This chicken noodle soup is a life saver when the whole family is down with a bad cold. It’s made with basic, pantry staple ingredients, and everything comes together in less than an hour, making it a great weeknight dinner during the cold and dreary winter. The whole family will be coming back for seconds of this delicious soup.

A ladle filled with homemade chicken noodle soup.

Ingredient Breakdown & Substitutions

Here, we’ll explore the essential components of this beloved dish, offering practical substitutions and tips to tailor it to your family’s tastes and dietary needs. This section is your guide to understanding each ingredient’s role and how you can adapt them for a soup that’s both delicious and personalized.

Overhead view of the raw ingredients needed to make chicken noodle soup on a clean kitchen counter.

Chicken: The star of the dish, chicken provides protein and depth of flavor. While boneless, skinless chicken breasts are commonly used for their lean texture, you can also use chicken thighs for a richer flavor, or leftover rotisserie. For a vegetarian version, a mix of hearty vegetables like mushrooms and beans can be excellent substitutes.

Noodles: Egg noodles are traditional for their tender texture, but any pasta shape works well. For a healthier twist, try whole wheat noodles. Gluten-free options like rice noodles or quinoa pasta are great for those with dietary restrictions.

Vegetables: Carrots and celery are staples for their crunch and nutrient content. You can also add peas, green beans, or bell peppers for extra color and nutrition. In colder months, root vegetables like parsnips or turnips can add a hearty element.

Broth: Chicken broth forms the soup’s base, providing a rich, savory liquid. Vegetable broth is a perfect vegetarian alternative. For a low-sodium option, choose unsalted broths or make your own to control the salt level.

Herbs & Spices: Thyme and oregano are traditional, but there’s room for creativity. Basil adds freshness, rosemary offers a woodsy aroma, and bay leaves impart a subtle depth. For a bit of heat, consider a pinch of red pepper flakes.

Garlic and Onion: Fundamental for flavor, these can be adjusted according to taste. Shallots can be a milder substitute for onions, and garlic powder can replace fresh garlic for a subtler flavor.

Olive Oil & Butter: Used for sautéing, these fats add richness. Olive oil can be substituted with other vegetable oils, and butter can be replaced with a plant-based alternative for dairy-free diets.

Cream (Optional for Variations): Heavy cream adds richness for a creamy twist. A plant-based half and half or heavy cream alternative can be used if needed.

Frequently Asked Questions

What if I don’t have fresh herbs?

Dried herbs work well too. Just use them in smaller quantities (approximately 1/3 of the amount of fresh herbs), as they are more potent.

Is it okay to freeze this soup?

Yes, but it’s best to freeze it without the noodles as they can become mushy when thawed.

Visual Guide to Making Chicken Noodle Soup

A collage of six images showing the process of how to make chicken noodle soup from start to finish.


For a creamy twist, add 2 cups of heavy cream in during the last few minutes of cooking.

To increase the nutritional content and protein, add 1 cup of frozen peas and let them heat through while you shred your chicken.


  • Soup too thick? Add more broth or water to achieve your desired consistency.
  • Lacking flavor? Adjust the seasoning with more salt, pepper, or herbs.
  • Noodles overcooked? Next time, add them later in the cooking process to avoid them getting too soft.

Tips From the Chef

  • Cook noodles separately if planning to store leftovers, to avoid them soaking up too much broth.
  • Shred the chicken finely for a more consistent texture.
  • Add a squeeze of lemon juice before serving for a fresh flavor boost.
  • Sauté vegetables until just tender to retain their texture and nutrients.
Overhead view of a pot filled with chicken noodle soup with a ladle resting in it.

Storage & Reheating Instructions

Chicken noodle soup stores well in the refrigerator for up to 4 days and can be frozen for up to 2 months. When reheating, gently warm it on the stove and add additional broth if needed. If frozen, thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.

More Amazing Soup Recipes

Watch the video below where Rachel will walk you through every step of this recipe. Sometimes it helps to have a visual, and we’ve always got you covered with our cooking show. You can find the complete collection of recipes on YouTube, Facebook Watch, or our Facebook Page, or right here on our website with their corresponding recipes.