You love the chicken soup you get in restaurants, but when you try to make your own at home, it lacks flavor. A few key ingredients can help you add flavor to chicken soup and pep up a bland, watery recipe.
Chicken soup spices and herbs include salt, black pepper, dried parsley, garlic powder and onion powder. You can also tweak your recipe to first brown the chicken and vegetables, deglaze with white wine and finish with a quality stock for flavor.
Start with high-quality ingredients and use proper cooking techniques to bring out flavor from your chicken soup seasoning. If you have already cooked up your chicken soup and it has no flavor, you can still take steps to pep it up.
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Best Seasonings for Chicken Soup
Chicken noodle soup is easy to make, but making it tasty and not bland can be tricky.
Start with the basics. Ensure you've added enough salt and black pepper. Too little salt means your soup's flavors will remain hidden. When you know your soup is salty enough, move on to other seasonings like herbs and spices.
Best Herbs and Spices For Chicken Noodle Soup
- Onion powder
- Garlic powder
- Bay leaves
- Star anise
Chicken Noodle Soup Seasoning Options
Herbs add a fresh note to a bland chicken soup. Add a sprig or two and let them steep as the soup simmers for 10 to 30 minutes, or chop the herbs and toss them in for near-immediate color and flavor.
No fresh herbs on hand? Dried herbs and powdered spices can add more flavor. Add the spices just a little at a time to prevent overdoing the seasoning.
You will find it hard to add depth of flavor after the chicken soup has gone through the majority of the cooking process. If you are making homemade chicken noodle soup from scratch, flavor starts at the very beginning of the soup-cooking process.
Brown the chicken, including the bones, in olive oil. Remove the browned chicken and add onions, carrots and celery. Cook until these vegetables are caramelized and brown. This releases the vegetables' natural sugars and improves the flavor of your soup in a way that simply boiling them doesn't. You may even find your boiled vegetables make your soup taste a little dirty and sour.
Deglaze the pan with a bit of white wine, add herbs (thyme and parsley are good starts), return the chicken and cover it all with a high-quality stock. A homemade stock, or a purchased one, adds flavor. Just know that the purchased one will likely already have some salt added. Keep this in mind when seasoning your chicken soup with herbs and spices.
Canned Soup Options
If you just can't make the world's best chicken soup on your own, you might reach for a store-bought version. While these may have a flavor that you're used to, they're usually loaded with sodium. Some varieties of canned soup can have as much as 1,000 milligrams of sodium per serving.
Salt makes a cheap flavoring agent for companies looking to make a profit. All the sodium in soup and other processed foods can pose a danger to your health.
The American Heart Association recommends that you eat no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium daily, to protect your heart health and keep your blood pressure in check. Most people benefit from eating closer to 1,500 milligrams per day, the organization reports.
If you're looking for a quick chicken soup with less sodium and a lot of flavor even if you can't make it from scratch, purchase a low-sodium chicken broth and add chopped vegetables, chopped chicken and noodles. Simmer until the ingredients are fully cooked through. Season each portion individually. You'll still end up with a soup that has less sodium than the kind from a can.
- Bon Appetit: "Get Outta Here with That Bland, Watery Soup"
- Seattle Times: "The Key to the Best Chicken Soup from Scratch"
- American Heart Association: "How Much Sodium Should I Eat Per Day"
- Orrington Farms: "Orrington Farms Chicken Noodle Soup Slow Cookers Mix Pouch"
- Dan-O’s Seasoning: "20oz. Dan-O’s Original Seasoning"
- Frontier Co-Op: "Frontier Co-Op Organic Poultry Seasoning 1.20 Oz"