by Olena

Instant Pot Whole Chicken Recipe

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Olena Osipov
4.9 from 28 votes

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Instant Pot Whole Chicken Recipe is juicy, flavorful, and fall apart tender. Even the breast is moist! The easiest way to cook rotisserie style chicken with 5 minutes of prep and finish under the broiler for that beautiful crispy skin!

We rely heavily on Instant Pot recipes for dinner when life gets busy. One pot meals like Instant Pot chicken and rice and Instant Pot chicken alfredo are on regular rotation around here!

instant pot whole chicken roasted and ready to serve on platter with garnish

As if cooking Instant Pot frozen chicken wasn’t already one of my favorite kitchen hacks, this Instant Pot whole chicken recipe is right up there with exactly why I love an electric pressure cooker. It’s so much faster than the oven and it’s made with simple pantry staples you’ve probably got on hand.

With 5 minutes of prep, simple dry spices like paprika, salt, and pepper, and under 60 minutes of cook time, you can enjoy the juiciest and most flavorful chicken for dinner with enough time to make all the sides you need and plenty of leftovers throughout the week!

Why Make Instant Pot Rotisserie Chicken?

  • Quick and easy: The Instant Pot cooks a whole chicken in a fraction of the time as any other method. You may seriously never go back to roasting a whole chicken in the oven!
  • Juicy and succulent: Pressure cooking tenderizes the meat and captures all the moisture inside the pot.
  • Make ahead: Plan and make this chicken early on and have quick easy lunches and dinners throughout the week.
  • Versatile: There’s never a shortage of ways to use leftover chicken! See below for ideas.

This Instant Pot rotisserie chicken is perfect for cooking fresh right after grocery shopping, perfect for sandwiches, meal prep, salads, and even soup using leftover broth and bones.

Ingredients for Instant Pot Whole Chicken Recipe

  • Whole chicken: I find 3 lbs is a perfect size. If possible, aim for free-run, organic chicken. You’ll notice the difference in taste!
  • Seasoning: Garlic cloves, paprika, salt, and pepper.

Out of a certain spice? Keep reading for substitutions.

Whole chicken, garlic, paprika, salt and pepper.

New to pressure cooking? Check out my Instant Pot guide. Don’t have one yet? Check out which Instant Pot to buy.

How to Make Instant Pot Whole Chicken

  • Prep the chicken. Remove the twine and giblets from inside the cavity. If you want to cook the giblets, remove them from the bag they come in and place them back inside the cavity.
  • Season the chicken: Place whole chicken in a large glass bowl and rub with grated garlic all around, inside the cavity, and even under the skin where possible. Combine the paprika, salt, and pepper in a small bowl, and sprinkle it over top and around the entire chicken.

Tip: Hold the chicken by one leg and rotate it around as you sprinkle the rub with your other hand.

  • Get Instant Pot ready for cooking: Place trivet inside, with or without handles. If you don’t have a trivet, you can still cook the chicken without it. The bottom will be very moist, which is fine, it’s still cooked. Add 1 cup of water.
  • Add chicken to the pot: Place seasoned chicken breast-side up on the trivet. 2/3 max fill line is applicable only for liquids. Don’t worry if the chicken is sitting above that.
  • Pressure cook chicken: Close the lid and set release valve to Seal. Press Manual or Pressure Cook on High for 6 minutes per lb. Allow the pressure to come down naturally on its own. In 6 quart Instant Pot, the pin drops by itself after 11-12 minutes.
  • Remove chicken: Hold onto the handles of the trivet to lift it out. If no handles, use 2 long spoons, tongs, or stick a long fork into the cavity and lift.
  • Broil in the oven for crispy skin: This step is optional but so good and essential to rotisserie style chicken! Place whole chicken on a baking sheet, brush with juices and broil at 500 degrees F for about 5-10 minutes depending on size. Watch closely not to burn.

How Long to Cook Whole Chicken in Instant Pot?

The rule of thumb for cooking a whole chicken in Instant Pot is 6 minutes per lb. If chicken breasts seem very thick, increase cooking time to 7 minutes per lb. If you live at an altitude above 2,000 ft, increase pressure cooking time by 5% for every 1,000 ft above 2,000 ft elevation.

  • 2.5 lbs = 15 minutes
  • 3 lbs = 18 minutes
  • 3 1/2 lbs = 21 minutes
  • 4 lbs = 24 minutes
  • 4 1/2 lbs = 27 minutes
  • 5 lbs = 30 minutes
  • 5 1/2 lbs = 33 minutes
  • 6 lbs = 36 minutes

Optional Add-In’s and Variations:

  • Stuff chicken cavity with half of a lemon, garlic cloves, and any dried or fresh herbs you like. Thyme, oregano, and rosemary are my favorites.
  • Instead of water, use chicken broth or veggie broth just for an additional bit of flavor infused into the meat.
  • Other seasonings like onion powder, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, brown sugar, lemon pepper, and smoked paprika can be used in the dry rub.

Let’s talk about chicken brine. There’s no denying the difference in taste and texture between a chicken that has been sitting in brine and one that hasn’t when grilled, smoked, or roasted. There is a time and place for a brine, but this ain’t it! There is no need to brine your chicken because the pressure cooking adds enough moisture and flavor and it keeps the chicken juicy, tender, and succulent all on its own.

Tips for Best Results

  • Size of chicken and Instant Pot matter: Before you begin, make sure your chicken fits into your Instant Pot. Check the weight on the label before discarding the packaging or simply weigh the chicken. Up to 6 lbs are OK for a 6 quart Instant Pot.
  • Chicken should be fully defrosted: No need to bring the bird to room temperature. If you have frozen chicken, make this recipe instead!
  • No need to rinse the chicken: Some people do, some don’t. Either way works.
  • If you live at an altitude above 2,000 ft: Increase pressure cooking time by 5% for every 1,000 ft above 2,000 ft elevation. For example, at 5,000 ft the cooking time will be 28 minutes for a 4-lb chicken.
  • Different Instant Pot sizes: You will need only 1 cup of water and the same amount of cooking time no matter which Instant Pot you’re using.
  • No trivet? You can cook chicken without trivet but you still need the liquid, so the bottom will be soggy.
  • To avoid chicken wings falling off etc. (indicates super tender chicken though): Calculate cook time precisely. A larger sized chicken will hold together better.
  • Meat resting. It’s always a good idea to rest the meat once it’s been cooked. Whether just out of the Pot or the oven, allow it to rest for 5-10 minutes before cutting into it. This way it will stay moist and the juices won’t run out.
Instant pot whole chicken garnished with lemon and parsley in a serving dish.

FAQs

Can I cook whole frozen chicken in Instant Pot?

Yes. Frozen whole chicken cooking time is 15 minutes per lb on average and varies largely with the size of Instant Pot you use. Use my Instant Pot frozen chicken recipe and you should be good to go.

Can I make gravy with Instant Pot roast chicken?

Remove chicken and press Saute. Whisk 1/4 cup cold water with 3 tbsp cornstarch. Pour into bubbling drippings, whisk and cook until gravy has thickened, about 1-2 minutes. Press Cancel.

What should I do if my whole chicken is not fully cooked?

Close the lid, vent to Sealing, and pressure cook for 10 more minutes. It definitely should be cooked by now. Next time, use the total cook time for a whole chicken.

Is my chicken still raw if I cut into it and ‘blood’ pours out?

Sometimes when cooking a whole chicken in the Instant Pot, it is normal for brownish/reddish juices to pour out. The best way to know if the chicken is cooked is to insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the chicken without touching any bone, breast, or thigh. If the internal temperature reads 165 degrees F or more, the chicken is cooked.

Should I brown the skin for more flavor before cooking a whole chicken in Instant Pot?

Nah. Don’t waste your time. There is a ton of flavor already in this chicken and you can finish it off under the broiler to get a beautiful golden crisp on the skin.

How does pressure cooking keep my chicken moist?

The pressure tenderizes the meat but doesn’t dry it out. The liquid creates steam which gets trapped in the Instant Pot. It has no place to go except right back into the chicken. It locks in the moisture keeping it there until you take a bite out of it!

What temp and setting for Instant Pot Duo Crisp?

After pressure cooking, discard liquid, place on the special lid, and then you can Broil at 400 F, for 5-10 mins.

Can I make this whole chicken in my slow cooker?

Absolutely. Slow cooker whole chicken is also great, but just nowhere near as fast. Obviously.
Place chicken on a trivet or on top of roughly chopped carrots, celery, potatoes, and onions. Slow cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 8-10 hours.

Instant pot roast chicken in a pressure cooker.

What to Serve with Instant Pot Whole Chicken?

Serve Instant Pot whole chicken recipe with:

Did someone say dessert? Finish off a satisfying and healthy meal with some healthy desserts to match! Almond flour cake, healthier cupcakes, or Greek yogurt cheesecake are exactly what you need as an end to a great meal.

Recipes for Leftover Rotisserie Chicken?

We cook whole chicken every 2 weeks because it is affordable, requires no cutting, and both dark and white meat lovers are satisfied. In our house, nothing goes to waste!

Use chicken leftovers to make:

Use leftover broth and bones to make:

Do not discard that broth at the bottom of the pot. It is golden and not just for gravy.

How to Store and Reheat Whole Chicken?

Store: Keep any leftover chicken stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Reheat: Depending on how much chicken you have left to reheat, you can use the microwave for a single serving, the oven for a few servings, or use the warm function on the Instant Pot to heat through.

Freeze: Transfer chicken to a freezer friendly bag or container and keep frozen for up to 3 months.

More Instant Pot Chicken Recipes

Chicken drumstick cut off of chicken showing juicy meaty texture.
Instant Pot Whole Chicken Recipe

Instant Pot Whole Chicken Recipe

Instant Pot Whole Chicken Recipe is juicy, flavorful, and fall apart tender. Even the breast is moist! The easiest way to cook rotisserie style chicken with 5 minutes of prep and finish under the broiler for that beautiful crispy skin!
4.93 from 28 votes
Print Save Rate
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Ukrainian
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 18 minutes
Pressure Up & Down Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 58 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 236kcal
Author: Olena Osipov

Ingredients

  • 3 lbs whole chicken fresh
  • 2 large garlic cloves grated
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Ground black pepper to taste

Instructions

  • In a small bowl, combine paprika, salt, pepper and stir to combine with a fork.
  • Remove any twine, giblets and trim fat from whole chicken. No need to rinse. You can return giblets without the bag inside the cavity to cook.
  • Place chicken in a large bowl and run with grated garlic all around including the cavity and under the skin where possible.
  • Sprinkle with mixed seasoning evenly.
  • To Instant Pot, add 1 cup water and place trivet inside (with handles is better but regular one is fine).
  • Place chicken on top, close the lid and set pressure release valve to Sealing.
  • Press Manual or Pressure Cook on High. Cook for 6 mins per lb on High pressure. If chicken breasts seems very thick, increase cooking time to 7 minutes per lb. If you live at altitude above 2,000 ft, increase pressure cooking time by 5% for every 1,000 ft above 2,000 ft elevation. Please consult table in notes.
  • After, let pressure come down naturally on its own until the float valve drops. It took about 12 minutes on my 6 quart Instant Pot Lux.
  • Insert internal read thermometer into breast or thigh and if it reads 165 F, your chicken is ready. Remove chicken carefully by holding onto handles or with 2 long spoons onto baking sheet.
  • Broil at 500 F degrees for 5-10 minutes depending on size. And watch closely not to burn.
  • Serve hot with a side like roasted sweet potatoes or garlic green beans, mashed potatoes or cauliflower mash and/or salad like cucumber and tomato salad. Or meal prep for a week and use leftovers to make a chicken salad.

Store: Refrigerate cooked chicken leftovers in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

    Freeze: In freezer safe container or bags up to 3 months.

      Reheat: Depending on how much chicken you have left to reheat, you can use the microwave for a single serving, the oven for a few servings, or use the warm function on the Instant Pot to heat through.

        Video

        Notes

        How long to cook chicken for?
        Rule of thumb for cooking whole chicken in Instant Pot is 6 minutes per lb. If chicken breasts seems very thick, increase cooking time to 7 minutes per lb. If you live at altitude above 2,000 ft, increase pressure cooking time by 5% for every 1,000 ft above 2,000 ft elevation.
        • 2.5 lbs = 15 minutes
        • 3 lbs = 18 minutes
        • 3 1/2 lbs = 21 minutes
        • 4 lbs = 24 minutes
        • 4 1/2 lbs = 27 minutes
        • 5 lbs = 30 minutes
        • 5 1/2 lbs = 33 minutes
        • 6 lbs = 36 minutes
         
        • If you wish, make gravy with drippings: Remove chicken and press Saute. Whisk 1/4 cup cold water with 3 tbsp cornstarch. Pour into bubbling drippings, whisk and cook until gravy has thickened, about 1-2 minutes. Press Cancel.
        • Different Instant Pot sizes: You will need only 1 cup water and same cook time for any size Instant Pot.
        • If chicken is not fully cooked: Close the lid, vent to Sealing and pressure cook for 10 more minutes. It definitely should be cooked by now. Next time, use the total cook time for a whole chicken.
        See recipe post for more tips and FAQs.

        Nutrition

        Calories: 236kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 20g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 82mg | Sodium: 464mg | Sugar: 1g

        Recipes and images are a copyright of ifoodreal.com. It is against the law to republish recipes without permission. Nutritional info is approximate.

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        63 comments on “Instant Pot Whole Chicken Recipe

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        1. 5 stars
          Thank you for sharing so much about how to functionally and efficiently cook in the instant pot! We are eating healthier meals because you helped to make understanding the process so simple… and safe. You explain in 3 minutes what others take 20 minutes to day in your videos. No time wasted! We enjoy cooking your way. Best wishes!

        2. Unfortunately despite following your directions my pot went into burn food mode.

          I had weighed the chicken on a kitchen scale to make sure the time was accurate. How can this be avoided?

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