Instant Pot Chicken Soup

Family-FriendlyFavorite WinterChickenChicken Soup

Make quick chicken soup in the pressure cooker! This classic recipe is made with whole chicken (or chicken pieces), carrots, onions, and celery, and it's ready in 60 minutes. Just add noodles for chicken noodle soup!

Photography Credit: Coco Morante

The minute anybody in my house comes down with the slightest sniffle, I run to the store for ingredients for chicken soup. It’s the go-to cure-all around here!

The recipe I make is classic and very simple, but to get it ready even more quickly, I make it in the pressure cooker.

Pressure Cooker Chicken Soup

Why Use the Pressure Cooker?

Pressure cooking in the Instant Pot (or any electric pressure cooker) reduces the cooking time a fair amount. Using an electric one also allows you to leave the pot unattended while it cooks. The cooker will even switch to a “Keep Warm” setting once cooking has finished so you don’t have to worry about turning off the cooker right away when the soup is done.

How to Make Chicken Soup in the Pressure Cooker

Just throw all the ingredients in the pot, press a button, and come back to piping hot soup later on!

What Kind of Chicken to Use in the Instant Pot

I use a whole chicken for my soup for a few reasons:

  • First, it’s the most economical way to go.
  • Second, I like having a mix of white and dark meat.
  • Third, all of the bones and cartilage help to create a rich, nourishing broth.

You can also use any mix of bone-in drumsticks, thighs, or breast meat. Remove the skin if you like, but I like a little bit of rendered chicken fat in my soup!

Instant Pot Chicken Soup

Tips for the Best Pressure Cooked Chicken

  • You’ll need a 6-quart or larger pressure cooker for this recipe. The pot should be just big enough to fit a 3- to 4-pound chicken. If you have a larger pressure cooker (8-quart or bigger), you can also get away with using a slightly larger chicken.
  • Be careful when doing a quick-release. This is because liquid-heavy pressure cooker recipes like this soup can release a lot of steam during the venting step after cooking.
  • Scared of steam? That’s ok! If you want to avoid the jet of steam entirely, you can wait for the pressure to release naturally. Just wait until the pressure cooker’s float valve has returned to its “down” position. This will take quite a while, though, since this recipe contains a lot of liquid.
  • Chicken jello?! Good chicken soup made with the whole chicken will often develop a jelly-like consistency once chilled, so don’t be alarmed if this happens to you! The soup will turn back into liquid when warmed.

Instant Pot Chicken Noodle Soup

Add-Ins to Chicken Soup in the Instant Pot

  • Chicken Noodle Soup: Stir some cooked noodles into the soup; I prefer to cook the noodles separately so that they don’t absorb a ton of moisture from the soup itself. I mix them in just before serving, and store them separately from the soup in the fridge.
  • Chicken and Dumplings: Make this recipe in the Instant Pot if you’re dying for some dumplings!

No Instant Pot? Make This On the Stovetop!

Put the chicken in a large soup pot or Dutch oven, breast side up. Add the rest of the ingredients to the pot, pouring in the water last to avoid splashing. Cover the pot and place it on the stove over medium heat.

When the soup comes to a boil, turn it down to low and simmer, covered, until the chicken is tender and the meat is just beginning to come away from the bones, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Continue with the remaining steps as described in the recipe below.

MORE CHICKEN SOUPS TO CURE WHAT AILS YOU!

Updated November 11, 2019 : We spiffed up this post to make it sparkle! No changes to the original recipe.

Instant Pot Chicken Soup Recipe

  • Prep time: 20 minutes
  • Cook time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 3- to 4-pound chicken, or an equivalent mix of bone-in thighs, legs, or breast meat
  • 4 ribs celery, sliced
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 1 medium parsnip, halved lengthwise and sliced
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
  • 12 sprigs fresh flat leaf parsley
  • 3 large sprigs fresh thyme
  • 4 teaspoons salt
  • 2 quarts water
  • Cooked egg noodles, optional

Special equipment:

  • 6-quart electric or stovetop pressure cooker (like an Instant Pot)

Method

1 Put the chicken in the pot of a pressure cooker, breast side up.

Pressure Cooker Chicken Soup

2 Layer all of the other ingredients into the pot, pouring in the water last to avoid splashing. Adding four teaspoons of salt at this point will result in a well-seasoned soup broth. Use less salt or eliminate if you'd like to make basic chicken broth to use for other purposes.

Pressure Cooker Chicken Soup Pressure Cooker Chicken Soup

3 Cook the soup: Place the lid on the pressure cooker. Make sure the pressure regulator is set to the “Sealing” position. Select the “Manual” program, then set the time to 25 minutes at high pressure. (Instant Pot users can also select the "Soup" program and follow the same cooking time. For stovetop pressure cookers, cook at high pressure for 22 minutes.)

It will take about 35 minutes for your pressure cooker to come up to pressure, and then the actual cooking will begin. Total time from the time you seal the pressure cooker to the finished dish is about one hour.

Pressure Cooker Chicken Soup Pressure Cooker Chicken Soup

4 When the soup has finished cooking, wait about 15 minutes before "quick" releasing the pressure. This helps prevent a lot of steamy broth spitting out of the valve. Even so be careful when releasing the steam!

You can also let the pressure release naturally, though this will take quite a while. Wait until the pressure cooker’s float valve has returned to its "down" position before opening the pressure cooker.

Pressure Cooker Chicken Soup Pressure Cooker Chicken Soup

5 Prepare the chicken meat: Use a pair of tongs or a slotted spoon to remove the chicken from the pot, and transfer it to a dish to cool until you can comfortably handle it, about 20 minutes. It may come apart as you are removing it from the pot, so go slowly and carefully.

Take the meat off of the bones, and discard the bones, skin, and cartilage. Cut or tear the meat into bite-sized pieces.

Pressure Cooker Chicken Soup Pressure Cooker Chicken Soup Pressure Cooker Chicken Soup

6 Stir the chicken meat back into the soup. Ladle into bowls and serve. Add cooked egg noodles, if you like.

Pressure Cooker Chicken Soup

Let any leftover soup cool completely, then store in the fridge for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 3 months. The soup may gel as it cools; it will liquefy again when heated.

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Coco Morante

Author of The Essential Instant Pot Cookbook and The Ultimate Instant Pot Cookbook. A self-taught cook and classically-trained soprano, Coco Morante writes and sings in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she lives with her husband and their beagle. For more recipes, visit her blog, Lefty Spoon.

More from Coco

57 Comments / Reviews

No ImageInstant Pot Chicken Soup

Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Samantha

    So simple, flavorful and EASY. That clear delicious broth is amazing.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  2. L

    Don’t rush this one. My chicken was very large and it was undercooked with this time. I took the meat off and recooked for 5 mins.
    I also threw in a huge amount of garlic, a couple of lemons cut in quarters so I could easily get them out and some turmeric. I have a nasty cold, hopefully this will sort it out.

    xxxxxyyyyy

    Show Replies (1)
  3. Sharon

    Just made this recipe to make broth for Chicken Pastina soup. All I can say is WOW! I will be making my chicken broth using my Instant Pot from here on out. I used a 5.5 lb chicken. I didn’t have any parsnips or flat leaf parsley on hand, so I went with just fresh thyme and the rest of the ingredients listed. I was able to fit about 7-1/2 cups of water in my Instant Pot after the chicken and other ingredients were in place. It took about 30 minutes or so for it to come up to pressure and then I cooked it using the ‘Manual’ cycle for 30 minutes and allowed for gradual steam release. When I removed the lid, the gorgeous golden color of the broth looked so rich! And the chicken – I can’t get over how melt-in-the-mouth tender the chicken was! I strained the broth and removed the bones/fat/vegetables and refrigerated it overnight. I’ll be making some Pastina soup with it tomorrow. Can’t wait to try the finished product! Thanks for such an awesome recipe. This will be my new go-to method for making homemade chicken broth!

    xxxxxyyyyy

    Show Replies (1)
  4. Lesli

    Really simple, easy, hands-off and delish! Added more carrots and celery, bay leaf, lemon thyme, paprika and pepper. Melted fresh greens after whole thing was done. Used 6 min/lb. guide for my smaller chicken–came out falling off the bone tender. We (just 2 adults in house) just picked out bones in the soup. Thank you!

  5. The C

    Very good recipe that takes full advantage of the ease of use of the instant pot. Making it now for the 4th time. I am using the 8qt instant pot. I also throw in some whole peppercorn. Also, while pulling apart the chicken at the end, I toss in zucchini chunks and asparagus tips for some extra flair. Lovely recipe, thanks for sharing it!!

    xxxxxyyyyy

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