Easy Instant Pot Whole Chicken

You’ve found the best and easiest Instant Pot whole chicken recipe. This recipe for cooking a whole chicken in the Instant Pot takes less than 45 minutes and produces a moist and flavorful rotisserie style chicken – total perfection.

Suitable for Gluten Free, Paleo, Keto, Low Carb and Whole 30 diets. Weight Watchers points included.

Post may contain affiliate links. For more information, check my disclosure

overhead view of instant pot whole chicken on a platter next to a knife

This Instant Pot Whole Chicken recipe is a super easy weeknight supper. Get dinner on the table in just about 45 minutes, or use it for soups, stews, or even for cooking up more Instant Pot Chicken recipes, like these Instant Pot Chicken Wings or Instant Pot Chicken Thighs. It is soooooo good, and the chicken broth you’ll create from this pressure cooker whole chicken is so, so flavorful.

Yeap, you can have an Instant Pot chicken cooking marathon day and cook up all sorts of chicken dishes one after another. The beauty of Instant Pot Whole Chicken is that it is also extremely versatile. Pair it with a simple green salad for a quick and healthy supper. Or serve it as the main course for a special occasion, such as Easter Sunday brunch or Christmas dinner.

Whether you dress it up or down, it is truly delicious either way. Just like this Instant Pot Turkey Breast with Garlic Butter Gravy.

browned instant pot whole chicken inside an instant pot on a trivet

There are a lot of modifications that can be made to this chicken recipe – changing the seasonings, cooking from frozen (yeap, you can throw a whole, frozen chicken in the Instant Pot), but for a done-for-you perfect chicken recipe, this Instant Pot Whole Chicken recipe is it!

Instant pot quick start guide image

Why Make This Recipe

  • It’s Convenient – Cook an entire chicken in the Instant Pot and free up the oven for cooking your favorite side dishes.
  • It’s Fast – Get delicious chicken and flavorful broth in less than an hour, including prep time! It tastes just like rotisserie chicken.
  • It’s Versatile – Pressure cooking chicken is a meal itself or use the meat in casseroles, soups, salads and sandwiches.

Have a regular pressure cooker but not an Instant Pot? I’ve included a section with modifications to make regular pressure cooker chicken. (Or you can buy an Instant Pot here and be very, very happy.)

No pressure cooker at all? If you don’t have a pressure cooker of any kind, I’ve included a few non-pressure cooker whole chicken recipes below so you can still make a delicious chicken supper tonight. (See above note about Instant Pot and happiness.)

Instant Pot owners, are you ready to make amazing whole chicken? Soooo am I. Let’s get started.

Instant Pot Whole Chicken Recipe Materials

KITCHEN TOOLS, UTENSILS & APPLIANCES  NEEDED

This post contains affiliate links. For more information, check out my disclosure.

Here are some of the items you will need to make this recipe.

Ingredient Notes

  • Chicken – Look for a chicken with or without giblets, just be sure to remove them if they are included.
  • Chicken Stock – Use fat-free, low-sodium chicken stock when possible as the chicken will produce fat, and you can easily season to taste.
  • Herbs and Spices – Combine paprika, minced garlic, minced ginger, ground coriander, an herb mix such as Herbs de Provence, ground nutmeg, salt and black pepper with oil to make paste.

Ready to learn how to make this whole chicken Instant Pot recipe? Gather up your ingredients and I will show you….

How To Make Instant Pot Whole Chicken

Get the complete ingredients list and instructions from the recipe card below.

  1. Mix spices, salt, pepper, 2 tablespoons olive oil, and 2 tablespoons chicken stock to create a paste.
  2. Rub the paste all over the chicken, including in the cavity and under the skin.
  3. Add olive oil to the Instant Pot and turn it on the sauté setting. Brown whole chicken on each side (about 4 minutes each side). Remove from Instant Pot and set aside.
  4. Add chicken broth to the Instant Pot, and scrape any bits that were stuck to the bottom of the pot from frying.
  5. Insert the trivet and add the whole chicken to the top of the trivet.
  6. Cover Instant Pot, move the valve to sealing position, and select the manual setting. Make sure the pressure is set to high and set timer for 25 minutes.
  7. Let the steam release naturally, about 10-15 minutes, before opening.
  8. Check the internal temperature of the chicken using a thermometer (guidelines are that the meat is done when the internal temperature reaches at least 165 degrees F/ 74 degrees C. If the temperature is right, let the chicken rest for 10 minutes before serving. If it hasn’t reached the ideal temperature, cook for a further 5 minutes.
image collage showing the steps for making instant pot whole chicken

Why Use A Natural Pressure Release?

Allowing for a natural pressure release (NPR) is the best way. Your Instant Pot roast chicken will smell amazing and you may find yourself tempted to push the steam valve over and do a quick release (‘buuuuuut it’s just a few minutes, how bad can it be?’)… but you really, really shouldn’t.

Not only will a natural pressure release lock in the moisture, but the cooking continues during a natural release. A quick release will require a longer time under pressure.

Tips For Success

  • Make sure the chicken fits inside your Instant Pot. What size chicken will fit? This recipe calls for a chicken that is just under 4 pounds which easily fits inside a 6 quart Instant Pot. If you want to cook a chicken that is over 5 pounds, you will need to move up to the 8 quart Instant Pot.
  • To reduce the time it takes for your chicken to get to pressure, preheat the liquid first in the inner pot using the sauté setting on high. Do this before you place the lid on the Instant Pot and before you select the manual setting. (This is a life-changing Instant Pot tip.)
  • The browning step is awesome, but it can be skipped. Browning the chicken adds amazing flavor to this main dish, but sometimes you need your ‘Instant’ Pot to be a bit more instant. If you need a faster Instant Pot whole chicken, then simply skip the browning step.
  • For an even juicier pressure cooker whole chicken, don’t use the trivet. If you want to make extra juicy chicken, cook the chicken directly in the stock and do not place on top of the trivet.
  • If you don’t need an entire chicken, you can follow this same recipe for chicken breast or other bone-in chicken cuts.
  • Cook your whole chicken breast side down. Flipping the chicken and cooking it with the breast side facing down (where the majority of the meat resides) will ensure that tender white meat stays perfectly moist and juicy.
  • Remember to check the internal temperature of the chicken using an awesome Meat thermometer.
  • You’ve created an extra flavorful pressure cooker chicken broth, so put it to good use. Use this liquid gold to make a quick and easy Instant Pot Chicken Soup. You can also store your chicken broth in an airtight container in the fridge and add it as stock to all sorts of different recipes.
  • You can even use the chicken broth to cook up more chicken! Cook a whole chicken in the Instant Pot, save the chicken broth, then cook Instant Pot chicken breasts or Instant Pot chicken thighs using the very same liquid. This is a great meal prep solution and an excellent time-saving trick.

How To Get Extra Crispy Skin?

The sauté step in this recipe will give your whole chicken a nice brown finish. But if you are looking for that extra crispy skin you get with your Instant Pot rotisserie chicken, just follow these steps:

  • Cook the whole chicken in your pressure cooker following the steps in this recipe.
  • Once cooked, take the rotisserie chicken out and place it on top of a baking sheet.
  • Coat the chicken skin with oil or butter, then broil for 2-4 minutes, making sure to keep a close eye on it (you don’t want your delicious chicken to burn!).

Delicious Variations

This easy pressure cooker whole chicken recipe really is sooooo versatile. It works perfectly as is, or you can follow any of the tips below to suit your preferences and needs. Because no recipe is truly perfect until it’s perfect for you, right?

  • The seasonings and cooking liquid can be changed for a different flavor. Do whatever makes you happy here. Add more seasonings, change them altogether, or use a different cooking liquid. A few ideas:
    • For Mexican flavor, cover the chicken in salsa before cooking.
    • Cook your whole chicken with orange juice or pineapple juice instead of using chicken stock.
    • Swap out the herbs and spices. Try cajun or creole seasoning mix, smoked paprika, onion powder, dried thyme harissa spice mix, and fresh herbs
  • Chicken With Lemon – Want to literally infuse your chicken with even more amazing flavor? One fantastic variation of this recipe is making Whole Chicken with Lemon. Simply stuff the chicken cavity with the following ingredients, then cook as directed:
    • one whole lemon, quartered
    • one medium onion, quartered
    • 3-5 garlic cloves
    • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
    • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • Indian Flavor – Cooking your Instant Pot Whole Chicken Indian style gives it a wonderfully bold and complex flavor. To make it, simply create an Indian spice dry rub using 1 tsp each of ground cumin, coriander, turmeric, and garam masala. Then coat the whole chicken with the rub, place it in the Instant Pot and cook according to this recipe.
overhead view of chicken on a black platter

Instant Pot Cooking Time For Whole Chicken (Fresh)

Here’s a handy guideline for cooking a fresh whole chicken in the Instant Pot: for each pound (0.5kg )of chicken, add 6 minutes of cook time.

  • 3-pound (1.36kg) chicken = 18 minutes
  • 4-pound (1.8kg) chicken = 24 minutes
  • 5-pound (2.25kg) chicken = 30 minutes

After the chicken is finished cooking, allow for a natural pressure release of 15 minutes and then check for doneness.

Important Food Safety Tip: It is critical to check the internal temperature of the chicken using a meat thermometer. The chicken is fully cooked and safe to eat when the internal temperature reaches at least 165 degrees F / 74 degrees C.

Pressure Cooker Whole Chicken Time Per Pound (From Frozen)

When pressure cooking a frozen whole chicken, I recommend the following: for every pound (0.5kg), add 10 minutes of cook time;

  • 3-pound (1.36kg) chicken = 30 minutes
  • 4-pound (1.8kg) chicken = 40 minutes
  • 5-pound (2.25kg) chicken = 50 minutes

Always allow for a complete natural pressure release with a frozen chicken, then check for doneness.

And I’ll say it again, folks: you must check the internal temperature of the chicken using a meat thermometer. A whole chicken is fully cooked and safe to eat when the internal temperature reaches at least 165 degrees F / 74 degrees C.

closeup of browned whole chicken on a bronze platter

Prep and Storage

  • Prep Ahead – If your chicken is frozen, thaw it overnight in the fridge. Bring your thawed chicken to room temperature for 30 minutes before cooking. You can cook fresh or frozen chicken in a pressure cooker.
  • Storage – There are soooooo many different meal prep storage solutions out there. However, these are the ones I tend to reach for again and again when tackling my weekly meal prep.
    • Glass Meal Prep Containers with 1 and 2 Compartments – containers with more than one compartment are so great for taking your meal prep food with you. And having lots of single compartment containers on hand is exactly what you need to get ahead with weekly meal prep. I love using these glass meal prep containers because they are freezable, microwavable, and dishwasher safe.
    • Reusable sauce cups with lids – the 1-ounce size fits right inside the larger glass containers and keeps your food from getting soggy. Use these cups to hold salad dressings, fat free yogurt, salsa, and dips.
    • Insulated Lunch Bag – pack up your glass container, sauce cups, and utensils in this handy, easy to carry bag and head out the door!
  • Freeze – Follow these easy steps for safely freezing your whole chicken:
    • Let the chicken cool completely, then wrap it well in plastic wrap.
    • Place the wrapped chicken inside a large gallon-size ziplock bags
    • Squeeze out all the extra air and seal the bag.
    • Label the bag and then place in the freezer, making sure no other items are touching. Once it is completely frozen, it can be stacked with other frozen items.
    • Chicken can be safely stored in the freezer for up to 3 months.
  • Reheat – Reheat leftover chicken in the microwave until warmed through. You can reheat a whole chicken by covering it in foil and placing in a warm oven until heated through.

FAQs

Can You Make Instant Pot Bone Broth with Whole Chicken?

You can certainly make bone broth using the leftover chicken carcass. You would add this to your instant pot, along with broth making veggies and seasonings, and select manual or pressure cook (depending on your IP model) cook at high pressure for 2 hours. Allow a natural pressure release and strain the chicken bone broth before using or storing.

How to Use Pressure Cooker Chicken Broth

You’ve created an extra flavourful pressure cooker chicken broth, so put it to good use. Use this liquid gold to make a quick and easy Instant Pot Chicken Soup. You can also store your chicken broth it in an airtight container in the fridge and add it as stock to all sorts of different recipes.

You can even use the chicken broth to cook up more chicken! Cook a whole chicken in the Instant Pot, save the chicken broth, then cook Instant Pot chicken breasts or Instant Pot chicken thighs in using the very same liquid. This is a great meal prep solution and an excellent time saving trick.

Regular Pressure Cooker Whole Chicken – How To

This recipe is also suitable for regular pressure cooker whole chicken if you don’t have an Instant Pot. Use a large skillet or pot to brown the chicken on the stove, then prepare chicken as instructed before putting it in a pressure cooker.

Next, bring the pressure cooker up to pressure, then lower the heat to a point where the pressure can be maintained. Cook for 15-20 mins under pressure*, then turn off the heat and allow the pressure to reduce naturally.

And voila – you have regular pressure cooker whole chicken!

*Note that electric pressure cookers like the Instant Pot cook at a lower pressure than regular pressure cookers. Regular pressure cookers cook a bit faster (but you have to babysit them, so it’s a bit of a trade-off).

How to Cook a Frozen Chicken in The Instant Pot

Cooking a whole frozen chicken in the Instant Pot? Yeap, it can be done. It’s also safe to do – unlike putting a whole frozen chicken in a slow cooker. (Peeps, do not do that unless food poisoning is your idea of ‘fun.’)

The ability to cook a whole frozen chicken (or any frozen meat) in no time at all is one of my favorite features of the Instant Pot. I am all for meal planning, but the Instant Pot makes it quite tempting not to meal plan ever again.

Whole Chicken in the Oven – Try This Recipe

No pressure cooker at all? Try my Nutmeg Orange Chicken recipe (also suitable for Keto, Paleo, and Whole 30 dieters).

Whole Chicken in the Slow Cooker – Try This Recipe

If you prefer to use your slow cooker then try this Slow Cooker Whole Chicken Recipe  (also suitable for Keto, Paleo, and Low Carb and  Gluten-free diets). It is filled with lots of tips

More Recipes You May Like

Serving Suggestions

overhead view of hands on a bronze platter with a cooked chicken on top

Chicken Meal Prep Ideas

Instant Pot Whole Chicken is an ideal meal prep ingredient. Since it stays fresh and tasty while stored in the fridge all week long, you can use it to make all sorts of wholesome meals. Here are a just few of my favorites:

Instant Pot Chicken Marinades

Looking for some easy chicken marinade recipes? Then check out these 7 Chicken Marinades. Just double the recipes to make enough for the whole chicken.

There you have it, folks. A super easy recipe for roast chicken that makes a delicious dinner. Easy and soooo good.

Weight Watchers Points 

There are 8 Blue Plan SmartPoints in a serving. If skin is removed, a serving contains 0 Blue Plan SmartPoints (yeap, zero!).

Thank you for reading my Instant Pot Chicken Recipe post. And please come visit again as I continue to slice, dice, and dream up affordable Air Fryer recipes, Instant Pot Recipes, Southern Recipes, and more. Thanks for supporting Recipes from a Pantry, food blog.

Previously published Feb 2018. Updated Nov 2022.

Recipe Video

 

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overhead view of instant pot whole chicken on a platter next to a knife

Print Recipe

Easy Instant Pot Whole Chicken

A simple and easy way to cook whole chicken in the Instant Pot.

Prep Time5 mins

Cook Time33 mins

Total Time38 mins

Course: Main

Cuisine: American, Western

Diet: Gluten Free

Servings: 8

Calories: 278kcal

Instructions

  • In a small bowl mix together the paprika, garlic, ginger, coriander, herbs, nutmeg, salt, pepper, 2 tablespoon olive oil and 2 tablespoon chicken stock into a paste.

  • Put the chicken in a bowl and rub the paste all over including in the cavity.

  • Select the sauté setting of the Instant Pot, add in the oil and when hot brown the whole chicken on both sides (about 4 minutes on either side).

  • Remove the chicken from the Instant Pot, and set aside on a plate.

  • Add the remaining chicken stock into the instant pot, and scrape any bits stuck to the bottom of the pot from frying with a silicon or wooden spoon.

  • Place the trivet inside before adding the chicken on top of the trivet.

  • Cover your Instant Pot and set the valve to the SEALING position.

  • Select the manual setting or pressure cook, make sure the pressure is set to high and set the timer to 25 minutes.

  • Cook till done then let the steam release naturally about 10-15 minutes before opening.

  • Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes before serving.

  • Make sure you check the internal temperature of the chicken using a Meat thermometer  (guidelines state meat is done when the internal temperature reaches at least 165 degrees F / 74 degrees C). You can recook for a further 5 mins if not.
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Video

Notes

  • Make sure the chicken fits inside your Instant Pot. What size chicken will fit? This recipe calls for a chicken that is just under 4 pounds which easily fits inside a 6 quart Instant Pot. If you want to cook a chicken that is over 5 pounds, you will need to move up to the 8 quart Instant Pot.
  • To reduce the time it takes for your chicken to get to pressure, preheat the liquid first in the inner pot using the sauté setting on high. Do this before you place the lid on the Instant Pot and before you select the manual setting. (This is a life-changing Instant Pot tip.)
  • The browning step is awesome, but it can be skipped. Browning the chicken adds amazing flavor to this main dish, but sometimes you need your ‘Instant’ Pot to be a bit more instant. If you need a faster Instant Pot whole chicken, then simply skip the browning step.
  • For an even juicier pressure cooker whole chicken, don’t use the trivet. If you want to make extra juicy chicken, cook the chicken directly in the stock and do not place on top of the trivet.
  • If you don’t need an entire chicken, you can follow this same recipe for chicken breast or other bone-in chicken cuts.
  • Cook your whole chicken breast side down. Flipping the chicken and cooking it with the breast side facing down (where the majority of the meat resides) will ensure that tender white meat stays perfectly moist and juicy.
  • Remember to check the internal temperature of the chicken using an awesome Meat thermometer.
  • You’ve created an extra flavorful pressure cooker chicken broth, so put it to good use. Use this liquid gold to make a quick and easy Instant Pot Chicken Soup. You can also store your chicken broth in an airtight container in the fridge and add it as stock to all sorts of different recipes.
  • You can even use the chicken broth to cook up more chicken! Cook a whole chicken in the Instant Pot, save the chicken broth, then cook Instant Pot chicken breasts or Instant Pot chicken thighs using the very same liquid. This is a great meal prep solution and an excellent time-saving trick.
  • Storage – keep leftover chicken in an airtight container inside the fridge up to 5 days.
  • There are 8 WW Blue Plan SmartPoints in one serving of this. If the skin is removed, there are 0 Blue Plan SmartPoints.

Nutrition

Calories: 278kcal | Protein: 20g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 78mg | Sodium: 82mg | Potassium: 230mg | Vitamin A: 290IU | Vitamin C: 2.2mg | Calcium: 12mg | Iron: 1.1mg