Here’s an easy recipe for Instant Pot Whole Chicken that’s soon going to be your weeknight family favorite.
I love it because it’s truly a one pot easy chicken recipe, which makes for simple cleanup.
The bird is seasoned with a spice rub that’s made with ingredients from your pantry.
It’s seared in the Instant Pot until golden brown and cooked until fall-off-the-bone tender.
Forget store bought, this is the best instant pot rotisserie chicken ever!
This healthy Instant Pot Whole Chicken recipe is also ideal for gluten free, keto, and low carb diets.
What equipment do you need to cook a pressure cooker whole chicken
Trivet: You can use the trivet with handles that came with your instant pot or pressure cooker.
Baking sheet: If you want to your chicken to have a crispy skin, you’ll need to place it in the broiler for a few minutes on a baking sheet.
Cooking spray: Spray the chicken with some olive oil cooking spray before placing it in the oven.
Poultry lifter: A poultry lifter comes in handy for lifting a hot whole chicken out of your Instant Pot.
The lifter works much better than tongs and you can use it on Thanksgiving turkey.
How to cook Instant Pot Whole Chicken
But there are some tricks to using it.
First, make sure your chicken fits in your instant pot
Stop laughing. I’m serious.
There’s nothing like getting ready to cook and find that the nice fat chicken you’ve been defrosting for three days in the refrigerator is too big for your Instant Pot.
This is where the benefits of a larger, 8-quart Instant Pot comes in handy. You know just about any chicken is going to fit in that baby!
(I use a larger pressure cooker because I want the option of doubling my recipes.)
However, if you have a 6-quart Instant Pot, like most people, you should have not problem fitting a 4-5 pound whole chicken in it.
But if you were hoping to cook this in your 3-quart Instant Pot, you may be in trouble!
That model is better for making side dishes and breakfasts dishes like oatmeal.
Prepare your chicken
In the recipe, when I say “clean the chicken” I don’t mean rinse it.
All washing does is splash raw chicken germs all over your sink and counters. YUCK!
Instead, “cleaning” means to remove any giblets, neck, heart, liver, etc. from the cavity of the chicken.
You can cook up the liver if you like in some olive oil. Add a little salt and pepper.
(Give it to the dog if cooked liver isn’t your thing. She’ll be sooo happy!)
Then save the neck and giblets to make stock.
Season the chicken
Mix all the seasonings together in a small bowl.
Then rub the seasonings over the chicken and sprinkle some in the cavity.
Then stuff the cavity with the lemon and onion.
Plus it will prevent the chicken from falling apart when you lift it out of the pot.
Sauté the chicken
You want to sauté the chicken to give it a nice golden brown appearance on the outside.
To do this, set instant pot to high sauté setting.
Add oil to pot. Then lay the chicken breast side down and cook until golden brown.
Turn the chicken over and continue cooking until the other side is also golden brown.
You can flip the chicken around a bit and cook until all sides are nicely brown.
Then remove chicken and set aside.
Prepare your instant pot for pressure cooking
First, place the trivet into your pressure cooker. You don’t want the chicken to be resting directly on the bottom during the pressure cooking.
Then pour in a cup of chicken broth or stock. (If you have an 8-quart Instant Pot use 2 cups of broth.)
Place the lid on the pressure cooker with the valve set to seal.
Cook and pressure release
Select the manual setting on High and set time for 6 minutes per pound.
When the timer goes off, naturally release the pressure for 20 minutes.
To do a natural release: Leave your Instant Pot on the warm setting. Then wait 20 minutes. After that you open the valve and release any remaining pressure.
Doing it this way makes sure that the chicken is nice and tender.
Then let chicken rest for 10-15 minutes before cutting.
How long does it take to cook a whole chicken in an instant pot?
● 3 1/2 pound chicken – 21 minutes
● 4 pound chicken – 24 minutes
● 4 1/2 pound chicken – 27 minutes
● 5 pound chicken – 30 minutes
● 5 1/2 pound chicken – 33 minutes
● 6 pound chicken – 36 minutes
How do I know if the instant pot roast chicken is cooked?
When the pressure releases, use a digital cooking thermometer to check that the thigh meat of the chicken has reached 165 degrees F.
If it hasn’t, then you’ll need to cook the chicken for a bit longer.
First, place the the lid back on your Instant pot.
Then cook the chicken for an additional 2 minutes for every 5 degrees below 165 degrees F.
Can I pressure cook a frozen whole chicken?
Sort of. However, you’ll need to thaw it enough to remove any bags of gizzards from the cavity.
To do that, run that cavity area under warm-hot water for 5-10 minutes, so you can remove the bag.
(Yes, I know I told you not to rinse your chicken because of spreading raw chicken germs.
But now you’re telling me you want to cook frozen chicken! So this is the best way to do it. Sigh.)
Here are frozen chicken cooking times:
● 3 pound frozen chicken, cook 33 minutes on high pressure
● 4 pound frozen chicken, cook 44 minutes on high pressure
● 5 pound frozen chicken, cook 55 minutes on high pressure
– For each pound of frozen chicken, you’ll need to increase the cooking time by 11 minutes.
– For each half a pound of frozen chicken, increase cooking time by 6 minutes.
Can I use another cooking liquid?
Instead of chicken broth or stock, you can use:
● vegetable stock
● white wine – I would dilute this to half strength with some water or stock.
● cooking wine – again, dilute this to half strength with water. Since cooking wine is salty, don’t use stock.
● orange juice – dilute with some water, wine or stock.
(Remember, If you have an 8-quart Instant Pot use 2 cups of liquid.)
Also, if you’re gluten free, check the label of any stock or broth you’re using.
You can also make your own stock with something like Massel Bouillon Stock Powder, which is gluten free.
Can I make this Instant Pot whole chicken recipe with crispy skin?
Sure! While sautéing the skin in the pressure cooker gives it a nice golden brown color, cooking a whole chicken in the Instant Pot doesn’t crisp up the skin.
If you like crispy skin, you’ll need to place the chicken in the oven under the broiler. Here’s how:
1. Cook the chicken as directed in your Instant Pot.
2. While it’s cooking, cover a baking sheet in foil.
3. Transfer the cooked chicken to the baking sheet with a poultry lifter.
4. Spray the chicken with an olive oil cooking spray.
5. Place under the broiler for 2 to 4 minutes. Watch the chicken closely so it doesn’t burn.
Can I brine the whole chicken before cooking it in the Instant Pot?
You bet! Here are a couple of brining recipes I use for turkey and chicken:
Recipe for how to brine and smoke a turkey breast – since this is for a turkey breast, it’s the perfect amount of brine for a chicken.
Brined & Smoked Chicken Quarters – this recipe brines four chicken quarters, so you may want to double the recipe.
Smoked Turkey Brine – cut this recipe in half for a chicken.
Or you can brine two chickens and borrow a friend’s pressure cooker and cook up two at a time!
What easy recipes can I make with Instant Pot whole chicken?
You can also shred the chicken and use it in Leftover Turkey Enchilada Casserole.
Instant Pot Whole Chicken Recipe
- 1 (4-5 pounds) whole roasting chicken
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional
- 2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
- 1 cup chicken broth or stock
- 1 lemon, cut in quarters
- 2 medium onion, cut in quarters
- Clean chicken, pat dry with paper towels, and set aside.
- In a small bowl, combine all the seasonings.
- Sprinkle seasoning mixture over chicken and into the cavity.
- Stuff the whole chicken cavity with lemon and onion.
- Set instant pot to high sauté setting.
- Add oil to pressure cooker pot.
- Lay chicken breast side down and cook until skin is golden brown, about 3-4 minutes.
- Turn chicken over and continue cooking for 3-4 minutes or until chicken skin is golden brown.
- Remove chicken and set aside.
- Place metal trivet rack into the pressure cooker pot with the handles up. Add chicken broth.
- Place chicken on top of the rack.
- Select manual setting to high and set time for 6 minutes per pound.
- When the timer goes off, naturally release pressure for 20 minutes.
- Let Instant Pot Whole Chicken rest for 10-15 minutes before cutting.
- Serve immediately.
- Serving size: 1/4 to 1/6 of recipe