Test Kitchen recipe: Spicy Chicken Noodle Soup

This soup is both easy peasy and makes good use of leftover chicken and vegetables. It’s comforting enough to warm you up and fast enough for a weeknight meal.

The idea for this dish came about when I had some jalapeno peppers nearing their prime. I like a basic broth-based soup, but I don’t want it to be boring. Using the sliced jalapenos kicks it a few notches.

When it comes to chilies, jalapenos are low-end in terms of heat. If you remove the seeds and ribs, they’re even milder. But for this soup I wanted that little bit of spiciness so I sliced them into thin rounds, leaving ribs and seeds intact. The soup has an initial or front bite, because that’s the nature of jalapeno’s — heat at first that goes away and doesn’t linger on the taste buds.

All is cooled with final a taste of citrus, cilantro and noodles.


Don't like the heat of jalapenos? Use poblano peppers for a milder flavor.

Add thinly sliced carrots and celery if you have them.

Look for Chinese noodles in the produce section of most grocery stores. Or substitute leftover cooked spaghetti.

Spicy Chicken Noodle Soup

Serves: 4

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Total time: 30 minutes

Use as many jalapenos as you like with this soup.

1 Tbsp. butter

2 cloves garlic, peeled, minced

1/2 cup onion, chopped

1 large jalapeno pepper, sliced (seeded if desired), about 1/4 cup sliced

1/2 lb. cooked chicken breast, chopped or shredded

32 oz. fat-free, low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth

1 package (12 oz.) fresh Chinese noodles or leftover cooked thin spaghetti, about 11/2 cups

Juice of one lime

Salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup (or to taste) cilantro, chopped

Sliced green onion for garnish

Lime wedges for garnish, optional

In a large pot over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the garlic and cook about 1 minute or just until it’s fragrant; do not let it brown. Add the onion and jalapeno and saute until just tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the cooked chicken. Pour in chicken broth and bring to a simmer. Stir in the noodles and heat through.

Add a squeeze of lime juice, cook about one 1 minute, taste and adjust seasoning adding salt and pepper to taste. Just before serving, stir in the cilantro.

Serve topped with sliced green onions and lime wedges, if desired.

From and tested by Susan Selasky for the Free Press Test Kitchen. Nutritional information not available.