How to Cook a Whole Chicken in an Instant Pot

How to cook a whole chicken in an Instant Pot. This rotisserie-style Instant Pot whole chicken recipe is easy to make, even if you are a beginner with using your pressure cooker. It’s perfect for Sunday dinner or to make ahead for quick meals throughout the week! Cook from fresh or frozen.

How to cook a whole chicken in an Instant Pot. Perfect pressure cooker roast chicken recipe.

Out of all of the recipes that I’ve cooked in my Instant Pot, this whole roast chicken might be my favorite. It’s become a part of my weekly routine to make an Instant Pot whole chicken for dinner. Then I use the leftover chicken to make the best quick meals throughout the week! You can use your leftover chicken in salads, pastas, casseroles or sandwiches.

Cooking a whole chicken in the Instant Pot is fast, simple and budget-friendly. Instead of buying a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken at the store, you can make this Instant Pot whole chicken recipe with just minutes of prep time. Your homemade chicken will taste so much better than store-bought, and you can control the ingredients that you use. I get my whole chickens from ButcherBox, and they are the best! I’ve really been enjoying the high quality meat that I get from ButcherBox, and it’s delivered right to your doorstep. Learn more here.

This pressure cooker chicken recipe makes the best tender, moist and juicy chicken. Cooking the whole bird gives you both white and dark meat, so everyone in the family can have what they enjoy. Just wait until you try the homemade rotisserie rub in this recipe – it is the best!

Why Make a Roast Chicken in the Instant Pot?

  • It is faster than cooking a whole chicken in the oven. You can make roast chicken for dinner on a weeknight!
  • Pressure cooking makes the chicken so juicy, tender and flavorful!
  • You can safely cook a frozen whole chicken in your Instant Pot – no thawing required!

For all of you Instant Pot fans, I have more delicious recipes and resources to help you get quick and healthy meals on your table! If you are just getting started with your pressure cooker, read my Instant Pot manual. Then check out these easy Instant Pot recipes to help you meal plan:

Whole roast chicken in an Instant Pot.

How to Cook a Whole Chicken in an Instant Pot

With just a few simple steps, you can have a delicious homemade roast chicken on your dinner table. This recipe takes about 15 minutes of active prep time, and about an hour and 15 minutes from start to finish.

Here’s a quick rundown of the steps to cook a fresh chicken in your Instant Pot. After the list, I’ll give you a few cooking tips to make the best Instant Pot roast chicken.

  1. Rub the chicken with olive oil and seasonings.
  2. Brown the chicken on both sides.
  3. Fill the cavity with fresh lemon, onion and herbs (optional). Rub more spices on the chicken.
  4. Put 1 cup water and the trivet in the Instant Pot. Put chicken on top of the trivet.
  5. Pressure cook the chicken, 6 minutes per pound.
  6. Natural release the pressure for 15 minutes.
  7. Serve and enjoy!

Cooking Tips for the BEST Instant Pot Roast Chicken

  • Use a dry rub to season the chicken before cooking, and try to get some of the rub under the skin on the chicken breasts. The spice rub in this whole chicken recipe is a simple blend of seasonings and it is so good! My kids cannot get enough of it! You can easily use your favorite seasonings if you prefer.
  • Sear the chicken before pressure cooking. You can do this right in your Instant Pot using sauté mode! Browning the chicken adds so much flavor!
  • The easiest way to flip the chicken. Turning the chicken over in the Instant Pot after browning it on the first side can be a little tricky. Here’s what I’ve found works best: stick a long handled spoon or tongs into the cavity and then use another long spoon to turn the chicken first onto its side and then flip it over. The smaller your chicken, the easier it will be to flip over in the pot. The chicken in the photos in this post was 5.5 pounds and it just barely fit in my Instant Pot. Flipping it was not easy but I got it done!
  • Flavor from the inside out. After searing the chicken, fill the cavity with half of a fresh lemon, half an onion, and fresh herbs such as rosemary or thyme. While this is optional, it will infuse your chicken with extra flavor as it cooks!
  • Broil for crispy skin. You can put your chicken under the broiler in your oven for 4-5 minutes after it is done cooking to crisp up the skin. Honestly, I don’t bother with this because we don’t eat the skin but it is up to you!

How to cook a whole chicken in an Instant Pot pressure cooker.

How long to cook a whole chicken in the Instant Pot Pressure Cooker

  • Cook a fresh chicken for 6 minutes per pound. This means that a 4 pound chicken will take 24 minutes to cook, a 4.5 pound chicken will take 27 minutes, and a 5 pound bird will take 30 minutes, at high pressure.
  • Follow the cook time with a 15 minute natural release. This means just leave your Instant Pot alone for 15 minutes and then quick release any remaining pressure by turning the steam release valve to the venting position before opening the lid.
  • Always use an instant read thermometer to check that your chicken has reached a safe internal temperature of at least 165 degrees F. You want to insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the leg, not touching the bone. Using the Instant Pot to cook a whole chicken is pretty foolproof, and mine has always been perfectly cooked and juicy after pressure cooking for 6 minutes per pound.

Instant Pot Whole Chicken from Frozen

  • You can safely cook a whole frozen chicken in your Instant Pot. I have included full instructions for cooking a frozen chicken in the recipe below. I prefer to cook my chicken from fresh, but in a pinch (when you forget to defrost your meat) this method works well.
  • You will need to skip the step of browning the chicken, since you can’t sear frozen meat.
  • You will only need half of the amount of spice rub called for in the recipe.
  • Pressure cook a frozen chicken for 13 minutes per pound at high pressure, plus 15 minutes natural release.
  • A 4 pound frozen chicken will take 52 minutes, a 4.5 pound frozen chicken will take 59 minutes and a 5 pound frozen chicken will take 65 minutes.
  • Check that the chicken has reached a safe internal temperature of at least 165 degrees F in the thickest part of the leg, not touching the bone.

Rotisserie-style whole chicken, cooked in an Instant Pot.

Ways to Use Leftover Chicken

Cooking a whole chicken is one of my favorite ways to meal prep for the week. Here are just a few ideas for meals that you can make with your chicken.

 

Instant Pot Whole Chicken

How to cook a whole chicken in an Instant Pot. This rotisserie-style Instant Pot whole roast chicken recipe is easy to make, even if you are a beginner with using your pressure cooker. It's perfect for Sunday dinner or to make ahead for quick meals throughout the week.
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword how to cook a whole chicken in an instant pot, instant pot roast chicken, Instant Pot whole chicken, instant pot whole chicken recipe, pressure cooker chicken, rotisserie chicken, whole chicken instant pot
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time24 mins
Inactive Time36 mins
Total Time1 hr 15 mins
Servings 8 servings
Calories 271kcal

Ingredients

Spice Rub:

  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

For the Chicken:

  • 4 pound whole chicken see note
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil divided
  • half of a lemon, half of an onion, fresh herb sprigs optional
  • 1 cup water

Instructions

  • In a small bowl, stir together the spice rub ingredients.
  • Place the chicken in a baking dish to catch any excess juices. If there is a bag of innards in the cavity of the chicken, remove it and discard.
  • Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Rub 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and then half of the spice rub over the chicken, trying to get some under the skin on the breasts if possible.
  • Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to the Instant Pot and turn on saute mode. When the pot is hot, carefully put the chicken in, breast-side up. Brown for 5-7 minutes, without moving.
  • Then flip the chicken over to brown it on the breast side. When turning the chicken, be careful to not put your face over the Instant Pot since there is hot oil and steam. I find the easiest way to flip the chicken is to stick a long handled spoon or tongs into the cavity and then use another long spoon to turn the chicken first onto its side and then flip it over.
  • Brown the chicken for 5-7 minutes on the second side and then use the two long handled spoons/tongs to carefully remove it to a clean plate. Press “cancel” to turn off saute mode.
  • Add 1 cup of water to the instant pot and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Place a handled trivet in the bottom of the Instant Pot. (If you do not have a handled trivet, you can use a regular trivet with a foil sling to make it easier to remove the cooked chicken.)
  • If desired, place half a lemon, half an onion and/or fresh herbs in the cavity of the chicken. Rub the remaining seasoning rub over the chicken.
  • Place the chicken on top of the trivet in the Instant Pot, breast side up. Close the lid and turn the steam release valve to the sealing position.
  • Use the Pressure Cook/Manual setting and set the cook time on high pressure for 6 minutes per pound for a fresh chicken. A 4 pound fresh chicken will need to cook for 24 minutes, a 4.5 pound chicken will cook for 27 minutes, and a 5 pound fresh chicken will cook for 30 minutes, for example.
  • After you set the cook time, the Instant Pot will take some time to reach pressure and then the cook time will begin counting down. When the cook time ends, allow the pot to release naturally for 15 minutes by leaving the pot alone. After 15 minutes, carefully turn the steam release valve to the venting position to release any remaining pressure and steam. When the pin drops down, carefully open the Instant Pot lid.
  • Use an instant read thermometer to check that the temperature of the chicken has reached at least 165 degrees F at the thickest part of the leg, not touching the bone.

To Cook a Frozen Chicken:

  • Make sure that your chicken does not have a bag of innards in the cavity. If it does, you may not be able to cook the chicken from frozen because you won't be able to remove the bag from the frozen chicken.
  • Place 1 cup of water in the bottom of the Instant Pot. Place a handled trivet in the bottom of the pot.
  • Put the frozen chicken, breast side up, on top of the trivet. Sprinkle the spice rub over the chicken (you will only need half of the spice rub amount called for in the recipe). Close the Instant Pot lid and turn the steam release valve to the sealing position.
  • Use the Pressure Cook/Manual setting and set the cook time on high pressure for 13 minutes per pound. A 4 pound frozen chicken will need to pressure cook for 52 minutes, a 4.5 pound chicken will cook for 59 minutes, and a 5 pound chicken will cook for 65 minutes.
  • After the cook time ends, allow the pot to naturally release for 15 minutes. Quick release any remaining pressure and, once the pin has dropped, open the lid.
  • Use an instant read thermometer to check that the temperature of the chicken has reached at least 165 degrees F at the thickest part of the leg, not touching the bone.
  • If desired, brown the chicken under the broiler for 4-5 minutes to brown the skin.

Notes

  • You can fit a chicken of up to 5.5 pounds in a 6 quart Instant Pot.
  • If cooking a frozen chicken, you will not need the olive oil since you won't be browning the chicken. You will only need to make half of the spice rub recipe.
  • Cooked chicken will last in your refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Nutrition

Calories: 271kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 20g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 81mg | Sodium: 369mg | Potassium: 226mg | Vitamin A: 8% | Vitamin C: 2.1% | Calcium: 1.8% | Iron: 7.6%
Nutrition information is an estimate.
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