There's no comfort food quite as classic as chicken noodle soup. It's a bowl of homey healing when you're sick, a warming dinner on a chilly evening, and a whole meal in itself, with protein, veggies, and starch all in one! No wonder it's a staple in homes and restaurants across the country.
Even when it's not made from scratch, chicken noodle soup deserves a place in your pantry or fridge—especially when it's made with wholesome, healthy ingredients. Still, some purchased soups come loaded with sodium and low-quality ingredients, without much protein, fiber, or other beneficial nutrients. So which store-bought soups should you lean on when laid up with the flu (or just craving something warm and comforting)? We've rounded up a list of the best and worst canned (as well as jarred and boxed!) chicken noodle varieties you'll find on grocery shelves. Soup's on!
How We Chose the Healthiest Chicken Noodle Soups
- Lower sodium: Chicken noodle soup requires some sodium to give it the signature savory flavor we know and love. But some soups overdo it. We looked for options that keep sodium under about 600 milligrams per serving.
- High in protein: If it's got chicken, it should have protein… right? Not every chicken noodle has as much as you might expect. Our top choices beef up (or rather, chicken up?) the protein content with at least 5 grams per serving.
- Minimal additives and short ingredient lists: In theory, all you really need to make a top-notch chicken noodle soup is a handful of simple ingredients. We sought out soups that don't include lots of additives, preservatives, and other extras.
The 4 Unhealthiest Canned Chicken Noodle Soups
Worst: Campbell's Chunky Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup
In food marketing, words like "chunky" and "creamy" are often code words for high in fat and calories. That's definitely the case here. Campbell's Chunky Creamy Chicken Noodle soup packs 30% of your daily saturated fat needs in 1 cup. It's also got added sugar and some questionable additives like modified cornstarch.
Worst: Wolfgang Puck Free Range Chicken and Egg Noodle Soup
It may contain free-range chicken, but that doesn't mean Wolfgang Puck's canned soup is a smart buy. Per serving, this chicken and egg noodle version supplies a measly 4 grams of protein. And since its sodium clocks in at 850 milligrams per cup, we say pass on this one.
Worst: Simple Truth Organic Chicken Noodle Soup
Simple Truth's organic variety is another surprising contender for the title of worst chicken noodle soup on store shelves. Despite its organic ingredients, it's extremely high in sodium, with a shocking 97% of the Daily Value. Saturated fat is high here, too, providing 22.5% of your daily needs.
Worst: Great Value Chicken Noodle Condensed Soup
Wal-Mart's Great Value condensed chicken noodle soup is, admittedly, low in calories, but that's about all it has going for it. Heating up a can of this store brand will only provide 3 grams of protein per serving and no fiber. (It doesn't even contain any carrots.) If you choose this one, make sure you serve it with a salad or veggies for color and nutrients.
The 6 Best Healthy Canned Chicken Noodle Soups
Best: Annie's Organic Chicken Noodle Soup
Three minutes in the microwave are all that stand between you and a bowl of savory organic chicken goodness in Annie's chicken noodle soup. The brand famous for its bunny logo makes a tasty, healthy version made with pronounceable ingredients and just 90 calories per serving.
Best: Healthy Choice Chicken Noodle Soup
Healthy Choice lives up to its name with this chicken noodle soup. It's one of the lowest-sodium choices on our list at 390 milligrams per serving. Though we'd like to see fewer additives on its ingredient list, it does contain a respectable 7 grams of protein and plenty of real vegetables.
Best: Trader Joe's Chicken Noodle Soup
Trader Joe's chicken noodle soup may only be seasonally available, so grab it while you can! Simple ingredients like white chicken meat, carrots, celery, and herbs hit the spot on a chilly night. And since it keeps sodium and calories relatively low, you may want to stock up next time you visit TJ's.
Best: Healthy Valley Organic Low Salt Chicken Noodle Soup
If you've got heart disease, kidney problems, or any other issues that require a low-sodium diet, don't miss Health Valley's low-sodium take on the classic soup. Using low-salt chicken broth, it keeps sodium to a mere 65 milligrams (3% of the Daily Value) per serving. Though its protein count is rather low, we'll make an exception for this one.
Best: Pacific Foods Organic Chicken Noodle Soup with Chicken Bone Broth
You may know Pacific Foods for their broths and plant-based milks, but the brand also offers pre-made soups, such as this healthy organic chicken noodle. Not only is this choice fully organic, there's nary a funky ingredient here! Plus, bone broth soups up the protein and collagen in each bite.
Best: Home Chef Classic Chicken Noodle Soup
Home Chef has made a name for itself with convenient heat-and-eat meals you can either purchase at the grocery store or get delivered to your home. Their store-bought classic chicken noodle soup comes in a refrigerated tub (look for it in the deli section of the grocery store). It's a keeper for its high protein content, ample veggies, and fresh taste.