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Slow Cooker Chicken Noodle Soup

Slow Cooker Chicken Noodle Soup

Serves: 6 to 8

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2 1/2 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
3 carrots, chopped
1 onion, minced
2 celery ribs, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary  leaves
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/3 cup white wine
8 cups chicken broth
2 bay leaves
1/2 cup dried orzo pasta
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley


Pat chicken thighs very dry and season with salt and pepper.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is shimmering, add the chicken thighs, skin side-down and cook until well-browned, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate, let cool, and remove the skin.

Meanwhile, add the carrots, onion and celery to the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, thyme and red pepper flakes. Continue to cook, stirring, until aromatic, about 30 seconds. Stir in the wine and bring to a rapid simmer, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the skillet.  

When the wine is almost completely evaporated, transfer the entire contents of the skillet to a slow cooker. Add the chicken broth, bay leaves, browned chicken and any accumulated juices. Cover and cook until the chicken is very tender and flavorful, 5 to 6 hours on low.

Remove the chicken from the slow cooker. Shred the meat into bite-sized pieces, discarding the bones.

Skim off any fat from the top of the soup and remove the bay leaves.

Meanwhile, bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the orzo and cook until just al dente, 5 to 7 minutes. Drain and add to the slow cooker, along with the peas and shredded chicken. Let sit until the peas are heated through, about 5 minutes. Stir in the parsley, season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve.

Photo: Ramona King

About the recipe

If you’re looking to make chicken noodle soup in a slow cooker, this recipe offers up the best way to build up lots of flavor. Yes, you’ll need to pull out the skillet to brown the chicken and saute aromatics, but you’ll be rewarded with a rich stock and tender veggies. We like to use orzo pasta in this dish because it scoops up nicely into your spoon. That said, you can certainly substitute your preferred pasta. This soup will cook completely in 5 to 6 hours on low, but it’ll keep just fine on the warm setting if you need to allow an extra couple of hours to get home from work.