Chicken Soup Recipe – Instant Pot Pressure Cooker

I love chicken soup in the winter, and you know I love my Instant Pots.

I made my chicken soup a month or so ago using the Instant Pot and chicken breasts.  It was good, don’t get me wrong, but I like it better modified with a whole chicken boiled down first and then put in the Instant Pot for 5 minutes.  Let me explain and give both ways.


Traditional Chicken Soup

  • 3 large chicken breasts (Instant Pot only) or one whole chicken about 3 lbs (Stovetop with Instant Pot method)
  • 2 small or one large sweet onion
  • 1 tablespoon garlic
  • Salt and Pepper (to taste)
  • 6 cups of store bought chicken broth (Instant Pot Only) or 8 cups of broth that you make from your whole chicken (Stove Top with Instant Pot method)
  • 5 stalks celery
  • 2 cups frozen corn
  • 3 or 4 large carrots (we always have baby carrots as snacks sitting around so I used a bunch of those)
  • 1 tablespoon parsley (fresh or dried)

I’m going to start with my favorite way and then give the Instant Pot Only method.

Don’t be scared of a whole chicken!

picking whole chickenFirst, why is everyone scared of using whole chickens?  One of the first things I learned after I was married at 19 (ha – yep… and 22 years going strong!) is that it was usually cheaper to buy whole chickens, and I learned how to cut up a whole chicken (I’ve been promising a youtube video on that for years to my online friends haha!).  It’s a good skill to have.

Why a whole chicken vs only chicken breasts?

For chicken soup, you want flavor, lots of it.  You also want all the goodness you get from the skin, fat, and even the bones.  While the Instant Pot does infuse flavor amazingly, using store bought broth just isn’t as… I don’t know…. potent?  It’s more watery and doesn’t have those oils or color you see in making your own.  The soup turns out good, but not as good as using the whole chicken with your own broth in my opinion.

whole chicken soup

You can put the whole chicken in your Instant Pot but when you really cook it down, it’s going to fall off the bones, so you need to then pull it out of the Instant Pot, pick all the meat, and then put it back in.  For me, it’s easier to boil it on the stove.

Put enough water in the pot to cover the chicken and boil.  I don’t know how long I boil.   Maybe an hour? I don’t know.  I keep it on medium to low after it comes to a rolling boil and go do other things and peek in occasionally to see if it looks like it is falling apart.

strain chicken broth

After it’s done, strain all the broth from the chicken carefully just to get the “big stuff” out…. little stuff I don’t worry about.

Look at this broth.  Look at all that goodness.  This is not what store bought broth looks like.  You can simply flavor this up with some salt and it’s drinkable.  It’s soooo good.

homemade chicken broth

If I had all the time in the world, I’d probably make my own broth all the time…. but I can’t, so I only do it when I know it will make a BIG impact on the meal.

Put all the meat in the Instant Pot with about 8 cups of the strained broth.

best chicken soup recipe

Cut up your onions and celery… oh but wait, here’s a secret about my family.  No one likes chunks of onion or celery in their soups.  I’m not sure if it is a texture thing, but that’s my guess. celery chicken soup

If you make a lot of soups or want to in general, hide more vegetables in  your meals, invest in a Vitamix.  I know they are expensive but they are awesome.  I’ve had mine for 10 years and going strong.  I put the onions and celery in the Vitamix and make it into pourable mush.  If it’s not blending quickly, I take a little broth and toss it in to get it to liquify quickly and pour it in the pot.

Do you think this is gross?  I don’t….  because the flavor is amazing and no complaints on texture!  Imagine what you can hide in your meals!

For the carrots, I set the vitamix on low and pop them in.  I do not liquify the carrots but allow them to bounce around in the Vitamix and chop up to 1/4 inch bits.

Stir it all together with lots of salt, pepper, garlic, and parsley flakes as well as frozen corn.

I like to add a tablespoon of sugar to my chicken soup.  The salt and sugar combination pops the flavor.  You do what you want but that’s my little secret ingredient that seems to be the “hmm… this is good but what’s missing?” component.

instant pot chicken soupSet the Instant Pot to 5 minutes, let natural release for 10.   Done… and delicious!  Look at the color of that broth….. this recipe is simple.  Don’t over think chicken soup and put too many vegetables in it.  Simple is better with chicken soup!  I don’t even like this with noodles.   Crushed saltines or a side of hearty crusty bread goes great with this.

If you are using chicken breasts instead of whole chicken, place your store bought broth, vegetables, salt and pepper, etc. in with the whole raw chicken breasts.  Set to 6 minutes and natural release 10.  When done, take chicken breasts out, shred, and put back in (just like the chicken tortilla soup recipe).   It will still be good with this method, but your broth may not look like this 🙂