Instant Pot (Pressure Cooker) Chicken Soup with Kale

As I mentioned over Instagram the other day, our youngest son recently came down with a fever, the first of his life (he’s only 11 months old, but still, I like saying that). Four airplane rides over the course of seven days will do that (we traveled to my home state of Washington for Thanksgiving last week). No problem regarding the fever, though – chicken soup to the rescue, and he was back to his usual, trouble-making self the following day.

I think the Instant Pot pressure cooker craze has reached a fever pitch this year; in fact, it was on heavilty discounted during both Black Friday and Cyber Monday this past week on Amazon (I mentioned the sale in my periodic newsletter – which you’re signed up for, right?). So it seems right to share a simple pressure-cooker chicken soup recipe with you folks today.

Instant Pot (Pressure Cooker) Chicken Soup with Kale (Gluten-free, Primal, Paleo, Perfect Health Diet, Whole30)

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: Easy

2 tbsp butter or olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped (about 1.5 cups chopped)
3 carrots, peeled and cut into bite-sized chunks
4 stalks celery, cut into bite-sized chunks
2 bay leaves
1 tsp salt, more to taste
1/2 tsp black pepper, more to taste
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp dried oregano
4 cups chicken broth
1 lb cooked, shredded chicken, breast preferred (see note below)
1 large handful kale, chopped (about 2 cups chopped)
1/2 tsp fish sauce or Worcestershire sauce

1. Press the “Sauté” button on the Instant Pot, then add the butter and onion. Sauté until tender, about 5 minutes, then add the carrots, celery, bay leaves, salt, pepper, thyme, and oregano. Sauté until aromatic, about 1 minute, then add the chicken broth and enough water to reach the “6 cup” fill line on the inside of the pot, about 1 cup of water altogether.

2. Cover and press the “Cancel” button to cancel the Sauté function, then press the “Soup” button and adjust the time to 4 minutes (high pressure). Once the Instant Pot finishes cooking, force-depressurize the pressure cooker by twisting the valve on top and letting the steam escape.

3. Once the Instant Pot is depressurized, remove the lid and add the chicken and kale. Allow the soup to set for a minute, until the kale is bright green. Stir in the fish sauce, add salt and pepper to taste, then serve.

** You can use raw chicken instead of leftover chicken. To do so, cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces, then brown the chicken after the onions are tender, but before adding the carrots and other ingredients. Once the chicken is browned, add the carrots and other ingredients and follow the recipe as instructed. Don’t force-depressurize the soup since that will make the meat mealy – instead, allow the soup to depressurize naturally (just let it sit for about 15 minutes before removing the lid).

Since we had an emergent need for chicken meat for the soup, I grabbed a local whole chicken and roasted it for the meat (and for other meals). Bonus: we used the carcass to make more broth (2 hours on the “Soup” setting in the Instant Pot does the trick nicely). Here is my simple recipe for roast chicken.

41 thoughts on “Instant Pot (Pressure Cooker) Chicken Soup with Kale

    1. You will love the InstantPot! It took me a little figuring out, but once I got it, I was hooked! For my Thanksgiving mashed potatoes, it took 9 minutes to cook the raw potato chunks!


  1. Russ, regarding your depressurization comments, when the timer’s counting backward on it’s 10 hr “keep warm” function (it automatically does this on my model), I usually hit the “off” button and unplug it. Is that what you do, or do you let in do the natural pressure release in the “keep warm” mode?


  2. My wife and I just made your recipe tonight and it’s AMAZING! Thank you so much for posting this! Hottoddy and Rachel


  3. Sitting down with my 3 young kids enjoying this dish! They love it! I used leftover Thanksgiving turkey instead of chicken and it’s still amazing! Your recipes never disappoint!


  4. Just made this for the first time…delicious! I added a small pasta and finished it with grated pecorino Romano cheese. My husband loved it. I bet it’s even better the second day. Fast, easy and wonderful. Thanks!


  5. Thanks for posting another Instant Pot recipe. Have you considered making “Instant Pot” (or “Pressure Cooker”) one of the categories available in the menu?


    1. Katherine, great idea, thanks! I’ve had dreams of creating a visual menu/recipe thumbnail list, but never seem to find the time to put it all together. Adding a category is easy, and you’ll be happy to find that there is a new “Pressure Cooker” category in the menu :) Thanks again for the tip!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Russ, thanks again for a great recipe. Is there a way for me to print out the recipe that I am not seeing? I need a paper copy when I cook; I hate using my greasy hands to view the iPad screen. I usually cut and paste into a Word doc, but being a senior, I wondered if there was some simple command I’m missing. I don’t want to print out the whole post, just the recipe! I do know how to print out the whole post. Thanks!


    1. Hi, good question! Directly below the post there is a series of buttons (like FB shares, Twitter, etc) – one of those buttons is a “Print” button which will take you to a new page with a printer-friendly version of the post. From there, you can click on pictures and paragraphs to remove them from the printable part, so that you’re left with only the recipe (it’ll usually fit on just one page). Hope that helps!


    2. OMG! Well, duh! (on my part). I hadn’t noticed that before–and I usually look for that! Thanks, this does help. This recipe is on the menu for tonight. I have fresh kale in my garden and some leftover chicken that I didn’t know quite how I was going to use. Another reason to use my InstantPot, which I just love. Thanks again, Russ!


  7. Can I use any of your instant pot recipes in a traditional pressure cooker. I have 4 in all sizes. Really don’t have the room for another. That an our electricity goes out due to weather. Stove top works no matter what.


  8. HI, I made this and it was very good. This was lunch for the week and it was filling. The spices used was perfect and I’ll be making this again. Great time of the year to be making this as well.


  9. This is delicious! I poached the chicken in the InstaPot (a new-to-me trick learned over the holidays) beforehand and added lemon juice with the fish sauce at the end for a little added brightness. This one will be in the winter soup rotation!


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