Ina Garten’s 5 Tips for Good Chicken Noodle Soup

Make chicken noodle soup the Barefoot Contessa way with Ina Garten’s chicken noodle soup tips. The popular Barefoot Contessa dish is a classic and, according to the cookbook author, depending on how it’s made it can go from delicious to dishwater.

1. Using homemade chicken stock is crucial in Ina Garten chicken noodle soup

Ina Garten wears a blue button-down shirt standing in front of an orange couch and bookcase
Ina Garten | Daytime Emmy Awards 2021 via Getty Images

Browse Garten’s chicken noodle soup recipe instructions and see homemade stock on the ingredient list. It’s a major element of the dish that adds a lot of flavor. And, according to Garten, it’s worth the time and effort. 

“Of course, you can use canned stock or broth but this is easy to make,” she said while making chicken noodle soup on Food Network’s Barefoot Contessa. “And the difference it makes in the finished dish is astonishing.” 

Her often-used saying, “storebought is fine,” might apply to puff pastry and tomato sauce but not chicken stock. In fact, it’s one of the food items the Barefoot Contessa won’t buy.

2. Use egg noodles

The beauty of Garten’s chicken noodle soup, or for that matter any chicken soup recipe, is that it’s adaptable. Change it up depending on personal preferences or whatever’s on hand in the kitchen. Shred or dice the chicken. Chop or slice the carrots.

The same can be said for the type of noodles. A recipe might call for a certain variety but, of course, it’s OK to use another kind. However, as Garten explained on her Food Network show, she prefers egg noodles, specifically wide egg noodles, because the starch from the noodles gets in the soup. 

3. Roast the chicken for more flavor

Skip boiling chicken for chicken noodle soup. Instead, Garten recommends roasting it with the skin on for optimal flavor. Once it’s done, simply remove the skin and continue on with the chicken noodle soup-making process. 

It doesn’t only apply to Garten’s chicken noodle soup recipe. Her trick for flavorful chicken is something she uses when making chicken salad too. 

4. Reach for fresh herbs

There’s an abundance of fresh herbs at the Garten house in East Hampton, New York, thanks to the Barefoot Contessa’s sprawling garden. But for those not making Garten’s chicken noodle soup in the “barn” fresh herbs might be harder to come by. 

Considering using dried because fresh herbs would mean a trip to the store? Garten recommends using fresh. “It’s always good to have a fresh herb in there,” she said on Barefoot Contessa. “It just really brings out the flavor,” she added, saying “it makes the whole thing taste really fresh.”

The one caveat is fresh rosemary because, as Garten said, it would be too overpowering in the soup. 

5. Don’t forget to season the chicken noodle soup with salt

According to Garten, salt is a commonly misused ingredient. In her chicken noodle soup salt can have a major impact on the outcome. Her advice? Season after tasting.

“Depending on how salty or peppery the stock is I’m going to add some more seasoning,” she said before tasting the soup. 

She also said salt can be the difference between good and bad chicken noodle soup: “The strange thing about chicken soup is it can taste like dirty dishwater or it can taste like really delicious chicken soup and salt is the only ingredient that’s different.”

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