8 Instant Pot Soup Recipes That Are Healthier Than Canned, and Nearly as Fast

When you’re craving comfort food, these bowls deliver.

Medically Reviewed
instant pot in kitchen

Put down the can opener — soup from scratch isn’t as tough as you think!

There are countless times when a warm bowl of soup is in order, and the return of chilly temperatures is just one of them. If you’re coming down with a cold, having a bad day, or need a little extra self-care, that's an occasion for soup no matter what the weather's like outside.

Like other packaged foods, however, prepared soups tend to be less healthy than homemade. Instant ramen is a budget favorite, but not very nutritious on its own. Canned soups have been criticized because of the presence of bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical used in can linings that leaches into the food inside. While the Can Manufacturers Institute reports that around 95 percent of canned foods no longer contain BPA, it’s unclear whether what has been used to replace the substance is any better, according to the Environmental Working Group.

Canned soups are also often high in sodium and fat, according to the Institute of Food Technologists. The American Heart Association includes soup on its “Salty Six” list, pointing out that one cup of canned soup can contain as much as 830 milligrams of sodium — more than a third of your daily recommended intake.

“Typically, calories, fat, sugar, and salt are added to a prepared soup,” says Roxana Ehsani, RDN, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “But when we cook at home, we can reduce these amounts by choosing healthier ingredients.”

If you’re thinking it’s too difficult and time-consuming to make your own soup from scratch, perhaps it’s time to explore making soup in an electric pressure cooker like the Instant Pot. “You can use it to cook nutritious foods like beans quickly,” says Ehsani. The following recipes all make tasty, comforting homemade soups easy enough for any night of the week. Use low-sodium stock or broth to keep sodium levels in check.

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Italian Wedding Soup

Instant pot Italian wedding soup

A bowl of mini meatballs floating in a savory broth, fragrant garlic, and tender spinach is sure to help cure what ails you. This recipe from Eating Instantly gives you a choice between ground beef, pork, or chicken for the meatballs. Choose ground chicken breast for the least saturated fat, and use a low-sodium broth. The Instant Pot will allow you to ladle this full-flavored soup into your bowl in 40 minutes flat.


Chicken Noodle Soup

Warming chicken noodle soup is the ultimate comfort-food classic, and this version from Well-Plated by Erin is especially wholesome. “This recipe calls for low-sodium chicken broth. Premade soups typically are quite high in sodium, but a low-sodium broth cuts down on the total sodium content, which boosts the nutritional value of this soup,” says Ehsani. The whole-wheat egg noodles add fiber.


Potato Soup

Instant Pot potato soup

This recipe from A Couple Cooks delivers all the soul-soothing comfort of a loaded baked potato, but in soup form and with far less fat and fewer calories. Homemade shiitake bacon replaces the typical pork bacon you find on baked potatoes. To keep sodium in check, use unsalted butter, low-sodium stock or broth, and Old Bay seasoning with 30 percent less sodium. The addition of reduced-fat milk (instead of full-fat milk, heavy cream, or sour cream) keeps the richness with less saturated fat overall.

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White Chicken Chili

Instant Pot white chicken chili

Olena Osipov's chili is the total package: It’s a 30-minute meal that’s as good for you as it is delicious. According to Ehsani, it has a lot going for it. “This recipe calls for using chicken breast, which is a lean source of protein, rather than traditional chunks of beef. It also uses avocado oil instead of butter, so it increases your dosage of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and lessens saturated fat content,” she says.


Broccoli Cheese Soup

This popular soup is available at corner delis, chain restaurants, and in the soup aisle at the supermarket — why would you ever go to the trouble to make it yourself? Well, because your own from-scratch version of broccoli cheese soup will be both tastier and healthier and will take little more time than picking up a quart from a restaurant. The secret ingredients in this recipe by Erin Clarke are cauliflower, which gives the soup a velvety texture without the usual heavy cream, and sharp cheddar, whose intense flavor allows you to use less.


Cream of Mushroom Soup

Rich, savory, and incredibly satisfying, cream of mushroom soup is a comfort-food crowd-pleaser. And it’s much easier to whip up than you might think, especially with the help of an Instant Pot. Wild rice adds nutrition and complex flavor, and low-sodium stock or broth can save you more than 500 milligrams of salt per serving. Most cream soups get their richness from heavy cream or sour cream, but this version by Hummusapien relies on blended cashews to fill in for the dairy. It’s so creamy from the cashews and meaty from the mushrooms, you would never guess this soup is actually vegan.

RELATED: 10 Protein-Packed Soups to Keep You Satisfied


Beef Stew

Instant Pot beef stew

A mainstay in the canon of American comfort foods, beef stew can be healthy, too. When you make it yourself, you have more control over the ingredients than you get with beef stew out of a can. “[Slender Kitchen's] recipe calls for lean beef, which a [prepared beef stew] may not choose to use. Lean beef cuts down on total calories, total fat, and saturated fats,” says Ehsani. Use a homemade or low-sodium beef broth to keep the sodium down. On the stovetop, stew beef can take hours to become truly tender, but the Instant Pot can get the job done in only 35 minutes.


Lasagna Soup


If you have 20 minutes, you can cook up Confessions of a Fit Foodie's soupy spin on an ultimate comfort-food favorite: lasagna. “This recipe suggests using gluten-free lasagna noodles, or whole-wheat ones if you want to add a source of dietary fiber to this dish,” says Ehsani. Go easy on the cheese toppings to save on saturated fat, and use ground turkey and low-sodium stock or broth to keep sodium levels reasonable.