Instant Pot Chicken Soup with Herbed Matzo Balls

published Sep 14, 2021
Instant Pot Chicken Soup with Herbed Matzo Balls Recipe

Using the Instant Pot adds rich flavor and color to this nourishing chicken soup.

Serves8 to 10

Makes10 3/4 cups soup

Prep45 minutes

Cook2 hours 30 minutes

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matzo ball soup in bowl
Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Ben Weiner

Although my fifth cookbook, The Instant Pot Kosher Cookbook, uses a contemporary gadget, inside its pages are my food memories and stories of my family. Jewish people and all immigrant communities have, throughout history, adapted beloved recipes with new ingredients and new tools wherever they landed. Indeed, cooking Jewish food in a modern device is a natural progression. 

During the year when I plan my Shabbat menus, I try out new recipes and cook something different every week. But for major holidays I stick to the classics, so that my four children will forever associate certain dishes with those holidays. When you incorporate your food memories and stories into your menu, it’s like getting a hug from your past.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Ben Weiner

I always make chicken soup with matzoh balls for major Jewish holidays as a way to bring my ancestors to my table. Every spoon of the golden liquid and every bite of a fluffy matzoh ball bring me back to my childhood home. After the first time I made it in the Instant Pot, I never returned to cooking it on the stovetop. First, all soups cook faster in the pressure cooker. Second, it’s a useful device to use for soup when you’re cooking for a holiday and all of your burners are already occupied.

Next, the magic of the Instant Pot is that you do not have to keep checking on what’s cooking; you seal the pot and just walk away and it does its magic. After the cooking time is complete, the device switches to Warm. Most importantly, I find that the flavor and color of my chicken soup is much deeper than when made on the stovetop — especially if I let it sit on Warm for two hours or longer.

My chicken soup recipe has its origins in my late mother’s aqua Formica kitchen, although over the years I have added ingredients she never would have included, such as fennel, shiitakes, and cumin and mustard seeds. My matzoh balls have chopped fresh herbs inside, giving them a fresh flavor. I also add seltzer to the matzoh ball batter, just like my mom used to do. The result is a soup that nourishes your body and soul — the best kind of comfort food.

Instant Pot Chicken Soup with Herbed Matzo Balls Recipe

Using the Instant Pot adds rich flavor and color to this nourishing chicken soup.

Prep time 45 minutes

Cook time 2 hours 30 minutes

Makes 10 3/4 cups soup

Serves 8 to 10

Nutritional Info


For the soup:

  • 1

    whole chicken (about 3 1/2 pounds)

  • 1

    large yellow onion

  • 2

    medium carrots (about 8 ounces total)

  • 2

    large stalks celery (about 7 ounces total)

  • 2

    medium parsnips (about 10 ounces total)

  • 1

    medium fennel bulb (about 12 ounces)

  • 4

    large fresh shiitake mushrooms (about 3 ounces)

  • 1 (2-inch) piece


  • 1/2 bunch

    fresh parsley

  • 1/2 bunch

    fresh dill

  • 4 cloves


  • 2

    bay leaves

  • 1 tablespoon

    black peppercorns

  • 1 teaspoon

    kosher salt, plus more as needed

  • 1 teaspoon

    mustard seeds

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    fennel seeds

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    cumin seeds

  • Freshly ground black pepper

For the matzoh balls:

  • 2 tablespoons

    chopped fresh herbs, such as a combination of parsley, thyme, and dill

  • 4

    large eggs

  • 1/3 cup


  • 3 tablespoons

    vegetable oil

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons

    kosher salt

  • Pinch ground white pepper

  • 1 cup

    matzoh meal


Make the soup:

  1. Using kitchen shears, cut the legs off 1 whole chicken. Cut the remaining part of the chicken in half lengthwise through the breast and the back. Place the 4 pieces of chicken in a 6-quart or larger Instant Pot or electric pressure cooker.

  2. Prepare the following, adding them to the pressure cooker as they are completed: Peel and quarter 1 large yellow onion. Peel 2 medium carrots and cut each one crosswise into 4 pieces. Cut 2 large celery stalks in half crosswise. Peel and cut 2 medium parsnips in half crosswise. Trim and quarter 1 medium fennel bulb. Cut 4 large shiitake mushrooms into 1/2-inch thick slices. Peel a 2-inch piece ginger and leave whole. Pick the leaves from 1/2 bunch fresh parsley until you have 1 cup. Pick the fronds and tender stems from 1/2 bunch fresh dill until you have 1 cup.

  3. Add 4 garlic cloves, 2 bay leaves, 1 tablespoon black peppercorns, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 1 teaspoon mustard seeds, 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds, and 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds. Pour in enough water to reach the maximum fill line on a 6-quart pot, or 7 cups water if using a larger pressure cooker.

  4. Lock on the lid and make sure the pressure release valve is set to seal. Set to cook for 45 minutes under HIGH pressure. It will take 30 to 40 minutes to come up to pressure. Meanwhile, make the matzoh ball dough.

Make the matzoh balls:

  1. Finely chop until you have 2 tablespoons tender fresh herbs. Place in a large bowl. Add 4 large eggs, 1/3 cup seltzer, 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, and a pinch of white pepper, and whisk until combined. Add 1 cup matzoh meal and whisk until combined. Cover loosely with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

  2. When the cook time is up, let the pressure naturally release for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours. Meanwhile, wet your hands and shape the matzoh dough into balls about 1 1/2-inches wide (about 2 tablespoons each). Place on a plate.

  3. Naturally release any remaining pressure. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer set over a large bowl or other pot. Taste and season with more kosher salt and black pepper as needed (If not serving immediately, let cool and refrigerate or freeze the broth).

  4. Reserve the carrots and chicken meat for another use, or slice the carrots and shred some of the chicken to add to the final soup if desired. Discard the remaining solids in the strainer. Skim off any surface fat from the soup if desired (or cool, refrigerate, and skim off the hardened fat).

  5. Measure out and set 3 cups of the soup aside. Return the remaining soup to the pressure cooker (rinse it out first if needed) and bring to a boil with the Sauté function. Add the matzoh balls and turn off the pressure cooker.

  6. Lock on the lid and make sure the pressure release valve is set to seal. Set to cook under HIGH pressure for 15 minutes. It will take 8 to 10 minutes to come up to pressure.

  7. When the cook time is up, let the pressure naturally release for 10 minutes. Manually release any remaining pressure. Uncover and add the reserved 3 cups soup. Return the chicken and carrots to the soup if desired and heat on the Warm function. Taste and season with more salt and pepper as needed.

Recipe Notes

Make-ahead: The soup can be made up to 3 days in advance and refrigerated, or frozen for up to 2 months. The matzoh ball dough can be made up to 1 day ahead and refrigerated.

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

This recipe is adapted from The Instant Pot Kosher Cookbook: 100 Recipes to Nourish Body and Soul by Paula Shoyer.