An Instant Pot Whole Chicken is often the first recipe people make in their electric pressure cookers. A pressure cooker whole chicken comes out juicy and tender, and is super easy to make! Cooking a whole chicken in the Instant Pot also yields yummy broth to make rice, potatoes, or soup!
Instant Pot Whole Chicken
I like the rotisserie chickens from the grocery store. Sometimes.
I don’t always have time to stop and get one, and truthfully, I have paid $7 and it was an overcooked, scrawny bird. Disappointing to say the least.
I like to have whole chickens on hand, either frozen or in the fridge, that I can cook up in an hour or less, depending on the size of the bird.
I can season it the way I want, and it will never be scrawny or overcooked, because I have a formula for cooking an Instant Pot Whole Chicken!
Choosing your chicken
When you choose a whole bird for your Instant Pot Whole Chicken recipe, keep in mind the size of your pot! A 6 quart pressure cooker may hold up to a 7 lb chicken, depending on the shape.
But say you want to freeze your chicken to cook later. You want to make sure it will fit in your pot when it comes time to cook it. Here’s what you can do:
First, take out the bag of giblets and the little plastic thing that connects the legs (if it has one). Put the chicken in the freezer bag you will be using, and put the bagged whole chicken in your pressure cooker’s inner pot.
If you can, freeze the chicken in the inner pot and it will freeze in the shape of the pot. Then remove the bagged chicken and put it back in the freezer. When you are ready to cook it, just take it out of the bag and put it into the pot.
You know it will fit because you froze it in the pot to make sure. Easy!
If you don’t have a freezer large enough to do this, choose smaller, 3 to 5 pound chickens at first. Then, if it looks like you can go bigger, buy a larger bird the next time.
Of course, if you own an 8 quart pressure cooker, you can start with larger chickens.
Rub the Chicken With the Rotisserie Chicken Spice Rub, or seasonings that you like.
How to determine the time IT TAKES TO COOK A WHOLE CHICKEN IN THE INSTANT POT
Cook time for your whole chicken will vary based on the size of your bird. I have always done high pressure, 6 minutes per pound, and a 10 minute Natural Release.
So for instance, a 4 lb whole chicken would be 24 minutes (6 minutes x 4 lbs = 24 minutes). Then a 10 minute Natural Pressure Release, or NPR (which means you just let the pot sit, undisturbed for 10 minutes after the cook time has elapsed. Then you manually vent any remaining steam.).
If you put a lot of spices on the chicken and pressure cook it without browning first, the spices will stay on top pretty well. Broiling the chicken afterwards makes the skin taste better!
If your Whole Chicken is Frozen
Same cook time, but I usually add 5 minutes to the Natural Release time! It does take longer to get to pressure as it’s like having a big ice cube in the pot.
Just be sure the bag of giblets, and the plastic thing that holds the legs together are not in the chicken when you go to cook it! If your chicken is 5 lbs it will need to cook on High pressure for 30 minutes (6 minutes x 5 lbs = 30 minutes) plus do a 15 minute Natural Pressure Release.
Pin this pressure cooker whole chicken recipe
Instant Pot Whole Chicken. Learn how to cook a whole chicken in the Instant Pot. A pressure cooker whole chicken is easy and comes out tender and delicious!
- 1 cup Water or Broth (for the pressure cooker. larger (8+ qt) pot use 2 cups)
- 3-6 lbs Whole Chicken (or any size that will fit in your pot)
- Spice Rub or Salt & Pepper
- 1/2 medium Onion, cut in wedges
- 1 sm Apple, cut in wedges
- 1/2 large Lemon, cut in wedges
- Fresh Herbs, rosemary, sage, thyme
Pour the cup of water into the inner cooking liner of the pressure cooker.
Rub the chicken with a spice rub, such as my Rotisserie Chicken Spice Rub, or salt & pepper (mix the spice with a little olive oil if you are browning the chicken first. See Notes).
Stuff the cavity of the chicken loosely with the onion, apple, herbs, and/or lemon wedges.
Set the chicken on the trivet/rack and lower into the pot (you don't have to use the trivet, but it does make it easier to get the cooked chicken out of the pot).
Close the lid and set the vent to the Sealing position. Press the Pressure Cook/Manual button or dial, and then the + or - button or dial to select the cook time in minutes (High pressure):
6 minutes per pound, and a 10 minute Natural Release (A 4 lb chicken will cook for 24 minutes, NPR for 10 min.).
After the cooking cycle has finished, let the pot sit undisturbed for 10 minutes (10minute natural release or NPR). Then turn the steam release knob to the Venting position to release any remaining steam/pressure.
Carefully open the lid once the pin has dropped down. Remove the chicken to a platter, or to a baking sheet if you are going to broil it to crisp up the skin.
If you are broiling it, set the broiler to 450° and set the chicken under it until the desired crispness is achieved.
Serve immediately, or let cool and store for use in recipes that call for cooked chicken meat.
Alternatively you can set the pot to the Sauté setting and add olive oil to the hot pot. Brown on both side for a few minutes until the skin gets some color.
Then add the broth, deglaze the pot (scrape up the browned bits), place the trivet/rack in the pot and the chicken on it. Pressure cook as directed.
Resources to make this recipe and more
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