I Made Ina Garten’s Chicken Soup, and It’s Comfort Food for the Soul

After trying this Ina Garten chicken soup recipe, you may never go back to canned soup.

If there’s one thing we can all learn from Ina Garten, it’s that quality ingredients really do make a difference.

While she always reminds us that store-bought is fine, her elevated versions of simple, homemade cooking have proved time and again that occasionally splurging on a few special ingredients (rather than generic versions) is worth the time and investment.

Ina Garten’s chicken soup with scratch-made chicken stock is no different.

Do I Need to Use Homemade Stock?

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No. Homemade stock is never required to make great chicken noodle soup from scratch. Store-bought chicken stock will always suffice if you’re short on time or budget. While you can swap chicken stock for broth if needed, we recommend sticking with stock for this recipe since the consistency will be nice and thick.

With that being said, homemade stock is easy to make if you prefer. It is loaded with health benefits, and one batch typically yields several quarts of stock. Any leftovers can be frozen and used in countless homemade soup recipes that traditionally call for store-bought.

If you want to treat yourself to some truly soul-warming soup, we suggust making your own chicken stock. It is a time-consuming process, but it’s well worth the effort.

How to Make Ina Garten’s Chicken Soup

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Ingredients

  • 1 whole (2 split) chicken breast, bone-in and skin on
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 quarts homemade chicken stock (see Ina’s recipe below), or store-bought
  • 1 cup (2 stalks) medium-diced celery
  • 1 cup (3 carrots) medium-diced carrots
  • 2 cups wide egg noodles
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Chicken Stock

  • 3 (5-pound) roasting chickens
  • 3 large yellow onions, unpeeled and quartered
  • 6 carrots, unpeeled and halved
  • 4 celery stalks with leaves, cut in thirds
  • 4 parsnips, unpeeled and cut in half (optional)
  • 20 sprigs fresh parsley
  • 15 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 20 sprigs fresh dill
  • 1 head garlic, unpeeled and cut in half crosswise
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns

Directions

Step 1: Prepare the stock (optional)

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If you would like to use store-bought stock, proceed to Step 2 of the recipe.

The day before you make the soup, place the stock ingredients in an extra large stockpot (16-20 quarts). Add 7 quarts of water and bring to a boil. Simmer uncovered for 4 hours. After 4 hours, strain the contents of the pot and discard the solids (reserve the chicken meat for one of these fab chicken recipes).

Chill overnight, then skim the surface to remove any fat. Use immediately for the soup and pack any extra stock in containers for future use.

Editor’s Tip: Extra homemade chicken stock should be used within 48 hours and kept refrigerated. You may also freeze homemade stock for up to 3 months. One batch yields about 6 quarts of stock.

Step 2: Season the chicken

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Preheat the oven to 350°F. Rub each bone-in chicken breast generously with olive oil on all sides and then season with salt and pepper. Place on a sheet pan.

Step 3: Roast

Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until the breasts are fully cooked and reach an internal temperature of 165°.

Step 4: Shred or dice

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Let the chicken cool, then remove the meat from the bones, discard the skin, and shred or dice the chicken meat according to your preference. (If you have too much, save it for one of these leftover chicken recipes.)

Step 5: Simmer

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In a large pot, bring the chicken stock to a simmer, then toss in the celery, carrots and noodles. Simmer until the vegetables are tender, and the noodles are al dente; about 8 to 10 minutes.

Step 6: Add the chicken

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Stir in the cooked chicken breast and parsley. Let everything cook for a few minutes until heated evenly. Season to taste.

Step 7: Serve

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Serve in bowls with soup crackers (or one of these other tasty soup toppers). Enjoy!

Here’s What I Thought

Wow! This really is some truly spectacular chicken noodle soup. It’s also extremely easy (despite the lengthy prep time) since most of the prep is inactive.

Our biggest grievance with the recipe was that Ina calls for discarding the chicken used to make the stock. As many reviewers on the original recipe mentioned, throwing away 3 whole chickens’ worth of meat seems extremely wasteful.

While the chicken may not be ideal for eating on its own after simmering for hours, we found the meat was perfect for tossing into a chicken pot pie or making into an easy chicken salad.

Ina Garten’s Chicken Soup Tips

How can you add more flavor to chicken soup?

As Ina recommends, making your own stock is one of the best ways to add flavor to homemade chicken noodle soup. However, if you’re looking for an easier and faster shortcut to irresistable flavor, try tossing in additional fresh herbs like thyme or dill (Ina advises not to use anything too strong like rosemary). You could also try adding a zesty meat rub to your chicken before roasting. Just before serving, squeeze in some fresh lemon juice.

Can you use other cuts of chicken for this soup?

Sure! While Ina’s bone-in roasted chicken breasts are tender and juicy, you could easily swap them for boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs. Just know that the cooking time for these cuts of chicken will be different.

You could also use a store-bought rotisserie chicken or leftover cooked chicken you have in your fridge.

Can you use different noodles?

Yes. While extra-wide egg noodles are traditional in chicken noodle soup, you can swap them for any of your favorite short-cut pasta shape. Rotini, medium shells or large elbow macaroni would all work well. For a gluten-free chicken noodle soup, you can also opt for rice, chickpea or quinoa gluten-free pasta.

If you change up the noodles, be sure to consult its package for cooking directions, as the timing may vary depending on the shape and variety.

Here, find out why Ina Garten’s lasagna recipe is so delicious.

Lauren Habermehl
Lauren Habermehl is a recipe developer, food photographer and creator of the blog, Frydae. She is a prolific quoter of FRIENDS, lover of weekend DIY projects and procrastinating fitness enthusiast who enjoys exploring the Milwaukee-area with her husband, daughter and ugly mutt named Tyson Doodles.