Instant Pot Whole Chicken

Instant Pot Whole Chicken is an easy recipe that everyone can enjoy. With a simple cooked chicken, you can make yourself a main dish or cooked chicken for multiple other recipes!

overhead shot of instant pot whole chicken on cutting board with text overlay for facebook


 

If you’ve ever wanted to make your own super juicy whole chicken at home, well let me step you through the process because it’s super simple and so tasty.

You will find that you love to make a whole chicken right in your Instant Pot or Pressure Cooker because of how easy it truly is.

Using cooked chicken to meal prep can reduce a lot of time and stress in the kitchen. The reduction of dirty dishes is also a great plus. Another one of my favorites is Ninja Foodi Pot Roast.

How Long to Cook a Chicken in the Instant Pot

For every pound of chicken, cook 6 mins. A 3lb whole chicken would need to cook for 18 mins, 4lbs for 24 minutes and 5lbs for 30 minutes. Each will require a 15 minute natural release.

As long as you can follow along with that simple rule of thumb, you can have a perfectly cooked chicken every time.

I mean, you keep reading about all of these great reasons to cook a chicken in the Instant Pot. Why not get started as soon as possible and put Instant Pot Whole Chicken on the menu this week?

Of course, making this recipe tonight could still be a possibility. Especially if you’re waiting until the last minute to cook dinner. So many of us, myself included do this!

Thankfully with a whole cooked chicken, it always looks like you have it together. No one will suspect that dinner was a last minute thought.

You really don’t need much to make an easy Instant Pot Whole Chicken. Once you check out the recipe card below you’ll see for yourself. As long as you have an Instant Pot and a raw whole chicken you’re golden! 

knife cutting into instant pot whole chicken

Browning Your Instant Pot Whole Chicken

You do not need to brown your chicken prior to putting it in the Instant Pot. Understand that when cooking a whole chicken in the Instant Pot will not produce a crispy skin.

Browning a chicken before cooking does add table appeal for serving. It only takes a few minutes and I personally prefer to brown and sear in those seasonings.

Chicken Seasoning 

When you season a chicken, you might be surprised to find that it isn’t that difficult. Seasoning a chicken is pretty similar to seasoning any other meat. Much like a roast or steak it doesn’t hurt to over season a little. This is mainly due in part to a lot of the seasoning coming off during the cooking process. 

The natural juices of the meat will help to wash off some of the seasonings. Not only that, but if your food is over seasoned for your liking, you can tone it down later. By adding a gravy, sauce, cream or mix of mild flavors on your plate you can offset it.

Keep in mind there’s a difference between over salting and over seasoning. It’s a little harder to recover from too much salt, although not impossible. You would still want to find ways to reduce the overwhelming and get creative before serving.

hand holding bowl of poultry seasoning

Instant Pot Whole Chicken Ingredients

All of these simple ingredients can easily be found at your local grocery store. 

  • Whole chicken – You need to use a 4 -5 pound chicken. It needs to be small enough that the chicken fits in the pot.
  • Water or low sodium chicken broth – I like to use chicken stock or broth to ass even more flavor to the fresh chicken, but you can certainly use water too.
  • Smoked paprika – You, of course, can use regular paprika if you wish. I just really love the smoky flavor that the smoked version adds to the spice rub.
  • Salt and pepper – I like to use a blend of coarse kosher salt freshly cracked black pepper.
  • Garlic powder – Onion powder or fresh garlic can also be used.
  • Italian seasoning – This is such a simple seasoning, but man does it make a difference. You could even make your own with my recipe.
  • Lemon – We cut this into wedges to give this whole rotisserie chicken a little extra flavor and brightness. 
  • Olive oil – Before the chicken cooks in the Instant Pot, you need to sauté it. Olive oil helps it to not stick to the pot.
instant pot whole chicken ingredients

How to Make Instant Pot Whole Chicken

You are going to love how easy it is to make this chicken.

  1. Clean chicken. Rinse chicken and remove giblets from inside cavity. Rinsing the cavity out is also a good idea. Using a paper towel, pat chicken dry.
  2. Make seasoning blend. In a small bowl combine salt, pepper, garlic and Italian seasoning and mix.
  3. Season chicken. Season all sides of chicken, including in between the chicken skin and chicken meat.
  4. Sauté chicken. Set Instant Pot or Pressure Cooker to Sauté and wait until it reads hot. Add olive oil and sauté whole chicken to Instant Pot and sear for 4-5 minutes per side.
  5. Add liquid and lemon. After chicken has been browned, turn off Instant Pot. Remove chicken and add water or chicken broth and scrape up any stuck bits off bottom of pot. Add lemon wedges to the cavity of the chicken.
  6. Pressure cook. Place Chicken breast side up on trivet and place chicken back in pressure cooker. Set Pressure Cooker to 6 minutes per pound of chicken and allow for a 15 minute Natural Pressure Release.
  7. Let rest. Remove chicken and let sit for 5 minutes before serving. Chicken should reach internal temperature of 165 degrees for proper consumption. Use a meat thermometer. 

Brining Your Chicken 

You can absolutely use a chicken brine first! You can even marinate your chicken before cooking, too. This is a great way to add flavor and seal in all the good juices.

You can choose between wet brine, dry brine, or no brine. Either way, your chicken will taste great.

sliced chicken on a plate with lemons

Natural Pressure Release

Natural Pressure Release is the release of the pressure from your pressure cooker. That valve that you adjust at the beginning of the cooking process seals air in the appliance.

This air builds to pressure and is what helps it to cook faster. Then, you can turn the valve to release the pressure or have it release naturally. Your recipes will usually tell you which is the best method for that particular recipe.

How to Serve a Whole Chicken

Like buying a rotisserie chicken at the store, you can also use your IP chicken to do the same. Here are a few recipes.

This Instant Pot whole chicken recipe is great served with just about as many side dishes as you can think if. Juicy chicken pairs well with anything! 

close up overhead shot of sliced instant pot whole chicken on a plate

Storage and Freezing

Storage: You can store leftover chicken in an airtight container in the refrigerator. The leftover meat will stay good for up to 3-5 days.

Freezing: You can also freeze this chicken. For best results, I like to cut the chicken into pieces before freezing. It’s better than trying to freeze the entire chicken, and the smaller pieces will fit much better into containers.

collage of instant pot whole chicken for pinterest

More Chicken Dinner Recipes

chicken thigh on plate with fork and veggies

Fireman Chicken

Fireman Chicken, also known as Cornell Chicken BBQ, is a classic BBQ chicken marinade that originated in upstate New York, but is making its way through the states!
See The Recipe!
Strawberry BBQ Chicken Recipe- If you like strawberries, you are going to LOVE my strawberry BBQ Sauce recipe. Spread this BBQ sauce over chicken or seafood and serve with Strawberry Salsa on the side. A great and easy grilling idea and perfect for parties and potlucks!

Strawberry BBQ Chicken

Strawberry BBQ Chicken is a unique take on your classic BBQ Chicken recipe! Tangy strawberry BBQ Sauce pairs with fresh Strawberry Salsa and a cooling avocado cream sauce. 
See The Recipe!
close up angled shot of honey garlic chicken in a bowl with rice

One Pan Honey Garlic Chicken

With a sticky sauce that is both sweet and savory, this Honey Garlic Chicken is sure to become a family favorite! Perfect for busy weeknights!
See The Recipe!
angled shot of instant pot whole chicken on cutting board with text overlay for pinterest
overhead shot of instant pot whole chicken on cutting board

Instant Pot Whole Chicken

4.94 from 33 votes
Instant Pot Whole Chicken is so EASY! With a simple cooked chicken, you can make yourself a main dish or cooked chicken for multiple other recipes!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Rinse the chicken and remove giblets from inside the cavity. Rinsing the cavity out is also a good idea.
  • Using a paper towel, pat the chicken dry.
  • In a small bowl, mix together the salt, pepper, garlic and Italian seasoning.
  • Place 1/3 of the seasonings on one side and with your hand spread evenly around.
  • Flip the chicken over and season the other side with 1/3 of the seasonings.
  • Carefully lift the skin on the breasts and place remaining seasoning under the skin. You may need to break the membrane but can easily get seasonings over entire breasts.
  • Set the Instant Pot or Pressure Cooker to Saute and wait until it reads hot. Add the olive oil.
  • Add the whole chicken to Instant Pot and sear for 4-5 minutes per side, front and back.
  • After the chicken has been browned, turn off the Instant Pot.
  • Remove the chicken and add water or chicken broth and scrape up any stuck bits off bottom of pot. Add the lemon wedges to the cavity of the chicken.
  • Place the chicken, breast side up, on trivet and place the chicken back in the pressure cooker.
  • Set the pressure cooker to 6 minutes per pound of chicken and allow for a 15 minute natural pressure release, then use quick release.
  • Remove the chicken and let sit for 5 minutes before serving.
  • Chicken should reach internal temperature of 165°F using a digital thermometer.
  • If you've tried this recipe, come back and let us know how it was in the comments or star ratings!

Nutrition

Calories: 580 kcal, Carbohydrates: 5 g, Protein: 41 g, Fat: 44 g, Saturated Fat: 11 g, Cholesterol: 163 mg, Sodium: 2695 mg, Potassium: 537 mg, Fiber: 2 g, Sugar: 1 g, Vitamin A: 823 IU, Vitamin C: 22 mg, Calcium: 58 mg, Iron: 3 mg
Author: Rebecca Johnston
Calories: 580
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: baked whole chicken, instant pot chicken noodle soup, whole roast chicken
Did you make this recipe?I’d love to see your recipes – snap a picture and mention @savoryexperiments or tag #savoryexperiments!
Jessica Formicola in her ktichen

About the Author

Jessica Formicola

Jessica the mom, wife and chef behind Savory Experiments. You might see her on the Emmy- nominated TV show Plate It! or on bookshelves as a cookbook author. Jessica is a Le Cordon Bleu certified recipe developer and regularly contributed to Parade, Better Homes & Gardens, The Daily Meal and more!

Read More About Jessica

4.94 from 33 votes (27 ratings without comment)

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Questions and Reviews

  1. 5 stars
    I made this and it turns out beautifully. I usually get chicken breast and de-bone them myself. But with the whole chicken I have it all. It is easy and tastes great. I will change the Italian seasoning for just thyme and rosemary next time. I think it would be great for chicken salad. We don’t eat the skin so I rub seasoning under the skin. It is so juicy and favorable. I will use this recipe again and again.

  2. 5 stars
    I’ve started to prefer making a whole chicken now… I find it preserving so much taste that is otherwise gone. Can’t wait to try your recipe!

  3. 5 stars
    We have been doing so much cooking during quarantine. We have been involving the kids in the process. They help us pick recipes, and make them. They have been loving trying new foods and new ways to make foods!. Today we made your instant pot chicken recipe. It was neat to cook the whole chicken! Super easy and super yum!