Slow Cooker Chicken and Noodles

slow cooker chicken and noodles 1

SoupAddict saw a recipe last year that really spoke to her. It’s blustery, snowy winter here, and things warm and thick and comforting are highly prized. And in SoupAddict’s world, things that are warm and thick and comforting often come in the form of soup. Soup is love in a bowl, is SoupAddict’s philosophy. (That, and “bacon is love on a plate.”)

That recipe featured chicken noodle soup — probably the all-time best meal when you’re feeling like you need a hug from the world. And a hug from the world sounds like a pretty good thing down in the depths of January, yessiree.

Being smart and clever peeps, you probably noticed “Slow Cooker” in the title, along with the photo of SoupAddict’s Crock Pot above, and have already put 2 and 2 together — i.e., that this will be a slow cooker recipe. The original chicken noodle soup recipe was not one for the slow cooker (nor is it really a soup, but rather soup’s close and personal friend, Stew). But as SoupAddict was writing out her grocery shopping list for this recipe, she noticed the Crock Pot that has been sitting on her counter since Christmas. And [ding!] a light clicked on, and suddenly SoupAddict’s brain got to working—popping, pinging, and spewing a little exhaust in the process—and pretty soon she had a plan for a slow cooker version of Crock Pot chicken and noodles.

slow cooker chicken and noodles 2
Chicken and noodle soup is really not chicken and noodle soup without carrots and celery and something from the onion family.

slow cooker chicken and noodles 3
SoupAddict’s leek garden is still snuggled happily in its winter home in the backyard. Look at those roots! If SoupAddict had to live out in 16° weather, she’s certain her roots would not be so vibrant. Nonetheless, SoupAddict needed a shovel and a parka and someone to work the shovel while she wore the parka to free one leek from the frozen ground. But, lacking that, she persevered and successfully procured the leek, just before her fingers succumbed to frostbite. Who knew gardening could be so dangerous?

slow cooker chicken and noodles 4
But, home-grown veggies are ever so lovely, frost-bite or not. This leek was just beautiful and delicious. If you’ve never grown veggies before, SoupAddict encourages you to make 2011 the Year of the Home Vegetable Garden.

slow cooker chicken and noodles 5
Look at these gorgeous beauties. SoupAddict is always amazed that such wonderfulness grows right out of the ground.

slow cooker chicken and noodles 6
SoupAddict is preparing this dish on a weekend, so she is using bone-in split chicken breasts and bone-in thighs. If you’re preparing this while you’re away for the day, use boneless chicken breasts and/or thighs. You’ll be thankful later when you’re not stripping meat off the bone after working your own fingers to the bone. SoupAddict always seasons her chicken with salt before cooking. For even more flavorful chicken, let the seasoned chicken spend the night in the fridge.

slow cooker chicken and noodles 7
Mmmmmm … herbs and spices. The orange powder on the left is turmeric. It will give the dish that traditional deep yellow color. Fresh thyme leaves (SoupAddict pinched off a few branches of thyme after she finished wrestling the leek), oregano, white or black pepper and salt go right in the pot.

slow cooker chicken and noodles 8
Since SoupAddict is using water rather than broth, she also added some chicken base to the liquid.

slow cooker chicken and noodles 9
Just a tablespoon in a quart of boiling water will do a body good. Everything goes into the slow cooker for a 6 to 8 hour stint (SoupAddict can also say, “Crock Pot” without being sued by Crock Pot, since she is actually using a Crock Pot. However, if you do not have a Crock Pot brand slow cooker, please be sure to mentally cross out all instances of “Crock Pot” herein, replacing them with “slow cooker,” so that the Crock Pot lawyers do not come after you for trademark infringement. Whew! SoupAddict needs a Kleenex after all that.)

slow cooker chicken and noodles 10
Since SoupAddict is making this on a day when she was home, she used bone-in chicken. About 3/4ths of the way through the total cooking time, remove the chicken from the Crock Pot to a cutting board. Look at that yellow skin! That’s from the turmeric, lovely, healthy turmeric. If you’ve used boneless chicken, just leave it all intact, in the noodle soup, until the very end.

Remove the skin, discard, and use two forks to pull the meat from the bones. Discard the bones … or, if you’re feeling extra motivated, you can actually put the more substantial bones back into the pot and let them continue to cook. Just remember to remove them before serving.

slow cooker chicken and noodles 11

Mmmm, gorgeous.

slow cooker chicken and noodles 12
Mm, bony. (And did SoupAddict actually discard the tender, seasoned chicken skin? She’ll never [chomp] tell [nom nom].)

slow cooker chicken and noodles 13
While the chicken’s waiting to go back in its lovely seasoned Crock Pot bath, SoupAddict adds some thickening agents. Take some flour …

slow cooker chicken and noodles 14
… and add several tablespoons of liquid chicken goodness from the Crock Pot. Stir until it forms a nice, thick, paste. Your paste should not be blurry. SoupAddict’s was, but it still worked fine.

Add the paste to the stew in the Crock Pot and stir to combine thoroughly. Then add the chicken back to the Crock Pot.

slow cooker chicken and noodles 15
SoupAddict loves Reames frozen egg noodles. They’re just brilliant, especially in this slow cooker chicken noodle soup.

slow cooker chicken and noodles 16
Make sure your stew is still nice and hot before adding the frozen noodles. No need to thaw; the stew will take care of that right quick.

slow cooker chicken and noodles 17

This, my friends, is comfort food. Pure and simple.

Karen xo

Slow Cooker Chicken and Noodles
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 2 lbs. chicken (I used 1 bone-in split chicken breast and several bone-in thighs)
  • 2 whole carrots, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 leek, diced (white and light green parts only)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper (more to taste)
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme, leaves removed (discard stem) OR 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 teaspoons parsley flakes
  • 1 quart water, very, very hot (plus more as needed) OR 1 quart chicken stock, unheated (plus additional water as needed)
  • 1 tablespoon chicken base, if you're using water instead of broth
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 16 ounces frozen egg noodles
Instructions
  1. Place the chicken, vegetables, herbs and spices (including salt) in the slower cooker and turn to LOW. If using water, mix the chicken base into the hot water. Pour the water/chicken base or chicken stock into the slow cooker. Add water as needed to ensure that the chicken is covered by the liquid.* Cover and let it do its thang for 6 to 8 hours.
  2. If you're home and you used bone-in chicken, remove all the chicken from the cooker at about the 4-5 hour mark. Remove the skin (if not skinless) and use two forks to pull the chicken apart and remove the bones. Otherwise, do this same step at the 6 hour mark, or as soon as possible after that. For boneless chicken, use two forks to pull the chicken into shreds. Set side.
  3. Place the flour in a small mixing bowl and add 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid, stirring to form a thick paste. Add this paste to the slow cooker and mix well to combine. Then add the chicken back the to cooker, along with any large, easily spottable-and-removable bones (for extra flavor). Cover and allow to continue cooking.
  4. minutes before serving, add the frozen noodles to the cooker and turn heat to HIGH to help offset the cold temperature that the noodles will introduce. When noodles are cooked through, taste and adjust seasonings to suit. (Don't forget to remove the bones, if you had re-added them back earlier.)
  5. *The amount of liquid you need will vary according to the size and shape of your chicken pieces. I usually don't need more than 4 cups, but don't be surprised if you need 5. Remember, the more liquid you add, the more soupy it will be. If you want it thick, stick to the 4 cups.

Adapted for the slow cooker from here


Comments

  1. Phyllis Ryan says:

    I bought chicken thighs for chicken and dumplings. Getting lazy in my old age, and boneless, skinless is easier to shred. But…… this may replace my recipe. Looks great. Love the seasoning on the chicken. Thanks again for a great weekend idea.

    • SoupAddict says:

      Phyllis, I am right there with you. I requires special motivation for me to debone a chicken. (Or a can’t-pass-it-up sale on bone-in at the store.)

  2. Suggestions if you can’t find frozen egg noodles? Is it all right to use regular ones or will they get too mushy?

    • SoupAddict says:

      No, they’ll be fine – I’ve done it myself. It just takes a little longer to cook the noodles, since the stew/soup isn’t at a boiling temperature.

      • Thank you!

      • How much longer?

        • Hi Lyn,

          I don’t have a package of brown rice pasta handy to see what the normal cooking time is. However, here are two ways you could go with this: 1) the more reliable way would be to cook the pasta separately, according to package directions, and then add it to the soup before serving, or 2) add it directly to the soup, and use your judgment to determine when the noodles have cooked through – plan on at least 10 additional minutes – might be longer because of the brown rice.

          (Also, yes, you can absolutely use a yellow onion, no problem. :) )

    • I did not have the same luck with regular noodles. I should have figured that 1lb of ditalini soup noodles would be too much but I didn’t think about that until after the box had been poured in. The recipe was great – however, if you use regular noodles (or ditalini as I did) I would use significantly less than 1lb. I had to put in an extra 7.5 cups of broth and it still wasn’t “soupy.” I definitely regret putting in the noodles because what soup I did get to taste was delicious!

      • SoupAddict says:

        LOL! I do the same thing with pasta all the time — add/make too much. Although, really, can there ever be too much pasta? ;)

        • I am SO excited to try this recipe, today! I have all of the ingredients, except leeks & the frozen noodles. This is where your expertise is NEEED.
          May I use a yellow onion? And may I use Brown Rice Penne Pasta? If okay on the pasta, how much should I use and When do I add the pasta???
          Thank you in advance!

      • Hi Karen,
        I asked a couple of questions a few weeks back, and the soup turned out TERRIFIC!
        Thank you for your reply and guidence.
        I want to try this recipe again but I have another question.
        I have, already cooked chicken breasts and I would like to use them. I cooked them in my 9 x 13, covered with foil in chicken stock. 350 oven for about an hour and a half. They have been in the fridge, thus they are cold as well as already cooked.
        May I use them? And when would I add them?
        Thank you.
        Lyn

        • Oh, yes – they’ll be a great addition to the soup. I would add them about a half hour before serving, to make sure they’ve warmed to the temperature of the soup.

        • Thank you! Going in tomorrow morning 1st thing.
          I can’t wait to explore your site some more. The bits I’ve seen are great!

        • May I cook on high heat? As I don’t have to cook raw chicken? Halve the time? Thank you. Lyn

  3. Looks so yummy!

  4. i’ve never used frozen noodles before. This recipe is a keeper!

  5. SoupAddict says:

    Everyone: my Kroger carries Reames in the frozen food section. Depending on the store, sometimes it’s in the “novelties” aisle near the pizza bites and potato skins and pierogis and such, sometimes it’s with the frozen soups. In any case, they always seem to be on the very bottom shelf – tucked out of sight.

    • Thanks for this info. Kroger is my primary grocery, but I’m in relative podunk Georgia, so I was just assuming they wouldn’t have them as I noted on earlier post. I’ll check, though. Sometiems podunk surprises me. I do doubt, however, that the Pig (Piggly Wiggly) would prove fruitful.

  6. OK, this is on the menu for this weekend. Found the Reames frozen noodles, but not the pre-cooked variety. I think I’ll just boil ‘em until almost done, then throw ‘em in the slow cooker to finish. Never used tumeric before, looking forward to that.

    FWIW, I use a Kitchen Aid slow cooker. As slow cookers go, it’s the best I’ve ever used. Has a very quick recovery time if you take off the lid to peak at what’s goin’ on. Programmable, yadda yadda. Only possible drawback is that it’s HUGE. If only they’d think of us single folks and make a smaller one…

    • SoupAddict says:

      Hi Nick,
      That should work just fine! For the slow cookers, I was in a rock-hard place situation. When I bought the black crock pot, I already a huge model (although, not programmable), and I desperately needed a smalller one. Small = not much choice. Someday I’ll be able to upgrade to the fancy-schmancy programmable model!

  7. M.J. Jacobsen says:

    Love this recipe, especially in the crockpot! Thanks for adjusting the recipe for slow cooking!!! :)

  8. SoupAddict,

    While the big Kitchen Aid is programmable, I’ve only used that feature once. I do like the way it cooks, though. I’m pretty much retired, so I’m usually home while it’s cooking. I tend to be a bit hands-on, so I really like the speed with which it recovers after a sneak-peak or stir.

    It has four settings: High, Low, Simmer and Buffet (which just keeps the food at serving temperature). High gets really hot, and Low tends to be hotter than the Low setting on other cookers I’ve had. I usually start a recipe on High for about a half hour to get things going, then turn it down to Simmer for the long haul.

    All in all, I’d say that if you like the way your big cooker cooks, stick with it. To me, being programmable really worth the extra money.

    BTW, before I got the Kitchen Aid I found a great deal on the All Clad slow cooker at a local Marshalls. I snapped it up, thinking, hey, if it’s All Clad it must be great! Wrong. Basically, Chinese junk. Lightly built, poorly insulated, etc. I”m afraid that All Clad has gone the way of too many once-proud companies. I’ve never been able to afford their other cookware, but I’ll no longer regret it.

    • SoupAddict says:

      Same with Le Creuset. Bought this really awesome-looking Le Creuset stock pot last year – enamel on steel – that was unusually affordable. Found out why within a few months: first, the paint started chipping off on the outside. Then the enamel started chipping off on the inside. On the inside. I checked out the reviews on Amazon, and sure enough, other people were experiencing the same thing. And they’re still selling them.

  9. Edit:

    “being programmable really worth the extra money.”

    Meant to type that it ISN’T really worth the extra money.

  10. I have leek envy. Very jealous that you can still forage for items in your yard.

    • SoupAddict says:

      It’s kind of odd, actually. “Okay, gonna go get some veggies [pulls on snow boots, slings spade over shoulder].”

      It really, really makes me miss summer. :)

  11. Hi, I’m a single gal who needs to freeze soup in ziplocks. Been looking for a great chicken noodle soup. Do these noodles freeze well or will they be mushy?

  12. I too have the KitchenAid Slow Cooker(6 qt) and have found it really works very nicely. However, the low is on the hot side as Nick mentioned. So I am wondering if I started it on high as Nick did, then put it on warm, if that would work as well. Just not sure. Don’t want to ruin this wonderfully looking soup which I am anxious to try. Also I do prefer bone in skin on. Much, much more flavor to the chicken.
    S

    • SoupAddict says:

      I think that’s right on the mark, with the high-to-warm. Low doesn’t seem to be very “low” to me either. :)

  13. Meant to say that I only have a high, low and warm selection on the crock pot.

  14. Why don’t you make it so it can be printed. How am I suppose to remember this recipe if I can’t print it out??

    • SoupAddict says:

      Hi Arlene,

      As a side note, you can always print a web page from your browser. Not perfect, but always an option. But specifically to this recipe, I’ve now added a print tool (see link just below recipe) that prints a nice version of the recipe. Hope that helps!

  15. Mmm, I love soup! Your blog is great but I have 1 bit of constructive criticism for you. (Feel free to delete this post after you read it) Because your posts talk in the third person, it’s less personal and sounds as if an outsider watched you make things and then wrote a blog about it. Most would say talking about yourself in the third person is a bad idea, it’s as if the writer isn’t involved in the cooking. Does that make sense?

    I look forward to digging through your recipes. I’m making your Mulligatawny soup this weekend even though it’s still in the mid 70s in California. I don’t think I can wait until winter for this soup!

    • SoupAddict says:

      Aw, that’s barely criticism. Borderline nut case might be closer. ;) It’s a habit I’ve been trying to break, but sometimes I slip back into it. I’ll try harder. :)

  16. How long would you cook frozen noodles if they aren’t pre-cooked?

    • Hi Linda,
      Not very long. Ten minutes prior to serving. I did that the first time I made this delicious soup, as I didn’t have the frozen egg noodles on hand.

  17. Hey SoupAddict,

    I’m new to my slow cooker and I’m enjoying the sound of this recipe. I was wondering though, what size of crock pot do you use? I have a 4-qt and I want to make sure I’m not over filling it and what adjustments I might need to do. I was informed that a full chicken could be cooked in the slow cooker, so I’m assuming I could just follow this recipe. Though, I’m hoping to just use boneless chicken thighs for this as I’m not making it on a weekend.

    • I no longer have the slow cooker I used in this post, but I believe it was a 4 quart. You will definitely not be overfilling it using chicken thighs. Hope you enjoy the recipe!

      • Thank you! I’m very excited about using this recipe. I’m going to start the prep work today and have my fingers crossed. I was even able to find those noodles that you used (though the packaging has changed). You’re right, they keep them tucked away on the bottom shelf.

Speak Your Mind

*


+ 2 = 11