Home » Side Dish Recipes » Cafeteria Noodles

Cafeteria Noodles

Come see why this recipe has gone viral on Tik Tok! These old-school Cafeteria Noodles are a nostalgic, comforting and super easy side dish recipe that everyone loves!

A CLASSIC, FLAVORFUL SIDE DISH

This recipe for Cafeteria Noodles has gone viral on social media for good reason – they taste amazing! The pictures just don’t do them justice. From the pictures they just look like regular ole buttered egg noodles but they aren’t! These are the perfect side dish for any night of the week and they pack a lot of flavor!

A big portion of Cafeteria Noodles on a serving plate.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ’S)

Can I add meat to this recipe?

Absolutely! If you want to make this a whole meal-in-one, you could add some ground beef, chicken (ground, grilled or rotisserie) or even turkey! You could even add some veggies like peas, mushrooms or steamed broccoli.

Can other noodles be used?

I haven’t tested anything other than dried egg noodles so I can’t say for sure if others will work. For best results, follow this recipe as written.

Do I have to use cream of chicken soup?

The theme of this recipe is chicken flavor as we use chicken stock and chicken bouillon so I do not recommend using an other soup other than cream of chicken. But if you decide to experiment, please let me know!
If you’re out of the canned soup, you can make your own homemade version with this easy Homemade Cream of Chicken Soup.

Why are they called Cafeteria Noodles?

This question is debatable. Everyone seems to have their own opinion on it. Since this has been around since at least the 60’s and 70’s, it is theorized that they are called this because they were served in school cafeterias or cafeteria-style restaurants.

What if I don’t have a chicken bouillon cube?

This is one of those recipes you have to make as written for it to turn out as it should. Chicken bouillon cubes are very inexpensive so I recommend purchasing it. They can be used for adding so much flavor to chicken dishes!

Can I use low sodium or no-sodium ingredients?

Yes.

Can I add protein?

Sure, add some cooked chicken, rotisserie chicken, shrimp, leftover pork, beef, etc. This is more of a side dish, but can easily be increased and adding protein is super simple.

What can I serve this with?

You could serve it with roast chicken, pork chops, Ritz cracker chicken, or chicken tenders.

How do I store leftovers?

These can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator where they will keep for up to 3 days. I do not recommend freezing.

Looking down on a serving of Cafeteria Noodles.

INGREDIENTS NEEDED: (SEE RECIPE CARD BELOW FOR THE FULL RECIPE)

  • chicken stock – you can also use chicken broth. Chicken stock has a slight stronger flavor than the broth. You can use low sodium or no-sodium here if you are concerned about the sodium levels.
  • chicken bouillon cube – you can use the powder or the cube here. I find the cubes cheaper. I haven’t tried this with the better than bouillon paste but I imagine it would work the same way. Use whatever the equivalent of one cube would be. Again, you can choose a lower sodium option if you prefer.
  • egg noodles – these can be regular eggs noodles or the no yolk egg noodles. They all work with this recipe.
  • cream of chicken soup – this recipe is chicken flavored so I haven’t tried it with other cream soups but I imagine a cream of mushroom would work with this. If you wanted to add a stronger flavor, I imagine you could use cream of onion or cream of celery. As I’ve said earlier, you can certainly use low sodium options here. If you prefer, you can even make a Homemade Cream of Chicken Soup.
  • salted butter – I have only used real butter not margarine. You could use unsalted butter for this as well to keep down the sodium levels. Use as much or as little as you prefer. You don’t have to go with exactly the same amount as I use.
Egg noodles, chicken stock, butter, chicken bouillon cube, and cream of chicken soup.

HOW TO MAKE CAFETERIA NOODLES

In a large pot with a lid add the chicken stock and bouillon cube and bring up to a boil over medium high heat. When the stock comes to a boil add in the egg noodles and stir.

Chicken bouillon cube being dropped in a pot and then a pot where someone is pouring in chicken stock.

Let the stock come back up to a boil then add in the cream of chicken soup and stir. Bring up to a boil and let boil for 2 minutes.

Egg noodles in a pot and egg noodles with cream of chicken soup in a pot.

Remove from heat and stir in the stick of butter. Cover with a lid and let sit until fully melted. Top with parsley if desired.

A stick of butter sitting on egg noodles in a pot and a pot with egg noodles, butter sauce and parsley.

Serve!

A large serving plate of Cafeteria Noodles.

CRAVING MORE RECIPES?

Originally published: November 2022
Updated photos and republished: April 2024

Original recipe by @carols_cookin

A bowl of Cafeteria Noodles with a fork.

Cafeteria Noodles

Come see why this recipe is going viral on Tik Tok! These old-school Cafeteria Noodles are a nostalgic, comforting and super easy side dish recipe that everyone loves!
5 from 38 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 8 servings

Ingredients

Instructions

  • In a large pot or deep skillet with a lid add the chicken stock and bouillon cube and bring up to a boil over medium high heat.
    A bouillon cube being held over a pot.
  • When the stock comes to a boil add in the egg noodles and stir. Let the stock come back up to a boil.
    Egg noodles in a pot with seasoned chicken stock.
  • Add in the cream of chicken soup and stir. Bring up to a boil and let boil for 2 minutes.
    Cream of chicken soup on top of egg noodles.
  • Remove from heat and stir in the stick of butter.
    A stick of butter on top of egg noodles in a pot.
  • Cover with a lid and let sit until melted. Stir again then top with parsley, if desired. Then serve!
    Cafeteria Noodles with parsley in a pot.

Video

YouTube video

Notes

  • Please refer to my FAQ’s and ingredient list above for other substitutions or for the answers to the most common questions.
  • I think adding some garlic to this would be delicious! Garlic powder would probably mix in the best. I would start with a teaspoon and go from there. 
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American

Nutrition

Calories: 297kcal | Carbohydrates: 47g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 6g | Sodium: 565mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g

Nutritional Disclaimer

“The Country Cook” is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories and other nutritional values can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.

Did you make this recipe?Share it on Instagram @thecountrycook and mention us #thecountrycook!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




33 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    A most excellent recipe! Noodles (except elbow macaroni and spaghetti) were never on our menu rotation because my Dad thought they tasted like a piece of fat meat! LOL, go figure. I had never eaten them, and my husband just knew he would hate noodles, so over the years, I never tried to learn how to fix them and use them in recipes.
    When I saw this recipe on your blog, I thought, “Brandie has never failed me with any of her recipes, so I’m gonna make this one.” They were an instant hit, and we devoured them like big old hogs.
    Thank you, Brandie, for sharing your recipe, it is gonna be on our menu rotation (we’ll have it at least once a week LOL).
    I’m an old lady and have been married 61 years, so you see, an old dog can learn new tricks!

    1. Ha! I love it!! You are cracking me up! Love that you and hubby enjoyed this recipe. And you are so right, it is never too late to try new things!! Thank you for having faith and giving it a shot

  2. 5 stars
    I made this recipe for me and my granddaughter and we both loved it. I poached a small chicken breast in the broth and then removed it to add the noodles and the rest of the ingredients. I diced the chicken very small and added it back in with the noodles. It was even better the next day!

  3. This recipe calls for 16 ounces of noodles. The bag you show is 12 ounces. Can you use 12 ounces or do you need to add 4 more ounce?

    1. Sorry for the confusion – the no yolk egg noodles come in a 12 ounce bag and the regular egg noodles come in a 16 ounce bag, they both work with this recipe 🙂

  4. 5 stars
    The written instructions just say let the butter melt and then serve but the video says let sit for 20 mins with the lid on after you stir in the butter. Mine is sitting now, looking forward to try it, but you should definitely update the written part.

    1. That was what the original recipe called for (the one from Tik Tok) but we found after making it a few times that the 20 minute wait was unnecessary. You can certainly do so if you want to test out the difference in waiting.

  5. 5 stars
    I have to be honest…the name didn’t capture my interest at first. However, both of my kids (ages 17 and 19) love buttered noodles so I always keep a container of them in my fridge for late-night snacking. Thought this recipe might offer a different alternative and decided to give it a try. HUGE SUCCESS! It was so quick to make and flavorful. I really think the cream of chicken soup introduced a new flavor profile for my children. Empty plates = happy papa! I served it with a grilled Montreal-seasoned chicken cutlet and substituted chopped cilantro for the parsley. Thank you, Brandie! Another excellent recipe…

  6. 5 stars
    Thank you for sharing this! I hate trying to write down recipes from Tik Tok and they don’t have a printable one (which I prefer) Also, a lot of times the person sharing doesn’t give exact amounts for everything. I need to follow a recipe as I am autistic and need things to be exact. I am trying to learn to cook for myself and your website is so helpful for people like me. All the step by step photos and the ingredient photos (I need help to know what to look for). You are a very good teacher and you are very thorough. Thank you very much

    1. Hi Zoe! I am so happy to have you here! What a thoughtful comment and it really meant a lot to read. I really love to teach people how to cook and that is why I started this website. I really wanted to teach and not just share a recipe. There are a lot of cooks like myself who can taste a recipe and know what to add but that is only because I have years of experience but not everyone knows how to do that because they are just starting to learn how to cook. It takes time and experience (and some mess ups LOL) So I am so ecstatic to read that you find it helpful. It makes all the work worth it. Let me know if there is anything else you’d like to see that would help you!

  7. 5 stars
    Happy Accident, I love this recipe as written. However, recently my grocery store was out of the Campbell’s Cream of Chicken soup. They substituted Campbell’s Cream of Chicken With Herbs. Oh my goodness, A delicious variation. Just as good, in a slightly different way. Now I alternate between the two, for variation. Thank you for another Great Recipe.

  8. 5 stars
    You MUST trust the process on this recipe. I know it looks like the water to noodles ratio is wrong but trust me, it works every time. I leave out the butter. At times I add left over chicken or some keilbasa at the end. This is so easy and a total crowd pleaser.

  9. 5 stars
    I was skeptical but tried it anyway. I added more water than it called for and ended up draining some of it before adding the soup. After it was done I added diced ham and broccoli and my kids ate it like there was no tomorrow.

  10. 5 stars
    I have to say I had my doubts about this one but that ended the second it hit my mouth. I used Better Than Bullion and it worked well.
    This one is a definite keeper.

  11. 5 stars
    I’ve made this recipe several times. It’s fantastic. I’ve also tried this with a cream of mushroom soup & with a cream of chicken mushroom soup. Both of those were great! I used the chicken bouillon cube & a mushroom stock base diluted to manufacturer’s directions. The result was very good. I will be making it again. I also want to try “regular” pasta, like penne or any other short pasta.

      1. 5 stars
        Brandie, it worked out well with Penne, Cream of Mushroom Soup, Mushroom Broth & a Chicken Bouillon cube. It was very good!
        I’m staying with my son at the moment. Tomorrow, I’ll make it as prescribed in the recipe & serve it with my homemade meatloaf.

  12. I have never heard of this nor seen it or tasted it , but is sounds so easy and a good budget dish for these days . My only thought as I read about it that I would like to see a veggie for color and to cut the starch aspect . Maybe some frozen peas which o do not cook but only thaw in running hot water in a sieve and shake dry .

    1. This is the original circa 1970’s recipe meant as a side dish. I didn’t want to stray from this popular & classic original since it’s the one everyone is looking for. There are lots of ways to change it up, like with any recipe, and I give lots of ideas above on how you can change it or add other things to it. Let me know if you try it! 🙂

      1. 5 stars
        I spotted this while looking up your chicken noodle casserole that my daughter loves, and I thought I’d give it a shot. She loved it, so I’d call it kid-tested and approved, which is high praise from an autistic child. 🙂 Thank you for passing this classic along! It was super easy and since I could cover it and leave it on the stove for a while, it was ready quickly when my daughter-the-hobbit decided she wanted Second Lunch. Always a plus when you can quickly stave off the hangry!