Ginger Garlic Chicken Noodle Soup on a table in a Studio
(Justin Tsucalas for The Washington Post/Food styling by Lisa Cherkasky for the Washington Post)
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Ginger Garlic Chicken Noodle Soup

Smitten Kitchen blogger and cookbook author Deb Perelman says this is her go-to soup on a chilly weeknight. It’s the first recipe she developed for her cookbook “Smitten Kitchen Keepers.” Instead of buying chicken stock, she simmers boneless, skinless chicken thighs with aromatics to create a base. The soup also gets a flavor boost from ginger, garlic and scallions. It is finished at the table with a quick sauce made of Chinkiang vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil and chili crisp for heat. To accommodate varying spice preferences, serve the chili crisp separately at the table, so people can add as much as they like.

Refrigerate for up to 4 days (see NOTES).

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

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


measuring cup
Servings: 6-8 (makes about 12 cups)

For the soup

  • 10 cups water
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of visible fat
  • 6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 (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)

For the sauce

  • 1/4 cup Chinkiang vinegar (see NOTES)
  • 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • Chili crisp, to taste (optional)


Time Icon Total: 35 mins
  1. Step 1

    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.

  2. Step 2

    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.

  3. Step 3

    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.

  4. Step 4

    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.

  5. Step 5

    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.

  6. Step 6

    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; and store the soup and noodles separately in the refrigerator.

  7. Step 7

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

  8. Step 8

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

Nutritional Facts

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

  • Calories


  • Carbohydrates

    26 g

  • Cholesterol

    94 mg

  • Fat

    6 g

  • Fiber

    2 g

  • Protein

    26 g

  • Saturated Fat

    1 g

  • Sodium

    912 mg

  • Sugar

    2 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