Dill Chicken Noodle Soup
This classic homemade Dill Chicken Noodle Soup is the real deal! Homemade chicken broth with tender pieces of chicken, thick egg noodles, veggies, and fresh dill. Everyone loves a really great chicken noodle soup recipe for colds and cooler weather–this truly is the ultimate chicken noodle soup recipe.
While there are tons of shortcuts to make dill chicken noodle soup on any weeknight, this isn’t one of those recipes. We’re going totally homemade, baby! If you’ve ever wanted to make the best chicken noodle soup ever, buckle up and let’s get into it!
This is the long game, and the results are worth it! The golden-hued soup is about as classic (and as comforting) as they come. We’re going to to start with a whole bird that helps us build the most flavorful and perfect chicken broth loaded with veggies and fresh dill for flavor. If you’ve been intimidated to make homemade chicken noodle soup, we are going to break it all the way down in this recipe! You’re going to be blown away by how easy it is to make your own broth and soup.
A Classic Chicken Noodle Soup Recipe (With Dill!)
There are certain recipes that I think every aspiring cook should be able to tackle. Homemade stocks are literally the building blocks of cooking! Truly, this classic recipe for chicken noodle soup is no more difficult than making chicken stock. Once you’ve made this recipe, you’ll have mastered one of the most basic and important techniques in cooking.
While this recipe does take time, it is mostly passive hands-off time. This classic chicken noodle soup recipe is one that I like to reserve for Sundays, when I have plenty of time to pull a special meal together. This is one of those recipes that’s going to leave you feeling accomplished as hell, and that’s honestly part of the fun. Once you’ve tackled this classic homemade chicken noodle soup recipe, you’re never going back to the quick stuff.
The best part of this recipe? It’s freezer friendly! This recipe makes a good amount of soup and so I often end of freezing a portion of it to enjoy at a later time.
Principles of a Great Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup
To get to a great chicken noodle soup recipe, you’ve got to understand the ‘why’. Everything in this recipe is done for a purpose, so let me break some of that down for you! Once you understand the following principles, you’re going to be that much more equipped as a cook.
Different parts of the chicken cook at different rates.
There’s a reason why we don’t just throw the whole bird into the pot! Breaking the chicken down into pieces (breasts, legs, thighs, wings) ensures that you don’t end up with overcooked, dry chicken. The breasts cook most quickly and so we pull those first. The dark meat (legs and thighs) needs a little more time to get really tender.
Bones make it better.
Can you make chicken broth with just breasts or thighs? Sure. But what we really want is chicken stock. Stock is made using bones and gives you that really rich and beautiful soup broth. This is also why we use a whole chicken! You get tons of flavor from the leg bones, back bones, ribs, etc. After you shred the meat from the cooked chicken, the bones go back into the pot to continue simmering so we get all the collagen and marrow. This is how you get that truly nourishing and healthy chicken stock.
Use two sets of veggies.
We’re basically using two identical sets of veggies for the stock and then for the soup. Why? The veggies that cook in the stock basically become mush after we’ve extracted all their flavors and nutrients. Do we really want mushy veggies in our soup? No way! After we make the chicken stock, we’ll simmer a separate set in another pot with the stock, chicken, and noodles.
You’re never going to make second-rate Classic Chicken Noodle Soup ever again!
How to Make Homemade Dill Chicken Noodle Soup
I may sound like a broken record at this point, but invest in a 4 qt dutch oven! This is my most used piece of cookware. It does tons of heavy lifting in my kitchen, especially for soups. I’ve linked my favorite one below!
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Chicken. It’s most economical to buy a whole chicken and break it down into pieces. If you’re not confident in breaking it down, you can always ask your butcher to do it! A lot of grocery stores sell whole chickens in pieces, too. You can also buy bone-in skin on breasts, leg quarters, and wings if that’s easier.
- Veggies. Carrots, onions, and celery are classic for both the chicken stock and the finished soup. I absolutely adore peas and so I love adding peas to homemade chicken noodle soup, but you can skip those if that’s not your speed.
- Spices. Whole black peppercorns for the stock, plus kosher salt, black pepper, and white pepper for the soup.
- Herbs. Bay leaves and fresh dill go into the chicken stock and fresh chopped dill for the finished soup. You haven’t lived until you’ve had dill in chicken noodle soup! If you aren’t a dill fan, you can swap in parsley.
- Noodles. Egg noodles are classic here! I love this brand of super thick home-style egg noodles. You can also use any small pasta like ditalini.
- Break down and season the chicken. Use kitchen shears to break your whole chicken down into breasts, leg quarters, wings, and backbone. Season everything well with salt and pepper and let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.
- Make the stock. Place the chicken, onion, carrot, celery, bay leaves, peppercorns, and dill in an 8 qt stock pot. Cover with 16 cups of cold water. Bring to a gentle simmer, skimming off any foam and scum that comes to the top.
- Remove the breasts. After 35 minutes of simmering, remove the breasts from the stock. Once they’re cool enough to handle, remove the skin and discard. Shred the breast meat and store in a bowl and cover. Return the bones to the stock.
- Remove the legs. After an hour of simmering, remove the legs and wings from the stock. Once they’re cool enough to handle, remove and discard the skin. Shred the meat from the bones and add it to the bowl with the breast meat. Return the bones to the stock and simmer on low heat for another 90 minutes.
- Strain the broth. Let the stock cool for a bit then strain the stock through a fine mesh strainer into a large heat-proof container.
- Make the soup. In a 4 qt dutch oven, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the chopped onion, carrot, and celery and saute for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the chicken stock and shredded chicken and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 20 minutes or so, until the chicken is warmed through and the carrots are cooked. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and white pepper. Add the noodles to the soup (or cook them separately) and simmer until cooked through. Add the peas (if using) and fresh dill. Once the peas are warmed through, ladle into bowls and serve.
Breaking Down a Whole Chicken
As I mentioned above, using a whole chicken for homemade chicken noodle soup is the most economical and flavorful option! You can purchase a whole chicken already cut into pieces, have your butcher or meat counter attendant do it, or you can give it a shot doing yourself.
To break down a whole chicken, you need a quality pair of poultry shears. These are my favorite ever and they easily cut through both skin and bone which is a must. Make sure you have a large cutting board with silicone edges (or a wet paper towel underneath), so it doesn’t slide around while you’re working.
Start with the backbone. Flip the chicken on its front and use the shears to cut alongside both sides of the backbone. Once the backbone is out, flip the chicken over and press on the breast bone to flatten the chicken. This is called spatchcocking and it’s always the first step.
Next, tackle the wings. Cut the wings at the joint where they join to the breast using the shears. The wings are super easy to remove.
To remove the legs, first start by finding the hip joint. Move the legs around until you can feel where the joint is. Use the shears to cut through the skin and through the tendons. Repeat with the other side.
Finally, use the shears to cut down the middle of the breast bone and through the rib bones. Once you’ve got the breasts separated, you’re ready to go!
Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup: Cooking the Noodles in the Soup
I love cooking the egg noodles in the soup, but make sure you’ve got enough broth to do so. If you plan to cook the noodles in the chicken soup, make sure to add about 8 cups. The noodles will absorb a lot of liquid, so we want to make sure the soup is still soupy after adding them.
Alternately, you can cook the noodles separately, add them to your bowls, and then ladle the chicken soup on top. I use this method especially if I know that I’m freezing the soup later because I typically don’t freeze the noodles in the soup.
Either way works great, just remember to toss the noodles in a bit of oil after boiling and draining so they don’t stick together when you store them.
Storing, Freezing, and Reheating Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup
As with all soups, homemade dill Chicken Noodle Soup tastes even better the next day so feel free to make it ahead of time for lunches or dinners.
To store Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup: Cool the soup to room temperature and transfer to an airtight container. When properly stored, it is good for 3-5 days.
To reheat Chicken Noodle Soup: You can reheat batches of soup on the stove over medium low heat, stirring gently until warmed through. Add additional water or broth as needed to reach desired consistency.
To store the noodles: If you cooked your egg noodles separately, rinse them with cold water and toss with a little neutral oil. Transfer them to a large ziplock bag and store in the fridge for up to 3 days.
To Freeze: I don’t recommend freezing the soup as a whole (though you can!), because the noodles get a little waterlogged. If that doesn’t bother you, then freeze away! Transfer cooled soup to a freezer-safe gallon-ziplock bag or quart container and freeze for up to 3 months. Alternately, you can freeze the soup without the noodles and then just boil the noodles fresh when you reheat. Defrost in the fridge, and reheat on the stove adding extra stock or water as needed.
More Soup Recipes to Try Now
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Homemade Dill Chicken Noodle Soup
- 1 whole chicken, broken down into pieces*
- 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 bunch fresh dill
- 2 medium yellow onions
- 5 carrots, roughly chopped
- 5 celery ribs, chopped
- 2 tablespoons salted butter
- 1 1/2 cups peas (fresh or frozen), optional
- 8 oz old-fashioned egg noodles
- kosher salt, to taste
- black pepper, to taste
- white pepper, to taste
- Season the pieces of chicken liberally with salt and pepper all over and let them sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Using a sharp knife, quarter one of the onions (no need to peel), and dice the other.
- Place the chicken, quartered onion, two of the chopped carrots, 3 of the chopped celery stalks, bay leaves, peppercorns, and 2-3 sprigs of dill in an 8 qt stock pot. Add 16 cups of cold water to the pot and transfer it to the stove. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, using a spoon to skim away any foam and scum. Once the stock is simmering, reduce the heat to medium-low.
- After 35 minutes of simmering, remove the breasts from the pot and transfer them to a plate. Once they're cool enough to handle, remove and discard the skin and then shred the meat. Place the shredded meat into a bowl, cover, and then return the bones back to the stock.
- After 1 hour of simmering, remove the legs and wings from the stock and transfer them to a plate. Once they're cool enough to handle, remove and discard the skin, pull the meat from the bone, and shred it into pieces. Place the shredded meat into the bowl with the breast meat, cover, and then return the bones back to the stock.
- Simmer the chicken stock for another 90 minutes on medium-low heat. Turn off the heat and let the broth cool slightly. Strain through a fine mesh strainer into a heat-proof container. You should have about 8 cups of chicken stock.
- Melt the butter in a 4 qt dutch oven over medium heat. Add the diced onion and remaining carrots and celery. Saute for 3-4 minutes, until the veggies are starting to soften. Add 6-8 cups of the chicken stock and the shredded chicken to the pot. If you plan to cook the noodles in the soup, add 8 cups, if you want to cook the noodles separately, add 6 cups. Simmer for 20 minutes.
- Season to taste with salt, pepper, and white pepper. If you're cooking the noodles in the soup, add them now and simmer for 10-12 minutes, until the noodles are tender. Add 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill and the peas, if using, and simmer for another 5 minutes.
- Ladle the soup into bowls and serve immediately.