Lightened-Up Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup
This lightened-up creamy chicken noodle soup has only 200 calories per serving!
I haven’t been able to get creamy chicken noodle soup out of my mind for weeks. I went out to lunch last month and had the most comforting, hearty, soul-warming bowl of it. Along with a light kale salad adorned with pecans and dried cranberries, it was the perfect lunch. And I’ve been craving it ever since.
As the snow quietly fell yesterday morning, I whipped up a big pot of creamy dreamy homemade chicken noodle soup. This is, by far, the best soup I’ve ever made. I may never leave the house for lunch again. Especially when my lunch date is this little snow bunny.
If you’re looking for a comforting yet lightened-up meal this winter you’ve come to the right place. One bowl of this soup left me satisfied for hours and I didn’t feel like there was a huge brick in my stomach. You know, as we often feel after eating a heavy cream-based soup. Rather, I felt perfectly satisfied and all warm & cozy inside. Plus plus plus! If you have a smaller family, this crowd-pleasing recipe leaves plenty of leftovers to enjoy during the week. A perfect one-pot meal that keeps on giving.
This incredibly thick, lightened-up soup is all about the flavor. Soup has the tendency to be a little bland if it isn’t spiced right. Taste as you go and add a little more spice if you see fit. Then, adjust any other ingredients as needed when making it a second, and/or third time. There are a few power ingredients you’ll need and I don’t suggest leaving any of them out! They’re where all the goodness hides.
√ Cooking the veggies in a little butter. Read: little! Only 1 Tablespoon of butter for all the veggies (carrots, celery, onion) in the soup. Once the veggies have lightly cooked and sweat out a little liquid, in go the spices.
√ The spices. I use a blend of oregano, fresh thyme, fresh ground pepper, and salt. Paired with 2 cloves of garlic, this soup will be the most flavorful chicken noodle soup you’ve ever tried. Try adding a quick squeeze of lemon during the last few minutes of cook time. Your mind? It will blow. I’ll note this little addition in the recipe notes below.
√ Fat free half and half. Little calories, no fat, and an over the top creamy consistency. I love fat free half and half and always have it on hand for my coffee. It turns this soup from good to GREAT. Whole or 2% milk works too if you’d rather not use the fat free stuff. If you’d rather leave out the “creamy” from this chicken noodle soup, simply use more chicken broth in its place. So simple.
But in my opinion? Creamy chicken noodle soup trumps regular.
√ The chicken. I love, and swear by, using rotisserie chicken. Pick up a small rotisserie chicken from the grocery store, shred it, and throw it into the soup. Or you can roast some chicken breasts yourself. Rub with a little garlic and rosemary, roast until tender, then shred it. Or use leftover roasted chicken in this soup. To save yourself some time, you can shred the chicken ahead of time. If you have leftover shredded chicken from this soup, use it in healthy recipes like my chicken quinoa salad or strawberry almond chicken salad. Or make tacos, healthy wraps, or more soup with it. You get the idea. There are millions of tasty uses for leftover roasted chicken. And this soup is one of them!
To save time, I use store-bought chicken broth. Feel free to use homemade broth or stock, the choice is yours. Leftover chicken broth would be fabulous in my double crust chicken pot pie–> definitely not a lightened-up meal like today’s. But so worth it!
And now, the best part. I calculated the calories (on SparkRecipes) and a 1 cup serving of this incredibly thick soup is only 203 calories with 20 whopping grams of protein. Have a big bowl with 1.5 cups of soup, plus a salad, for a satisfying protein-packed meal.
This comforting creamy chicken noodle soup will have you yearning for chilly nights all year long. Step by step photos below the recipe!
Lightened-Up Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup
- 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
- 3/4 cup chopped yellow onion (1/2 of a medium onion)
- 1 cup sliced carrots (1 and 1/2 large carrots)
- 1 cup sliced celery (2-3 stalks)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme1
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 8 cups chicken broth2
- 1 medium potato, peeled and diced (around 1 and 1/2 cups)
- 2 cups shredded roasted chicken3
- 1 cup fat free half-and-half or whole milk4
- 4 cups uncooked wide egg noodles5
- Over medium heat, heat the butter in a 4 quart (or larger) pot or dutch oven. Add the onion, carrots, celery, and garlic. Stir and cook for 6-7 minutes as the vegetables soften up and let out some juices. Add flour, oregano, pepper, thyme, and salt. Stir and cook for 3 minutes.
- Next, add the broth and potato. Give everything a quick stir, then increase the heat to medium-high. Bring the soup to a boil, without stirring, and allow to boil for 3 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low, partially cover the pot, and allow to simmer for 25 minutes or until the potatoes have softened. Taste the soup. Does it need more seasoning like salt, pepper, etc? Add some. Add the chicken, half-and-half, and noodles. Cook for 10 minutes until the noodles are tender and the soup has thickened. Once again, taste the soup. Does it need more seasoning like salt, pepper, etc? Add some. Sometimes I add a pinch more of pepper. Serve the soup warm.
Make ahead tip: Leftovers keep well in the refrigerator for 1 week. To reheat, simply pour into a pot over medium heat and cook until warm. Feel free to add more chicken broth to the leftovers as it cooks if it is too thick-- I always do. (It thickens in the refrigerator as the noodles and potatoes soak up the liquid.) Soup freezes well, up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator the day before eating, then reheat on the stove until warm.
During the last few minutes of cook time, try adding a squeeze of fresh lemon. It is so good!
- I prefer fresh thyme in this soup. To get the thyme leaves off the sprigs, I hold the tip of the twig with one hand and then slide my thumb and pointer finger of my other hand along the sprig. Ground thyme works too. Use 1/2 teaspoon.
- I use regular chicken broth. If using low sodium, make sure you are tasting the soup as it cooks to make sure there is enough salt in the soup.
- I recommend using rotisserie chicken. Pick up a small rotisserie chicken from the grocery store, shred it - both white and dark meat- and throw it into the soup. Or you can roast some chicken breasts yourself. Rub with a little minced garlic and rosemary, roast in the oven under tender, then shred it. Or use leftover roasted chicken in this soup. To save yourself some time, you can shred the chicken ahead of time!
- Calorie count is for fat-free half-and-half. If you'd rather something else, regular half-and-half works too! As does whole milk or 2% milk.
- Any shape noodle works here. I prefer wide egg noodles in chicken soup.
Updated slow cooker instructions: Prepare the soup through step 1 on the stovetop. Transfer to a slow cooker and continue with step 2. Allow to cook for 2 hours on low, then add the chicken, half-and-half, and noodles. Cook on low for 1-2 more hours.
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First, get the veggies ready. You can chop these up ahead of time. I love carrots, so I use a little over a cup as stated in the recipe above. Add more/less if you’d like.
Along with a Tablespoon of butter, place these veggies into a large 4 quart (or larger) pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Add some garlic and let the veggies briefly cook for about 7 minutes.
I use 2 cloves of garlic. The amount was perfect for me. Start with 2 cloves and if you feel like it could use more, add more with your next batch of soup.
Per the recipe instructions above, add the spices. I use oregano, fresh thyme (dried may be substituted), fresh ground pepper, and salt. A little flour helps thicken the mixture and soak up all the veggies’ juices.
Next, add 1 medium peeled and chopped potato. The potato adds some heartiness to the soup. I loved biting into the soft potatoes in between all the chicken and other veggies. It also makes the soup a little fuller and thicker too.
A sweet potato instead would be tasty!
With the potato, add some chicken broth. As mentioned above, I use store-bought chicken broth. Feel free to use homemade broth or stock, your choice.
Bring to a boil, then allow the fragrant mixture to simmer for around 25 minutes or until the potatoes have softened. Cover with a lid, leaving a little crack open for steam to escape.
After the simmering step, add the chicken, half-and-half, and noodles. After tasting, I added a little more pepper to the soup. Throughout the recipe instructions above, I urge you to taste the soup as it cooks. Add more spices as you see fit. Allow the noodles to cook and the soup to thicken. Within 10-15 minutes, you’ve got a suuuuper tasty batch of creamy chicken noodle soup with an impressively low number of calories. Bon appétit!
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