Homemade chicken noodle soup is a comforting dish on a cold day or when you’re feeling under the weather, and an easy way to use up leftover roasted chicken. Don’t be afraid of making the stock from scratch—it’s actually easy and makes all the difference in your finished soup. Simply brown the bones from the leftover roasted chicken carcass to give the stock a complex flavor, add some vegetables and water, simmer, then strain the stock. Finally, just bring it back up to a simmer, add raw vegetables, and finish the soup with any leftover chicken meat and cooked egg noodles. (Don’t try to add the dried noodles to your soup—they’ll suck up the stock and thicken the soup to a pasty mess.)
What to buy: We strongly recommend making the stock yourself, but you can also substitute 6 cups of high-quality, low-sodium store-bought chicken broth. And while making roasted chicken is easy, you can also use a leftover rotisserie chicken for this soup.
Game plan: The stock can be made in advance and refrigerated in a container with a tightfitting lid for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 1 month.
You’ll need to make a roasted chicken before you begin.
- Yield: 4 to 6 servings
- Difficulty: Easy
- Total: 2 hrs 15 mins
For the stock:
- 1 roasted chicken carcass, meat removed and reserved for the soup
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 quarts (12 cups) water
- 1 medium carrot, peeled and coarsely chopped
- 1 medium celery stalk, coarsely chopped
- 1/2 medium yellow onion, coarsely chopped
- 2 fresh thyme sprigs
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
For the soup:
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and medium dice
- 2 medium celery stalks, medium dice
- 1/2 medium yellow onion, medium dice
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup dried egg noodles (about 2 ounces)
For the stock:
- Using a cleaver or kitchen scissors, break up the carcass into several smaller pieces so that they will fit in an even layer in the bottom of a large pot or Dutch oven; set aside.
- Heat the oil in the pot over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the carcass pieces and cook, turning occasionally, until lightly browned all over, about 8 minutes.
- Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon. Bring to a simmer (do not let the stock come to a boil).
- Reduce the heat to low and continue to simmer, occasionally skimming any scum off the surface of the stock using a large spoon. Cook, adjusting the heat as necessary to keep the stock at a simmer, until the flavors have developed, about 1 1/2 hours.
- Remove and discard any large pieces of carcass. Set a fine-mesh strainer over a 2-quart saucepan and pour the stock through the strainer (you should have about 6 cups). Discard the contents of the strainer. (At this point, the stock can be cooled to room temperature and refrigerated in a container with a tightfitting lid for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 1 month.)
For the soup:
- Bring the stock to a simmer over medium-high heat. Add the carrots, celery, onion, measured salt, and thyme, season with pepper, and stir to combine. Return to a simmer, reduce the heat to medium low, and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, bring a medium saucepan of heavily salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the noodles and cook according to the package directions until al dente. Drain in a colander.
- While the vegetables and noodles cook, shred the reserved chicken meat from the carcass into bite-size pieces. Reserve 1 1/2 cups for the soup; save the rest for another use.
- When the vegetables are tender, add the drained noodles and shredded chicken, stir to combine, and return the soup to a simmer. Cook until the flavors meld, about 5 minutes more. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.