Many of you asked how to make this fabulous Caldo de Pollo or Chicken Soup Mexican Style in an Instant Pot. For the ones who have never made this recipe before and do not have an Instant Pot, here is the original version of this soup.
What is Caldo de Pollo
No matter how hot or humid the climate is, soup appears on the menu whenever you are in Mexico. While you can always buy canned soup and call it a day, making soup from scratch is worthwhile.
Caldo de pollo is a Mexican chicken soup made with different parts of chicken and vegetables. Every country has a version of it, and the ingredients are based on availability and specific cuisine.
While every Mexican household has its own recipe of Caldo de Pollo, the dish, in general, has chicken, lots of different vegetables, a little rice or pasta, and it is served perhaps with a slice or two of avocado, fresh cilantro(coriander), and always wedges of lime on the side and some hot sauce.
Warm corn tortillas are all you need. Optional, add a dollop of Mexican crema or a good quality sour cream to the bowl.
Your meal will be perfect.
Why I like this recipe
- It is easy to make
- It uses classic kitchen staples, like rice, carrots, potatoes, chicken, and other easy-to-find ingredients that every household should have.
- It is made in an Instant Pot, reducing cooking time and allowing you to put dinner on the table quickly.
- It is a healthy, delicious, traditional Mexican recipe that everyone loves.
- It is versatile as you can make it spicy if this is your thing or add extra vegetables not listed in my recipe.
For specific amounts, please refer to the recipe card at the bottom of the article.
Chicken. To make chicken soup, you need to add as many chicken parts as you have available. Adding boneless skinless chicken breast will not do justice to this soup. Chicken breast has no fat, and it is, in general, pretty bland.
I recommend using parts of chicken with bone and skin, like drumsticks, thighs, the back of the chicken even breasts with bone and skin attached. Go for the wings, the back of the bird, or the legs.
My grandmother never made chicken soup out of the "good parts" of chicken, as she called them, like breasts or legs. It was always the back of the chicken, wings, feet that were singed and peeled, neck, even head, and gizzards. You couldn't be squeamish about it. Everything went into the pot.
Vegetables: Good soups are made with vegetables. For this recipe, you will need carrots, onions, potatoes, green celery, Roma tomatoes, and garlic.
All these items are easy to store in your kitchen in a cool place. They are also perfect for making a lot of soups and stews in the winter.
You can add more vegetables if you want. Cabbage, zucchini, and Mexican chayote are the traditional vegetables added to the Caldo de pollo.
My recipe doesn’t include these vegetables, but you can feel free to add them if you want.
Cilantro or coriander leaves: Both dried seeds and the green leaves of this plant are wildly used in Mexican cuisine. Store this herb in the bottom of the refrigerator. Cilantro doesn't freeze successfully, and there is no substitute. If you can't get it or can't stand it, leave it out, or use parsley instead. Just keep in mind that parsley changes the flavor of the traditional soup.
Rice: A traditional Mexican chicken soup will come with a little bit of cooked rice added to the bowl when the soup is served. My version of this recipe requires cooking the rice at the same time as the rest of the soup, making this soup thicker and heartier. Long grain is what I used for the recipe.
Tomato sauce: I used canned tomato sauce. You can also use tomato paste instead of sauce(You will need about 1-2 tablespoons of paste) or even canned diced tomatoes. 🍅
Oil and Salt: I used sunflower oil, but olive oil is OK to use too.
Water: If you use chicken parts with skin and bone, you do not need to use chicken broth. If you use only chicken breast for the soup, add some chicken broth to the recipe for flavor.
Avocado, limes, Mexican crema(or sour cream), sliced radishes, hot sauce (like Salsa Valentina), and corn tortillas. Some of these items are optional; you can dress your bowl of soup with whatever you like.
However, avocado slices, lime juice, and fresh corn tortillas are traditional.
What kind of potatoes are suitable for this soup:
You need potatoes that hold well in the soup, like waxy, Yukon gold, or red potatoes.
How to make this caldo de pollo
Step 1. Preparing the ingredients
Start with the chicken. Clean it well, remove any possible feathers, clean and chop the vegetables, and wash and drain the rice.
Step 2. Preparing the rice.
Place the vegetable oil in the Instant Pot and press the Saute button.
Wait a minute until the oil is hot, and add the rice. Cook the rice until the color is golden brown, without burning, often stirring, for about 2-3 minutes.
Add chopped onions and garlic and cook until onion is translucent, for about 2 minutes.
Add chopped tomatoes and continue to cook for another minute or two.
Step3. Add vegetables.
Add chopped carrots, celery and potatoes, tomato sauce, and salt. Cancel the Saute button.
Step 4. Add chicken.
Add chicken to the pot and water.
Step 5. Cook the soup.
Make sure the Instant Pot is never more than ⅔ full. The pot is marked inside, and it's easier to see it. Lock the lid and close the pressure release valve.
Pressure cook on High, setting the timer for 15 minutes. The timer will begin counting once the pressure inside the pot is reached, which might take about 10-15 minutes.
When done, press Cancel and use the quick release method to release the pressure: Turn the valve to allow the steam to escape/pressure to release.
When the pressure is fully released, the float valve will drop, and the lid will unlock to open. For safety reasons, the pressure cooker will not open until the pressure is released and the float valve has dropped.
Add chopped cilantro to the soup and check again for salt.
You can leave the chicken pieces in the pot as they are or remove them from the soup and shred the meat for easier serving.
Ladle soup into bowls, including a piece of chicken for each serving, and serve with lime wedges and warm corn tortillas.
Optional: Add slices of avocado to your soup and sliced radishes. Mexican crema, hot sauce, or chopped green onions are good as well.
How to store the soup
This homemade chicken soup should be covered and stored in the refrigerator for up to a week. Warm it up on the stove or microwave.
You can also freeze it for up to three months, and these containers are great for storing the soup.
Other recipes in Instant Pot
Instant Pot Mexican Chicken Soup (Caldo De Pollo)
- 4 cups water
- 8 small chicken thighs or drumsticks
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 4 garlic cloves chopped
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- ¼ cup white long grain rice
- ½ cup chopped onion
- 2 tomatoes chopped Roma tomatoes
- 2 carrots sliced
- 3 potatoes quartered
- 1 stalk rib green celery chopped
- ⅓ cup tomato sauce
- 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
- 1 Lime sliced wedges for serving
- Corn tortillas for serving
- optional 1 avocado sliced
- If you use a 6 quart Instant Pot, select the Saute setting. Heat the oil in the pot, add the rice, and cook, occasionally stirring until browned, about 2-3 minutes. Be careful not to burn it.
- Add chopped onion and garlic and continue cooking until onion is translucent, for about 2 minutes.
- Add the chopped tomato and cook for another 3 minutes.
- Stir in carrots, celery, potatoes, and tomato sauce. Press the Cancel button.
- Add chicken, water, and salt.
- Make sure the Instant Pot is never more than ⅔ full. Lock the lid and close the pressure release valve. Pressure cook on High pressure, setting the timer for 15 minutes. (timer will begin counting once the pressure inside the pot is reached, which might take about 10-15 minutes).
- When done, press Cancel and use the quick release method to release the pressure: Turn the valve to allow the steam to escape/pressure to release. When the pressure is fully released, the float valve will drop, and the lid will unlock to open. For safety reasons, the pressure cooker will not open until the pressure is released and the float valve has dropped.
- Add chopped cilantro to the soup and check again for salt.
- Ladle soup into bowls, including a piece of chicken for each serving, and serve with lime wedges and warm corn tortillas.
- Optional: Add slices of avocado to your soup and sliced radishes.