This easy, versatile chicken noodle soup recipe is made with leftovers from a Sunday roast chicken dinner, including leftover gravy. It’s easy to tailor the recipe depending on what you have lurking in your fridge needing to be used up.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Table of Contents[Hide][Show]
- Making the most of your leftovers
- Homemade soup in a flask – a recipe for adventure
- For this recipe, you will need…
- How to make homemade chicken noodle soup from scratch
- What other vegetables could I use in chicken noodle soup?
- What can I add to my chicken noodle soup for flavour?
- How to make homemade chicken stock
- Tips for making chicken noodle soup
- Pin this Easy Chicken Noodle Soup recipe for later!
- Other soup recipes you might like
Making the most of your leftovers
One of the things I take some pride in is the fact that I can rustle up a rather decent meal out of just about anything. Honestly, the fridge can be nearly empty and I could whip up a three-course meal that will have folk heading for seconds. It’s a thing I do, and truth be told, it’s one of my favourite ways of cooking. Challenge accepted.
It’s important to raise awareness of the need for consumers to reduce our food waste and encourage others to do so. Environmental issues can’t be ignored.
In addition, this time of year, after the Christmas indulgences and a rather painful tax bill to pay I’m really counting the pennies and making sure that I get my money’s worth for everything.
I set myself a challenge at the start of the year to use up the food I already had in the house before buying new food. I’m pretty good with freezing leftovers, like leftover chicken gravy and shredded chicken from a Sunday roast.
So, for my contribution to the reducing food waste message, I’m sharing my family’s favourite chicken noodle soup recipe.
Homemade soup in a flask – a recipe for adventure
This recipe can be made in under half an hour using leftovers from your Sunday roast chicken dinner. When the sun shines and the gales ease briefly this soup can be whipped up, poured into a flask and taken out on a winter hill walk/picnic.
When it’s sunny in Shetland (especially in February!) it’s important to take advantage of the good weather (or let’s face it, middling weather will do!) to get outside to play.
My chicken noodle soup recipe varies depending on what ingredients I have on hand – this particular one used up some of the leftover Brussels sprouts languishing in my vegetable crisper since Christmas (how do they last so long?!). Leftover roast chicken gravy diluted with some chicken stock made the base of the soup, and I added plenty of shredded leftover roast chicken.
Leftover food tastes even better in the great outdoors, even in the wintertime – just pour your flung together food into a flask and get outside exploring!
For this recipe, you will need…
- 1 tbsp butter – for flavour, although frying in butter has the potential to burn the milk proteins, causing a blackened flavour.
- 1 tbsp Scottish rapeseed oil – mixing oil with the butter dilutes the possible burned milk protein flavour. It does not alter the smoke point1.
- 1 large brown or yellow onion – provides a range of umami flavours for the soup. It also contains the flavonoid quercetin2, which may help fight inflammation and boost the immune system.
- 1 carrot – not only are carrots good for you due to their antioxidant properties, but they add a touch of sweetness and colour to the soup.
- 2-3 garlic cloves – these nutritional powerhouses3 pack loads of flavour into a chicken noodle soup recipe. Add more if you’re trying to fight off a cold, your body will thank you.
- Something green – use up those leftover sprouts (shred them with a mandolin slicer), thinly sliced leeks, or add some finely chopped chard or kale, as long as it’s green.
- Leftover roast chicken – up to around 300 grams. If you don’t have that much, add more vegetables.
- 100 grams frozen sweetcorn – an effortless, inexpensive way to add more colour, flavour and nutrition to your soup recipe. It adds sweetness too.
- 1.2 litres chicken stock – alternatively, use leftover chicken gravy topped up with chicken stock. Homemade chicken stock is full of immune-boosting collagen.
- 60 grams of dried spaghetti – for a little carb boost. Spaghetti, or any other small pasta will do. Rice makes a good alternative.
- Shetland sea salt – salt brings out the flavours of all the soup ingredients.
- Freshly ground black pepper – to taste. In addition to carrying a complex flavour profile, black pepper has a whole host of immune-system-boosting properties.
- Chopped spring onion & fresh parsley – to garnish. Both of these ingredients contain health-boosting vitamins too, perfect when fighting a cold.
How to make homemade chicken noodle soup from scratch
- Heat butter and sunflower oil in a large soup pot. Sauté onion for five minutes, until softened but not coloured.
- Add garlic and chopped carrot, cooking for a further two minutes.
- Add shaved Brussels sprouts or whatever leftover veg you have needing to be used up.
- Pour over any leftover roast chicken gravy, topped up with water and/or chicken stock and bring to the boil.
- Add your shredded leftover roast chicken and frozen sweetcorn.
- Add dried spaghetti, broken into small sections and simmer 12-15 minutes.
What other vegetables could I use in chicken noodle soup?
You can use up whatever you have lurking in your fridge in chicken noodle soup. It’s a very forgiving recipe, but leeks, celery, kale, sweetcorn, parsnips, turnips, swede and chard work very well.
What can I add to my chicken noodle soup for flavour?
The best chicken noodle soup is made with homemade chicken stock. Failing that, throw in another chicken stock pot.
How to make homemade chicken stock
Don’t throw out the carcass of your roast chicken once you’ve picked most of the meat off. Simply pop it on a roasting tray (along with the chicken skin and any bits leftover), a couple of halved carrots, a celery stick or two and drizzle with olive oil. Roast in a hot oven for 45 minutes until the edges are all browned and crispy.
Then, transfer the entire lot into a large stockpot, cover with water and add a capful of apple cider vinegar (this helps leach the calcium out of the bones). Add some parsley stalks, a bay leaf or two and about ten peppercorns.
Simmer, on a low heat, uncovered, for four hours. Strain, reserving the liquid, and freeze the cooled stock until needed.
Tips for making chicken noodle soup
- Leftover chicken gravy and leftover roast chicken freeze really well. Simply defrost when needed, and whip up a batch of this soup!
- I make my chicken gravy using some of the cooking water from the vegetables I am serving with my roast chicken dinner (usually carrots and neeps).
- Any pasta can be used instead of noodles – small shapes working best. Try orzo, or those adorable little alphabet pasta shapes.
- Use a mandolin slicer to shred your Brussels sprouts – it makes short work of the task!
What are your best tips & tricks for making the most of your leftovers? Do you make the best one-pot pasta dish with leftover veg? How about the tastiest stir-fry? Let us know in the comments!
Recipe Difficulty Levels
Requires basic cooking skills and ingredients you most likely already have in your kitchen.
Requires more experience, preparation and/or cooking time. You may have to source special ingredients.
Recipes requiring more advanced skills and experience and maybe some special equipment.
Leftover Roasted Chicken Noodle Soup Recipe
- 1 tbsp sunflower oil
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 large brown onion finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves finely chopped
- 1 large carrot finely diced
- 100 grams Brussels sprouts finely sliced
- 1.2 litres chicken stock mixed with leftover gravy
- 300 grams leftover roast chicken coarsely shredded
- 100 grams frozen sweetcorn
- 60 grams dried spaghetti broken into small pieces
- salt and pepper to taste
- 3 spring onions chopped, to garnish
- 1 handful fresh parsley chopped, to garnish
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- Heat 1 tbsp sunflower oil and 1 tbsp butter in a large soup pot and gently sauté 1 large brown onion, chopped, over medium heat until it begins to soften. This will take about five minutes.
- Add 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped, and 1 large carrot, diced, and cook for a further minute or so.
- Add 100 grams Brussels sprouts, finely sliced, and cook for another minute.
- Pour in 1.2 litres chicken stock mixed with any leftover chicken gravy. Bring to the boil.
- Reduce the heat and add 300 grams leftover roast chicken, shredded, and 100 grams frozen sweetcorn. Add more chicken stock, if needed. Season well to taste.
- Break in 60 grams dried spaghetti , broken into small pieces, and simmer for 12 minutes until the chicken is heated and the spaghetti is cooked.
- Serve with chopped spring onion, chopped parsley and plenty of crusty bread to dip.