When I ask my eldest what she wants for dinner, she often asks for chicken soup. My youngest, although not verbal yet, enjoys this soup as much as her sister. My whole family loves it, and it’s nutritious. What if I say it’s one of the easiest meals to cook as well?
Before I got an Instant Pot, I only made chicken soup once in a while. It felt like a lot of work for a weeknight meal, even when using chicken breast or thighs. With an Instant Pot, making chicken soup with a whole young chicken is a breeze, and it became one of my go-to weeknight dinners. The only downside to this meal is that it will take about one hour and a half to cook, so you need to plan ahead.
I use a small whole chicken that has its neck and giblets already removed from the market. However, depending on where I shop, sometimes the giblets are packed in a little plastic bag and stuffed inside the cavity. If you’re not sure, check the cavity of the chicken and remove the giblets before cooking. I don’t wash raw chicken. I read that it only spreads germs in the kitchen, and proper cooking will kill germs. Washing raw chicken in my sink splashing all the dirty water is something I feel unpleasant enough to deter me from cooking chicken. So I remove the packaging and place the whole chicken straight into my 8 quarts Instant Pot. This is where a larger Instant Pot comes in handy. Currently, I have 8 quarts and 3 quarts IP at home.
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How to use the Instant Pot
Once the chicken is in, it’s just a matter of adding all other ingredients (except noodles) into the bowl and get the machine running. If you haven’t used an Instant Pot before, don’t feel scared about this pressure cooker. You just got to secure the lid, turn on the machine, and click the soup function set to 25 minutes. Done. Now you can walk away until chicken soup is cooked. The machine is going to take time building up the pressure, then start the 25 minutes countdown. This is why the total cooking time is longer than the minutes set for pressure cooking. Once the 25 pressure cooking is over, it will start releasing pressure very slowly, aka “natural release.” Let Instant Pot release the pressure naturally for about 15 minutes. Then you can manually release the remaining pressure. On my model, there is a little metal button I can press to quick release. I normally put a towel on top of the Instant Pot to prevent any liquid splattering all over my counter, then use a spatula to press the button. Make sure you don’t go too close to the hot steam with your bare hands. Once all the pressure is released, open the lid, and add more salt to taste.
Don’t forget the noodles and add-ins
My kids love the egg noodles in this soup, so once the soup is fully cooked, I remove the chicken to make some room, briefly turn off the machine, then turn it back on by pressing the saute function. I add a bit more water along with egg noodles and cook per package directions.
I believe the add-ins totally elevate this dish, and my favorites are a squeeze of lemon juice, freshly ground peppers, a splash of half n half (heavy cream works too), and red pepper flakes for my husband and me.
Weeknight Instant Pot Chicken Soup
One of my family's favorite dinners, and Instant Pot makes it a breeze to cook this.
- 1 small whole chicken about 4.5 lb
- 2 stalks of celery chopped
- 1 onion chopped
- 2 large carrots chopped
- 1 large parsnip chopped
- chicken broth or water see instructions
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 8 oz egg noodles
- Add-ins: lemon juice, pepper, red pepper flakes, half n half
Add chicken, onion, carrot, celery to an Instant Pot.
Add chicken broth, water, or a combination of both to the pot until the chicken is covered with liquid.
Add bay leaves, salt, and thyme. Stir to combine.
Close the Instant Pot and set settings to Soup function, 25 minutes.
Once 25 minutes countdown is over, natural release for 15 minutes, and then cover Instant Pot with a towel to prevent splattering and quick release.
Take out the chicken to make some room and add more water if needed. Turn on saute function. Once the soup is boiling, add noodles and cook per package direction. Add more salt to taste.
Serve soup along with the chicken. Add lemon juice, pepper, red pepper flakes, and half n half to taste.
I have an 8 quart Instant Pot.
I like the flavor of Swanson less-sodium chicken broth and always keep some in my pantry.
Plan ahead for this meal because the Instant Pot takes time to build up pressure and release in addition to the actual pressure cooking time.