This Instant Pot chicken noodle soup will easily satisfy your craving for comfort food. Using bone-in chicken thighs ensures moist, tender meat and a rich flavorful base.
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A big bowl of chicken noodle soup comes to the rescue when you’re not feeling your best. What sets this recipe apart from the classic stovetop version is that the pressure cooker can tackle what usually takes at least two pots to make in just one. The Instant Pot streamlines the cooking process while making clean-up easier.
The key to flavor development is to first sear the chicken thighs and vegetables in the Instant Pot to brown the surface. Using the high-pressure setting will cook the ingredients to tender bites in just seven minutes. The wide egg noodles boil in the soup at the end, no need for a separate station to boil the water.
Use bone-in chicken thighs
The dark meat of chicken thighs has more fat for flavor and the bone provides insulation, keeping it tender when pressure-cooked. Just make sure to remove the skin as it can make the stock overly greasy. The marrow in the bones houses additional rich flavors that transfer to the meat as it cooks. The collagen in the connective tissue of the thighs converts to gelatin, creating a more full-bodied tasty soup base.
Add aromatics to the soup base
I use a classic combination of onions, carrots, and celery or a “mirepoix” to add sweetness and rustic flavors. Leaving the root vegetables in larger chunks gives a pop of color and a heartier texture. After the chicken is seared and removed, the vegetables briefly saute.
The moisture in the veggies helps to deglaze the pan of any flavorful browned bits from meat and juices. Cooking the minced garlic, thyme, and rosemary in oil infuses their fat-soluble compounds into the soup for a more pungent lingering herbaceous taste. A dried bay leaf is added into the chicken stock to season the liquid gently.
Type of noodles to use
You can use any type of pasta for chicken noodle soup. However, wide egg noodles are a popular choice because they’re thin and have more surface area, so it cooks quickly in the simmering chicken stock.
I recommend using about 4 cups of dried pasta to 8 cups of liquid. Any more and the pasta will absorb too much moisture, not leaving much broth. Other noodle options include ditalini, rotini, or thin spaghetti broken up into short strands.
Using the Instant Pot
The advantage of using the multi-cooker is that it can saute and pressure cook all in one. Using the saute setting, the seasoned chicken browns in olive oil first. This process gives the meat and bones a chance to cook in dry heat for better flavor development. The vegetables and herbs briefly saute to create more depth, taking advantage of cooking the aromatics before simmering. Add chicken broth or stock plus a bay leaf, then close the vessel and cook on high pressure.
After pressure cooking, use the natural release option to ensure that no hot liquid splatters from the venting valve. I also cover it with a towel to prevent a mess. During this process, the chicken meat and bones have an extra 10 minutes to infuse flavor. To cook the noodles, remove the chicken and hit the saute setting. It will boil the noodles just like on the stovetop. Once al dente, add the shredded chicken back to the pot and it’s ready.
Serve this with
Boneless or bone-in skinless chicken breasts can be used. Substitute 1 ½ pound of chicken breast, or 2 pounds for bone-in. Boneless thighs also work, use 1 ½ pound of chicken since no bones are present and trim the excess fat. The meat should yield about two cups of shredded chicken. The cook time does not need to be adjusted for any of these swaps.
Add frozen chicken to the pot without defrosting after sauteing the vegetables. The meat will not be able to brown before pressure cooking. Increase the high-pressure cook time to 11 minutes to account for melting ice. If the chicken needs more time to cook, shred the meat and add it back with the boiling pasta.
Sear the chicken first for more flavor
Take advantage of the saute feature on the Instant Pot. Searing the meat in the hot fat adds more flavor to the surface due to the Maillard reaction. When the surface temperature of the food reaches 300-degrees, you’ll see a brown crust form and start to smell the aromatics. This process also gives any fat time to render into the pan to flavor the liquid.
Instant Pot Chicken Noodle Soup
- 2 pounds bone-in chicken thighs, skin removed, and excess fat trimmed
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
- ½ teaspoon black pepper, plus more for seasoning
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 cup yellow onions, ½-inch dice
- 1 cup celery, ¼-inch thick slices
- 1 ½ cups carrots, peeled, ½-inch thick slices
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 ½ teaspoon chopped thyme, or ¾ teaspoon dried
- 1 teaspoon chopped rosemary, or ½ teaspoon dried
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 8 cups unsalted chicken stock, or broth
- 6 ounces wide egg noodles
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
- Season chicken thighs on both sides with salt and pepper.
- Select "Saute" on the Instant Pot. Allow it to heat. The display will indicate "Hot" when ready.
- Add olive oil to the pot. Once hot, add the chicken meat-side down. Do not move. Cook until the surface lightly browns, about 3 minutes. Use a spatula to release any meat sticking to the pan. Flip and cook for 2 minutes. Transfer to a clean plate.
- Add onions and saute until tender, 1 minute. Add celery and carrots, saute for 1 minute. Add garlic, thyme, rosemary, salt, pepper, and saute for 30 seconds.
- Add 1 cup of chicken stock to the pot, use a spoon to scrape away any browned bits on the bottom. Press “cancel” on the Instant Pot.
- Add reserved chicken, bay leaves, and the rest of the chicken stock to the pot. Make sure that the release valve is in the "Sealing" position. Place the lid on the Instant Pot, turn and lock. Press the "Manual" button on the Instant Pot on high pressure, and then set the timer to 7 minutes using the "+" or "-" buttons. It will take about 15 to 20 minutes for the pot to heat up and build up pressure. You will see steam release from the lid, and then the time will start on the display.
- Once cooking time is complete, naturally release for 10 minutes. Cover the valve with a kitchen towel. Use an oven mitt or towel to gently twist the steam release handle on the lid to the "Venting" position. The initial release will spray moisture around. Carefully remove the cover, opening the top away from you as steam does release.
- Remove the chicken from the pot and transfer it to a cutting board. Once cool enough to handle, discard the bones and shred them into smaller pieces with a fork.
- Remove the bay leaves from the pot and discard them. Select "Saute" on the Instant Pot. Once the stock starts to boil, add noodles, stir and cook until tender, about 7 to 8 minutes.
- Add the shredded chicken to the pot. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish soup with chopped parsley.
- Serving Size: 1 cup chicken noodle soup
- Using frozen chicken: Increase pressure cooking time to 11 minutes. Cut carrots into 3/4-inch thick slices.
- Storing: Completely cool the chicken soup. Portion into airtight containers, store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Add more stock if needed for reheating.
- Freezing: Store in individual containers for 2 to 3 months. Defrost overnight in the refrigerator or run the container over cool water, then reheat.
Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000-calorie diet. All nutritional information is based on estimated third-party calculations. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.
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