Have you tried making a Whole Chicken in the Instant Pot? Let me show you how easy it can be! Moist, delicious chicken is easy to make and I’ll step you through the process. You can enjoy hot cooked whole chicken for dinner or use as meal prep for other recipes.

Instant Pot Whole Chicken

Contributor for Savory Experiments where Recipe was first seen

Using cooked chicken to meal prep can reduce a lot of time and stress in the kitchen. I love to make Chicken Pillows filled with a cream cheese mixture. It’s wonderful on those busy nights too.

My mother used to cook a whole chicken often and I loved how moist and full of flavor it was when done. Although I didn’t love cutting all the meat off the bone, I sure did love enjoying warm bites of well seasoned chicken.

Did you know how inexpensive a whole chicken is? Often times you can find a whole chicken for less than $0.99/lb. With a small family this can easily be used for multiple nights dinner too.

Instant Pot Whole Chicken

I purchase whole chickens in packages of 2, and tend to freeze one and cook the other. Make sure to remove the neck and giblets packed inside the cavity. These can be used to make delicious gravy.

Instant Pot Cooking Times

Rule of thumb, for every pound of chicken pressure cook for 6 minutes always allowing a 15 minute or more Natural Pressure Release.

WeightPressure Cook TimeNatural Pressure Release
3 lb18 mins15 Minute
4 lb24 minute15 Minute
4.5 lb27 Minutes15 Minute
5 lb30 Minute15 Minute

As you can see, the cooking time increases by 3 minutes per every half pound of chicken.  It’s easy to adjust the pressure cooking time for the size chicken you are cooking.

How to Season a whole chicken?

Mix seasoning ingredients together in a bowl. It’s also important to pat chicken dry. I prefer to use Paper Towels that I can throw away. They will absorb any extra liquid and it’s a quick clean up.

Rub chicken with seasonings

Sprinkle about 1/4 of the seasonings on top and with your hands rub into the skin. Flip chicken over and repeat with 1/4 of the seasonings on the bottom. Then I like to carefully lift the skin from the chicken breast and add seasonings right on the breasts and rub in. Don’t forget to rub some seasonings on the legs and wings too.

Pan Searing and Brown

Turn Instant Pot to Saute and wait until it reads hot. Add 2-3 Table Spoons of Olive Oil and place seasoned chicken in pot. Allow to brown for 4-5 minutes before turning over making sure all sides are browned.

Remove from Instant Pot and turn Instant Pot off. Most if not all of the olive oil will be absorbed. Add 1/2 cup of broth to pot and using a flat wooden spoon scrape up any stuck bits. The thin liquid will help lift up and release anything stuck to the bottom.

This is called Deglazing the bottom of the Instant Pot and a very important step. Anything that is stuck to the bottom will cause a Burn Notice later during the pressure cooking step.

Pressure Cooking

Add remaining water or chicken broth and place browned chicken on trivet. Set pressure cooker according to weight of chicken and allow a 15 minute Natural Pressure Release.

Instant Pot Whole Chicken

Can I brine the Chicken before cooking in the Pressure Cooker? 

Just like Brining a Turkey you can Brine a Chicken too and it will add excellent flavor. Brine for a few hours or overnight. A little goes a long way.

What is Natural Pressure Release?

When cooking under pressure it’s important to understand the difference between Natural Pressure Release (NPR) and Quick Release (QR). When the pressure cooking process is complete allow at least 15 minutes of Natural Pressure Release before opening the pressure valve to release the remaining pressure.

Cooked Whole Chicken

The natural release of pressure helps to hold in the moisture in the chicken making it more moist and delicious. The longer the Natural Pressure Release the better.

Instant Pot Whole Chicken
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Instant Pot Whole Chicken

Instant Pot Whole Chicken a moist and delicious recipe for meal prep, salads, or Dinner!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time24 mins
Natural Pressure Release15 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 6
Calories: 317kcal

Ingredients

  • 3-5 lb Whole Chicken
  • 1 cup Water or Chicken Broth
  • 1 Tbl Italian Seasoning
  • 2 tsp Smoked Paprika
  • 2 tsp Sea Salt
  • 2 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1 Lemon Sliced in wedges
  • 3 Tbl Olive Oil

Instructions

  • 3 lb chicken Cook 20 minutes with 15 minute Natural Release
  • 3.5 chicken cook 23 minutes w/ 15 min natural release
  • 4 lb chicken cook 26 minutes w/ 15 minute natural pressure release
  • In a bowl combine Italian Seasonings, Smoked Paprika, Sea Salt, Black Pepper, and Garlic Powder. Mix to combine
  • Pat chicken dry using paper towells
  • Sprinkle a little rub on top of chicken and rub in. Sprinkle a little rub on bottom of chicken and rub in. Sprinkle a little rub onto legs and wings and rub in.
  • Careful lift up skin from chicken breast and sprinkle rub directly onto breast and rub in with fingers.
  • Stuff lemon wedges inside of cavety (optional)
  • Heat Instant Pot by pressing Saute and waiting until it reads 'Hot'
  • Add Olive Oil and place chicken to sear/brown for 4-5 minutes per side. Making sure. brown all sides.
  • Remove chicken and turn off Instant Pot
  • Add 1/2 cup water or broth to Instant Pot and using a flat wooden spoon scrape and lift any stuck bits.
  • Add remaining water or broth and place trivet. Place chicken on trivet and Pressure Cook for 6mins per pound of chicken allowing a minimum of a 15 minute natural pressure release
  • Use an Internal thermometer to test. Chicken should reach 165 degrees internally before serving.

Notes

Weight Pressure Cook Time Natural Pressure Release
3 lb 18 mins 15 Minute
4 lb 24 minute 15 Minute
4.5 lb 27 Minutes 15 Minute
5 lb 30 Minute 15 Minute
Serve chicken hot or use as Meal Prep for Salads, Casseroles, Tacos, etc.
Store covered in refrigerator for 3-4 days

Nutrition

Calories: 317kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 82mg | Sodium: 856mg | Potassium: 293mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 528IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 62mg | Iron: 2mg
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