How Do I Fix My Chicken Soup If It Has No Flavor?

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 chicken noodle soup ingredients pep-up a bland, watery recipe.

To fix a chicken soup with no flavor, add kosher salt, black pepper, dried parsley, garlic powder and onion powder.
Credit: Nataly Hanin/iStock/GettyImages

Tip

Chicken soup spices and herbs include salt, black pepper, dried parsley, garlic powder and onion powder. In the future, 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 coax 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.

Chicken Soup Spices and Herbs

Start with the basics. Ensure you've added enough salt and black pepper. Too little salt means your soup's flavors remain hidden.

Now, when you know your soup is salty enough, move on to other seasonings. Fresh herbs, such as rosemary, parsley and thyme add a fresh, vegetal 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 parsley, dried chives, onion powder and garlic powder add more flavor. Add the spices just a little at a time to prevent over-doing 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 gooey brown. This releases the vegetables' natural sugars and boosts your soups flavor in a way that simply boiling them doesn't. You may even find that your boiled vegetables make your soup taste a little dirty and sour.

Read more: 12 Slimming Soups

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.

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. The public advocacy group Center for Science in the Public Interest notes that 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, says the organization.

Read more: 10 Myths About Salt Debunked

If you're looking for a quick chicken soup with less sodium and a lot of flavor even if you can't make homemade chicken noodle soup 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.

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