One of the best things about the Instant Pot is its ability to produce richly flavored soups that taste like they’ve spent hours simmering on the stove in just a fraction of the time.
This chicken soup recipe is no exception. It’s very easy to prepare, takes a little less than an hour from start to finish, and only requires about 15 minutes of hands-on time.
What Goes Into Italian-Style Chicken Soup
- Aromatics for flavor: The first step to making this soup is to sauté a combination of onion, garlic, carrot, and celery. This combination gives you a base layer of flavor to build on with the other ingredients.
- The chicken: We like to use skinless, bone-in chicken thighs to make this soup. The bones are important for developing flavor and removing the skin cuts down on fat. When you make chicken soup on top of the stove you have an opportunity to skim off fat as the soup simmers, but since this won’t be possible with the Instant Pot, eliminating the extra fat from the skin is key.
- The vegetables: Diced tomatoes and healthy greens like escarole or spinach are added halfway through the pasta cooking time, lending both extra flavor and nutritional value to the soup. We favor escarole because it’s a classic Italian ingredient and it holds up a bit better in the soup than more delicate greens like spinach.
- The pasta: Ditalini is the perfect cut of pasta for this soup. It’s a small cut and cooks in the broth while you shred the chicken. You could also use elbows or mini shells.
How To Make This Recipe
This is an overview of how this dish is made. You’ll find detailed measurements, ingredients, and instructions in the printable version of the recipe below.
- Sauté the aromatics: Begin by cooking the onion, carrots, celery, and garlic until golden using the sauté function on the Instant Pot. Once those aromatic vegetables are ready, layer the chicken thighs on top and add a few cups of low-sodium chicken broth.
- Cook the chicken: Seal the pot, set to cook on high pressure, and you’re on your way to some delicious soup. It takes about 15 minutes for the Instant Pot to come to pressure and another 18 to cook the chicken. This recipe uses quick pressure release, so as soon as the 18 minutes are up, remove the chicken and shred it into tender, bite-sized pieces.
- Cook the pasta and vegetables: While you shred the chicken, set the Instant Pot back to the “sauté” function and bring the broth to a simmer. Add the pasta, cook for a few minutes, then add the escarole and tomatoes and continue cooking until the pasta is al dente.
- Put it all together: To finish the soup, return the shredded chicken to the pot, stir, then ladle the soup into bowls. Top with fresh parsley and grated Parmesan cheese, and you’re ready to serve.
For another great Instant Pot soup recipe, try our Pressure Cooker Cabbage Soup.
More Italian Soup Recipes
Instant Pot Italian Chicken Soup
- 8 bone-in chicken thighs, about 2-1/2 lbs, skin removed
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 3 stalks celery, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 3 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 5 cups low-sodium chicken broth, divided
- 1 cup ditalini pasta
- 1 cup diced tomatoes, drained
- 8 cups roughly chopped escarole, see notes for substitutions
- Chopped parsley
- Grated Parmesan cheese
- Trim any excess fat from the chicken thighs, season on both sides with salt and pepper and set aside.
- Press the "sauté" button on the Instant Pot, heat for about 1-1/2 minutes, then add the olive oil and the onions.
- Sauté the onions until lightly browned around the edges, 3 to 4 minutes, then add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute longer.
- Add the carrots and celery, season lightly with salt and pepper and continue cooking for 2 minutes.
- Cancel the "sauté" function on the Instant Pot and arrange the chicken thighs on top of the vegetables, keeping them in as much of a single layer as possible.
- Pour 3 cups of the chicken broth over the chicken and lock the cover onto the Instant Pot.
- Use the "manual" function to set the Instant Pot to cook for 18 minutes at high pressure.
- Once the time is up, release the pressure manually by turning the steam valve to the venting position, being careful to keep your hands and face away from the top of the Instant Pot as you do.
- Use tongs to transfer the chicken thighs to a cutting board or large platter and add the remaining 2 cups of chicken broth to the Instant Pot.
- Switch the Instant Pot from the "keep warm" function to "sauté," bring the broth to a boil and add the pasta. Cook for 5 minutes, stir in the diced tomatoes and escarole and continue cooking until the greens are wilted and the pasta is tender, 4 to 5 minutes longer.
- While the pasta cooks, remove the bones from the chicken thighs, shred the meat and as soon as the pasta is done, add it back to the soup.
- To serve, ladle the soup into individual bowls, garnish with chopped parsley and top with grated Parmesan cheese.