The Ultimate Guide for Making Instant Pot Chicken Noodle Soup: learn how to customize it based on your preferences and what you have in your fridge, freezer, and pantry. Easy, healthy, and delicious Classic Chicken Noodle Soup without much effort!
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Please note, this is The Ultimate Guide for Making Instant Pot Chicken Noodle Soup, so it is a very long article where I explore all the different variations of chicken, vegetables, noodles, timings, etc. If you do not feel like reading this long article and would prefer to skip right to the recipe, click Jump to Recipe!
Growing up, Chicken Soup was the most popular soup in my family. It was nothing like what most North American versions are.
My childhood Chicken Soup was a clear golden broth with a only a few pieces of chicken and maybe one or two slices of carrots. On very rare occasions there’d be a handful of tiny little noodles added to it. I loved it!
The first time I made it for my husband he was confused. Where’s the rest of it, he asked. He’s Canadian. I’m Russian.
Over the years I slowly adapted and now make a different and much more filling version of a Classic Chicken Noodle Soup. I used to make it rarely as simmering chicken in a big pot on the stove while skimming off the foam always was daunting.
Now that I have an Instant Pot, I make Instant Pot Chicken Noodle Soup a few times a month. And over the (almost two) years of making it, I developed a system.
It is not really faster than making the soup on the stove but as I mentioned numerous times, the beauty of Instant Pot cooking isn’t in the speed but in convenience. So, here I present to you The Ultimate Guide for making Instant Pot Chicken Noodle Soup.
There’s a formula for making Instant Pot Chicken Noodle Soup and there are many different variations. I have tried them all and I will explain to you in details all the variations and options, then you can pick and choose what you like and make Chicken Noodle Soup just the way you want it.
The formula is super easy and pretty obvious: chicken + aromatics/spices + broth + noodles + vegetables = Chicken Noodle Soup.
Click Jump to Recipe if you prefer to skip the long article.
What kind of chicken to use for Instant Pot Chicken Noodle Soup
I have made this soup with all the different kinds of chickens you could make, so here I’ll describe what is what and you can choose your favourite option.
For all the options you can use either refrigerated or frozen chicken. Frozen just means that it’ll take longer for your electric pressure cooker to come to pressure. No need to defrost.
Whole chicken will give you the best possible soup flavour. You can use actual whole chicken as long as it fits in your Instant Pot or whole chicken cut up into pieces.
I personally don’t like using whole chicken (especially when it’s not cut up) as it is quite messy once cooked. You most likely would need to take the chicken out and let it cool before removing the skin and bones and then shredding the meat. The flavour will be fantastic but it takes a lot of effort to deal with the chicken after.
Boneless and skinless chicken breast will make the healthiest chicken soup but I am not a big fan of chicken breast so I rarely use it for the soup. For a bit extra flavour, you could use bone-in and skin-on chicken breast as well. You’ll need to remove the bone and skin once the soup is cooked but it’s not difficult.
Boneless and skinless chicken thighs are my meat of choice when I make Instant Pot Chicken Noodle Soup. They have enough fat to make a very flavourful broth but require virtually no extra work once cooked.
Sometimes I use bone-in and skin-on chicken thighs as well. I find that they make slightly richer broth so I don’t use them too often.
Chicken bones or necks
Many stores now sell chicken carcasses or necks, they make excellent and very flavourful broth. Some stores sell bones that have almost no meat on them whereas other grocers sell carcasses with some meat still there. If you use meatless bones then you’ll need to add some extra meat to the pot for protein.
I often freeze bones with some meat on them (usually after I cut out the breastbone for spatchcock chicken), so if I have those I don’t use any extra meat. Basically, look at what you have a decide if there’s enough protein for you and if not, then add a few chicken thighs or chicken breasts.
Leftover roast chicken and bones
I also often freeze leftover roast chicken if there’s not enough for a full meal for two. Bones will add a lot of flavour to the soup. It is not my favourite way to make Chicken Noodle Soup as the meat isn’t as juicy since it’s already cooked. But it is a very convenient way and I use it very often.
What aromatics and spices to use for Instant Pot Chicken Noodle Soup
I always use the following:
- Onion – whole and unpeeled. Outer (yellow) layer actually adds a beautiful golden colour to the soup. Just make sure it’s very clean. Also cut off the root.
- Carrot – whole and peeled.
- Bay leaves
Occasionally I use a few fresh herbs: dill, parsley, cilantro, thyme, rosemary. Basically whatever I have on hand. No need to measure. The more you use, the more pronounced the flavour will be, so use according to your preferences. Dill is my favourite for Chicken Noodle Soup.
I do not eat celery but you could add it. More options for flavourings: celery, few whole garlic cloves, parsnip, bell pepper.
Frozen vegetable scraps
I often save outer onion layers, herb stalks and stems, ends of carrots, etc in a ziplock in a freezer. Once the bag is full, I use that to make Instant Pot Classic Chicken Noodle Soup. There’s a lot of flavour in all those odds and ends and it is a great way to reduce food waste.
One word of caution: if you use a lot of frozen bits and pieces in Chicken Soup, you’ll need to strain the broth to remove everything. Alternatively, you could use this handy-dandy Instant Pot accessory to make your life easier.
For spices I use salt, whole peppercorns, and Vegeta because this is what my mom used when she made soup when I was little. You could use your favourite spices.
In my family we eat a much lower sodium diet, so my measurements for salt and Better Than Bouillon might not work for you. I prefer to always add more seasoning to my own plate. We also add Maggi to our plates when we eat it.
What liquid to use to make Chicken Noodle Soup
Depending on what kind of chicken you use, you could use just water to make the Chicken Soup. If you use chicken with bones and skin then there’s a lot of flavour and regular water is sufficient.
I use boneless and skinless chicken thighs most of the time so I add a little bit of help to my soup in the way of Better Than Bouillon. I usually use only one tablespoon for the whole pot but that is because I prefer less sodium in my diet. You may need to increase the amount of Better Than Bouillon to suit your taste. You can use either chicken or vegetable version.
And, of course, you can use homemade Chicken Broth or from a carton. If you are going this route, then use half water and half chicken broth (homemade or from a carton).
What kind of noodles to use to make Chicken Noodle Soup
The kind of noodles that you use for this Classic Chicken Noodle Soup will depend on how you want to cook the soup and the noodles. Here are a few choices:
- Tiny soup bow ties (one of my favourites for this soup)
- Alphabet pasta (my daughter’s favourite)
- Egg noodles
- Israeli couscous
There are different ways on how to cook noodles for Instant Pot Chicken Noodle Soup and I will cover them below in the section that describes the cooking process.
What vegetables to use in Chicken Noodle Soup
I discard the onion and herbs when the soup is finished cooking but I always keep the carrot. I just like when the carrot is soft and not crunchy in the soup. I usually remove it and finely dice. Feel free to discard if this is not up to your taste.
Once the soup is cooked, I also usually add a cup or so of frozen veggies. Doesn’t matter what kind: peas and corn, edamame and carrots, cauliflower, snow peas, whatever I have in the freezer. If I have fresh broccoli then I add that also.
How to make Instant Pot Chicken Noodle Soup
Once you decided on what kind of chicken, aromatics, spices, vegetables, broth, and noodles you’ll be using for the Chicken Noodle Soup, it is time to actually make it. Just like with the ingredients, there are many different options and I’ll describe them all.
My absolutely favourite way of making Instant Pot Chicken Noodle Soup is this way:
- Cook the chicken with aromatics, spices, vegetables, and broth for at least 25 minutes on high heat (I usually do anything between 25 to 35 minutes), then let your Instant Pot do a natural pressure release which could take up to 1 hour.
- While the chicken is cooking in Instant Pot, cook your pasta on the stove (or another Instant Pot if you have a spare).
- After the chicken is cooked and the pressure is released, remove all the aromatics and vegetables that you don’t want to eat and discard.
- Remove the chicken and shred. Discard the bones and skin if there were any.
- Return the shredded chicken to the broth, add the cooked pasta, and your favourite veggies (I use mixed frozen). I personally also chop the cooked carrot from the broth. Yes, I actually like it soft like that.
- Let the soup stand for a minimum of 5 minutes.
- Serve with fresh herbs.
This is the recipe that is shared at the bottom of this guide and is used in the video.
Now, what if you don’t have those 25 minutes and time for natural release?
If you are using whole chicken then you need to cook it about 7 minutes per pound, so for 3 pound chicken, it would be 21 minutes cooking time.
If you are using chicken thighs/breasts, I would do an absolute minimum of 15 minutes with quick release after. Note, you could actually get away with less time but the texture of the chicken might not be as succulent.
For cooked chicken, you obviously don’t need that much time, you could do about 5 minutes.
However, the less time you cook the chicken, the less flavourful and rich the broth and soup will be. It will still be delicious though.
Do you have to cook pasta separately?
No, you do not. I have tried many different ways and in my family we prefer to cook pasta separately. But if you’d like to use the same Instant Pot to cook pasta, you can. Here’s how:
- Once you cooked your chicken, removed it and discarded all the aromatics and vegetables
- Add the pasta of your choice and cook for about 3-5 minutes on High Pressure.
The exact timing depends on the kind of pasta you use. The rule of thumb for cooking pasta in Instant Pot is that you take the time that is recommended on the box, divide it by two and then subtract one.
So, if the timing on the box says 12 minutes, then you cook for 5 minutes: 12/2=6-1=5. Or, if the timing on the box is 10 minutes then you cook for 4 minutes: 10/2=5-1=4.
I find that unless we eat the whole pot of soup right after cooking it, the pasta gets overcooked if it was made in Instant Pot. That’s why I like cooking it separately.
So, if you aren’t planning on eating the whole portion right away, I would strongly urge you to cook the pasta separately.
Another reason for cooking pasta separately is the clear broth that you get from cooking chicken alone. Cooking pasta in Instant Pot will still create a much clearer broth than if you would be doing it on the stove but it won’t be as beautiful.
Another option for cooking pasta
Another option is to cook pasta using sauté feature of Instant Pot. So, once the chicken is cooked, everything is strained, removed, and shredded, turn the sauté function on and bring to light simmer. Add the uncooked pasta to Instant Pot and cook until the pasta is cooked to your desired texture.
This option is good for fresh pasta, egg noodles, and ravioli.
Can you make the whole soup in one go without any extra steps?
That’s another yes but it is my least favourite way of making this soup, although it is the most convenient.
- Dice chicken thighs or chicken breast in bite-size pieces. Alternatively, use already cooked chicken.
- Do not use too many aromatics, or tie them together for easier removal.
- Add the diced chicken, aromatics, pasta, broth to the pot. Cook on high pressure for 4 minutes. Do a quick release.
- Remove whatever aromatics you used. Add the vegetables if using and let stand for 5 minutes.
I am not a big fan of chicken that is cooked this way. I just find that the texture is a bit weird for my taste.
Advantages for making Chicken Noodle Soup in Instant Pot
Whenever people hear the words “Instant Pot” they assume that the food will be, well, instant. Yet, one of my favourite ways for making this Instant Pot Chicken Noodle Soup requires 25 minutes of pressure cooking and full natural pressure release, which for 8 cups of liquid will take approximately an hour. Add another 40 or so minutes for the pot to come to pressure, then the time to shred the chicken, reheat frozen vegetables, and the whole soup takes more than 2.5 hours to make.
So, why would you even use Instant Pot to make this soup? Here are a few reasons why I absolutely love doing so.
- No need to babysit the pot on the stove for hours. If you cook chicken on the stove, then to make a proper rich chicken soup, you’d need to bring the chicken to boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for hours, skimming the foam and fat occasionally. Although it is not difficult to do, it requires time that must be spent in the kitchen and not far from the stove. Using Instant Pot means that you could add all the ingredients into your electric pressure cooker and go run errands.
- You don’t need to be home when the soup is done cooking. I routinely start the soup in the morning and leave it on Keep Warm for hours until I am ready to finish making it. It is really convenient if you don’t have a few uninterrupted hours. This way you only need to be hands on to cook pasta and to shred the chicken (as well as remove aromatics and vegetables).
- The broth is super clear. Yes, there might be a bit of foam to take off but mostly it’ll be beautifully golden clear. I have never been able to achieve this clear broth on the stove.
What are the measurements for the Chicken Noodle Soup
The exact measurements really depend on our preferences and could be customized any way you like.
If you have only two chicken thighs then do not use 8 cups of broth, otherwise you’ll end up with chicken-flavoured water. So, use common sense.
If you only have 2 chicken thighs, you still can make a delicious soup. Use 4 cups broth, 1 cup cooked noodles, and 1 cup vegetables.
Depending on what you like, use more pasta or less. Use more veggies or less. Use more chicken or less. I prefer more liquidy soup. My husband and daughter prefer more filling soup, so it is totally customizable.
How to store Instant Pot Chicken Noodle Soup
This soup will keep in the fridge for about 3-4 days without any problems. Do not reheat the whole pot if you only plan on eating a little bit. Just add whatever you are planning to eat in a small pot and reheat on the stove.
Fun fact: you can actually use native Instant Pot stainless steel insert to reheat the soup on the stove. I do it all the time!
This soup also freezes beautifully. I always have a few servings of Chicken Noodle Soup in my freezer for emergencies. If I don’t have time to cook or if my daughter doesn’t like what I made for dinner, then I defrost one serving of the soup and she’s happy.
It will easily keep in the freezer for up to 3 months. Freeze in individual serving containers. It’s a great soup for meal prepping!
This is my favourite brand of storage containers and I have a whole drawer with different sizes and shapes. You can use both glass and plastic containers for freezing this soup.
Other Instant Pot Chicken Soup recipes:
And if you’d like to try non-classic chicken soup in Instant Pot, then here are some recipes from my favourite bloggers:
- Instant Pot Lemon Chicken and Rice Soup from Carmy – Run Eat Travel
- Creamy Instant Pot Chicken Noodle Soup from The Recipe Rebel
- Instant Pot Chicken Wild Rice Soup from Green Healthy Cooking
- Easy Instant Pot Creamy Chicken Jalapeño Soup from Meal Plan Addict
More Instant Pot Soup Recipes:
- Easy Corn Soup (Instant Pot or Stove Top)
- Instant Pot Butternut Squash Soup
- Lemon Lentil Soup (Instant Pot or Stove Top)
- Instant Pot Tomato Orzo Soup
- Quick and Easy Instant Pot Fish and Potato Soup (I make this one and chicken noodle soup alternating every 2 weeks usually)
- Instant Pot Meatball Soup
- Instant Pot Borscht (vegan and gluten-free)
And here you have it, The Ultimate Guide for Making Instant Pot Chicken Noodle Soup. Now that you know all the nitty-gritty details, you can whip up your own version of Classic Chicken Noodle Soup in Instant Pot any time you like. You can adjust it to your taste and to whatever you have in your fridge, freezer, and pantry.
It’s easy and delicious and healthy soup any time of the year! Affordable way to feed a family. I make this soup once or sometimes even twice a month and always have a few servings in the freezer for emergency dinners.
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Instant Pot Chicken Noodle Soup
- 6 skinless and boneless chicken thighs (i often use 8)
- 1 large carrot, peeled
- 1 large onion, ends cut off and outer layer peeled (leave the clean shell, it'll add a beautiful golden colour to the broth)
- 3 sprigs dill
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon Vegeta seasoning (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (or more to taste)
- 10 black peppercorns
- 1 tablespoon Better Than Bouillon (see note)
- 8 cups water
- 1 cup dry soup noodles
- 1 cup frozen vegetables
- Add all the ingredients except for the pasta and frozen vegetables to your Instant Pot.
- Close and lock the lid.
- Turn the vent on the lid to the sealing position.
- Press Manual or Pressure Cooker button (depending on your model) and using the arrow buttons set the cook time to 25 minutes. Use defalt High Pressure.
- Depending on your Instant Pot model and how cold the ingredients are, it'll take around 40 minutes to come to pressure. It could take longer, so be patient.
- Once the Instant Pot beeps that the 25 minutes of cooking are done, do a Natural Pressure Release, which means just leave your Instant Pot be and it'll release the pressure naturally. It could take up to 1 hour.
- While the soup was cooking in Instant Pot, cook the soup noodles on the stove using the package instructions.
- Once the pressure is released, open Instant Pot. Take the onion, squeeze it and discard.
- Remove the dill and bay leaves and discard. Try to find peppercorns as well if you can and discard them.
- Remove carrot and either discard or dice it to use in the soup if you like it soft.
- Remove all the chicken from the pot and shred.
- Return the shredded chicken back to the pot, add the cooked pasta, add the frozen vegetables, and diced cooked carrot, if using. Close the lid and let stand for 5 minutes.
- Try the liquid and adjust the seasonings to taste if desired. Serve with extra fresh dill.
- We don't use a lot of salt in our food, so this amount of salt, Better Than Bouillon, and Vegeta may not be enough for you. Adjust the amounts to your tastes if desired.
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