How To Make Canned Chicken Noodle Soup Taste Better

Go big on the greens

Sarah Jampel, a senior cooking editor, enjoys packing her soups full of greens. She includes a ton of mature spinach in her lemony tortellini dish. This tactic also works with canned food: wilt in a few handfuls of fresh or frozen Swiss chard, kale, or spinach for some extra flavor and nutrition! Remaining sweet potatoes or roasted broccoli are welcome, as are frozen peas.

Start with an aromatic base

Pretty much every can of soup already contains aromatics. However, you’ll want to add more to your soup to give it some more vigor. Begin by finely chopping any combination of vegetables and alliums, such as bell peppers, ginger, onion, garlic, carrots, and celery. Whatever you decide on will flavor the entire soup can that you are about to heat. A longer cook will brown your ingredients for a deeper, more savory flavor, while a shorter sauté will produce a sweeter, less intense base.

If you’re out of alliums, you can still achieve an aromatic base by using robust herbs, spices, or condiments. Before heating, bloom a combination in oil to add flavor to plain (and thin) soups. Add butternut squash soup to a saucepan and sizzle in a pinch of Madras curry powder, garam masala, equal parts ground cumin and smoked paprika, or a sprig of rosemary. Mushroom soup pairs well with thyme, crushed red pepper flakes, and bay leaves. And a can of tomato soup practically begs to be opened with a dollop of harissa or sautéed red curry paste, or a sprinkling of dried basil and oregano.

Soups with more chunks, such as lentil or black bean, tend to be thicker and, let’s face it, gloopy. While they’re heating, add more water or low-sodium stock to thin them out and lessen the strong salinity. (Don’t worry if you go overboard; just keep simmering until the liquid reduces to the consistency you want.) To add body and richness to almost any dish, such as Italian minestrone or chicken noodle soup, you can also whisk in some coconut milk, warmed cream, or crème fraîche.

Recipe developer and author Carla Lalli Music purées half of her hammy chickpea soup to achieve the best of both textures—creamy without dairy—and chunky at the same time. The same goes for your thicker canned soups with bean or vegetable bases.

Once heated, fill your blender with half of the contents of your saucepan, making sure to include some liquid. Blend that until it becomes smooth, similar to a bisque, and then return it to the saucepan by stirring. (Or use an immersion blender—no transferring necessary. ).

To enhance the flavor and creaminess of the base, consider adding a dollop of umami-rich miso, a scoop of nut or seed butter, leftover mashed potatoes, or steamed cauliflower before blending.

The idea of whisking an egg into hot soup is already familiar to those who have had Chinese egg drop (or egg flower) soup or Italian Roman stracciatella soup. And its incredibly easy to do. Beat one or two eggs in a bowl while your canned chicken noodle soup is heating up. When the soup reaches a sufficient temperature, lower the burner to a simmer and begin stirring it in one direction. Slowly pour the bowl of whisked eggs into the soup while stirring. After letting the eggs sit in the hot soup for about a minute, turn off the heat and serve, maybe garnishing with some finely chopped green onions or scallions. Thats it.

Of course, you can also use some of the other techniques for improving boxed broth for chicken noodle soup, like adding a small amount of acid, like vinegar or lemon juice, adding some peeled ginger slices for extra anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits, or adding some dried or fresh herbs for more taste and depth.

Theres just something about chicken noodle soup. Whether you or someone in your family has the sniffles and need a little extra TLC, or its a gray and rainy day out and you need some extra warmth, or just because, its the ultimate comfort food (thats actually also good for you — according to The New York Times, science may actually support claims of chicken soups medicinal value). And while its best if you can make chicken noodle soup from scratch, not everyone has the luxury of time to do so. Plus if the reason youre craving chicken noodle soup is because youre sick, then you may also not have the strength to put in all that effort.

That’s when that can of prepared chicken noodle soup comes in handy; soups are among the greatest canned foods to have in your pantry for a reason. But that doesn’t mean you have to accept the status quo of your tasteless canned chicken noodle soup. You can add flavor, texture, or nutrition to canned soup in a variety of ways. Whisked eggs are a simple addition that enhances chicken noodle soup in three ways.

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