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.
- 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.
- Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy only and should be construed as an estimate rather than a guarantee. Ingredients can vary and Salt & Lavender makes no guarantees to the accuracy of this information.
Thanks for providing cooking times. 6 minutes per pound!!! Such a simple statement. But IMPORTANTE!!! Everyone who starts to use an Instant Pot consistently, will eventually not need to use recipes. But that comes with practice and knowing how the Instant Pot works in various cooking situations. Temperatures, pounds of pressure per square inch, cooking times, natural versus instant release times all effect how a personal formulation will cook without using a recipe. Even high-altitude cooking isn't covered in basic Instant Pot recipes or the in Instant Pot manual itself (pssst...there is a default setting for altitude cooking in your Instant Pot if you live in say the Mile High City such as myself.) Frankly, it's a bit daunting just trying to find basic information. I'm adapting your recipe (marmite with that lemon and rosemary for a bit of a more savory profile and my cure will be a bit more Mexican in presentation as the Marmite just blends seamlessly) but I couldn't find a basic "cook time" for my poundage of chicken. That is until I hit on your page. I mean who wants raw or overcooked chicken in a chicken taco? (By the way folks it's pretty easy to fix Instant Pot mistakes) Anyone, with a bit of practice can go to the store and buy the exact ingredients, put them in the Pot and voila...but the real cooking starts when we feel like we don't need recipes. We just decide we're going to "create" something...often dictated not by a grocery store run but what's in the pantry and from knowing what we like and what tastes good and how to take average recipes and add the oooph! That is the joy the Instant Pot brings...yep, it is "The Joy of Cooking!" Took me a while but after looking at a lot of recipes I came on your page with the info I needed and just want to offer thanks. Some questions would be easy to answer, one would think but the Instant Pot while having been around a bit is still a little less pinned down than some other cooking techniques. Thanks again. Cheers! Chelada to you my friend...my style - not from just a can but with a nice half of a lime squeezed in and some bitters and some worcestershire...and well Cerveza! 🙂
Miranda @ Salt & Lavender says
You're welcome!! Yes, the Instant Pot can be tricky and confusing (even between different models), so we're very happy you found the information here useful 🙂
I really appreciate your including the "Inactive cook time" as I am a relatively new user of an InstantPot, and that info definitely helps. This recipe looks great, and so glad to have found your site.
You're very welcome! Yes, I try to paint an accurate picture of how long recipes take in the Instant Pot. It's not always exact, but a lot of recipes don't mention the time it takes the IP to get up to pressure. So happy to have you here! I hope you enjoy the recipes. 🙂
Tieghan Gerard says
This is such a great idea!
Matt Robinson says
Added to my instant pot must make list. Perfect weeknight dinner.
Thanks, Matt!! Hope you like it. 🙂
Christina @ North Coast Eats says
I'm always looking for new instant pot recipes! Also, great idea to use the leftover liquid as chicken broth.
Lindsay Cotter says
Instant Pot dinner for the win! Looks so tender and delicious!
Thanks so much, Lindsay!
Leigh Ann says
Thinking I definitely need to invest in an instant pot! This chicken looks amazing!
Yes, they're definitely great for lots of recipes. Thanks, Leigh Ann!
Jennifer Farley says
Instant pots make everything so easy! I'm totally giving this a try for dinner!
Thank you!! Let me know if you make it! 🙂
Alice @ Hip Foodie Mom says
Can't wait to try this! I wonder if a 4 lb. chicken will fit in my instant pot!
Thanks, Alice!! Definitely, if you have a 6 qt. or bigger.
Mary Ann | The Beach House Kitchen says
Wow! That's quick, and looks delicious Natasha.
Thanks so much!