A big hot bowl of slow cooker chicken noodle soup is the perfect comforting meal on those chilly days! It’s an easy set-it and forget recipe as lean white meat simmers with hearty root vegetables, flavorful herbs, and large egg noodles.
We’ve all been there when the cold and flu season hits and you feel like a walking zombie. I know all I want is a big steaming bowl of comforting soup. This recipe is one of those simple mom-approved remedies that bring a little relief when you’re not on the top of your game.
Using a crock-pot makes the preparation nearly effortless. Just place lean pieces of chicken breast in the vessel along with a classic combination of onions, carrots, and celery. Drop-in some thyme, rosemary, and bay leaf to add depth and pleasing aromatics the moment you lift the lid. Big, tender egg noodles swim in the savory soup base, giving that extra energy you need.
Slow cooker size
This recipe makes a large batch of chicken noodle soup. I use a 6-quart Crock-Pot which works nicely. If you have a smaller unit, cut the recipe in half. It takes about 3 1/2 hours to cook on “high” setting or 5 1/2 hours on “low” setting.
I prefer boneless skinless chicken breasts. The thick pieces of lean meat gently cook in the hot soup liquid, but they can dry out if left too long in the pot. Make sure to use an instant-read thermometer to check for doneness about every 30 minutes past the recommended cook time.
Make sure to keep the chicken covered after removing it from the vessel. To prevent moisture loss, don’t shred them into pieces until ready to serve. You can use either boneless or bone-in chicken thighs for this recipe, however, if cooking with the skin on it will add more grease to the liquid. Fresh or leftover roasted chicken also makes for a quick and easy protein add-in.
A mirepoix consisting of carrots, onions, and celery creates the classic chicken noodle soup flavor. If desired, you can add other vegetables like fennel, butternut squash, any type of potato, zucchini, green beans, or corn to the soup. Make sure to cut each vegetable in similar bite-sized pieces for even cooking.
To add additional layers of flavor, I use minced garlic, rosemary, thyme, and bay leaves that slowly infuse into the cooking liquid. You can use chicken broth or stock, but I prefer the latter, as it adds more richness and flavor from the gelatin in the simmering bones.
Cooking pasta noodles in the slow cooker
Wide egg noodles are a top choice for chicken noodle soup. You’ll add them to the crock-pot after the chicken and vegetables finish cooking. Alternatively, to speed up the overall cook time you can cook them in a separate pot on the stovetop.
Egg noodles have a soft -yet tender bite that complements the proteins and vegetables in the soup. If you don’t have any in the pantry or want to switch it up, other types of pasta can be used. Ditalini and rotini are good substitutes, even broken pieces of thin fettuccine work well. Just note that semolina-based pasta may take a little longer time for cooking as they are more durable compared to egg noodles.
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Preventing mushy noodles
Cook the pasta at the very end of the recipe process on the “high” setting right before serving. Depending on the size and shape of your noodle the time may vary. I find 25 to 30 minutes gives a nice tender egg noodle. If using a different type of pasta check at 10 minutes, then every 10 minutes after that time to gauge the doneness.
Crock-Pot Chicken Noodle Soup
- 1 pound (454 g) boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 2 cups (298 g) carrots, peeled and sliced ¼-inch
- 1 ½ cups (216 g) yellow onion, ½-inch dice
- 1 cup (148 g) celery, ¼-inch pieces
- 2 teaspoons (8 g) minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
- 1 ½ teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped, or ¾ teaspoon dried
- 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped, or ½ teaspoon dried
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 8 cups (64 ounces) unsalted chicken stock, or chicken broth
- 8 ounces (227 g) wide egg noodles
- ½ cup Italian parsley leaves, finely chopped
- Add chicken, carrots, onions, celery, garlic, salt, pepper, thyme, rosemary, bay leaves, and chicken stock to a slow cooker.
- Cover and cook for 3 ½ hours on the high setting, or 5 ½ hours on low.
- Remove chicken and transfer to a clean plate.
- Make sure the chicken is cooked through. Cover with plastic wrap to keep warm. Shred into smaller pieces right before serving.
- Add pasta to the slow cooker and cook on high setting for 25 to 30 minutes, or until pasta is tender.
- Taste the soup liquid and season with more salt and pepper as needed.
- Add shredded chicken back to the slow cooker, cover and let cook for 5 minutes on high heat to re-warm.
- Garnish with a little bit of fresh chopped parsley and freshly cracked black pepper.
- Serve with bread or saltine crackers.