This is one of those recipes which makes the outlay to buy an Instant Pot all worth it. I’ve made chicken soup my whole life but before I discovered pressure cookers, it was a very laborious process and certainly not a dish I could serve up midweek, from scratch in under half an hour!
When I think of the hours I have spent making stock on the hob, I am gutted I didn’t even try a traditional stovetop pressure cooker before. Luckily, my Instant Pot Chicken Soup is so easy and so good, you can make it whenever the need arises.
There must be as many different recipes for homemade chicken soup, as there are people who make it in the world. It’s one of those “family recipes” which so many of us reach for when you need to be soothed and there are endless variations on it. In essence, this sort of chicken soup is a clear but intensely flavourful broth with pieces of vegetables, shredded chicken and then depending on my mood, it is served with pasta or rice cooked in it.
Sometimes, like when I’ve been too indulgent or I’m feeling poorly, I have it without any added starchy carbs (we’ll ignore the mandatory hunks of buttered baguette you have to eat dipped into the hot soup!).
Aside from being deeply nourishing and replenishing, adding back the cooked chicken along with a little fresh veg (carrots, celery and sweetcorn for my preference) makes this a satisfying meal of a soup.
As you can cook chicken drumsticks (or thighs) into a tangle of tender shreds in the pressure cooker in just 15 minutes, plus there being no evaporation from the pot, you get bags of flavour in next to no time.
I enrich the soup with only a touch of tomato purée but you could turn this into a cream of chicken soup easily with a swirl of single cream when you add any pasta or rice to serve.
This is the very definition of soul food to me. Restorative and infinitely personalisable, this pressure cooker chicken soup could be on your table in just about 25 minutes, start to finish.
- 6 bone-in chicken drumsticks (skinned if you prefer)
- 1 large carrot, peeled but left whole
- 2 ribs celery, washed and cut in half
- 1 large onion, topped and tailed then halved (remove any dirt containing skin
- 1 clove garlic, peeled
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tsp green peppercorns
- 2 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped (or 1 tsp dried sage is lovely)
- 1/4 - 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (optional and to taste)
- 1-2 stock cubes (I use low salt Kallo chicken stock cubes without apology)
- 1 tbsp tomato purée
- 1 large carrot, peeled and finely sliced (about 2mm thick slices)
- 1 rib of celery, sliced a little thicker than the carrot
- 1 small can of sweetcorn (or slice off the kernels from one fresh cob)
- 150 g dried pasta shapes or spaghetti (optional)
- 100 ml single cream (optional)
Simply place the drumsticks in the Inner Pot and tuck in the carrot, celery, onion and garlic. Pour over enough cold water to barely cover - you should have approximately 4 cups worth of ingredients if you check the measurement line inside the pot.
Sprinkle over the bay leaves, peppercorns, herbs and spices, then crumble over the stock cubes (if yours have a lot of salt in, you may only need one but the Kallo ones I use are very low salt). Put the lid on and set to Manual High for 15 minutes. Do a QPR.
When ready, retrieve the chicken with tongs and discard the overcooked veg - it has given all its flavour to the soup by now.
Stir in the tomato purée, raw carrot, celery and canned or fresh corn. If adding pasta, stir that in and cook for half the time it says on the packet (normally 3-5 minutes). See notes for rice instructions.
Meanwhile, shred the cooked chicken with two forks and discard the skin and bones. When the pasta and veg are cooked, do a QPR and stir in the chicken. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste. If wanting cream of chicken soup, add in the single cream at this point too.
- Green peppercorns are softer and after pressure cooking, you can definitely eat them whole without cracking a tooth! Black peppercorns can be used but don't soften so well so you can simply grind some into serve if you prefer.
- If wanting to serve it with rice cooked into it, simply add 1/2 cup basmati rice into the cooked soup with the fresh veg and shredded chicken then cook for only 3 minutes Manual High with a QPR, not 5 mins.
- If serving with pasta or rice cooked into the soup, by all means add the full amount of either. If wanting to save it for another day, it is much better to simply cook one handful of pasta shapes or white basmati rice per portion of soup you need.
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