My Mom's Secret Ingredient for the Best Chicken and Noodles|Recipes Spots

  • on August 27, 2023
My Mom's Secret Ingredient for the Best Chicken and Noodles

chicken and noodles
Simply Recipes / Sara Haas

If I could transport myself back in time, it would be to the nights when my mom made her chicken and noodles for dinner. Out of all of the foods she made, this was my favorite. It isn’t a fussy or fancy meal. It’s pure comfort.

It turns out her mom made a similar dish. My grandmother would place bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts in a pressure cooker—the old-school kind of the 1950s—and cook them with water, salt, and pepper. Once the family got home from Church, she would serve the chicken over noodles and that would be the meal.

My mom didn’t care for my grandmother’s version. The chicken was dry and the meal, she claims, was flavorless. So she skipped the pressure cooker and instead put the chicken in a big pot. She covered the chicken with chicken broth and a healthy smattering of butter, and let it simmer, low and slow, until the meat was tender.

She shredded the chicken and instead of discarding the flavorful broth like my grandmother did, she cooked the noodles in it. Then she added the chicken back to the pot along with more butter. The result was a bowl of creamy goodness.

chicken and noodles
Simply Recipes / Sara Haas

The Secret to My Mom’s Chicken and Noodles

How did my mom create my favorite dish from one of her least favorite dishes? It was a chance encounter with a bag of noodles at the Amish market. She picked up the bag thinking they looked good, but didn’t have a plan for them. One afternoon, she found them in the pantry while trying to figure out dinner. She had chicken, so she decided to re-create her mom’s chicken and noodles.

These are the Amish noodles my mom used. Especially when cooked in the chicken broth, they are what makes my mom’s chicken and noodles the absolute best—the key to this recipe! If you have access to Amish noodles, use those. I have found that spaetzle noodles work well too. Find them at specialty grocery stores or farmers markets.

ingredients to make chicken and noodles
Simply Recipes / Sara Haas

How To Make My Mom’s Chicken and Noodles

I am a Registered Dietitian and trained chef, so I use the tools under my belt to make my own version of my mom’s chicken and noodles. That’s the recipe you’ll find below—they bring back memories of my childhood. Now it’s a dish that my daughter loves and asks for, and that is what good cooking is all about.

This will serve six. You’ll need: 

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 2 medium carrots, cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 2 ribs celery, cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1/2 small white onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 bone-in skin-on chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 1 quart low-sodium chicken broth
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 8 ounces dried Amish or spaetzle noodles
  • Chopped parsley for garnish, if desired

Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large Dutch oven set over medium heat. Add the carrots, celery, and onions and cook, stirring often until softened, about 5 to 6 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the chicken and broth along with enough water to cover the chicken by 1 inch.

Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Then, reduce heat, cover with a lid, and simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 25 minutes. A thermometer inserted in the thickest part should reach 165°F. Check occasionally to ensure that the chicken stays submerged. Add water, 1/2 cup at a time, if needed.

Transfer the cooked chicken to a cutting board.

Skim the top of the cooking liquid to remove and discard any scum. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Add the noodles and cook until soft and tender—check package directions for the exact cook time.

Meanwhile, remove the chicken skin and shred the chicken.

Once the noodles are done cooking, add the shredded chicken back into the pot. Simmer for 10 minutes uncovered, then stir in the remaining 1 tablespoon butter and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve in bowls and garnish with chopped parsley, if desired.

chicken and noodles in a bowl
Simply Recipes / Sara Haas

Tips for Making My Mom’s Chicken and Noodles

  1. Use bone-in chicken: You may be tempted to use boneless skinless chicken breasts, but you won’t get the same richness and depth you’ll get from using bone-in, skin-on breasts. For even more flavor, consider using a few bone-in, skin-on thighs instead of one of the breasts.
  2. Eat it the next day: Of course you can eat the chicken and noodles right away, but this dish improves with time. Enjoy a bowl, then cool the rest and refrigerate. Simply reheat in the pot and you’ll enjoy it again even more!
  3. Finish with some lemon: To add a touch of brightness, consider squeezing a tablespoon or so of fresh lemon juice into the soup. The acid adds a little punch and a hint of lightness.
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