Easy Italian Chicken Soup: Pressure Cooker and Stovetop

Feeling down in the dumps or just craving some comforting Italian chicken soup? This recipe is the go-to whenever my husband or I get sick or are just feeling blue. Honestly, it’s delicious no matter when we make it!

It’s a simple and easy recipe that can be made using two different methods – a pressure cooker/instant pot or over the stove. I’ll share the steps for each below.

italian chicken soup

Easy Italian Chicken Soup Recipe

This Italian recipe is a basic chicken soup that stood the test of time. You can modify the quantities or you can use mine exactly as it is.

Unlike soups such as my chicken pastina soup recipe, this one doesn’t require the use of pasta – however I provide some suggestions for which pasta shapes would work best.

I’ll provide some helpful ideas for ways you can modify the recipe, plus some time saving tips!

This soup doesn’t include a ton of different ingredients, it’s simply not needed. You’ll notice that I don’t even use chicken broth or bullion, although if you want to you can. Instead, I create my own broth by cooking the chicken in the water with the vegetables.

Ingredients

italian chicken soup ingredients

Specific measurements are included in the recipe card below.

  • Olive oil (over the stove method only)
  • Carrots. Either cut the carrots into round slices or dice them.
  • Celery stalks and the top leaves. Either dice the celery or slice them. The larger the pieces the longer it takes to cook.
  • Large onion. Dice the onion into small pieces.
  • Chicken breasts. Cut into 1/2″ cubes or smaller. You can also shred the chicken.
  • Parsley. Dried or fresh is fine.
  • Bay leaf
  • Salt and black pepper
  • Pasta noodles. This is optional, but any type will do such as pastina noodles like acini di pepe, or you can use long noodles like egg noodles or linguini.
  • Romano cheese. Used at the end for sprinkling on top.

On the stove method

chicken soup italian style in bowls

Follow these steps to make this easy Italian chicken soup over the stove. This is my preferred method even though it takes at least 2 hours to cook the soup down. When I am short on time, I use the pressure cooker method.

Step 1. In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat.

Step 2. Add the crushed garlic and saute for a minute or two.

Step 3. Add in the chopped onion, carrots, and celery and saute for about 8 minutes over low-medium heat until the onions are translucent.

PRO TIP: Do not skip the above step. It’s important to saute the vegetables because it helps make them more flavorful for the soup.

Step 4. Add about 6 quarts of water and turn the heat to high and bring to a boil.

Step 5. Add the whole chicken breasts and continue to boil for about 40 minutes. Remove any scum that might appear while boiling. This is just fat that can be discarded. It’s okay if the water cooks down.

Step 6. Carefully remove the chicken breasts in a strainer and let cool by running under cold water. This then allows you to easily handle the chicken for the next step. Turn the stove to medium-low heat.

Step 7. Using a knife, either cut the chicken into small cubes, or shred the chicken, whichever you prefer.

Step 8. Return the chicken to the pot and add the parsley, salt and a dash of black pepper.

Step 9. Continue to cook over medium-low heat for two hours. Stir every once in a while until the chicken is fully cooked and the soup is flavorful. The chicken may cook before the soup is ready. You need to give it time to actually flavor the water.

Step 10. If you want to cook some pasta noodles to include in the chicken soup, then cook in a separate pot according to package instructions. Drain and place pasta in a soup bowl and ladle the soup on top.

Step 11. Sprinkle with some Romano or Parmesan cheese.

Pressure cooker or instant pot method

The above method for making chicken soup can take quite a bit of time. I finally wised up and one day decided to make it in my Fagor 3-in-1 electric pressure cooker. It came out just as tasty.

Depending on your pressure cooker model, or if you’re using an instant pot, you may need to adjust the timing and instructions according to the manufacturer’s manual.

PRO TIP: Notice that for this method, we don’t need to use any olive oil.

Step 1. Chop the chicken into 1/2 inch pieces.

Step 2. Dice all the vegetables. I like to cut mine small.

ingredients in pressure cooker

Step 3. Add all the ingredients to the pressure cooker.

Step 4. Use the proper amount of water according to what your cooker allows. Since this isn’t cooking down as it would on a stove, I recommend 5-6 cups.

Step 5. Close the lid and set your top knob setting to Pressure Cooker.

Step 6. Set the cook time to 15 minutes.

Step 7. Set the temperature to High and Press start. The cooker will need to preheat to build up pressure. This will usually take about 10 minutes or more.

Step 8. When done, carefully turn the release knob to Steam/Release and let the steam from the pressure cooker escape. Do not try to open the lid until all the steam has escaped.

Step 9. Meanwhile if using pasta, cook the noodles in a separate pot according to package instructions. Place in a bowl and ladle the soup on top and sprinkle with some Romano or Parmesan cheese.

Soup modifications

Here are some ways you can create different variations of this soup.

  1. Use your own chicken broth for a deeper flavor. Keep in mind that store bought brands will have higher levels of sodium and may contain herbs you won’t like. This is one reason why I like to make my Italian chicken soup from scratch.
  2. Add in other vegetables for a more robust soup, such as chopped zucchini, peas, escarole or even mushrooms.
  3. Instead of adding regular pasta shapes, try using egg noodles.

Time saving tips

Use these tips to help decrease the amount of time you need to be in the kitchen.

  • Use precooked chicken or use rotisserie chicken which will have a more roasted flavor. This way you don’t have to cook the chicken.
  • Use chicken broth instead of water. If you do this, it’s best to use precooked chicken. Just cut and cook the chicken in the pot first, then add the broth. In terms of quantity, I’d recommend 1 1/2 quarts, or 1 quart broth and 2 cups water. This is about 6 servings.
  • Keep bags of chopped celery, onion, and carrot on hand in the freezer. Then when you need to make soup, you can just pull them out and you’re ready to start cooking!

Types of pasta to use in an Italian chicken soup

I don’t always use pasta in my chicken soup, so I’ve made it optional. But you can use a variety of shapes and sizes. Here are my favorites:

  1. Tiny pasta. These can be acini di pepe which I use in my Italian pastina soup. Or you can use little stars also called stelline.
  2. Orzo pasta. These are small shapes that cook quickly and are easy to digest – especially when you’re not feeling well.
  3. Ditallini. I like using these because they are not as delicate as orzo or other tiny pasta shapes. Ditallini is what is commonly used in Italian pasta fagioli soup.

PRO TIP: Even if you don’t have the above pasta, you can take some angel hair or vermicelli, or thin spaghetti and break them into small pieces.

Make sure to cook all your pasta shapes in a separate pot so they don’t get overcooked and the soup doesn’t become starchy.

Side dishes for your chicken soup

Here are some ideas for what to serve with your Italian chicken soup.

how to make garlic bread

Enjoy your soup with some crusty garlic bread!

italian salad

Serve your chicken soup with a simple Italian green salad. Soup and salad always go well together.

cropped-how-to-make-italian-chicken-cutlets.jpg

If you want to have a well rounded meal, then use the soup as a first course and some Italian chicken cutlets as the main dish!

Other Italian chicken recipes you might like

For more soup ideas, check out all of our Italian soup recipes!

chicken with green olives th

Enjoy this Italian chicken and green olives recipe. Serve it over pasta with some soup and salad on the side.

chicken farro

This chicken farro and spinach recipe is full of Italian flavors. Perfect for a healthy dinner.

chicken and peas

This Italian chicken and peas recipe is delicious and easy!

Ciao Friend! I’d like to you my FREE mini-digital cookbook featuring 5 Easy Italian Soups! Plus, you’ll receive easy and delicious Italian recipes every week.

If you want in, just sign up using this form! I’d love to start sharing my recipes with you!

I hope you enjoy my Italian chicken soup recipe. Let me know in the comments below how you like it and what changes you made to make it your own!

italian chicken soup RECIPE th

How to Make Easy Chicken Soup

Recipe for an easy chicken soup
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Course: Soups
Cuisine: Italian
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 1358kcal

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup olive oil for stove top method
  • 2 medium Carrots Chopped fine
  • 3-4 Celery Stalks and the leaves Chopped fine
  • 1 medium Onion Chopped fine
  • 3 Chicken breasts Cubed or shredded
  • 1 dash salt and black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/8 cup chopped parsley dried is fine too
  • 2-4 garlic cloves optional
  • Romano cheese for topping at end
  • pasta optional

Instructions

Stove top method

  • In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
    1/4 cup olive oil
  • Add the crushed garlic and saute for a minute or two.
    2-4 garlic cloves
  • Add in the chopped onion, carrots, and celery and saute for about 8 minutes over low-medium heat until the onions are translucent.
    2 medium Carrots, 3-4 Celery Stalks and the leaves, 1 medium Onion
  • Add about 6 quarts of water and turn the heat to high and bring to a boil.
  • Add the whole chicken breasts and continue to boil for about 40 minutes. Remove any scum that might appear while boiling. This is just fat that can be discarded. It's okay if the water cooks down.
    3 Chicken breasts
  • Carefully remove the chicken breasts in a strainer and let cool by running under cold water. This then allows you to easily handle the chicken for the next step. Turn the stove to medium-low heat.
  • Using a knife, either cut the chicken into small cubes, or shred the chicken, whichever you prefer.
  • Return the chicken to the pot and add the parsley, bay leaf, salt and a dash of black pepper.
    1 dash salt and black pepper, 1/8 cup chopped parsley, 1 bay leaf
  • Continue to cook over medium-low heat for two hours. Stir every once in a while until the chicken is fully cooked and the soup is flavorful. The chicken may cook before the soup is ready. You need to give it time to actually flavor the water.
  • If you want to cook some pasta noodles to include in the chicken soup, then cook in a separate pot according to package instructions. Drain and place pasta in a soup bowl and ladle the soup on top.
    pasta
  • Sprinkle with some Romano or Parmesan cheese.
    Romano cheese

Pressure cooker method

  • Chop the chicken into 1/2 inch pieces.
    3 Chicken breasts
  • Dice all the vegetables. I like to cut mine small.
    2 medium Carrots, 3-4 Celery Stalks and the leaves, 1 medium Onion
  • Add all the ingredients to the pressure cooker.
    1 dash salt and black pepper, 1 bay leaf, 1/8 cup chopped parsley
  • Use the proper amount of water according to what your cooker allows. Since this isn't cooking down as it would on a stove, I recommend 5-6 cups.
  • Close the lid and set your top knob setting to Pressure Cooker.
  • Set the cook time to 15 minutes.
  • Set the temperature to High and Press start. The cooker will need to preheat to build up pressure. This will usually take about 10 minutes or more.
  • When done, carefully turn the release knob to Steam/Release and let the steam from the pressure cooker escape. Do not try to open the lid until all the steam has escaped.
  • Meanwhile if using pasta, cook the noodles in a separate pot according to package instructions. Place in a bowl and ladle the soup on top and sprinkle with some Romano or Parmesan cheese.

Notes

Nutritional data are estimates based off of API calculations.
  • Stove top method takes at least 2 hours to cook, so plan accordingly. If tight on time, use the pressure cooker/instant pot method.
  • For even more chicken flavor, use chicken broth, but make sure it has the herbs that you like. 
  • Sprinkle Romano cheese on top of soup for extra flavor and saltiness.
  • For extra bulk, add in cooked noodles such as ditalini or other small pasta shapes like those little stars.
  • Freeze unused portions in small containers such as left over yogurt plastic containers. These are perfect sizes for individual meals when in a hurry or when sick.

Nutrition

Calories: 1358kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 147g | Fat: 72g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 9g | Monounsaturated Fat: 45g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 434mg | Sodium: 930mg | Potassium: 3157mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 21279IU | Vitamin C: 36mg | Calcium: 127mg | Iron: 4mg

Ciao Friend! I’d like to you my FREE mini-digital cookbook featuring 5 Easy Italian Soups! Plus, you’ll receive easy and delicious Italian recipes every week.

If you want in, just sign up using this form! I’d love to start sharing my recipes with you!

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Easy Italian Chicken Soup: Pressure Cooker and StovetopEasy Italian Chicken Soup: Pressure Cooker and StovetopEasy Italian Chicken Soup: Pressure Cooker and StovetopEasy Italian Chicken Soup: Pressure Cooker and Stovetop

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