Chicken Soup (from scratch)

Flu and cold season is upon us which means one thing when it comes to food: Chicken Soup! (Chicken Noodle Soup for the kiddos). I make mine without noodles and theirs with. Either way, it is a family pleaser.

When I am sick and feeling icky, this is the only thing that sounds good to me. The good news? It is pretty easy! The bad news? You will never want to eat the canned stuff again. Ok, that is not “bad” news per se, but you will be a soup snob from now on.

More good news? This freezes really well and you can stock up!

Here is something important to know. I don’t really use a “recipe” per se. I use a method and I typically use what I have on hand and what I need to use up from the fridge! However, don’t worry, I am giving you a method (for my peeps that like to cook and “get it”) and a recipe for those of you that say, just give me the darn directions already!

Important Tip Number 1. This is EASY. Stock is EASY. It is barely chopping veggies and setting and forgetting. Do not let it scare you. Got it!?

Important Tip Number 2. The ingredient list LOOKS long, but it is not! At the end of the day, all you are really using is a chicken, a yellow onion, lots of carrots, lots of celery, water, a tablespoon of vinegar, maybe some noodles, and optional spices. That is IT!!!

Important tools to make this easy? An instant pot (which I call an IP). I have this one. You might be asking do you really really need one more piece of kitchen equipment? Answer: yes you do. Not only for this recipe, but to make your life easier and simpler. I use my IP to make sweet potatoes, hard boiled eggs, shredded chicken, etc. on the regular. Less mess, less fuss, and easy once you get used to it! Added bonus, this comes in handy to make my fellow blogger, Nom Nom Paleo‘s recipes. She alone makes the IP worth every penny.

Here are the basic instructions for what to do:

  1. Cook your chicken. (Steps 2-5). (Note, if you are using a rotisserie chicken from the store, you can skip steps 1-4).
  2. Get out your IP. Put an ENTIRE CHICKEN in there. I use the 4-5 pounders. The amazing news? You can put a FROZEN chicken in there! (Crazy, right?). Add 2 cups of water and some seasonings. I usually throw in a few carrots, some salt, and maybe some poultry seasoning. Your only real point is to cook the chicken.
  3. If frozen, set to 1 hour. If not frozen, set to 30 mins. Let slow release.
  4. After your chicken has slow released (about 10-20 mins). Check to make sure it is done. Lift out, cut into it. If still raw, close it all up and IP it for 10 more minutes.
  5. When done, lift out the chicken. Keep the liquid in the IP. Shred the chicken off the bone and add all bones and carcass back to the IP. Discard skin. Keep the shredded chicken and let cool.
  6. Now, we make the stock! (Steps 6-10).
  7. From Step 5, you will have your chicken bones back in the IP. If you are using a rotisserie chicken, start with putting the carcass and bones in the IP.
  8. Add your veggies and flavors to your (used) IP. Note, you don’t need a lot of chopping here! I typically add: 3 carrots broken in half, a yellow onion (halved with skin on — the skin helps with the color!), fresh rosemary or parsley if you have it (you just need to wash a bunch and throw in, no need to chop), (have some extra lemongrass stalks? throw them in), 3 celery stalks, 1 TBS of Himalayan pink sea salt, and add about 1 TBS of apple cider vinegar. If you are not worried about spice, 1 TBS of whole black peppercorns is nice too. If you have an extra chicken carcass lying around (I always freeze these), put that in there too. Smoosh it all down. Add water to the “Fill Line.” Set IP to 1 hour.
  9. After the IP is done and has beeped at you and your IP has somewhat slow released, go ahead and perform a quick release on the rest. Make sure to cover the spout with a tea towel and jump back — it will sputter! If you are in no rush, let it slow release all the way.
  10. Carefully strain all of your good amazing stock into another pot and discard the solids.
  11. Now, we make soup!!
  12. Now, put your stock BACK in the IP (I know I know).
  13. Chop up your chicken from Step 1 and add that as well. Also, slice a bunch of carrots (I do 5-6 big ones) and 5-6 ribs of celery. Sometimes I will add more if I feel like I need to. It depends on how big the carrots and celery are. If you are adding in noodles, put those in as well — DRY AND NOT COOKED. I do about 2 cups of rotini typically. They expand A LOT in the soup.
  14. Set IP to 5 minutes. Perform a quick release so you don’t overcook. your ingredients and ENJOY!

This whole thing from frozen chicken to soup takes about 3 hours, with MINIMAL actual work or baby-sitting. Meaning if your kid wakes up sick, so long as you have a frozen chicken and some veggies, you can give them homemade soup for lunch without leaving the house! That is SUCH a good feeling and it really is EASY!

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Chicken Soup (from scratch)

  • Author: Lawfully Lean


Step by Step Directions to Make Chicken Stock, then Chicken Soup!


  1. Cook the Chicken 
  2. 1 4-5 lb whole chicken (preferably organic) 
  3. 3 Carrots, 2 cups water, 1 tsp Poultry Seasoning, 2 tsp Pink Himalayan Sea Salt 
  4. Stock 
  5. Cooked chicken carcass from above/carcass from Rotisserie Chicken/carcass from any chicken you have already cooked.  (I use 2 if I can). 
  6. 3 carrots, broken in half; 1 yellow onion, washed, skin on, cut in half; 3 stalks of celery; 1 TBS Himalayan Pink Sea Salt; 1 TBS apple cider vinegar 
  7. OPTIONAL:  parsley, rosemary, lemongrass stalks, whole black peppercorns
  8. Water to Fill Line 
  9. Soup 
  10. Stock from above
  11. chopped chicken from Step 1/chopped chicken from 1 rotisserie chicken  
  12. 6 sliced carrots; 6 sliced stalks of celery; 2 cups DRY noodles (I like rotini)


  1. Cook Chicken:  place whole chicken, 3 carrots, 2 cups water, 1 tsp Poultry Seasoning, 2 tsp Pink Himalayan Sea Salt in IP.
  2. Set IP to HIGH on Manual. 30 mins if defrosted.  60 minutes if frozen chicken.  Slow release.  
  3. Remove chicken and let cool enough to shred/chop cooked chicken.  Save bones and carcass.  Throw away skin.
  4. Make Stock:  put bones and carcass back in the (used) IP. Add in carrots, onion, celery, and any spices.  Fill water to FILL line.  Set IP on Manual High for 60 minutes.  If you have an extra chicken carcass (I always freeze these so I have them for things like this), add that in too (ok, if frozen, no need to defrost).  Let slow release for at least 10 minutes.  
  5. Strain all of the liquid into another container.  Discard all solids.  
  6. Make Soup:  Put stock back in IP.  Add cooked chicken and sliced carrots and celery.  Add noodles if using (DRY, not cooked).  Set IP to 5 minutes on High.  Perform QUICK RELEASE.
  7. Ladle soup into bowls/storage containers — I do about 1.5 – 2 cups per person.  I don’t add a ton of salt, so you may need to salt and pepper it to your liking! 


I talk a lot about used chicken carcasses.  The BEST actually come from my husband when we smoke chickens on the smoker!  Holy moly!  However, I also always keep rotisserie chicken carcasses as well.  And yes, I know that carcass is just such a weird word.  

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