Whole chickens provide an inexpensive and tasty meal but can be a lot of work and time when cooked with conventional methods. My Instant Pot Whole Chicken takes the extra struggle out of serving a roasted chicken and still delivers a meal your whole family will love!
Instant Pot Whole Chicken Recipe
I love serving a good Instant Pot Roast Chicken because it brings back memories of home and family and wonderful conversations around the dinner table. Chicken is the ultimate comfort food for many because it has been an inexpensive go-to family meal for centuries.
It can take on many forms, and once you’ve made a whole chicken, you can use the leftovers for equally delicious new meals!
How to Make Instant Pot Whole Chicken
Making an Instant Pot Roast Chicken is super easy! You’ll need to clean out the giblets and pat dry the chicken to start. Then tuck some butter between the skin and the breast of the chicken.
The cavity is stuffed with lemon and garlic and seasoning is applied to the outside of the chicken. Any time you make something in the IP, a little bit of water is needed to create the pressure.
Add this to the pressure cooker, place the trivet in the IP, add the chicken, and set it for 30 minutes (my chicken is 4 pounds) on high pressure. When the countdown is finished, let it naturally release pressure on its own for fifteen minutes and then turn the valve.
You’ll have plenty of time to make your side dishes for this meal or even just walk away from the kitchen for a bit.
Once the chicken is out, verify the safe minimum cooking temperature reaches 165ºF. If this will be the main dish, then I recommend adding some paprika to the chicken, then broil the chicken for five to ten minutes to crisp it up. Keep a close eye on it to avoid it from burning.
Instant Pot Whole Chicken Ingredients
- Whole Chicken. Make sure you look for one that can fit in your Instant Pot. For a 6 quart IP you can fit up to a 5 pound chicken.
- Butter. Nestle between the skin and the breast of the chicken for extra moist chicken.
- Head of garlic. Cut in half through the width. Nothing brings flavor to a recipe like fresh garlic! If you don’t have a whole head, then add about 6 teaspoons of minced garlic from a jar. You can also place whole cloves in the chicken. Just smash each clove with a mallot to release the flavor.
- Lemon. Cut in half through the width.
- Salt and Black Pepper. To taste.
- Dried Basil. You can buy jarred spices or dry your own from the summer garden using a food dehydrator. Basil is super easy to grow! Remember to replace your jarred spices every six months or so to ensure quality.
- Paprika. Just a sprinkle before broiling adds a nice color to the chicken.
- Water. This is used to get the Instant Pot up to pressure. After removing the chicken from your Instant Pot, save the liquid in the bottom because it is now a wholesome chicken broth you can use within a couple of days for Instant Pot Chicken Soup or sauce or freeze for later.
Tips for Cooking with Whole Chicken and an Instant Pot
- Adjust the cooking time based on the size of your chicken. Instant Pot recommends 8 minutes per pound.
- Be sure to give your chicken a once-over to remove any remaining feather quills or pin bones.
- If you purchase a fresh chicken instead of frozen or partially frozen, be sure to check for the head in the opposite end from the giblets and remove it if necessary.
- Speed up your Instant Pot by pre-heating the water while you prepare the chicken. To do this, place one cup of water in the Instant Pot and set it to saute before you start gathering ingredients. Some Instant Pot models require you to push both the saute button and the start button to activate. This process will allow your pressure cooker to come up to pressure more quickly once the lid is on.
- After enjoying, save the chicken carcass to make Instant Pot Bone Broth.
Adding More Flavor
Once you make a whole chicken in an Instant Pot you will the flexibility to have a meal on the table quick. To turn basic flavor into a whole new meal mix up the flavors by topping the chicken with different sauces.
If you have leftover Instant Pot Roast Chicken you can keep it in the refrigerator for a couple of days. Pulling the meat off the bone and dicing it up makes it super easy to use in a new recipe for a second meal. The diced chicken can be used for chicken salad, tacos, casseroles, soup, or a host of other dishes such as this healthier chicken pot pie.
Diced, cooked chicken off the bone can be frozen and used later in stir fry, tacos, quesadillas, these yummy enchiladas, etc. It can be frozen in a freezer quality zipper bag for a few months and partially thawed in the microwave before adding to a recipe.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes! To cook a frozen chicken you will need to double the cooking time. Instead of 8 minutes per pound you will add 16 minutes per pound.
Chicken cooked in an Instant Pot can be rubbery if the meat is not cooked long enough. I recommend cooking for 8 minutes per pound and the natural release method when cooking whole chicken.
Yes! However, you will want to stick with root vegetables like carrots and potatoes.
After adding the water, add the vegetables to the pressure cooker before placing the chicken on top of the vegetables. In this case, once cooked, you may want to quick release the pressure cooker to avoid the vegetables from getting too soft.
What to Serve with Instant Pot Roast Chicken
You have so many choices for serving your Instant Pot Whole Chicken with delicious sides in a classically comforting meal. Here are a few of my favorites. Be sure to browse around though, because the possibilities are too numerous to list and it was so hard to choose!
Crispy Smashed Potatoes. When you want a classic side dish with a new twist.
Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Sage. Perfect for the Fall harvest season or whenever you want a slightly sweet side dish.
Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower. An excellent and flavorful choice for keto dining.
Easy Homemade Buttermilk Biscuits. Because chicken and biscuits go together like bacon and eggs.
Broccoli Slaw Lightened Up. A nice acidic contrast to all of the rich flavors in this meal.
Slow Cooker Corn On The Cob. Tender corn on the cob cooked in the husks with a simple cilantro lime butter.
- 1 (3 to 4 pound) whole chicken
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1 medium size head garlic, cut in half through the width
- 1 lemon, cut in half through the width
- Salt and black pepper, to taste
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika (optional)
- 1 cup sauce for additional flavor (optional)
- Remove giblets from the cavity of the chicken. Pat dry the whole chicken with paper towels.
- Gently form a pocket between the breast of the chicken and the skin. Place sliced butter in the pocket.
- Stuff the chicken with the garlic. Squeeze half of the lemon in the cavity of the chicken and place both halves inside the chicken.
- Season the outside of the chicken with salt, black pepper, and basil.
- Pour 1 cup of water into the pressure cooker. Lower the chicken into the pressure cooker using a trivet.
- Cover the pressure cooker with the lid and set the valve to “sealing.” Program the electric pressure to cook on “manual” or “pressure cook” for 30 minutes ( 8 minutes per pound).
- When the cooking cycle is complete, let the pressure naturally release. This will take approximately 15 minutes. Check the internal temperature of the chicken to verify it is 165°F degrees in the dark meat without touching the bone.
- Carefully remove the lid of the electric pressure cooker and transfer the chicken to a baking sheet. Sprinkle with paprika (optional) and broil the chicken for 5 to 10 minutes, watching closely to avoid burning.
This recipe was first published May, 2014 and has since been updated with additional photos and step by step details, March 2022.
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