This garlicky, gingery chicken noodle soup is a Smitten Kitchen keeper

Ginger Garlic Chicken Noodle Soup

Total time:35 mins

Servings:6 to 8

Total time:35 mins

Servings:6 to 8


If you cook regularly, you probably have a stash of recipes that you consider “keepers” — the ones you make again and again because you love the flavor and they always turn out just right.

But do you have 100 such recipes? Me neither.

For her third cookbook, “Smitten Kitchen Keepers,” food blogger and author Deb Perelman decided to gather only recipes that met those stringent criteria.

“I realized how much I wanted to be able to hand my kids a collection of recipes specifically written with making them forever in mind,” she writes in the introduction to her third cookbook.

Perelman began her Smitten Kitchen cooking site in 2006, and in the years since, she has amassed a loyal fan base with her comforting, straightforward cooking. She has more than 1½ million followers on her delicious Instagram. (If you love to cook or are just learning to cook and you’re not following her on social media, do yourself a favor and start.)

Sandwiches must be cut diagonally, and I’m not taking questions

She’s also gathered lots of knowledge and real-life experience. Perelman claims to have read every one of the 350,000 comments posted to her recipes because she wants to anticipate the challenges home cooks might face. For this cookbook, she writes that she worked through more than 500 recipe ideas to arrive at these 100 sweet and savory dishes.

The appeal of Perelman’s recipes is that she makes them at home, in her small New York kitchen, and her ingredients are, for most folks, easily accessible.

When I read that this soup was the first recipe she developed for the cookbook, I decided to try it. She says it is her go-to soup on a chilly weeknight.

The soup provides fine examples of what makes her recipes so popular.

Often, she includes tips that are transferrable to cooking in general. In this recipe, she notes that instead of buying chicken stock, she simmers boneless, skinless chicken thighs — fattier and so more flavorful than the breast meat — with aromatics to create a base. Then she adds the ginger and garlic to give what would be a mild, comforting soup some oomph.

She also frequently shares a little something that’s easy to do but gives the dish a bit of polish. In this case, the soup is finished at the table with a quick sauce made of Chinkiang vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil and chili crisp for heat.

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And Perelman anticipates issues that might arise for home cooks. For example, she notes that you should add the noodles right before serving or they will keep “drinking” the broth until there is little left.

(I live in a house of two, and this soup makes 12 cups, so that cued me to think about this issue as I was cooking. I knew we would not eat this in one sitting, so I cooked the noodles separately, drained them and added them to the serving bowls before ladling over the soup. Then I stored the noodles and soup separately in the refrigerator.)

I made the soup twice, loved it and then asked a friend to try it out as well. She served it at a dinner party and got raves all around.

Is it a keeper? Yes. And so is this cookbook.

Ginger Garlic Chicken Noodle Soup

To accommodate varying spice preferences, serve the chili crisp separately at the table, so people can add as much as they like.

Storage: Refrigerate for up to 4 days.

Where to Buy: Chinkiang vinegar, also called black rice vinegar, can be found at well-stocked supermarkets, Asian markets and online.

Notes: Add the noodles right before serving or they will keep “drinking” the broth until there is little left. If you do not plan to eat all of the soup at once, add the carrot as directed and cook for about 3 minutes. Then cook the noodles separately, drain them and add them to the serving bowls before ladling over the soup; store the soup and noodles separately in the refrigerator.

If you do not have ramen noodles, you can use your favorite thin noodles, including Chinese noodles and angel hair pasta.

Chinkiang vinegar is ideal for this sauce, but if you don’t have it, substitute with rice vinegar, white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar.

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  • 10 cups water
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of visible fat
  • 6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • One (3-inch) piece fresh ginger, minced or finely grated
  • 1 bunch scallions (8 ounces), sliced, whites and greens separated
  • 2 teaspoons fine salt, plus more to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste (optional)
  • 8 ounces curly or other dried ramen noodles (see NOTES)
  • 1 large carrot, cut into matchsticks (about 1 cup)
  • 1/4 cup Chinkiang vinegar (see NOTES)
  • 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • Chili crisp, to taste (optional)

Make the broth: In a 4- to 5-quart pot over high heat, combine the water, chicken, garlic, ginger, scallion whites, salt and pepper, if using, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is tender and cooked through, about 15 minutes.

Make the sauce: While the chicken simmers, in a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil and chili crisp, to taste, if using.

Make the soup: Using a slotted spoon or tongs, transfer the chicken to a cutting board. Add the noodles (see NOTES) and carrots to the broth and cook following the directions on the noodle package, about 3 minutes.

While the noodles cook, using two forks, shred the chicken into bite-size pieces. Return the chicken to the pot and rewarm for 2 minutes. Taste, and season with more salt and/or pepper, as needed, keeping in mind that the finishing sauce will add both saltiness and heat.

Divide the soup among bowls. Add the scallion greens, and drizzle each bowl with 1 teaspoon of the soy sauce mixture, placing extra sauce and chili crisp on the table, if desired.

Per serving (1 1/2 cups), based on 8

Calories: 266; Total Fat: 6 g; Saturated Fat: 1 g; Cholesterol: 94 mg; Sodium: 912 mg; Carbohydrates: 26 g; Dietary Fiber: 2 g; Sugar: 2 g; Protein: 26 g

This analysis is an estimate based on available ingredients and this preparation. It should not substitute for a dietitian’s or nutritionist’s advice.

Adapted from “Smitten Kitchen Keepers” by Deb Perelman (Alfred A. Knopf, 2022).

Tested by Ann Maloney and Suzy Leonard; email questions to

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