Easy Instant Pot Whole Chicken Recipe

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Did you know you can cook a whole chicken in the Instant Pot in a fraction of the time it takes in the oven? This Instant Pot Whole Chicken recipe makes for an incredibly easy and quick dinner.

Whole Chicken in the Instant Pot

One of the things I make the most in the oven is a whole roasted chicken. But it takes quite a while to cook a whole chicken in the oven. So when I got my Instant Pot, a whole chicken was one of the first things I made.

Why You’ll Love It

  • So fast: You will likely be very surprised by how little time it takes to make a whole chicken in the Instant Pot. The first time I did it, I was more than a little skeptical that it would actually get cooked all the way through in such a short time. But it worked a charm.
  • Leftovers: Whole chicken not only provides a delicious meal, it also ensures we have left over chicken for sandwiches and salads throughout the week.
  • Easy to clean up: Placing the whole chicken in the Instant Pot keeps the mess to a minimum with just one pot to clean.

You can also cook chicken drumsticks and leg quarters in the Instant Pot in a fraction of the time.

Ingredients You Need

  • Whole chicken – It is important to choose a chicken that will fit in your Instant Pot. We typically chose a 2 1/2 – 4 pound bird.
  • Olive oil and butter – They both add flavor and moisture to the bird while helping to hold on the spices.
  • Seasonings – Salt, paprika, garlic powder, rosemary, oregano, black pepper and mustard powder. While any seasoning will work we love this mixture of flavors.
  • Water or chicken stock – This is to put in the bottom of the pot to create steam under pressure. Water is fine, or use stock to steam the chicken with more flavor.

How to Cook a Whole Chicken in the Instant Pot

There are three steps to making a whole chicken in the Instant Pot. It’s actually very, very simple. It consists of seasoning the chicken, putting it into the Instant Pot, turning it on, and removing it to slice and eat. See? Super simple.

Step 1: Prep the chicken

Before you begin, make sure that your chicken fits in your Instant Pot. As you know, Instant Pots come in different sizes. You need at least a 6-quart Instant Pot to cook a whole chicken.

With the largest version – an 8qt – you can likely fit a chicken up to 6 or 7 pounds. A 6-quart Instant Pot, like the one I have, can fit up to a 5-lb chicken, as long as it’s more plump than long.

Remove the chicken from the refrigerator. Mix up your wet rub and brush it all over the chicken’s exterior, making sure to get inside the leg and wings.

pressure cooker chicken

Step 2: Prep the Instant Pot

The Instant Pot comes with a metal trivet that you can place at the bottom of the metal pot to raise the food up off the bottom. This is an occasion where you will want to use the trivet. Place it in the bottom of the pot.

Pour one cup of water into the bottom of the pot. You may need to use 1.5 or 2 cups if you have an 8-quart pot. The water should just come up to the top of the trivet.

Place the seasoned chicken on top of the trivet and close the lid of the Instant Pot. Make sure the valve is on seal. Set to pressure cook on high for to the appropriate number of minutes needed for your size of chicken.

  • 1 lb = 6 minutes
  • 1.5 lb = 9 minutes
  • 2 lb = 12 minutes
  • 2.5 lb = 15 minutes
  • 3 lb = 18 minutes
  • 4 lb = 24 minutes
  • 5 lb = 30 minutes

For a frozen chicken, it will take around 8.5 minutes per pound. That means if you have a typically sized 3 pound chicken, it will only need to cook for 18 minutes in the Instant Pot.

place the chicken in the instant pot on the trivet

Step 3: Rest

When the cooking time is over, the pressure cooker will still need around 30 minutes to depressurize. It’s best to allow the pressure to release naturally. This will help seal in the juices and make the chicken super tender and delicious.

The whole process should take around 40 minutes, for an average size chicken. Once you’ve opened up the pot, check the chicken with a meat thermometer, like the instant-read Thermapen, to be sure it’s reached the proper internal temperature of 165 degrees F.

If your chicken did not reach the right temperature, you’ll need to put it back on for a few minutes. 2-3 minutes should be enough. You may also wish to finish its cooking process in the oven – especially if you intend to crispy up the skin in the oven anyway.

Instant Pot whole chicken

After you’ve taken the chicken off the bone, you can put the carcass back in the Instant Pot to make bone broth, chicken soup, or stock to make other soups. Season it with similar herbs and add noodles for a delicious chicken noodle soup.

Why Use An Instant Pot

Instant Pot

The Instant Pot is one of the most useful kitchen appliances you can buy, because it drastically cuts down on the cooking time for developing flavors in soups and stews, getting tough cuts of meat tender, and even baking a cheesecake. And there are many accessories that will help you get more out of your Instant Pot.

If you don’t have one yet, check out our guide on which one to buy. You can also check out our Instant Pot page for more information.

Using a Traditional Pressure Cooker

If you’re using a traditional pressure cooker on the stovetop instead of an Instant Pot to cook your chicken, that’s fine too. The cooking time is usually the same in the pressure cooker, unless you’ve dialed the heat up. It will take about 6 minutes per pound to cook in the pressure cooker.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will the chicken have crispy skin?

When you take the chicken out of the Instant Pot, it won’t have crispy skin. The skin will be thin and translucent. However, you can add a bit of crispiness and color to the top of the chicken by putting it in the oven on broil for around 8 minutes. Watch it closely so you don’t over do it.

What if the chicken is frozen?

It’s absolutely possible to cook a frozen chicken in the Instant Pot. It just takes a bit more time. You can even still apply the wet rub seasoning to a frozen chicken. Just make sure the chicken has already been properly cleaned, with the gizzards removed, before you put it in the Instant Pot. If it happens to have anything stuffed into the cavity – some come with a bag of seasoning stuffed inside – you can’t cook it.

Cook times differ for frozen chicken. Instead of 6 minutes, it will take 8.5 minutes per pound.

Instant Pot chicken with a salad

What to Serve It With

The chicken goes particularly well with a Classic Wedge Salad, but you might also want to serve it with this Roasted Green Beans & Mushroom side dish, or these crispy potatoes.

A whole chicken is such a great meal to make because it keeps on giving. You can easily make multiple meals from the one chicken. Then you can use the left overs for other things, like chicken salad, these delicious chicken flautas or these chicken southwestern eggrolls.

Other Instant Pot Chicken Recipes

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whole chicken in the instant pot

Instant Pot Whole Chicken

Cooking a whole chicken in the Instant Pot is easy and incredibly fast.
4.58 from 7 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 466kcal
Author: Laura Lynch

Ingredients

  • 1 2.5 – 4 pounds whole chicken
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1/4 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon mustard powder

Instructions

  • Mix together the olive oil through mustard powder in a small bowl.
  • Prepare the chicken by removing any gizzards from the cavity.
  • Brush the wet rub onto the exterior of the chicken.
  • Place the metal trivet into the base of the Instant Pot. Add 1 cup of water. Place the chicken on top of the trivet and place the lid securely onto the Instant Pot, with the valve set to Seal.
  • Push the Pressure Cook button on the machine and set the time according to the size of the chicken (6 minutes per pound).
  • Allow the pressure to naturally release. Test the internal temperature to be sure it has reached 165 degrees. Remove the chicken from the Instant Pot and slice to serve.

Equipment Needed

Nutrition

Calories: 466kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 31g | Fat: 37g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 17g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 138mg | Sodium: 455mg | Potassium: 323mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 530IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 24mg | Iron: 2mg

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Instant Pot chicken

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