This Instant Pot chicken noodle soup recipe makes a comforting bowl of tender meat, vegetables, and pasta in a pressure cooker. Using bone-in chicken thighs ensures moist chicken and a richer flavorful base.
A big bowl of chicken noodle soup can come 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.
This handy device streamlines the process while making clean-up a little easier. But you can always try my slow cooker alternative if you decide not to saute the chicken.
The chicken thighs and vegetables brown first in the Instant Pot to add more flavor on the surface. Using the high-pressure setting cooks the ingredients to tender bites in just seven minutes. Wide egg noodles are boiled at the end in the soup, no need for a separate station of boiling water.
How to make Instant Pot chicken noodle soup
Insert and brown the seasoned chicken in olive oil before pressure cooking. This gives the meat and bones a chance to cook in dry heat. The onions, carrots, celery, garlic, thyme, and rosemary are also briefly sauteed to create more depth in flavor, taking advantage of cooking the aromatic before simmering. Add chicken broth or stock plus a bay leaf then close the vessel and cook on high pressure.
Instead of using quick release, the pressure is naturally released. This ensures that the chicken meat and bones have extra time to infuse its flavor and so that there isn’t hot liquid splatter for the venting valve. Make sure to remove the chicken then add the noodles and cook until tender, uncovered on the saute setting. Add the shredded chicken back to the pot, and you’re ready to devour!
Use bone-in chicken thighs
The dark meat of bone-in chicken thighs is better at staying 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 rich flavors and fat 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.
Type of noodles to use
Any type of pasta can be used for chicken noodle soup, however, wide egg noodles are a popular choice. The noodles are thin and have a lot of 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.
Can you use chicken breast?
Yes, boneless or bone-in skinless chicken breasts can be used. Substitute 1 ½ pound of chicken breast, 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.
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Using frozen chicken
Frozen chicken can be used in the soup and added directly to the pot without defrosting. The meat will not be able to brown before pressure cooking if added frozen. The high-pressure cook time will need to be increased to 11 minutes to account for melting the ice. If the chicken needs more time to cook, shred the meat and then add it back with the boiling pasta.
Instant Pot Chicken Noodle Soup
- 2 pounds (907 g) bone-in chicken thighs, skin removed and excess fat trimmed
- 1 teaspoon (6 g) kosher salt, plus more for seasoning chicken
- ½ teaspoon black pepper, plus more for seasoning chicken
- 2 tablespoons (15 ml) olive oil , divided
- 1 cup (4 ounces) diced yellow onions, ½-inch dice
- 1 cup (4 ounces) celery, ¼-inch thick slices
- 1 ½ cups (7.5 ounces) carrots, peeled, 1/2-inch thick slices
- 2 teaspoons (7 g) 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 (64 ounces) unsalted chicken stock, or chicken broth
- 6 ounces (227 g) wide egg noodles
- 1 tablespoon (2 g) chopped parsley
- Season chicken thighs on both sides with salt and pepper.
- Select "Saute" on the Instant Pot. Allow to heat, it will indicate "Hot" on the display when ready.
- Add olive oil to the pot. Once hot, add the chicken, meat-side down. Do not move, cook until the surface is lightly browned, 3 minutes. Use a spatula to release any sticking to the pan. Flip and cook for 2 minutes. Transfer to a clean plate.
- Add onions, saute until tender, 1 minute.
- Add celery and carrots, saute for 1 minute.
- Add garlic, thyme, rosemary, salt, and pepper, 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 the pressure. You will see some steam release from the lid, and then the time will start on the display.
- Once cook time is complete, naturally release for 10 minutes.
- Cover the valve with a kitchen towel. Use an oven mitt or towel to slowly and carefully twist the steam release handle on the lid to the "Venting" position. The initial release will spray some moisture around so be careful.
- Carefully remove the lid, opening the top away from you as steam will be released.
- Remove the chicken from the pot and transfer to a cutting board. Once cool enough to handle, discard bones and shred into smaller pieces with a fork.
- Remove bay leaves from the pot and discard.
- Select "Saute" on the Instant Pot. Once the stock starts to boil add noodles, stir and cook until tender, about 7 to 8 minutes.
- Taste and season with more salt and pepper as needed.
- Garnish soup with chopped parsley.
- If using frozen chicken increase pressure cooking time to 11 minutes. Cut carrots into 3/4-inch thick slices.