After making long simmered bone broth for decades, I now also make this easy Instant Pot chicken broth recipe or Instant Pot chicken stock. The shorter cooking time of 2 hours versus 20+ hours not only saves time but reduces histamines for people like me with Histamine Intolerance. And homemade broth is so much better than store bought!
People suffering with seasonal allergies, food sensitivities, and those who can't tolerate bone broth might also find this recipe beneficial. If you love your Instant Pot you're going to love this Instant Pot chicken broth! It's golden, delicious and nutritious because of the magic of pressure cooking.
Stock or Broth?
Today the terms are used interchangeably, but technically stock is made from the bones of the chicken and broth is made from meaty pieces and vegetables. Bones make homemade chicken broth gelatinous (like jello) because bones release collagen as they cook.
Another way to insure a gelatinous stock is to add some chicken feet. I do that in my long-simmered homemade bone broth. What not to use? Boneless chicken. You need those bones.
Why make it at home when you can buy it at the store? Because you control the simple ingredients. Homemade tastes best and provides superior nutrition versus the store-bought stuff.
Chef's Tip: Never add salt to broth or stock. Add sea salt to the dish you are making for more control. If sipping the broth, add salt as well for flavor. If you've never made your own broth, you'll only keep store bought in the pantry for an emergency.
Pressure Cooker vs Slow Cooker
For this recipe you need a pressure cooker. Pressure cooking is about faster cooking while retaining nutrients and flavor. I use a 6 quart Duo Instant Pot Plus. If you have another brand of electric pressure cooker or a stove-top style, you can still make this. If you have a larger model, increase the ingredients and make a larger batch.
What about slow cooker broth? I prefer the speed of a pressure cooker, and it's super nutritious. Pressure cooking happens in a sealed chamber creating steam and pressure. This extracts the most flavor and nutrition from the chicken and vegetables in relatively short time.
Some say that long simmered broth has better flavor but this broth is very flavorful. Chopping the vegetables increases the extraction of flavor.
For homemade chicken broth you need raw chicken, fresh vegetables, fresh herbs, and water.
- Chicken: 3-½ pounds total weight of raw chicken, either a small whole chicken and cut it up yourself, or chicken pieces like legs and thighs. Another option, buy a whole cut-up chicken or have the butcher do it for you and get all of the pieces.
- Onion: choose yellow, brown or a sweet onion, foundational flavor veggie called an "aromatic".
- Carrots: add a little sweet balance, scrub and peel or not
- Celery: 1 large rib is good
- Leek: Optional but a nice addition, mild onion family
- Garlic: 3 good sized cloves peeled a crushed
- Bay leaf: Provides a light herbal flavor and foundational depth for soups, stews, broths, etc.
- Thyme: Use fresh herbs, 2-3 sprigs
- Water: 8 cups (2 quarts)
If using a whole chicken, follow the photos below for how to cut one up.
If you have bones from a leftover chicken carcass, break them down and add what will fit. You can also add a few whole peppercorns, but it's optional.
Chef's Tip: Organic chicken is your healthiest option, especially with pressure cooking as it concentrates everything into your broth.
When I make bone broth I use a little apple cider vinegar to help release the collagen from the bones, but for a pressure cooker stock it's not needed.
See the full recipe for quantities.
Chef's note: 3 pounds of bone-in raw skinned chicken is what you need for the broth. When I made this I stripped the skin from the bone-in thighs I bought and weighed the fat and chicken separately. The skin alone weighed about ½ a pound, so I've specified buying 3 ½ pounds to allow for the fat removal.
How to Cut Up a Whole Chicken
Follow the photos using a sharp heavy knife. A pair of poultry shears like these or these help too.
- Place the chicken rounded side (top) up on a stable cutting board.
- Cut between the leg and body on the side of the chicken, then through the leg joint, freeing the leg and thigh.
- Slice through the breastbone (center) splitting the chicken breasts.
- With either your knife or poultry shears, cut along both sides of the backbone, freeing this part. Alternatively you can cut the whole back in half crosswise (see below).
- Lastly, cut larger pieces into individual pieces and the breasts in half.
Add all of the ingredients to the pot then add the water. Don't fill the inner pot beyond the PC max fill line marked on the inside. Lock on the lid and turn the vent to lock. Press the Soup/Broth button and set the timer for 2 hours.
When the time is up, hit the cancel button and allow the pressure to release naturally for 20-30 minutes. After that, turn the vent button and let any remaining pressure release.
Straining and Chilling
Strain the broth of spent chicken, bones and vegetables through a sieve or fine colander. Clean out the pot and add the broth back in, then place it in a sink full of ice and water to quickly chill (ice bath). After an hour your broth should be cold.
Cover the pot and place it in the refrigerator overnight. In the morning skim the solidified fat from the surface, portion, label and freeze.
One additional tip, I strain the broth one more time through a fine sieve to remove any vegetable bits, but this is optional. You can use a small, mini strainer and do it as you portion into your glass containers for freezing.
How to Freeze
I freeze in 11/2 cup and 3 cup portions for sipping and soups, or in mini portions (½ cup size) for deglazing pans to make quick sauces. Use mason jars, a freezer bag or other airtight container.
If using a freezer bags, be sure the broth is totally chilled, seal the bags well and lay them flat in your freezer to take up less space. Another option is large ice cube trays like these.
Three Ways to Thaw and Re-Heat
Three ways to thaw:
- Overnight in the refrigerator.
- In the microwave until loose, placing the partially thawed broth in a small pan to complete thawing over low heat.
- By placing the frozen container in a larger bowl or pot of cold water, changing the water every 30 minutes until thawed enough to put in a pan on the stove top.
Tip: if you use a freezer bag, be sure to place the bag in a large bowl to in case the bag has a hole and leaks.
Low Histamine Chicken Broth
Because chicken is highly perishable and cooked foods gather histamine the longer they stand, portion and freeze this broth immediately after defatting. The garlic in this broth is an excellent histamine reducer.
More Broth Recipes
For more broth recipes, try my long-simmered chicken bone broth, roasted turkey broth, and quick vegetable broth. Find chicken soup recipes here.
Easy Instant Pot Chicken Broth (low histamine)
- 6 quart or larger Instant Pot or electric pressure cooker
- 3 pounds meaty bone-in chicken pieces or small whole chicken
- ½ onion chopped
- 2 carrots chopped
- 1 large rib celery chopped
- ½ medium leek, rinsed of sand chopped
- 3 garlic cloves peeled and smashed
- 2-3 fresh thyme springs
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 quarts filtered water 8 cups
- If using a whole chicken cut it into pieces and remove extra fat and skin. For help see the photos in the post. If using pieces, trim off extra fat and skin. Place the chicken in the pot, then add the onions, carrot, celery, leek, garlic, thyme, bay leaf and water.
- Fill the pot up to the line that reads "PC max ⅔" with fresh filtered water, about 2 quarts. Lock on the lid and turn the vent to lock. Press the Soup/Broth button and set the timer for 2 hours. After 2 hours press the cancel button and allow the pressure to release naturally for 20-30 minutes. After that turn the vent button and let any additional pressure release.
- Strain the spent chicken, bones and vegetables thorugh a sieve or fine colander into another container. Wash the pot, then add the broth back to the pot for chilling. Fill a sink half full of ice and cold water for an ice bath. Place the pot in the ice bath and chill for about 1 hour, or until the broth is below 70°F. Cover and place the pot in the refrigerator overnight. In the morning, skim the surface of solidified fat, then portion, label, and freeze.
Debra Rowe says
Hi Sally: I did not realize a pressure cooker would cook for 2 hours. Amazing. I will give this a try. I know there are tons of differing opinions (rather than anything even remotely fool proof), but my nutritionist who helps me fight thyroid has advised I keep the fat in my meat stock and has said that pressure cooking denatures the food. Your stock looks richly golden, and I wonder what your findings have been to remove the fat? I had heard it was especially good to have for digestion tract repair for leaky gut. Thanks!
Sally Cameron says
Hi Debra, good question! Yes, they can go that long. I've also tried it for just 90 minutes with great results, in fact I may amend the recipe after more testing. Pressure cooking is healthy as it keeps the nutrition in. I am hypo-thyroid (as well). I always de-fat or de-grease my broths and stocks and add the fat I want back into the dish I am preparing. Leaky gut is a "fun" one (not really, I know). Ever read Eat Dirt by Dr. Josh Axe? Highly recommend for leaky gut. So far science say that pressure cooking is safe, and no research exists to the contrary. The science is not conclusive. The other thing is about using the IP for broth is that because of the short time frame of cooking versus bone broth, it's better for people with Histamine Intolerance (like me). Additionally, think about cooking chicken breasts in the oven. I cook mine at 375°F, and I grill them at 400°F. Pressure cooking reaches about 240° inside that sealed chamber. Here is a good article https://www.cnet.com/health/nutrition/is-your-instant-pot-destroying-nutrients. There are interesting posts out there on the subject.
If you free a carcass or chicken how do you defrost it to use without increasing histamine? Thank you
Sally Cameron says
Hi Cheryl. If after roasting a chicken and stripping any extra meat you freeze the body right away, you can probably use them frozen but it will take longer. I've not tried it. Set the time for two hours and go through the release, then open and test it. I sometimes do that with my traditional broth recipe. You can also make that one, just don't let it go a long time. Stay with the 2-3 hour mark to keep histamines low. I hope that makes sense. One thing that will help; don't throw the whole carcass into plastic zip bags to freeze. Break them down into smaller pieces with a heavy knife or poultry/kitchen scissors so the pieces are small. They will thaw faster.
Kelly S says
If I make a whole chicken from frozen in my instant pot, can I toss in the veggies with it as above, and then use the broth afterwards? If so, would I just cook it on high for 2 hrs instead of on soup/broth? Thanks!
Sally Cameron says
Hi Kelly. First I would thaw the chicken (not use frozen). You may know that but I am not sure by your question and don't know how experienced a cook you are. Is your desire to make chicken soup or make broth? When you make broth this way, the chicken and vegetables are pretty well spent after two hours under pressure. It all falls apart and has given up its goodness to the broth. Then you strain off the broth, chill, and refrigerate so when it cools completely you can scoop the extra fat off the surface. If your desire is chicken soup, I would make the broth first, then make soup with the broth. Others may do it different but I think this gives the best results. If you make batches of broth and freeze you are always a short time away from having great soup. For even richer deeper broth, try the long version bone broth (not Instant Pot). It takes longer but much of the work is hands off. https://afoodcentriclife.com/liquid-gold-homemade-chicken-broth/ . I hope this answers your question if not let me know.
Kristina Pruett says
Can the chicken meat be used?
Sally Cameron says
Hi Kristina. The meat is pretty spent after giving it's all to the broth. I have a friend who used to save it for her dogs, but not for her consumption. If you use leftover frozen carcasses from roasting whole birds and even add about a half pound of chicken feet you won't have much meat anyway. I did the my last batch that way, now in the freezer. I use about 3-4 roasted carcasses and a few feet and the broth came out great, very gelatinous (collagen). One tip on saving your roasted carcasses. Before freezing, break the body down into smaller pieces with a heavy knife or poultry shears. That way they take up less room. Make sense? Thanks for asking, great question.
always follow you and your healthy cooking Thank you for sharing with me
Sally Cameron says
Thank you Michael for following, reading and commenting. It means a lot.