Chicken Noodle Soup Remedy

My day didn’t go exactly as planned, yesterday. Which isn’t all that uncommon for me since that fateful day a little over eleven years ago when I gave birth to my first child.

Over the years I have discovered and mastered a key parental survival skill; the ability to change course and speed on a dime and without a grumble; at least not where the children can overhear you. Which is why I dropped (gently) what I was doing at work, got in the car, and drove for a half an hour to my daughter’s school when the nurse called to inform me that my little rug-monkey had a fever, a sore throat and needed her mommy to pick her up as soon as possible.

My mother’s prescription for whatever ailed me was a steaming-hot bowl of Campbell’s chicken noodle soup, with salted-top saltine crackers coarsly crumbled and added in while it was still bubbling on the stove. This step was extremely important, as the crackers would soften up and become the pseudo-dumplings that made everything right with the world.

In keeping with family tradition, it is required that I make chicken noodle soup whenever one of my girls is sniffling, sneezing, coughing, aching has a stuffy head or fever. Unlike mom, I have always made my soup from scratch.

That may have been a mistake.

You see I’ve painted myself into a corner. If a daughter gets sick and I suggest a nice, easy-to-open can of Campbell’s soup, I get pouted at.

“But the last time <insert sibling name> was sick, she got real soup.”

Oh dear…

“How come she gets real soup and I don’t?”

Here it comes…

“Don’t you love ME as much as you love HER?”

I really can’t win.

So I’ll just be in the kitchen. Cooking soup.

I won’t lie to you; this isn’t a 30 minute meal. But if you start making it just after onset of symptoms, it’s usually ready to eat by the time the Tylenol kicks in, the fever breaks, and the patient is starting to feel just the teeniest bit hungry.

You will get a nice big bowl of chicken meat from your bird, and a really ugly carcass with leftover meat bits clinging to it. This is the best part. Honest. Throw that sucker back into the pot with your aromatics, and let it simmer away until you finally remember you have something cooking on the stove.

After that things get a little ugly . Strain all of the cooked bits out of your rich, chickeny stock.  You can use cheesecloth, but I use a clean cotton kitchen towel. I rinse it before use to get rid of any residual detergent. Soapy soup is not what I’m going for here.

FYI: This is the same recipe I use when I have chicken scraps to use up and it makes a darn fine chicken stock.  

Chop up some fresh carrots and celery.

Any noodle will do ya, but I love a thick and substantial egg noodle. If the patient is complaining of a sore throat, I might use a smaller, easier-to-swallow soup noodle. Maybe. If I felt like it.

Then you will need to corral your youngest daughter when she gets home from school and have her pose with the exceedingly sharp knife so that you can get a picture of real hands cutting real food, so that people don’t think that your ingredients magically chop themselves. Then you must quickly remove said knife from said little hands before they magically become a finger shorter.

Chicken. Chopped. Sort of self explanitory, really.

What all of this boils down to is a warm, rich and hearty soup that I’ve been told makes the sniffles just a bit more bearable and the aches just a little less achy. And if consumed in sufficient quantities, it can even make a pouty, sick girl smile, just a little.

So tell me, what food do you make that helps someone you love feel better when they’re sick? What makes you feel better when you’re sick?

Chicken Noodle Soup

For the stock:
4-5 lb whole chicken
1 medium onion, skin removed and halved
2 cloves garlic, smashed
½ tsp whole peppercorns
1 bay leaf
2 or 3 whole allspice berries (optional)
1 carrot, quartered
1 celery stalk, quartered
2 sprigs parsley
2 tsp kosher salt
3 quarts (or more) water

For the soup:
8 oz egg or other soup noodles
4 cups chicken, diced, reserved from making stock
1 carrot, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 batch chicken stock (see above)
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
Salt and pepper to taste

Place all of the stock ingredients in a Dutch over or other heavy pot. Add water to completely cover the chicken, about 3 quarts. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium low and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes. Turn off heat and remove chicken from pot. Leave the vegetables in the stock.  Allow chicken to cool until you can handle it easily. Remove the chicken meat from the carcass and set it aside. Return the carcass to the pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 1 ½ hours. Allow stock to cool slightly, then strain through a double layer of cheesecloth or a cotton towel set over a strainer. Return stock to the pot and add diced chicken, fresh carrots and celery.  Bring to a boil and add the egg noodles. Cook until noodles are tender (according to package directions). Remove from heat adjust for seasoning with salt and pepper, and add the fresh parsley. Serve with crusty bread or crackers.

Printable Recipe

30 comments to Chicken Noodle Soup Remedy

  • Awwwwww, poor rug monkey:( Hope she’s feeling better by now.

    My wife didn’t cook much (at all) when we first got married and when I got sick, she tried to make a soup recipe but used tablespoons for teaspoons of salt. Tasted like ocean water, but it was the thought that counted 🙂

  • Curtis

    Wow.. that looks amazingly good. I’m going to force Krista to make that for me. I need to fake being sick… ah yes, I have a plan now. It’s all coming together.

  • I have a similar post coming up.

    If you add some unflavored gelatin to you soup you will get some added
    “mouth feel” in your stock. Sprinkle some on 1/2 cup of water and let it bloom ( Absorb the water).THe add it to your soup.
    Just a little trick I use.

  • Looks amazing, I usually use just a few chicken dumpling when I want a quick broth but that must be even better. I also like the spice suggestions, I have to try that for my next chicken soup.

  • Karen

    Chris: She was feeling better the very next day. Let’s just go ahead and say that it was my soup that did it, shall we? Andc Maybe your wife was on to something. Isn’t garling salt water good for a sore throat? 😉

    Curtis: Use the thermomerter in warm water trick. Worked for me every time when I was a kid 😉

    Ed: Thanks for the tip! I look forward to seeing your post too!

    Cindy: In the summer, I like to add herbs from my garden to the stock, like a bit of sage or resemary. Just a few leaves or springs though, because adding too many will turn the broth green! 🙂

  • this looks so “medicinal” in the most chicken soupiest of ways – what a hearty and delicious soup you have made here – I hope it does the trick!

    • Karen

      She was miraculously better just in time for her music recital, had a bit of a relapse when it can time for chores, and then had another spontaneous healing just in time for ice cream from Baskin Robbins. I think I’m starting to see a pattern 😉

  • Lexy

    I am making this right now. It’s just 2 minutes into simmering, but it smells delicious already. I can’t wait until it’s done.

  • Just made a big batch today!

    • Karen

      My soup almost never makes it to the freezer, but when it does, it freezes really well for those big batches. Then you can pull some out whenever someone is feeling under the weather. 🙂

  • Lexy

    Hands down. BEST CHICKEN NODDLE SOUP IN THE WORLD. It’s fool proof. It came out perfect. Perfect recipe. Thank you.

  • Amazing looking soup. The only thing more beautiful would be the (hopefully no longer) sick girl.

  • Poor monkey…glad she’s up to scratch again. I loves me a decent chicken noodle soup, and turkey-noodle as well after the holidays. I also add rice to the mix. That’s for the feel-better soon meals. For winter meals… lentils, potato, carrot and onion soup. 😀

    I’ll have to send you the recipie, m’love.

  • I agree, nothing soothes a cold like homemade Chicken Noodle Soup. Beautiful shot of yours!

  • Oh I know how that is……you have something planned, or you are busy getting on with your day and then from out of left field the plan changes.

    Long gone are the days of popping open a can of soup. As moms and foodies we can’t escape making soups like this from scratch. Hope your daughter is all better now! This post is gorgeous and your daughter is beautiful!!

    I look forward to meeting you at the Good Egg Project in a few weeks 🙂

    • Karen

      Thanks Marla. She’s cute, and just about to fall into puberty. Soooo much to look forward to 😉 I can’t wait to meet you on Phoenix either!

  • My son is only 2 1/2 and he already knows the difference between home-made and canned soup. Actually, he knows the difference between home-made soup made with a whole chicken or just throwing some meat in- whole chicken is the only acceptable method according to him. Well, it does taste better doesn’t it!?
    I’m also looking forward to meeting you in Phoenix soon:-)

    • Karen

      Your son is absolutely right. You can’t get really good chicken soup without the whole bird. I’ve heard some chefs will boil a whole chicken with aromatics until it just falls apart, discard the entire thing, carcass, meat and all, and then use the meat from another chicken cooked separately. I think my greek mother would roll over in her grave if I threw out chicken meat. I think I’d roll right with her!

  • HI! I showed your website to my my friends at school and they said ‘” That’s your mom’s website?!”‘ So, obviously, there moms don’t have AWESOME websites like YOURS!!!


  • I have really enjoyed the pictures you have posted explaining the preparation. It was awesome. I really love chicken noodle soup.

  • Stacy

    Thanks for sharing this. I’m new to your site and it looks interesting–I feel somewhat likeminded.

    Your soup looks good; I just sort of figured out how to make my chicken soup, and I’ve never thought of starting with a whole chicken like that. I usually use leftover chicken parts and boil the carcass of a whole chicken. I’ll try it this way.

    One thing that’s very tasty too is to add a squeeze of lemon and a pinch or two of cilantro on the top of the bowl when serving. I read somewhere that this is something Cubans do with their chicken soup. We love it that way, and my toddler especially loves to get his own lemon wedge and pinch of cilantro to add himself.

    Thanks for sharing!

  • The stock is currently simmering on my stove with one ugly chicken carcass in it!! And it smells absolutely amazing… I am talking instant hunger here. Can´t wait to taste it 😀

  • … and I was not disappointed! Very good soup!

  • Mary

    My sister-in-law taught me to make chicken soup for sick family members by adding freshly grated ginger to the soup. This is especially nice when it’s a sinus infection or your lungs aren’t working as well as they should, because the ginger’s pungency helps to open it all up. She was also very liberal with the black pepper grinder, and typically preferred rice rather than noodles. Give it a try sometime! This Filipino soup is called lugao.

  • Mmmm, sounds perfect for winter! I just posted a similar recipe too 🙂