Taste Test: Canned Chicken Noodle Soup

We tested some of the most popular, low-sodium chicken noodle soups -- see how they ranked.
10054-01292lw

10054-01292lw

Bowl of chicken noodle soup

Photo by: Jupiterimages ©(C) 2007 Jupiterimages

Jupiterimages, (C) 2007 Jupiterimages

I stopped eating canned soups years ago because, really, who needed all that sodium? Nowadays, there are many low-sodium varieties and they can be handy when you need a fast fix. We tested some of the most popular chicken noodle soups -- see how they ranked.

Soups On!

We'll be honest -- homemade is the only way to go, but sometimes you need a convenient pick. For consistency, we tested low- or reduced-sodium varieties of plain old chicken noodle soup. Each was scored from 1 through 5 (5 being the highest) based on flavor, ingredients and nutrition info. We paid especially close attention to the sodium amounts. The daily recommendation for sodium is 2,300 milligrams (and more like 1,500 milligrams per day if you have high blood pressure). That means a soup with 470 milligrams of sodium contains about 20% of the daily recommendation (or 30% if your target is 1,500).

Prices ranged from $1.25 to $1.50 per serving. All cans indicated that they served “about 2” but ranged in size from 14.5 to 18.5 ounces, so the bigger cans give you a bit more for your money.

Rating: 2

Nutrition Info (per 1 cup serving): 120 calories; 2.5 grams fat; 410 milligrams sodium

Our Take: While it looked very appetizing, the flavor didn’t deliver. “Blech” was how one of our tasters described it. The long list of ingredients was also a turn off -- what exactly is an “enriched egg white noodle product”?
Rating: 3

Nutrition Info (per 1 cup serving): 90 calories; 2 grams fat; 470 milligrams sodium

Our Take: Like the previous one, this soup looked tasty too. The noodles were nice and firm, but it was bland -- not enough chicken flavor going on. You might be able to use this as a base and boost it with added veggies or chicken chunks.

Rating: 4

Nutrition Info (per 1 cup serving): 90 calories; 2 grams fat; 470 milligrams sodium

Our Take: This is your best bet for a canned chicken soup -- it has nice big chunks of chicken and veggies. While it was kind of boring in the flavor department, overall it was the favorite.

Rating: 2.5

Nutrition Info (per 1 cup serving): 100 calories; 2 grams fat; 410 milligrams sodium

Our Take: Here's another one from Campbell's. We appreciated the addition of whole grains but it wasn't enough to like this soup. The veggie and chicken chunks were on the small side and there was an unpleasant tangy flavor that we couldn’t quite figure out. The ingredient list indicated that it contains a small amount of milk, which might make it a no-no for those with allergies.

Rating: 3.5

Nutrition Info (per 1 cup serving): 80 calories; 2.5 grams fat; 135 milligrams sodium

Our Take: We had to check this one out because it had a third of the sodium the others contain. Like the rest, it was on the bland side, but surprisingly didn’t taste much different than some of the other saltier brands. It’s made with lots of organic veggies, but the first ingredient is water -- the other soups are made mostly from chicken broth.

Quick Tip: Canned soups can be helpful in a pinch but, honestly, nothing beats homemade -- plus, then you can control the amount of salt. Make a big pot of homemade stock and prep batches of homemade soups to store in the freezer for when you need a convenient dinner choice.

TELL US: What’s your favorite canned soup? Any other flavors of soup you'd like us to taste test?
Keep Reading

Next Up

Taste Test: Mayonnaise

We taste tested 5 different kinds of mayonnaise and analyze taste, texture, nutritional info and price.

Taste Test: Hummus

Hummus can be the perfect party food, a quick afterschool snack or a preamble to dinner with friends. With so many options at the grocery store, which brands stack up?

Taste Test: Salsa

Which brand of salsa is the best tasting and has the best nutrition? Get an RD's picks before your next fiesta.

Caption It: Taste Tester

Caption this photo of Food Network Star mentor Alton Brown, then tune in to a new episode on Sunday, July 21 at 9pm/8c.

Taste Test: Frozen Yogurt

We've been searching for a lighter alternative to ice cream for the hot summer days. For this taste test, we tried five popular brands. I definitely found some faves that I'm bringing home to the family.

Taste Test: Turkey Bacon

Do you reach for turkey bacon as a healthier alternative to conventional bacon? As it turns out, there's not always a huge difference between the two when it comes to nutrition stats.

Taste Test: Kale Chips

Crunchy versions of this leafy green vegetable are taking the chip aisle by storm. There's no doubt kale is delicious and nutritious -- but do its dried spin-offs live up to the hype?

Taste Test: Hot Sauce

We tasted 5 popular brands of hot sauce and rated them based on flavor, spiciness, cost and nutrition. Find out how your favorite sauce fared.

Taste Test: Heirloom Tomatoes

Juicy tomatoes are at their peak, and that means farmers' markets are exploding with heirloom varieties. Heirloom tomatoes are special, because cultivators have saved the seeds and passed them down through the generations. They come in a range of sizes, colors and of course, flavors. We tested several varieties for taste and texture. Plus, a quick recipe for heirloom tomato sauce.

Taste Test: Light Beer

Cold beer just tastes better during the hot, steamy summertime. Light beers get a bad wrap on the flavor front, so we tested five popular brands (including the most requested ones from our Facebook fans) to see which brew tasted best. It was a hard job, but someone had to do it! Check out how your favorite brand measured up.