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Classic Slow Cooker Chicken Noodle Soup Recipe

chicken noodle soup in a bowl
chicken noodle soup in a bowl - Michelle McGlinn/Tasting Table

When you're feeling run down, sniffling, and feverish, it's very likely that the first thing on your mind is a warm bowl of chicken noodle soup, and it's not just the nostalgia of the famous red-and-white cans. More than merely comforting, chicken noodle soup is actually working to cure you by reducing inflammation, keeping you hydrated and loaded up with vitamins and minerals. It's the king of classic soups for good reason, and is even better when made from scratch.

The best way to make chicken noodle soup is in the slow cooker — not only is it easy, but it also creates a deep flavor that can only be achieved through low, slow cooking. This recipe developed with Michelle McGlinn uses the slow cooker to simmer tender chicken thighs, chunky mirepoix, and creamy Parmesan together, creating a from-scratch chicken broth that is better than anything you can buy. Just throw in a batch of egg noodles, and you have the perfect homestyle chicken noodle soup in no time.

Read more: 20 Popular Canned Soups, Ranked Worst To Best

Gather The Ingredients For Classic Slow Cooker Chicken Noodle Soup

ingredients on a table
ingredients on a table - Michelle McGlinn/Tasting Table

The first thing you'll want to buy for chicken noodle soup is, of course, chicken. We recommend chicken thighs, which are tender and easily shredded when cooked. From there, you'll need butter, onion, garlic, celery, and carrots, as well as lemon, fresh sage, fresh rosemary, and a small rind of Parmesan. Some stores sell Parmesan rinds on their own, but you can also slice it off of a chunk of Parmesan (never throw away your rinds!). Season the soup with salt and pepper, and grab some egg noodles for finishing up. You can use any kind of noodle here, but we like the spiral-shaped egg kind, which cook evenly and quickly in the hot broth.

Step 1: Soften The Aromatics

onion and garlic in a skillet
onion and garlic in a skillet - Michelle McGlinn/Tasting Table

Add the onion and garlic and saute until soft and fragrant, about 1-2 minutes.

Step 2: Add To A Slow Cooker

onion and chicken in slow cooker
onion and chicken in slow cooker - Michelle McGlinn/Tasting Table

Add the chicken to a slow cooker and cover with the onion mixture.

Step 3: Add The Remaining Ingredients

chicken noodle soup in slow cooker
chicken noodle soup in slow cooker - Michelle McGlinn/Tasting Table

Add the carrots, celery, water, lemon juice, sage, rosemary, Parmesan rind, salt, and pepper.

Step 4: Cook

slow cooker set to 4 hours
slow cooker set to 4 hours - Michelle McGlinn/Tasting Table

Cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 4-5 hours.

Step 5: Shred The Chicken

shredded chicken on a plate
shredded chicken on a plate - Michelle McGlinn/Tasting Table

When the chicken is fork-tender, remove and shred, discarding the bones and skin.

Step 6: Return The Chicken To The Soup

shredded chicken in soup
shredded chicken in soup - Michelle McGlinn/Tasting Table

Return the chicken to the pot. Remove the herbs and Parmesan rind.

Step 7: Cook The Noodles

chicken and noodles in slow cooker
chicken and noodles in slow cooker - Michelle McGlinn/Tasting Table

Add the noodles, then cover the pot and cook on high until noodles are softened, about 30 minutes.

Step 8: Season And Serve

stirring soup in slow cooker
stirring soup in slow cooker - Michelle McGlinn/Tasting Table

Season to taste with salt and pepper then serve.

Can I Use Boneless Chicken For Chicken Noodle Soup?

spoon in chicken noodle soup
spoon in chicken noodle soup - Michelle McGlinn/Tasting Table

While you can use chicken breasts or boneless thighs, you'll actually get the best texture and flavor from bone-in pieces of chicken. This is due to the collagen found in the bones as well as the deep flavor they offer when cooked. If you have chicken scraps laying around — or say, you just finished a rotisserie chicken — you can throw them into the soup for even more chicken flavor.

Here's the tricky part about using scraps in this recipe, though: you won't be able to strain out any tiny bones or small pieces of skin, because you'd take all the delicious vegetables with them. Plus, if you use only scraps, you won't have any meat to shred into the soup. Our solve is to use bone-in chicken thighs, which have just enough bones to impart flavor and plenty of meat to shred into the soup. If you'd rather skip the bones completely, though, we recommend using chicken breasts, which shred easily and create a flavorful, light broth. Each cut of chicken and their bones, or lack thereof, create vastly different broths, so keep the salt handy to season to taste after cooking.

How Do I Store And Reheat Leftover Chicken Noodle Soup?

chicken noodle soup in a bowl
chicken noodle soup in a bowl - Michelle McGlinn/Tasting Table

Chicken noodle soup makes for great leftovers because the flavor continues to develop as it sits overnight. To store, transfer to airtight containers and refrigerate for up to five days. The noodles will absorb some of the broth over time, so when reheating, add chicken broth or water until you've reached the consistency you began with.

You can also freeze this chicken noodle soup. To freeze, transfer to freezer-friendly airtight containers or jars and store in the freezer for up to six months. To reheat from frozen, transfer the frozen mixture to a saucepan and simmer gently until warmed through, or microwave until warm. You can also transfer to the refrigerator and let thaw overnight, then gently rewarm when ready to eat. Whenever you're feeling sick or whenever the desire for a comforting bowl strikes, you can have this homestyle soup on standby in your freezer and skip the canned stuff.

Classic Slow Cooker Chicken Noodle Soup Recipe

bowl of chicken noodle soup on table
bowl of chicken noodle soup on table - Michelle McGlinn/Tasting Table

Prep Time: 10mCook Time: 4h 31mYield: 4 ServingsIngredients

  • 2 tablespoons butter

  • 1 yellow onion, diced

  • 4 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 pound bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs

  • 3 large carrots, sliced

  • 3 stalks celery, chopped

  • 6 cups water

  • Juice from ½ lemon

  • 6 sage leaves, or 1 sprig

  • 2 large sprigs rosemary

  • 1 (2-inch) Parmesan rind

  • 2 teaspoons salt, or to taste

  • 2 teaspoons pepper, or to taste

  • 2 cups egg noodles

Directions

  1. Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat.

  2. Add the onion and garlic and saute until soft and fragrant, about 1-2 minutes.

  3. Add the chicken to a slow cooker and cover with the onion mixture.

  4. Add the carrots, celery, water, lemon juice, sage, rosemary, Parmesan rind, salt, and pepper.

  5. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 4-5 hours.

  6. When the chicken is fork-tender, remove and shred, discarding the bones and skin.

  7. Return the chicken to the pot. Remove the herbs and Parmesan rind.

  8. Add the noodles, then cover the pot and cook on high until noodles are softened, about 30 minutes.

  9. Season to taste with salt and pepper then serve.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.