One-pot Creamy Chicken Mac Soup

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Few years ago, I had this great admiration over creamy soups I tried in some fancy restaurants. Every time I took a sip I screamed “Why is this soup so freaking creamyyy?!”

I’m only talking to myself. No shouting and overreacting while eating no matter how good your food is, okay?

On rainy or chilly days, hot soup is the usual comfort food that comes to mind. Perfect time to share my mac soup recipe – creamy, luscious… resto style!

First of all, we’ll be using only one pot. Everything will happen in ONE POT.

The classic way of making chicken macaroni soup is sautéing the chicken meat together with onions and vegetables. But we will alter this step. We will semi-fry (or brown) the chicken first.

Put the chicken meat in hot oil then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Once brown, flip and season the other side as well.

Do not overcook the chicken.  We want the outer slightly fried or toasted yet tender and juicy when you cut it with knife. I usually cook each side for 3 minutes on medium heat for nonstick pots and low heat for ceramic-coated pots.

I often do this when I cook something that requires chicken stock because I don’t normally “stock” (keep) it in our fridge. The juice that ooze out from semi-fried chicken adds more flavor to the soup base, just like what the chicken stock do. Yummm!

This is additional effort from you but trust me it’s worth it!

Oh, I also do this when cooking chicken pasta dishes. I will definitely share the recipes next time.

Cut the chicken into bite-size pieces after frying.

Then we will sauté onions and vegetables on the same pot with the remaining oil used to fry the chicken. Do not overcook the veggies!

Instead of the traditional cabbage, I added cauliflower for more veggie crunch!

Now, transfer the vegetables in a bowl/plate and set aside. Add water and uncooked macaroni in the same pot (I told you everything will take place in one pot). Starch dissolved from the noodles will also help to make the soup thicker.

TIPS and SUGGESTIONS

Elbow macaroni and penne are best suited for this recipe. I’ve tried both and the soup base is always thick. The type of noodle you see in the photos is “vegeroni” which I do not recommend here. The vegeroni cooks faster than regular noodles, and it’s already cooked even before the boiling water is reduced therefore you will end up with a lot of water resulting to runny soup base.

Once noodles are al dente, put the veggies and chicken back – don’t forget the drippings left in the plate!

And for the finale, the main star of this recipe… heavy cream! This will make the soup taste richer and creamier. Forget milk for the meantime.

Top it with cheese! You’ll love it!

I hope you like my macaroni soup with lots of twist. I know summer is almost here, still I hope it’s not too late yet to share.

One-Pot Creamy Chicken Mac Soup

Rich and creamy macaroni soup with bits of browned chicken - all made in one pot.

Ingredients
  

  • cooking oil
  • 1/2 lb chicken thigh fillet see notes below
  • 1 medium white or red onion chopped
  • 1 medium carrots chopped
  • 1 small cauliflower stems removed and chopped
  • 6 cups of water divided
  • 1/2 lb small elbow macaroni or penne uncooked (see notes below)
  • 8 ounces heavy cream
  • 3.2 ounces cheddar cheese half bar, cut into tiny cubes (add more if desired)
  • salt and ground pepper

Instructions
 

  • Add oil to a nonstick pot/casserole, enough to cover the bottom of the pot. Semi-fry (see notes below) one side of the chicken meat for at least 3 minutes, sprinkle the side facing up with salt and pepper. Once brown, flip the other side and season the browned side facing up with salt and pepper, cook for another 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate without paper towel because we need the drippings of the chicken. Cut into bite size pieces.
  • In the same pot with the remaining oil, sauté onions for 2 minutes. Add carrots, cook for 2 minutes. Add cauliflower, cook for 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer into a bowl/plate and set aside.
  • In the same pot, add 3 cups of water and uncooked macaroni noodles. Cook while stirring occasionally until macaroni is al dente and water has reduced to 1 cup (approx.)
  • Add the remaining 3 cups of water, chicken and vegetables and bring to a boil. Turn the stove to low heat then pour heavy cream, stir until well combined. Add half of the cheese and season with salt and pepper if needed.
  • Top with remaining cheese before serving (add more if desired).

Notes

Semi-frying: Do not overcook the chicken. We want the outer slightly fried or toasted yet tender and juicy when you cut it with knife. I usually cook each side for 3 minutes on medium heat for nonstick pots and low heat for ceramic-coated pots.
Elbow macaroni and penne are best suited for this recipe. I've tried both and the soup base is always thick. The type of noodle you see in the photos is "vegeroni" which I do not recommend here. The vegeroni cooks faster than regular noodles, and it's already cooked even before the boiling water is reduced therefore you will end up with a lot of water resulting to runny soup base. Goal for thicker soup: The boiling water should be reduced to at least (approx.) 1 cup by the time the noodles are cooked (al dente) and before adding the remaining water.
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