This easy Instant Pot whole chicken recipe is fast, simple, and makes the most tender, juicy chicken. Great for a family dinner or to have chicken meat ready for meals throughout the week!
Why cook a whole chicken in an Instant Pot?
It's faster than roasting it! Cooking a whole chicken in an electric pressure cooker makes it fall-apart tender. You don't have to heat up your kitchen by turning on the oven, either. So, this would be an ideal recipe to make during the summer months if you still crave that whole roasted chicken taste. Most of the cooking time is hands-off too, so you are free to do other things. All the flavors and juices get sealed right in.
This is especially useful if you want to cook a whole chicken quickly for meal prep. You can use the chicken meat for anything from salads to soups or anything in between.
The liquid and bones that are left over can be used to make chicken stock or bone broth.
How to make a whole chicken in an Instant Pot
Season the chicken with desired herbs/spices and add a lemon into the cavity if you wish. Sauté the chicken breast-side down for 4 minutes. Flip the chicken over. Add chicken broth to the electric pressure cooker and cook on high pressure for 6 minutes/pound.
If you don't want your chicken sitting in the chicken broth, you can use the trivet that your Instant Pot came with (place the chicken on it after you add the chicken broth).
See? It's really easy to "roast" a whole chicken in an Instant Pot.
How long does it take to cook a whole chicken in an Instant Pot?
Through researching similar recipes and testing myself, 6 minutes/pound on high pressure is a good cooking time to start with. To be safe, use a meat thermometer to ensure the chicken is fully cooked prior to eating it (165F). You can always easily add another 5 minutes of cooking time if it's not fully cooked, then test again.
How long do you cook a frozen chicken in an Instant Pot?
The rule is to cook a frozen chicken for 10 minutes/pound on high pressure. I haven't personally tried this, and I suggest testing the chicken and ensuring a meat thermometer reaches 165F before you eat it.
I have read that sometimes frozen chickens can yield uneven results, so I'd probably only do this if I was in a real pinch for time.
Do you need to wash a chicken before cooking it?
I don't recommend it. You'll most likely splash bacteria all over your sink and counter top. The Instant Pot will kill germs!
What kinds of seasonings can I use?
I have suggestions in the recipe, but you can definitely use your preferred seasoning/spice rub blend if you wish. Just make sure to use some salt with whatever you use for the best flavor.
What size Instant Pot did you use?
I have a 6-quart Instant Pot. It has plenty of room for most whole chickens.
Important note on this recipe: the chicken skin won't be crispy. A lot of Instant Pot whole chicken recipes won't tell you this, and then you may wonder what you're doing wrong. You're cooking the chicken in a wet, pressurized environment, so it won't be quite like a rotisserie chicken. As far as I can tell, this is the only drawback to cooking a chicken in this way. If you really want the skin to crisp up, you can broil it for a few minutes after your Instant Pot does its thing (I did this for the photos). Otherwise, I'd simply discard the skin if you don't want to eat it and think of this as a healthy recipe. 😉
Hope you enjoy this easy pressure cooker chicken recipe!
Questions? Ask me in the comments below.
Instant Pot Whole Chicken
- 1 whole chicken (mine was 4 pounds)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- Pepper to taste
- 1 whole lemon
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup chicken broth
- Add the spice rub ingredients to a small bowl. Use a knife to prick the lemon all over with small holes.
- Rub the spices all over the chicken (I like to rub some into the cavity as well) and place the lemon in its cavity (ensure giblets etc. have been removed).
- Add the olive oil to your Instant Pot and press the "sauté" button. Once it's had a chance to warm up a bit, add the chicken breast-side down. Let it cook for 4 minutes and then flip it over (I like to use a wooden spoon and spatula to do this). Add the chicken broth to the bottom of the electric pressure cooker. If you prefer your chicken not to be sitting in the broth, you can use the trivet that your Instant Pot came with - place it into your Instant Pot before adding the chicken back in.
- Cook the chicken on high pressure for 6 minutes/pound. In my case, I had a 4-pound chicken so I cooked it for 24 minutes. It will take 10-15 minutes for the Instant Pot to get up to pressure before it starts the cooking time.
- Once the countdown has finished, I like to release the pressure manually after 10 minutes, but you can let it release naturally too.
- Check that the internal temperature of the chicken has reached 165F. If not, cook it for longer (I'd give it another 5 minutes to start). If chicken is cooked, carve it up and serve it. If you decide to discard the skin (it won't be crispy), I suggest seasoning the chicken meat with some extra salt to give it more flavor if needed. Alternatively, you can broil the chicken for a few minutes to get the skin crispy (like I did for the photos). You can use the leftover liquid in the pan and the leftover chicken bones to make bone broth or chicken stock if desired.
- I put a lot of FAQs and tips in the blog post, so if you have any questions, please look there first and it might help you out.
- Inactive time indicates the time the pressure cooker needs to get up to pressure and then release pressure.
- Feel free to use your own blend of seasonings/spices and leave the lemon out if you don't want a lemony-flavored chicken.
- Don't own an Instant Pot? Try my easy roasted chicken recipe for something similar!
- I use this 6-quart Instant Pot.