Homemade chicken noodle soup from scratch is one of my absolute favorite comfort foods. Not only is it incredibly easy, but even just the smell of it simmering away is soothing and totally gives me hygge vibes. While I’ve had a stove top version of this Slow Cooker Chicken Noodle Soup for years, I thought it was high time to show just how easy and hands-off it is to make with a slow cooker (or crock pot). This is the perfect winter Sunday recipe to have going while you tend to other chores or just catch up on Netflix. :)
What Size Slow Cooker Do I Need?
I would suggest using a 6 quart slow cooker. I used a 5 quart slow cooker and it was filled dangerously close to the top, so 6 quart would be a much better fit. If you have a smaller slow cooker you can cut the recipe in half by changing the number of servings in the box next to servings in the recipe card below. This will adjust the amounts of all the ingredients for you. It will still need to cook for the same amount of time.
What Are “Split” Chicken Breasts?
Split chicken breasts are one whole chicken breast that has been split down the breast bone into two pieces (right and left breast) with the bones, rib meat, and skin still attached. Also known as bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts. Using this type of chicken breast is key to getting the best flavor in your chicken soup. The bones, connective tissues, and dark rib meat are where all the flavor’s at. Bone-in chicken thighs are also a great option.
Can I Use Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast?
Technically you can, but your soup will have a lot less flavor. You may find that you need to use pre-made chicken broth in place of the water listed in the recipe below to get more flavor in your soup.
Can I Use Frozen Chicken?
It’s not recommended to add frozen meat to slow cookers. It takes too much time for the meat to thaw and come up to a safe temperature, leaving it in the temperature “danger zone” where bacteria can flourish for too long. If you have frozen chicken that you’d like to use, make sure to thaw it fully using a safe method before adding it to the slow cooker.
To Use Chicken Skin or Not to Use Chicken Skin
I remove the chicken skin from the split chicken breasts before adding it to the slow cooker, but you don’t have to. There is a lot of fat and flavor in the skin, so if you want an extra rich soup you can leave it on. You’ll just remove the skin at the same time that you debone the chicken meat.
Can I Freeze Chicken Noodle Soup?
Yes! This recipe makes a huge batch, so you’ll probably want to freeze half of it. Make sure to divide the soup into single portions just after cooking (so it cools quickly), cool it completely in the refrigerator over night, then transfer to the freezer the next day. You can freeze in quart-sized freezer bags or reusable freezer safe food storage containers.
Slow Cooker Chicken Noodle Soup
- 1 yellow onion ($0.32)
- 3 cloves garlic ($0.24)
- 1/2 lb. carrots (about 4 medium) ($0.30)
- 4 ribs celery ($0.43)
- 2 split chicken breasts* (2-2.5 lbs. total) ($6.30)
- 1 tsp dried basil ($0.10)
- 1 Tbsp dried parsley ($0.30)
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme ($0.05)
- 1 bay leaf ($0.15)
- 1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper ($0.05)
- 8 cups water ($0.00)
- 6 oz. wide egg noodles ($0.68)
- 1 Tbsp salt (or to taste) ($0.10)
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley (optional) ($0.20)
- Dice the onion, mince the garlic, peel and slice the carrots, and slice the celery. Add the onion, garlic, carrots, and celery to a 6 quart slow cooker or crock pot.
- Remove the skin from the bone-in split chicken breasts, then place them on top of the vegetables in the slow cooker. Add the basil, parsley, thyme, bay leaf, and pepper to the slow cooker.
- Pour 8 cups of water over the ingredients in the slow cooker. Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours.
- After cooking on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours, carefully remove the chicken to a cutting board and discard the bay leaf. Add the egg noodles to the slow cooker, stir to combine, and replace the lid, with the heat turned on to high.
- Use two forks to remove the chicken meat from the bones, shredding the meat as you go. Return the meat to the slow cooker and stir to combine with the soup. The noodles should be tender after about 8-10 minutes of being in the soup (this may take a few minutes longer if the slow cooker was previously set to low).
- Once the chicken has been returned to the soup and the noodles are tender, begin seasoning the soup with salt. The true flavor of the soup will not be pronounced until it is properly salted. Start with 1 tsp salt, adding more until the soup is bold and flavorful. I use about 1 Tbsp (3 tsp). Finally, stir in a handful of chopped parsley for garnish just before serving.
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Scroll down for the step by step photos!
How to Make Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup in a Slow Cooker – Step by Step Photos
Dice one yellow onion, peel and slice 1/2 lb. carrots (about four), slice four ribs of celery, and mince 3 cloves of garlic. Add all four to a 6 quart slow cooker or crock pot.
Remove the skin from two split chicken breasts (leave bones and rib meat attached). Place the chicken in the slow cooker along with 1 tsp dried basil, 1 Tbsp dried parsley, 1/2 tsp dried thyme, 1 bay leaf, and some freshly cracked black pepper.
Add eight cups of water to the slow cooker, place the lid on top, and cook on high for four hours or low for eight hours.
After cooking on high for four hours or low for eight hours, remove the cooked chicken to a cutting board and discard the bay leaf (it usually floats on top).
Add 6 oz. wide egg noodles to the slow cooker, stir to combine, and replace the lid. Let the noodles continue to cook on high heat while you shred the chicken.
Use two forks to remove the chicken meat from the bones, shredding it as you go. Return the shredded meat to the slow cooker. The noodles will be tender after being in the pot for about 8-10 minutes (this may take a few minutes longer if your slow cooker had previously been set to low).
Once the noodles are tender and the shredded chicken returned to the pot, begin seasoning the soup with salt. Start with 1 tsp and keep adding more until the soup tastes vibrant and delicious. I use about 1 Tbsp (3 tsp). Finally, add 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley for garnish just before serving.
As with any soup or large batch recipe, it helps to divide the soup into smaller portions before cooling in the refrigerator. This helps the food cool faster, which is a better food safety practice.
Add some crackers on top and enjoy this totally from-scratch homemade chicken noodle soup, just like grandma used to make. :)