Crack Chicken Noodle Soup is cheesy, full of tangy ranch-inspired flavor and swirled with slurp-worthy angel hair pasta. Definitely not your typical bowl of chicken and noodles. However, if you ARE craving a classic bowl of chicken noodle soup don’t miss our Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup, our Classic Chicken Noodle Soup (made with homemade noodles).
Crack Chicken Noodle Soup
There are few things in the winter I gravitate towards more than a cozy bowl of soup. Typically it doesn’t matter the variety – a fiery semi-homemade ramen, a silky-smooth pureed potato soup or a hearty chili are all great contenders- as long as it’s piping hot and full of flavor, I’m in. However there is something to be said about the intoxicating taste and smell of our Crack Chicken Noodle Soup that sends me over the edge.
Maybe it’s because it has some of the same elements as our Chicken Spaghetti (which is comfort/nostalgia food to the T), maybe it’s because chicken noodle soup gives me all the cozy feels or maybe it’s because it’s just so darn good. Whatever the reason, it’s become my new cold weather nirvana.
Basically an indulgent version of classic chicken noodle soup, crack chicken noodle soup has all of the standard musts for chicken noodle soup – salty broth, plenty of veggies, tender chicken and noodles. In addition to those staples we throw in sharp cheddar cheese, melty cream cheese and all of the flavors you find in a packet of ranch dressing mix.
All of these items together may sound like a bizarre mashup of flavors but trust me, it’s delicious and highly additive.
Many of the recipes I’ve seen for crack chicken noodle soup involve a can of cream of chicken, a packet of store-bought ranch seasoning and many other processed ingredients. I wanted to keep this version as homemade as possible so the only pre-packaged or slightly processed ingredient you’ll find is a little bit of chicken bouillon.
To replicate the tang of classic ranch seasoning, we use buttermilk powder, a must ingredient that in my opinion makes this version of chicken noodle soup unlike any other. (More on this later.)
Skinny angel hair pasta noodles are another untraditional item in our soup and help to thicken broth and finish the soup off.
Let’s get started!
Ingredients in Crack Chicken Noodle Soup
Butter. Usually I use a combo of olive oil and butter, but this time around I’m just sticking to butter. Go big or go home, right?
Veggies. All of the classic are present – carrots, onion, celery and garlic.
Flour. We need flour to thicken the broth of the soup. If you don’t want it thick or just want to skip out on extra white flour, you can omit it.
Chicken stock. Always use a good quality, low-sodium chicken stock so you can control the amount of salt in your final dish.
Milk. We like to use whole milk for luxuriousness here, 2% half and half or even cream will also work. If you do use 2%, heat it up a bit to prevent it from curdling.
Spices. We use many of the spices you’ll find in homemade ranch seasoning – dill, garlic powder and onion powder.
Buttermilk powder. This is our secret weapon in our crack chicken noodle soup and maybe one you’ve never of before. Basically it’s buttermilk that’s been dehydrated and turned into a fine powder. (We used this one.) I like it because it’s a great way to add the tangy of buttermilk without actually adding it which can cause the soup to be too brothy or worse, curdle.
Most grocery stores carry it these days so you shouldn’t have a problem finding it.
Chicken bouillon. While I rely on kosher salt nine times out of ten to flavor dishes, sometimes a little bit of chicken bouillon is exactly what you need. I love the deep chicken flavor and salty bite it adds to the soup.
Chicken. We use store-bought rotisserie chicken but any leftover chicken will work great.
Pasta. As we mentioned before we use angel hair pasta. I love the way the skinny strands of noodles integrate into the soup and how quickly they cook.
Cheese. We use two cheeses, sharp cheddar and cream cheese.
Let’s make Crack Chicken Noodle Soup
Sweat the veggies. For this particular soup you only want to sweat the veggies. If they start to brown make sure to turn adjust the heat.
Add the broth. When the veggies have softened slightly, add the flour. Mix until it’s combine and then slowly whisk in the broth. It’s really important to add the broth a little bit at a time so you can work out any lumps that make come up.
Mix the spices in. The spices and buttermilk powders have a tendency to clump when you add it to warm broth, so I like to measure out the milk and add the spices to that. Whisk them until smooth and then whisk the mixture into the chicken broth and veggies. Add the chicken bouillon after.
Simmer. Let everything simmer until it’s thickened up a bit.
Add pasta. Slowly add the angel hair pasta in. Again, add it a little bit at a time so it doesn’t clump together. Keep simmering until the pasta is aldente.
Finish. Turn the heat off and slowly stir in the cheese and cream cheese. Keep stirring until it’s completely melted. Season to taste with salt and pepper!
Can I make this in advance?
Absolutely! It does thicken up considerable after it’s cooled because the noodles soak up excess broth. Simply add more broth to suite your taste.
Substitutions and Tips and Tricks for Recipe Success
- While we recommend angel hair, you could also use spaghetti, thin spaghetti or any other long pasta.
- Be sure to season to your taste. I like things on the salty side, so I always add another 1/4-1/2 teaspoon salt.
- Don’t forget to whisk the spices and buttermilk powder with the milk before adding it to the chicken stock and veggies.
- If your soup is too thick for your liking, you can thin it out with extra chicken stock.
- Be sure to cut all your veggies approximately the same size so they cook evenly.
- Add the chicken last so it doesn’t overcook.
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 heaping cup diced carrot (about 2 large carrots)
- 1 heaping cup diced onion (1 medium onion)
- 3/4 cup chopped celery
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 3 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 5 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken stock
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp dried dill
- 1 tsp chicken bouillon or 1 bouillon cube
- 1 tbsp buttermilk powder (see note)
- 2 cups COOKED diced chicken (white or dark meat)
- 2 oz cream cheese
- 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese
- 1/4 lb angel hair pasta
- Dutch oven or large pot
- Heat a large dutch oven or pot to a medium heat. Add butter. When the butter melts, add the carrot, onion, celery and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Stir to combine. Sweat the vegetables over a medium heat until they start to soften, about 5 minutes. If they start to brown turn the heat down to medium-low, you only want them to sweat.
- Add the garlic, stir to combine and cook for 1 minute.
- Stir in the flour. Cook for one minute. There should be no dry flour remaining.
- Slowly whisk in the chicken stock making sure there are no lumps of flour. In a separate bowl or liquid measuring cup, add the milk. Whisk in the garlic powder, onion powder, dill and buttermilk powder until smooth. Whisk the milk and spice mixture into the chicken stock and veggies. (The spices have a tendency to clump so it's easier to add to the cool milk mixture before.) Add the bouillon and whisk to combine. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Simmer until the soup has thickened slightly, it should take 6-7 minutes.
- When the soup has thickened slightly, add the chicken. Break the angel hair in half and add to the soup a little bit at a time. Make sure to use tongs to add the pasta and stir it in so it doesn't clump together. Stir every minute or two until the pasta is aldente, about 4-5 minutes. Turn the heat on low and add cream cheese. Give it a couple stirs. Slowly add cheddar cheese, while stirring until it's completely incorporated. Stir once again to make sure all the cream cheese and cheese has melted. Season to taste with plenty of salt and pepper.