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!
Arrange chicken pieces in the bottom of a large (6-quart) slow cooker. Layer carrots, mushrooms, and garlic on top, and sprinkle with basil, oregano, thyme, garlic salt, lemon pepper, and bay leaves on top. Season with freshly ground black pepper. Pour chicken stock/broth over ingredients in slow cooker, cover with lid, and cook for 7 to 8 hours on LOW (or 3 1/2 to 4 hours on HIGH), until chicken is cooked through and tender.
At end of cooking time, if you used skin-on chicken pieces, skim any fat from the surface of the soup. Remove the chicken to a cutting board and discard the bay leaves. Stir noodles into soup. Cover slow cooker and increase heat to High.
Remove skin, bones, and cartilage from the chicken (if applicable), and discard. Chop chicken into bite-sized pieces. Add chicken back to the slow cooker along with the fresh parsley, fresh rosemary, grated Parmesan, half-and-half, sherry, and salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste. Stir, cover, and cook for a few more minutes or until noodles are cooked to your liking.
I prefer making this soup with skin-on, bone-in chicken pieces (a mixture of light and dark meat) for the best flavor and nourishment (from the bones). Any skin and bones will be discarded, and while there will be fat to skim from the top of the soup if you include the skin, I think the extra flavor is worth it. You may also use boneless, skinless chicken pieces (including all or some boneless skinless chicken breasts), if you prefer, but keep in mind that white meat will be "drier." After it's cooked, I prefer to dice the chicken rather than shred it for the best texture in this soup, but you can do either.
Just for reference, for this particular batch of soup, I used a 1.4-pound package of skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs plus 1.2 pounds of boneless skinless chicken breasts (because that happened to be what I had on hand).
If you like celery in your chicken noodle soup, you may add 1 1/2 cups sliced celery at the same time as the carrots.
The addition of sherry at the end of this recipe is optional but I think it really gives a unique and delicious depth of flavor to the soup. DO NOT buy "cooking sherry," as it has added salt, etc., and also don't buy sweet sherry. A regular bottle of medium dry to dry sherry is what you are looking for, and it will last indefinitely in the pantry. I have a bottle that I use only when making this recipe...I bought it several years ago and it's still fine. The first time you make this recipe, I suggest adding 1 tablespoon of sherry at a time (and tasting before adding more) to achieve your desired flavor.
You may use whole milk (or even 2%) instead of half-and-half for a lighter soup. You may use heavy cream for a more decadent soup. And if you have milk and cream in your fridge but not half-and-half, use half milk and half cream (which is the same thing as half-and-half).