Instant Pot Chicken Noodle Soup is amazing in its simplicity and taste. As the cooler weather has finally started arriving, a healthy and delicious soup such as Instant Pot Chicken Noodle Soup will likely become one of your family’s favorites. Like many soup recipes, Instant Pot Chicken Noodle Soup makes a large batch which is perfect for leftovers, and freezing for later use.
This awesome soup, adapted from America’s Test Kitchen, uses the pressure cooker feature of the Instant Pot and only takes 20 minutes under pressure to perfectly cook a whole chicken and the standard chicken soup vegetables. If you don’t have an Instant Pot, you can use a regular pressure cooker with equally good results. I’ll add some notes below to use for a regular pressure cooker.
Ingredients for Instant Pot Chicken Noodle Soup:
I used the following ingredients: Vegetable oil, onion, garlic, dried thyme, celery, carrots, water, soy sauce, a 4-pound whole chicken with giblets and backbone removed, Kosher Salt, freshly ground black pepper, and dried wide noodles.
Making the Instant Pot Chicken Noodle Soup:
I started by adding the oil to the Instant Pot and placing it on the sauté setting. Once the oil was hot, I added the onion and cooked it for about 5 minutes until it started to soften. Then, I added the garlic, and continued cooking the vegetables for about 30 seconds until the garlic was fragrant. Next, I added the dried thyme. After giving the vegetables a stir, I added the celery and carrots. I stirred everything together, and added the water and soy sauce.
You might think it odd that I used water rather than chicken broth, and that I added soy sauce. The reason for the water was that I ultimately added a whole chicken which provided not only significant nutrients, but also a ton of flavor. Soy sauce is rich in Umami which acts to balance the taste and round the flavor of dishes such as this without your actually tasting the soy sauce. Also, it adds salt to the dish.
Before adding the chicken, I had cut away and discarded the backbone. I know that there’s a lot of protein in the backbone. However, in my experience the backbone tends to add to bitterness to the dish. I sprinkled the chicken with ½ teaspoon of Kosher salt and the freshly ground black pepper. Then, I placed the chicken, breast-side up onto the vegetables. The reason for positioning the chicken breast-side was to help ensure that the breast and the thighs/drumsticks cooked through at the same time.
Cooking the Instant Pot Chicken Noodle Soup:
I checked to make sure that the ingredients were below the fill level before I secured the lid. While it was close, everything fit fine. Just as an aside, my Instant Pot has a 6-quart capacity. I think anything smaller would have been tis small
I locked the lid and made sure that pressure valve was closed. Then, I programmed the Instant Pot on the poultry setting, made sure that it was on high pressure, set the time for 20 minutes, and walked away.
After 20 minutes, I released the pressure using the quick release method. Even though this was “quick” release, it took about 10 minutes for the Instant Pot to totally depressurize.
I carefully removed the lid, and transferred the chicken to a cutting board. The chicken was literally falling off the bones!
I let the chicken cool for about 20 minutes, and then started pulling off the skin, and removing the meat from the bones. I discarded the skin and bones, and shredded the chicken into bite-sized pieces.
Because I used a whole chicken, there was a lot of meat. In fact, I thought that there was too much chicken for the amount of the other ingredients. Therefore, I just added back half of the chicken and used the rest to make some chicken salad. The amount that you use is really a personal preference. However, I wouldn’t skip on using the whole chicken because of the flavors and nutrients.
Before returning the chicken to the soup, I skimmed off the excess fat that had formed on the surface.
After returning the shredded chicken to the soup, I brought it to boil. I stirred in noodles, and cooked them until they were tender. This took about 5 minutes.
I carefully corrected the seasonings, adding a bit of salt and some freshly ground black pepper. To say that the soup was delicious is a huge understatement. Everything about it was perfect. You should try it. Yum!
Instant Pot Chicken Noodle Soup
- 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 large onion, chopped fine (about 1 ½ cups)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
- 4 carrots peeled and sliced ¼ to ½ inch thick
- 3 celery ribs sliced diagonally ¼ to ½ inch thick
- 8 cups water
- 2 Tablespoons soy sauce (See Note 1)
- 4 pound whole chicken, backbone removed and discarded, and giblets discarded (See Note 2)
- 1 to 1 ¼ teaspoons Kosher salt, divided
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 ⅔ cups (4 ounces) dried wide egg noodles
- 1 Tablespoon minced parsley for garnish, optional
- Heat oil in Instant Pot on sauté setting. Add onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and thyme; cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add carrots, celery, water, and and soy sauce, scraping up any browned bits.
- Season chicken with ½ teaspoon Kosher salt and ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. Place chicken beast-side up, in Instant Pot. (See Note 3)
- Secure lid of Instant Pot; make sure that the valve is closed. Select the Poultry setting with high pressure. Set the time for 20 minutes.
- After 20 minutes, depressurize the Instant Pot using the Quick Release method. This will take about 10 minutes.
- Carefully remove the lid; transfer chicken to cutting board and let cool slightly. Discard the skin and the bones; shred the chicken into bite-sized pieces. (See Note 4)
- While the chicken is cooling skim excess fat from surface of soup.
- Return the chicken to the soup. Bring the soup to a boil and stir in the noodles. Cook the noodles until they are tender, about 5 minutes. Do not overcook the noodles.
- Season with remaining ½ to ¾ teaspoon of salt to taste. If desired, garnish with minced parsley and serve.
- Yield: 8 servings.
Chula's Expert Tips
- I used low sodium soy sauce. Regular sodium soy sauce could also be used. However, be sure to taste carefully for the ultimate salt level.
- I would avoid the temptation to just use chicken parts as opposed to a whole chicken. Also, leave the skin on while it's cooking. Do, however, cut away the backbone since that tends to introduce bitterness into the soup.
- Check carefully that the ingredients to not exceed the limit of your Instant Pot. My Instant Pot is 6-quarts. The ingredients came just below the high mark.
- A 4-pound chicken produces a lot of meat. I thought that personally, it was too much for the quantity of the other ingredients. Therefore, I used half of it in the soup, and made chicken salad with the rest of it. The amount of chicken you use is a personal choice.
- Using a Pressure Cooker as opposed to an Instant Pot:
- Heat oil in pressure cooker over medium heat; add onion and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and thyme; cook 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add celery, carrots, water, and soy sauce. Stir to combine.
- Place chicken seasoned with salt and pepper breast-side up on vegetables.
- Lock pressure cooker lid. Bring to high pressure over medium-high heat. When pot reaches high pressure, reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 20 minutes, adjusting heat as needed to maintain high pressure.
- Continue the recipe as noted above.