<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none;" alt="" src="https://ct.pinterest.com/v3/?event=init&tid=2612641878717&pd[em]=&noscript=1" /> Skip to Content

Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup with Pancetta

Chicken soup is the ultimate winter comfort soup. It’s warming. It’s flavorful. And no matter how you’re feeling, it has a way of making the day seem better. Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup with Pancetta takes the classic one step further, with a luscious texture and subtle hints of salty pork for a delicious meal in the heart of winter.

It’s hard to argue the wonderfulness of chicken soup. It’s the ultimate soup hug of all soup hugs. I had covid last month and for a stretch, most of my meals were chicken soup out of a can.

Not optimal, of course, but I have no complaints. A big squeeze of ginger and a little chili crisp on top was enough to make something worth hovering over with gratitude.

So, as this cold and flu season threatens to be a doozy, make sure your recipe arsenal of homemade chicken soup is fully fortified. This variation of classic chicken noodle soup is one of my favorite creamy soups and is the perfect comfort food, especially when you feel something coming on and need a nice, hot soup to remove that inner chill.

For more chicken soup goodness, check out my recipes for Cold-Fighting Couscous Chicken Soup, Chicken Meatball Noodle Soup, and Mulligatawny.

Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup with Pancetta in a white Dutch oven.

Ingredients Notes

Pancetta – Why pancetta? It was an impulse addition, to be honest about it. I was at the grocery store looking at cheeses for another dish and saw the package of cubed pancetta. It all just clicked. I didn’t want the strong salty flavors of bacon, but the mellow ham leanings made sense: a nice twist on chicken soup.

Chicken – I find myself using cooked chicken — such as rotisserie chicken — more and more often in soup-making. Part of the reason is that my preferred cut for soup is thighs … but my regular grocery often runs out (thank you, supply chain).

The other reason, of course, is the sheer convenience of it. I appreciate that fully seasoned chicken is right there in a bag, ready to go. Including two chicken thighs.

And actually, the mix of chicken meat works very well, especially if you have family members that prefer one over the other, white meat vs. dark meat. Both can shine in soup.

You can, of course, cook economical raw chicken right in the soup. Slice the chicken into small pieces and add the same time as the chicken stock. Make sure they’re cooked through before finishing the recipe.

Lemon – This recipe uses both lemon zest and lemon juice. While chicken soup is wonderfully savory, it almost always needs the balance of some kind of acid or other puckery ingredient: lemon, vinegar, ginger, etc.

Here, I chose lemon because it will effectively brighten the creamy broth after the addition of dairy, which can sometimes dull a soup even as it adds amazing texture.

Ingredients for Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup arranged on a wooden serving board.

Cream – I use heavy cream in this recipe, but you can definitely lighten the fat content by using whole milk. As noted above, dairy creates a lovely, velvety feel within a soup, but it can also tamp down the flavors within.

So, it’s important to pay attention to the seasonings in the soup. An acid, such as lemon juice, is very effective in popping the soup’s seasoning, without having to add a ton of salt.

Egg Noodles – Technically, you can use any kind of pasta in this soup and you’ll be golden. I have a deep fondness for wide egg noodles, because they’re more tender and balance the overall texture of the soup, in terms of mouthfeel.

While there are many types of egg noodles available, I particularly love the curly kind, as they’re so fun in soup and surprisingly easy to eat with a spoon. The noodle’s nooks and crannies allow the other solid ingredients to find a cozy place to hang out.

How to Make Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup

Step 1: Build Flavor

First, we create a foundation of flavors by sautéing the vegetable aromatics and pancetta in olive oil. The savory, complex notes will flavor the chicken stock, not to mention add healthy nutrition to the soup.

Visuals for step 1 of the cooking process.

Step 2: Create Texture

Next, we add body to the soup by stirring in flour, which will later infuse and thicken the soup liquids. Incorporating the flour now lets the rawness cook away, so you won’t even taste the flour.

We also add the dried herbs in this step, so that their enticing flavors will awaken with the heat and then bloom in the soup stock.

Visuals for step 2 of the cooking process.

Step 3: Simmer stock and noodles

Then we let the soup liquids simmer to marry the flavors we added so far. Add the soup liquids, as well as the bouillon (if using), bay leaves, and lemon zest. Once the liquids come up to a boil, it’s time to add the egg noodles. Different brands and thicknesses will make cook times vary, so use the time indicated on the package directions.

Visuals for step 3 of the cooking process.

Step 4: Final touches

Finally, we add the cooked chicken, stir in the dairy, and balance the seasonings with lemon juice, salt and black pepper as needed.

Visuals for step 4 of the cooking process.

Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup FAQs

Can the soup be made ahead of time?

Soups with pasta in them can be made slightly ahead of time, but it’s important to remember that the noodles will continue absorbing liquids as the soup rests and can leave the soup a bit dry.

You can prepare the entire soup ahead of time, without the noodles, and store in the refrigerator. Before serving, cook and drain the noodles separately while the soup reheats, and then combine.

Can the soup be made dairy-free or gluten-free?

Yes to both. Replace the dairy 1:1 with your favorite substitute. I prefer canned coconut milk because the texture most resembles cream, and I don’t mind the slight coconut flavor. But any nondairy milk that can withstand a little heat will work well.

The only gluten ingredient in the soup is the noodles. It’s perfectly fine to substitute your favorite gluten-free pasta. But note that some varieties are a bit fragile, and they might work better if cooked separately from the soup and added after. Flavor-wise, though, you’re good!

Also, double-check your chicken broth and bouillon, if using. While both of these ingredients are generally gluten-free, they might have been produced in a facility that is not certified gluten-free.

My preferred bouillon, Better Than Bouillon, falls in that category: the ingredients are gluten-free, but the manufacturer does not guarantee a gluten-free environment.

Overhead shot of Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup in a bowl with a spoon.

Can the soup be made vegetarian?

Technically … yes. You can substitute the chicken-based ingredients with vegetarian or vegan counterparts, but it’s important to note that this recipe was not made with those conversions in mind, and the seasonings may not be fully balanced for that kind of soup. Be prepared to taste often and adjust seasonings to suit.

For a vegetarian pasta soup, try my Bowtie Vegetable Soup.

How do you store the leftovers?

Let the soup cool, transfer to an airtight container, and keep in the refrigerator for a few days. Note that the soup will probably absorb all of the liquids, so the result will be more like a stew than a soup.

I personally don’t think this is a bad thing — I’m perfectly happy with leftover chicken pasta lol.

To soup it up again, reheat some stock and stir it in gradually to loosen the noodles.

Angled view of a bowl of Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup with Pancetta.

Delicious Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup with Pancetta goes from stove to table in under an hour and is super easy to make with leftover cooked or rotisserie chicken.

Serve with Easy Garlic Bread, dinner rolls, or Rosemary Focaccia and you have a hearty and complete meal!

Karen xo

More chicken soup recipes:

Print Recipe
5 from 2 votes

Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup with Pancetta

This creamy version of classic Chicken Noodle Soup takes flavor one step further with a luscious texture and subtle hints of salty pork for a delicious, hearty meal.
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time35 minutes
Total Time50 minutes
Course: Soup
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chicken noodle soup
Servings: 4
Author: Karen Gibson


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 1 medium carrot diced
  • 2 ribs celery diced
  • 4 ounces pancetta cubed or diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 32 ounces low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon chicken bouillon (such as Better Than Bouillon), optional
  • 2 bay leaves
  • grated zest from one lemon
  • 6 ounces wide egg noodles
  • 3 cups cooked chicken (or the meat from 1 rotisserie chicken)
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1-2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • dried or minced fresh parsley for garnish


  • Heat olive oil in a 4qt Dutch oven or soup pot over medium until the surface shimmers.
  • Add the onions, celery, and carrots and sauté for a total of 8 to 10 minutes, stirring often until softened. About halfway through, add the pancetta to the vegetables, and continue to stir about every minute or so.
  • When the vegetables are softened, sprinkle the flour and herbs over the top and mix into the vegetables. Everything will be thick and little pasty. If too thick to stir, add a splash of the broth. Cook for a minute or two to eliminate the rawness of the flour.
  • Pour in the broth, plus the bouillon (if using), bay leaves, and lemon zest. Raise the heat to medium-high and bring the soup to a light boil. Let simmer for 8-10 minutes to flavor the broth.
  • Add the egg noodles, maintaining the soup at a simmer. Let the noodles cook according to the package directions (likely 7-9 minutes).
  • Fish out and discard the bay leaves.
  • Add the milk and cooked chicken. Stir in a tablespoon of the lemon juice and taste the soup broth. Add salt as necessary (you probably won’t need much, if at all, if you used the bouillon). Add more lemon juice, until the flavor is bright and savory.
  • Season the soup with a few pinches black pepper before serving.
Nutritional information, if shown, is provided as a courtesy only, and is not to be taken as medical information or advice. The nutritional values of your preparation of this recipe are impacted by several factors, including, but not limited to, the ingredient brands you use, any substitutions or measurement changes you make, and measuring accuracy.
Recipe Rating


Sunday 8th of January 2023

Hi! Bay leaves are mentioned in instructions but not in the ingredients.how many do we use with this recipe?

Karen @ SoupAddict

Sunday 8th of January 2023

@Marna, I hope you enjoy it! Have a great day :D


Sunday 8th of January 2023

@SoupAddict, thank you!! Looking forward to trying this


Sunday 8th of January 2023

I used 2 bay leaves - thanks for letting me know, I’ll get that updated! :)