  • Water
  • Onions: Peel and dice the onions.
  • Italian Seasoning: This versatile seasoning has a little bit of everything. If you don’t have pre-made Italian seasoning on hand, you can use a mix of basil and oregano to mimic the flavor.
  • Lemon: Slice up a lemon to add a bit of tangy brightness. Acid is so important in chicken soup!
  • Garlic: I like a generous amount of minced, fresh garlic in my soup. You can dial it back or omit it entirely if you don’t care for garlicky chicken soup.
  • Bay Leaves: These really add that classic chicken soup herbal note. Sage would also be good, if you don’t have bay leaves, or use half bay leaves and half sage.
  • Chicken Bouillon Cubes: My secret weapon for a really rich-tasting broth! Substitute chicken base (such as Better Than Bouillon) if you prefer.
  • Salt and Pepper: Kosher salt and freshly-cracked pepper are my go-tos, but any salt and pepper will work.
  • Vegetables: Carrots, celery, and mushrooms. You can use fresh or dried mushrooms. If you’re using dried, be sure to soak them to reconstitute them.
  • Egg Noodles: You can use the curly ones, the straight ones, or even the tiny thin ones – whichever you like. Keep in mind that the very tiny ones cook really quickly.
  • Parsley: Chopped parsley helps keep things light and fresh.
  • Sherry: Want to know a secret? I use cooking sherry. I do. You can also use regular sherry, or substitute some white wine for a slightly different taste. 
  • Rosemary: The Italian seasoning may contain a bit of rosemary already, but I still like to add some fresh rosemary for a pungent, woodsy taste. It’s fantastic with chicken.
  • Parmesan: In chicken soup? You betcha! Freshly grated is best – pre-shredded parm can be hard to dissolve in soup.
  • Heavy Cream: Half and half will also work, but it won’t be as richly creamy.

Which Noodles Are Best for Chicken Noodle Soup?

Egg noodles are sort of the traditional choice for chicken soup, at least in the U.S. However, if you don’t have any egg noodles, this soup is also great with regular pasta tossed in and cooked until tender. Smallish pasta shapes like rotini and fusilli are good options, or take some long pasta like spaghetti or linguine and break it into inch-long pieces.

Lifting a spoonful of soup out of a bowl.

How to Make the Best Chicken Noodle Soup

The process for making this recipe is straightforward, but since it’s an old-fashioned approach that includes making your own broth (no shortcuts when making the best chicken noodle soup!), you’ll need to budget time for that. Make sure to read over the recipe once or twice before you dive in, so you don’t get stuck making broth when you need to be somewhere else!

  • Cook the Chicken. Going down the list, measure and add all of the ingredients to a big soup pot, up to and including the salt and pepper. Set this over medium heat, and add some extra water if needed, so that the chickens are completely covered. Let the chicken simmer for one hour, or until tender and done through.
  • Cool the Chicken. Remove both chickens from the pot, and place them on a rimmed cutting board so that you can catch the juices and pour them back into the pot. Let them cool down, and then debone them, shredding the meat and discarding the skin and bones (or saving them to make homemade stock).
  • Cook the Vegetables in the Broth. Meanwhile, strain the broth through a colander into a large bowl, throwing away any solids. Pour the broth back into the pot, as well as any juices caught from the chickens as they cool. Bring the broth to a low boil, and add carrots, celery, and mushrooms. Cook these for 10-12 minutes.
  • Add the Noodles. Add your egg noodles, and cook them until al dente (you can follow the directions on the package for specific cooking times).
  • Finish the Soup! Last, stir in the shredded chicken, parsley, sherry, rosemary, Parmesan, and cream. Cook for about 5 minutes longer, and then enjoy!

Does Chicken Soup Taste Better the Longer You Cook It?

That’s kind of a yes-and-no question. The issue is, are you making chicken soup with stock, or chicken soup with broth?

Chicken stock is made by cooking chicken bones (and skin, and sometimes veggies) in water for a long time. Chicken broth is made by cooking the actual chicken meat (as well as bones, usually). 

While broth and stock both get richer and richer the longer you cook them, the problem is that the chicken meat will dry out and get tough if you let it go too long. Vegetables will also have an unpleasant texture if you overcook them, turning mushy and falling apart. 

So if you’re making soup using chicken broth, like I do in this recipe, don’t overcook it or the chicken won’t have a good texture. If you’re making homemade chicken stock, feel free to cook it for hours and hours before you strain it and use it.

A bowl of homemade chicken noodle soup.

Helpful Tips

Every cook has their tips and tricks for making the best chicken soup, but there’s no gatekeeping here – I’m sharing all of mine! Here are a few more things you should know about this recipe:

  • Chicken Juices: The juices that drip from the chickens while they cool are sooo flavorful. Don’t waste them – catch them and add them back to the pot! You can use a rimmed cutting board, or place them on a rack in a rimmed baking sheet or roasting pan.
  • Chicken Doneness: You can tell that the chicken is done when the leg and thigh jiggle loosely, the juices run clear, and there’s no pink (brownish is fine) when you cut into the meat down to the bone. Or just use a meat thermometer! The safe temperature for chicken is 165F.
  • Ingredient Amounts: I like to make a really big batch of soup, using two whole chickens, so that I can freeze half and pull it out when needed. If you don’t want to make that big of a batch, just cut the ingredient amounts in half to make a normal dinner-sized amount.
Two bowls of soup with chicken and vegetables.

What to Serve with Chicken Noodle Soup

To me, chicken noodle soup is a meal in a bowl – but of course, it does go really well with lots of side dishes. Here are a few easy side dishes to try:

  • Cornbread: A serving of this Gluten Free Sweet Potato Cornbread is so wholesome and more-ish. You’ve got to try it! And the subtle sweetness is really pleasant with creamy chicken noodle soup.
  • Salad: A leafy salad is always nice, but for something a little different, try making this Asparagus Broccoli Salad. It’s hearty, satisfying, and packed with nutrition.
  • Veggie Tart: A wedge of Zucchini Cheese Tart makes a bistro-like meal out of creamy chicken noodle soup.
Two bowls of chicken soup on a table with spoons and herbs.

Storing, Freezing, and Reheating

So what do you do with your leftovers? Well, I always make extra and have several batches in the freezer, to pull out when needed. You can also refrigerate it for short-term storage.

  • Refrigerate: Cover the soup well or transfer to airtight containers, and refrigerate for 3 – 4 days.
  • Freeze: To freeze, just cool the soup down, pour it into freezer containers (leave a little room for it to expand), and freeze for 3 months or so. Thaw in the refrigerator before reheating.
  • Reheat: Heat the soup back up on the stove over medium heat, or in your microwave for 30 seconds at a time, stirring between each 30-second session.
Two bowls of the best chicken noodle soup with cream and noodles.

The Best Chicken Noodle Soup

5 from 4 votes
Chicken soup is a comforting classic, and this creamy recipe is a family favorite! With tender chicken, hearty egg noodles, garlic, herbs, and more, it’s The Best Chicken Noodle Soup ever!
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time1 hour 35 minutes
Servings: 24


  • 2 whole chickens
  • 7 quarts of water
  • 2 onions peeled and diced
  • 4 teaspoons Italian Seasoning
  • 1 lemon sliced
  • 6 garlic cloves minced
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 6 chicken bouillon cubes
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • 4 cups sliced carrots
  • 4 cups sliced celery
  • 1 bag of egg noodles
  • 2 cups sliced mushrooms (if dried reconstituted)
  • 6 tablespoon parsley chopped
  • 2/3 cup cooking sherry
  • 4 teaspoon rosemary chopped
  • 2 cups grated Parmesan
  • 1 1/2 cup heavy cream


  • Add all ingredients up to kosher salt and pepper to a large pot over medium heat.
  • Add extra water if needed so that chickens are completely covered.
  • Cook for one hour or until chicken is tender. Chicken should no longer have any pink inside (you can cut with knife to judge, or use a meat themometer to make sure the chicken reaches 165°F).
  • Remove chickens and place on a rimmed cutting board so you can catch juices from chickens and add them back to the pot.
  • Once chickens are cooled, remove skin and shred meat. (You can use bones and skin to make homemade chicken stock)
  • Strain broth through a colander into a large bowl, throwing away solids.
  • Place broth back into stock pot, as well as any juices you caught while chickens cooled.
  • Bring broth to a low boil and add carrots, celery and mushrooms cooking for 10 – 12 minutes.
  • Add noodles and cook until al dente (follow directions on package).
  • Stir in shredded chicken, parsley, sherry, rosemary, parmesan and cream for about 5 minutes.
  • Serve and enjoy!


  • To catch juice and broth from chickens while they cool, place chickens on wire rack that is sitting inside a rimmed baking sheet. The deeper the baking sheet the better, as there may be quite a bit of juice released from chickens.
  • This is a double recipe so that you will have plenty to freeze. Cut the ingredient amounts in half if you do not want extra to freeze.
Course: Soup
Cuisine: American


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25 comments on “The Best Chicken Noodle Soup”

  1. Hi Amy,

    I made it yesterday !!! My very best chicken noodle soup for the winter. It tasted wonderful, delicious and heart warming. I loved it sooooo much, a true comfort food.
    I will make it again but would you skin the chicken ? Will it make the broth different ?

  2. Hi that looks warming and delicous for this winter. I am going to try but if I don’t have sherry, is there any substitute or can I just skip it ???

    1. Celmah,
      You can substitute a dry white wine, apple cider vinegar or orange juice. The soup is delicious and so comforting, hope you enjoy!

  3. This is absolutely Ah .maz.ing- truly the best!!!! Forget what you think about chicken noodle soup, this one is very different, but has all the healing powers of comfort and yumminess!! I had to make a slight change tho- I was out of Rosemary, however I had this left over packet of some cheese blend with herbs from a bag of Spinach Cheese Pasta I had from Costco and I tossed the whole thing in-it was soooooo good!!! It was by far, the best Chicken Noodle Soup I have ever eaten- thank you for the reciepe-very well done-you out did yourself on this…and now my family thinks I make the best chicken noodle soup ever!! :-)))

    1. Wow Andi, comments like that really encourage a girl to keep on keeping on! Thank you. I am glad your family knows what a great cook you are!! Its great that you improvised, sometimes improvising gives me my best recipes. Have a wonderful day, you have made mine brighter. xoxo Amy

  4. Avatar photo
    Maureen | Orgasmic Chef

    5 stars
    This is so close to my mother’s chicken soup recipe. You’re so right, it’s just perfect and when you don’t feel 100% it’s even better.

  5. Avatar photo
    Becky Neville

    I will try this!
    If you raise chickens, you can take the bones and skin, plop them in a crock-pot with some carrot shavings, and some celery tops; cook for a day or two, until the bones can be crushed in your fingers, strain; feed the bones and skin to your birds, save the bone broth to use on dog food or to use when cooking. Nothing wasted!

    1. Becky,
      Great idea, I just read an article yesterday that our backyard chickens may not be getting enough calcium from their feed and will steal it from their own bones to make an egg. Thanks for the tip! I hate wasting…

    1. Kris, what is great is you freeze a bunch in individual containers and pull them out when ever you are not feeling 100%.

  6. Avatar photo

    I have chicken soup on the menu for today’s trick or treat dinner so that everyone can just grab a bowl when they want it… I think I’m going to make a few adjustments now, this looks wonderful!

    1. Glad to hear your little guys get to go trick or treating. With Sally I know a lot has been cancelled. Enjoy!

  7. 5 stars
    Amazing! I have been looking for just the recipe. Looks amazing. I want a knock your socks off recipe, even though anything beats chicken noodle soup out of the can!

      1. Amy @ A Healthy Life For Me
        Amy Stafford

        Awesome Diane! Thanks so much for letting me know, its always good to know people love your recipes as much as you do 🙂

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