I must admit, I was pretty averse to getting an Instant Pot. For me, it’s a pretty pricey investment for a fancy pressure cooker. I finally caved on a Black Friday deal on the larger 8-quart version. While this is not a review of the Instant Pot, I will say I was impressed at how tender cooked meat came out. I’m a huge fan of one pot meals, so I’m enjoying that benefit.
Lately I’ve been cooking up chicken thighs, using up vegetables and whatever grains I have. Thighs are usually my favorite chicken cut because they remain really tender. But the other night, I had a whole chicken to use. Normally I’d break the chicken down into pieces in order to make sure I properly cook the breast and thigh meats to proper temperature (breast meat can overcook very quickly). Then I’d use the leftover bones to make stock. Looking at the time of night, I wanted something easier, so what if I just put the whole bird in the pot?
I decided to make a chicken and vegetable soup, but would also work with adding grains or noodles. This time, I wanted to see what happened if I threw everything in the pot and turned it on. I used up a bunch of vegetables I had in my fridge besides the usual carrot, celery, onion, which was a bunch of kale, some mushrooms, and a few potatoes. Then I covered all of it with water, turned it on and hoped for the best.
The result: a very tender chicken with meat falling off the bone. The broth itself was very flavorful. While the breast meat was ever so slightly dry, since I was shredding and adding to a broth, I wasn’t as concerned.
Overall it was a very simple setup and the end result yielded a lot of flavor and a very tender chicken. You can also omit all the vegetables in this and use less liquid to steam the chicken whole.
Easy Instant Pot Chicken Soup
Scroll down for a printable version of this recipe
*Using 8 quart Instant Pot
4-5 pound whole chicken (smaller if using a smaller pot)
3 carrots peeled and cut medium dice
4 celery ribs medium dice
1 onion medium dice
2 cloves of garlic minced
2 sprigs of thyme
2-3 cups of other vegetables medium dice (mushrooms, potatoes, tomatoes, kale, peppers, etc.)
Water to fill line of pot
- Season chicken liberally with salt and pepper. Let sit 15-20 minutes.
- Prepare all vegetables and add to pot.
- Add chicken to pot and cover with water to the fill line. Less if desired.
- Secure lid and select soup setting at 30 minutes with natural release (use less time for a smaller chicken).
- After the 30 minutes of cooking time, allow at least 15 minutes of natural release, then move to quick release very carefully.
- Once depressurized, remove chicken and shred meat. Add meat back to pot.
- Season broth with salt and pepper to taste. Favorite hot sauce optional.
- Add noodles to pot after cooking and use the sauté setting to boil until tender.
- Add rice to pot before cooking. It will thicken the broth and add a nice texture to the soup.
- Omit vegetable and only add water to bottom of pot. Use the rack attachment to steam the chicken whole.
Don't have an Instant Pot? Use these great chicken soup recipes:
- There's no bone-broth in this chicken soup
- Chicken soup Italian style
- Homemade chicken soup
- Chicken soup is the answer