This wholesome, easy-to-make Slow Cooker Chicken Noodle Soup is extra flavorful thanks to a few secret ingredients…and it’s the perfect get-well-soon recipe for making it through cold and flu season!
Anytime a member of my family gets sick, I get the instant, insatiable to urge to whip up a giant, nourishing pot of homemade chicken soup. However, a couple of weekends ago, when I found myself on the receiving end of a lovely cold that came on overnight and left me without a voice for the better part of a week, my pounding head and hacking cough didn’t have me too excited at the prospect of tending the stove or manning the kitchen for a few days. But boy was I craving a steamy bowl of comforting chicken soup, and I’m not talking about the stuff that comes from a can.
So I did what I always do when I’m wanting to transform a regular recipe into an easy, shortcut version…I turned my very favorite chicken soup recipe into a crock pot version! And I can’t tell you what a good decision that was…because now that I’ve got this Slow Cooker Chicken Noodle Soup in my arsenal, I’m not sure that I’ll ever make the stove top variety again!
This soup is actually an adaptation of a Paula Deen recipe that yields what I believe to be the best darn chicken soup I’ve ever tasted. Paula’s version starts with a whole fryer chicken, and to be honest, that’s what I’ve always used when making this soup. But I took a few liberties in creating this crock pot version, and I can assure you that it turns out just fine using cut-up chicken pieces.
I still prefer to use skin-on, bone-in chicken, because not only do I believe that cooking the bones in the broth makes for an extra-nourishing soup, but I also think the skin lends richer flavor. I end up skimming the fat and discarding the skin and bones at the end anyway. But if you prefer to use skinless, boneless chicken, that will work great, too. I would recommend using a mixture of white meat and dark meat, because I think the dark meat stays a bit moister and more flavorful and is a nice balance to the lighter white meat. But again…it’s your soup, so if you’re a fan of all white meat, I say go for it.
You might be wondering what makes this Slow Cooker Chicken Noodle Soup so dang yummy, seeing as how I’ve coined it “The Best.” And I don’t use that term lightly…I actually do think this is the best tasting chicken soup out there. There are a few secret ingredients added towards the end of the recipe that, in my humble opinion, take this soup from good to amazing.
First off would be the fresh rosemary. This recipe doesn’t call for a ton, and the flavor is not overtly noticeable. But when I’ve left it out for one reason or another, I noticed that something was missing. This soup also has fresh parsley added at the end, which I think nicely brightens things up.
Next is the half-and-half (or milk, or heavy cream…depending on how light or how decadent you prefer to make this soup). One cup added at the end of the cooking time lends a touch of silky creaminess, which makes this chicken soup seem extra special. If you would rather cut the dairy, your soup will still be tasty…just add in an additional cup of chicken broth to make up for it.
Another one of the secret ingredients that sends this soup over the top is freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Again, you can’t necessarily tell that it’s in there, but it adds another delicious, complementary layer of flavor.
And finally, there’s the sherry! I’ll be the first to admit that, while I use beer and wine in some of my recipes, I’d never cooked with sherry before. So the first time I ever made this recipe, I was a little skeptical…but I bought a bottle and hoped for the best. Well let me tell you that it never ceases to amaze me what a tablespoon or two of sherry does for this soup! Just like the other ingredients that make this Slow Cooker Chicken Noodle Soup special, the inclusion of sherry is not obvious or in-your-face. It’s just another subtle flavor layered in with all of the other subtle flavors to ultimately create a recipe that’s better-than-average.
If you don’t already have sherry in your pantry or liquor cabinet, I recommend buying a bottle of regular dry sherry…not cooking sherry (which contains oodles of salt and other unpleasantries) and not sweet sherry (which would be too, well, sweet). I bought a bottle of medium dry sherry to use specifically for this recipe. Once opened, sherry should last indefinitely…which is a good thing since the only time I use it is when I make chicken soup. But this soup wouldn’t be the same without it, so I’m happy to let that bottle take up cabinet space. A little bit of sherry can go a long way, so the first time you make this recipe, I suggest adding one tablespoon at a time (and tasting before adding more) to determine whether you prefer more or less.
As for the veggies in this Slow Cooker Chicken Noodle Soup, sweet, tender carrots are a given, of course. I love the fact that earthy mushrooms are included as well. Since I don’t care for celery, I don’t add it to my chicken soup…but if you like it, feel free to toss some in.
And that’s it…a simple crock pot recipe that will have you craving chicken noodle soup even when you aren’t sick! In fact, as much as I’m looking forward to spring and a welcome respite from cold and flu season, you can bet I make this soup all year long when someone at our house gets taken down by a bug. In fact, if I leave this printed recipe in a convenient location, perhaps the hubby will feel inspired to throw the ingredients in the slow cooker the next time that sickly someone happens to be me… 😉
Adapted from Paula Deen
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