Chicken Soup from Scratch (in Under an Hour!)
This restorative, nourishing chicken noodle soup from scratch comes together in under an hour but tastes like it simmered all day. It’s rich yet light and is the ultimate feel-better meal. Take note that if you make the soup ahead, the noodles will thicken it quite a bit. I don’t mind how they soak everything up (I just thin it out with a bit more broth), but if you prefer a less thick soup, cook the noodles separately, and then add them right before serving. We love to serve this soup with grated Parmesan cheese on top and plenty of buttered baguette pieces on the side. Check out the Notes below for a slow cooker variation!
Servings: 4 -6 people
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 onion, finely diced
- 4 medium carrots, sliced ¼-inch thick
- 4 medium stalks celery, sliced ¼-inch thick
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 3 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
- 6 bone-in chicken thighs (about 2 ¼ pounds), skin removed and discarded
- 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 3 cups water
- 1 bay leaf
- 3-4 ounces noodles (regular or gluten-free)
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon minced parsley
Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots and celery, and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 5-7 minutes.
Scrape in the garlic and thyme. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the chicken thighs, broth, water and bay leaf. Bring to a simmer, and skim off any foam that rises to the surface. Let simmer, for 15-20 minutes, or until the meat is cooked through and tender.
Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and let cool slightly. Coarsely shred the meat. Transfer the meat back into the pot, and bring the soup back to a simmer. Add the noodles. Simmer until the noodles are tender (the cooking time will vary according to the type of noodles you use).
Stir in the lemon juice and parsley, and season well with salt and pepper.
Do Ahead: The soup can be refrigerated for up to 5 days. If needed, thin with chicken broth or water.
- This soup can be cooked in a large pot, dutch oven or even slow cooker (see above for slow cooking instructions)!
- Be sure to sauté the onions, carrots and celery until they're soft and tender before adding the rest of the ingredients. This will draw out the most flavor.
- Bone-in chicken thighs create a rich, cooked-all-day flavor. Be sure to remove the skin before adding the thighs, otherwise the soup will be greasy. (You could use bone-in chicken breasts if you prefer, but the meat will be drier.)
- Finishing the soup with fresh lemon juice and parsley brightens up all the flavors.
- Season the soup well with salt and pepper, which are critical for flavor.
- Feel free to add in other flavors or spices! You could add a Parmigiano Reggiano rind to enrich the broth; swap out the thyme for ginger and curry powder; and/or throw in a few handfuls of spinach at the end!
- Slow Cooker Variation: To make this homemade chicken soup in a slow cooker, sauté the onion, carrots, celery and garlic as directed in the recipe. Scrape them into a 5- to 7-quart slow cooker, and add the remaining ingredients, except for the noodles, lemon juice and parsley. Cook until the chicken is fork tender and pulls easily off the bone, about 6-8 hours on low or 4-5 hours on high. In the meantime, cook the pasta in a pot on the stove according to the package directions. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and shred the meat, discarding the bones. Scrape the meat back into the slow cooker, along with the cooked noodles, lemon juice and parsley. Season to taste and serve!