How to Cook a Whole Chicken in the Instant Pot

If you’ve ever wondered How to Cook a Whole Chicken in the Instant Pot, this post has you covered. It tastes just like a rotisserie chicken you buy at the store, only you get to control the ingredients! It’s largely hands-off cooking time and the chicken is so juicy! This chicken is perfect to serve as is for dinner, or you can use for meal prep or for other chicken recipes.

Can you roast a whole chicken in instant potHow to Cook a Whole Chicken in the Instant Pot

It’s How to Wednesday and today we’re talking about: How to Cook a Whole Chicken in the Instant Pot! The rotisserie chickens you find in the grocery stores often have such tender juicy chicken, and they definitely are convenient, but we always love to be able to control the ingredients in our food. When you cook a whole chicken in the Instant Pot, using our blend of spices, it comes out just as tender and juicy as a store-bought whole rotisserie chicken. It’s great to serve as-is with a few sides like Mashed Potatoes, Herbed Cucumber Salad or Honey Glazed Carrots or you can use it for meal prep for the week. You can turn it into Chicken Salad, Soup or Chicken Bacon Ranch Baked Hummus Dip.

How long does it take to cook chicken in instant pot

Now we aren’t saying we don’t enjoy an Oven Roasted Chicken, because we do, but there are definitely a lot of advantages of cooking a whole chicken in the Instant Pot.

  • The first is that it is quicker. It takes about an hour to roast a chicken in the oven, but then you also have the prep time, the time it takes to heat up an oven and the cooling time. Cooking in the Instant Pot does speed up the time.
  • The second advantage is because there is no guess work as to when your chicken is done! Roasting a chicken in the oven can have so many variants, and if you leave it in too long it will be dry. But in the Instant Pot, that is much less of a worry.
  • And third, the chicken is SO JUICY and fall-off-the-bone tender. Hands down a chicken that is cooked in the Instant Pot is way more tender and juicy than one that is brined and roasted in the oven, because that is what makes cooking in a pressure cooker so magical.

How do I cook a whole chicken in the Instant Pot?

Here is an overview of the steps needed to cook the chicken. Find the full recipe below!

And the best part is, it’s so easy to do!

  1. Season the chicken
  2. Sear the chicken
  3. Add onion and remaining seasoning to chicken
  4. Place trivet inside of the Instant Pot with chicken broth
  5. Cook on manual pressure for 24 minutes (or 6 minutes per pound)
  6. Natural release for 15 minutes and then release remaining pressure
  7. And then your chicken is READY!

P.S. you can also cook a chicken in the slow cooker or in the oven!

How do I cook a whole chicken in pressure cooker

If you like this How to Recipe, check out these others:

Watch the video:

What to do with leftover chicken bones/carcass? Reuse them and make HOMEMADE BROTH!


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How to Cook a Whole Chicken in the Instant Pot

If you’ve ever wondered How to Cook a Whole Chicken in the Instant Pot, this post has you covered. It tastes just like a rotisserie chicken, is largely hands-off cooking time and the chicken is so juicy! This chicken is perfect to serve as is for dinner, or you can use for meal prep or for other chicken recipes.

  • Author: Lexi
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 24 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour and 14 minutes
  • Yield: 4-6 1x

Ingredients

Scale
  • 14 pound whole chicken, giblets removed
  • 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil, divided
  • ½ onion
  • 1 cup chicken stock

Instructions

  1. Using a paper towel, dry off chicken.
  2. In a small bowl mix together all of the spices. Place half of the spices in another small bowl and add 1 tablespoon avocado oil to create a paste.
  3. Carefully rub the paste underneath the skin on the chicken breasts. Take care not to break the skin.
  4. In a 6 or 8 quart Instant Pot press the saute function.
  5. Once hot add remaining oil and sear the whole chicken, breast side down about 3-4 minutes. Then flip and sear on the other side. Press cancel on the saute function.
  6. Remove chicken, and season the inside of the cavity with salt and pepper and place ½ an onion inside of the cavity. Rub the remainder of the dry spices all over the chicken breasts and thighs and set aside.
  7. Place the trivet inside of the Instant Pot and pour in chicken stock. Place chicken back inside on the travel and close the lid with the vent set to sealing.
  8. Cook on manual high pressure for 24 minutes (or 6 minutes per pound)
  9. Natural release for 15 minutes, then use the manual release function to release any remaining pressure. With an instant-read thermometer check the temperature of the chicken in the thickest part of the breast and make sure it is at least to 160ºF. It will continue to cook as it rests. See notes for troubleshooting if it is below 155ºF.
  10. Let chicken sit until it has cooled down slightly, about 10 minutes. Butcher the legs, wings and finally the breasts and serve along with your favorite sides!

Notes

If your chicken is a different size than 4 lbs. adjust the cooking time to be 6 minutes per pound.

Update 6/2019: We’ve had a few commenters that have experienced a “burn” notification on their instant pot, likely due to too much evaporation of the broth. We didn’t experience this in testing but as some reader suggestions we’re going to increase the called for amount of broth, since the amount doesn’t really affect the final dish. We’ve increased it from 1/2 cup to 1 cup of broth added. If you experience a burn notification add 1/2 cup more broth to your put and start again.

Troubleshooting: If your chicken has not come up to the temperature of at least 160ºF at the end of cooking time, for every 5 degrees below 160ºF that it registers, cook for an additional 1 minute on manual high pressure, with a 5-minute release. For instance, if your chicken registers at 150º at the end of the cooking time, cook it for an additional 2 minutes, with a 5-minute natural pressure release. If it registers at 140º, cook it for an additional 4 minutes, with a 5-minute natural pressure release. It may not seem like a lot of time, but the pressure cooker will continue to cook the chicken as it comes up to pressure, and as it does a 5-minute natural release. You don’t want to risk overcooking the bird and having it fall apart, so exercise caution when adding additional cooktime.

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69 comments
January 16, 2019

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69 Responses

  1. I don’t usually cook whole chickens and this turned out great. My 4.29 lb chicken fit perfectly in the 6 quart IP. I will try a foil sling next time as it was a little hard to get out of the pot. The spice rub was just right.

    1. Hi! We always do high pressure (which is the standard function that is already set when using the instant pot) and specify if it’s other, like low pressure.

  2. Make sure you tell people to use high pressure. On my instant pot low is the pre-set standard. Thanks for the recipe 🙂

  3. First time cooking a whole chicken (4.75lbs) in my new 8 qt. Instant Pot. I agree with one of the comments above, it was difficult to turn over after browning on one side. I think I would skip this step or brown in a separate pan. Next was the “burn” signal came on during cooking. Yikes. Looked that up lol Had to turn the pot off, remove the chicken and deglaze the bottom of the pan. The 1/2 cup of chicken broth was not enough. Added additional broth probably about another cup or so and started over with another 20 minutes. End results – fall off the bone chicken, better than roasted chickens from the grocery store. The rub was delicious and came through in every bite. I used the Stew/meat setting (high pressure cooking) in place of “manual”.

    1. Hi Marie glad you enjoyed the chicken! I’m finding it strange that it had the burn notification. We did test it in both a 6 and 8 quart pot and we didn’t have this problem at all. Did you use the rack? Thanks for letting us know your experience!

  4. Hi Kelli, I did use the rack. I think browning contributed to the burn notification as the broth evaporated more. Once I added more broth and deglazed it worked and turned out perfect!!!

    1. Hi Marie! I’m glad it worked out in the end. I’m wondering why your broth evaporated? Did you put the broth in at the correct moment? Because there shouldn’t be any evaporation–the broth should be put in at the very end before you pressure cook it–not during the saute feature. Sorry if these are the steps you followed but want to make sure you didn’t accidentally boil the broth? Read through the steps again and let me know if that is what you did–that way I can help you troubleshoot it to make sure it works perfectly for you next time 🙂

  5. I ran into the burn notification as well with this recipe. I think the problem is due to the pot being so hot from browning the chicken. When I added the broth, it immediately started to steam. By the time I got the lid on, I’m guessing a good amount had evaporated. Next time, I’d brown the chicken in a pot of the stove. Easier to flip and not worry about losing broth

    1. Tom, thanks for commenting and let us know what’s happening to you! This is helpful since in all of our testing we didn’t get a burn results. Sometimes different instant pot models will react differently. We tested this on two different ones, but of course can’t test on all of them! We’ll make a note in the recipe as per your description in case anybody else encounters this! Happy cooking 🙂

  6. How long for for a 7.91 lb chicken? Yup it’s a big one and I’m praying I can squeeze it in my 8qt IP?

  7. Reporting back: My chicken is underdone! 28 minutes for a 4.75 chicken. The juice is too pink. I followed the instructions exactly except I did turn off the pot for 1-2 min between sauteing and cooking while I seasoned the bird. The breast is nearly done but the dark meat is definitely not done. And the breast is not that tasty. This was an expensive whole foods organic chicken. I’m going to finish it off in the oven.

    1. Hi Linda! Thanks for the feedback. While there may always be some variables in the makeup of chicken, this is the first we are hearing that the 6 minute per pound rule didn’t work for cooking a chicken in the instant pot. Did you take the temperature of the meat to see where it was at to tell how underdone it was? Did you let the pressure naturally release for the allotted amount of time, and let the chicken rest after it was cooked? In the future if your chicken (or any other meat wasn’t cooked through) it would be best to let it continue cooking right in the instant pot. For the chicken I’d recommend starting with 3 minutes for every 5 degrees your chicken is below the correct temperature of 165 degrees.

  8. So I’m going to try this without the trivet…because I cannot find mine, so I’ll let y’all know how it goes

  9. Could I use water in the bottom instead of chicken broth, since the liquid isn’t part of the finished product? Or does using the broth impart flavor to the cooking bird somehow?

    1. Sure! And you CAN use the chicken broth which essentially turns into stock. You just don’t use it in this final dish.

  10. This was a delicious and moist chicken! I made sure to scrape up any tasty bits stuck to the liner before putting the trivet in. No issues with burn etc as some mentioned in comments. We had the leftovers tonight as salad lettuce wraps. A bit of chicken went into the freezer for another day. Thank you for putting out fantastic recipes!

    5.0 rating

  11. Searing the chicken in the IP resulted in all of the skin ripping off the chicken and sticking to the pot. Next time I will try searing in a separate pot, or maybe skip that step altogether. Also, seems odd to apply the dry rub *after* the chicken has been seared. Didn’t go on too well to the exposed, partially cooked flesh of the chicken. Hopefully the chicken will cook ok without its protective skin covering…..

    1. Hi Elizabeth. Sorry to hear you had trouble with that step. Definitely if you aren’t comfortable searing meats, feel free to do it in another pot. The reason your broke off was because it wasn’t finished searing. When meat is properly seared all the fat will be rendered and will easily loosen from a pan, if it hasn’t seared for long enough it will stick–this is true for any meat. If you aren’t sure in the future, give the meat you are cooking a wiggle, if it moves easily it’s done…if not let it go a bit longer. And the reason we season the chicken AFTER is because if you season it before you sear it, it will burn. Hope you still enjoyed the finished product. We love the results of this one!

  12. I just put the chicken into the IP and NOW am asking….I took the skin off. Should I have left it on?

  13. Just made this tonight and it turned out perfect. Used a 4.5 lb chicken and added double the amount of oil and kept turning the chicken every 3 minutes with large thongs for about 10 minutes total time,, after taking the chicken out I used a wooden scraper and got all the particles up that were on the bottom then I placed broth and trivet in pot. Heated on hi presssure for 40 minutes and also added 2 quartered potatoes on top …. perfect.

    5.0 rating

  14. I see a lot of comments about the skin sticking… I used my non-stock insert and it was perfect! I also deglazed a little to get the browned bits off the bottom before pressure cooking and no burn notification! Oh, and I also threw the bird under the boiler for a few mins to crisp up the skin. Great recipe!

    5.0 rating

  15. Came out RAW. Did 28 min for 4.5lb bird with 15 min NR and 10 min rest. Trying to salvage dinner with my oven….

    2.0 rating

    1. Hi Anna. Sorry to hear that happened. Where was the chicken raw (ie. breasts and or legs? Is there any chance your chicken was very cold / slightly frozen in the middle? And you did sear the chicken on both sides as the recipe indicated? Throughout our testing this was the perfect time, but clearly something went wrong on your end and we’d like to try to help you figure that out. -Kelli

  16. My very first attempt to cook anything with a new Instant Lot and it is amazing. Came out perfectly!

    5.0 rating

  17. Well I love to eat chicken. Your Whole Chicken dish looks so delecious. I can’t wait any more. Tonight, I will try to do it. Thanks you!

  18. Can you cook the bag of giblets in the instant pot along with the chicken in this and in other recipes? Is it safe? If yes, how do we do this correctly? I have a Duo Plus 6 Quart Instant Pot. I am an Instant Pot Virgin, an Instant Pot Newbie Thus, since this will be my 1st time using my Instant pot, I am scared, intimidated, have a mental block about it and am disoriented about how to use it. Thanks.

  19. This is my first time cooking this. But it was perfect. That is thanks to your recipe. Everyone in my family loves it. Thanks you!

  20. Delicious! My family loves this – I add a small bag of small potatoes with the one cup of broth and dinner is done. The guys make sandwiches and my daughter and I have it plated with the potatoes, and the remaining broth makes a great gravy. Thanks for the recipe!

    5.0 rating

  21. This worked out great on my 6 pound chicken at 36 minutes and 15 minute natural release. It was at 167°, so just right. I added a small bag of little Yukon gold potatoes on the top sides around the chicken, as per another comment, and they were cooked perfectly. Winner, winner, chicken dinner!

    5.0 rating

  22. i have tried various chicken in instant pot recipes and it hasn’t ever been juicy. Just looking for solutions, if you could help it would be appreciated

    1. Have you read through the blog post or cooked our recipe? If a chicken isn’t juicy it means it is overcooked.

  23. Haven’t tried this particular recipe yet, although I have cooked whole chickens in my Instant Pot numerous times. Since there’s limited space for searing the bird in the Instant Pot, I usually season and cook the bird first. Then I put it on a rimmed baking sheet covered with foil and stick it under the broiler, trivet and all. A few minutes is enough to brown the chicken and crisp up the skin. Also, there’s no skin stuck to the bottom of the pot, which one person had trouble with.

  24. Just wanted to share that I followed this recipe as a guideline for cooking time, but with slightly different spices and without searing, and even though I erred on the side of caution timewise it came out very obviously underdone (pink meat when cutting into the breast and drumstick, red meat juice pooling on the plate under the chicken once removed). I did stick a meat thermometer in right after the 15 minute natural release and it didn’t get above 140F. I see that a few others have mentioned similar results, and this could obviously have serious repercussions, so maybe it warrants looking into why this is happening for some of us? For reference, my chicken was somewhere just under 5 lbs and had only been in the refrigerator so absolutely not frozen. I also used about 2 cups chicken broth to make sure it got up to pressure.

    1.0 rating

  25. Thanks for responding, Lexi, I don’t see an option to reply to your reply so I’ll do so as a new reply here. I’ll probably overdo it on the detail so we can have the best chance of figuring it out. Mine is the Duo Nova 6 quart, the newer model which automatically sets to “sealing” when the lid is closed. I put my 4.9lb chicken in the pot set on high pressure normal heat for 30 minutes (6minx5lb). It got up to pressure, but for some reason after about 5 minutes I noticed steam escaping from the vent and the pin down again, which normally doesn’t happen. So I cancelled, checked the lid seal and other components, then restarted for the full 30 minutes with an added cup of broth, checking back every few minutes to ensure it kept pressure the entire time. So overall it got a little more cooking time than what your guidelines would suggest (unless I screwed up the math!?), and it came out extremely underdone, as stated – I even took pictures if you’d like them. Bird was still half raw and leaking purge.

    I then put the whole thing back in the pot for ANOTHER 30 minutes, because now I was paranoid. When done it was literally falling off the bone under its own weight, thermometer confirmed it had hit or surpassed 190F, and surprisingly the meat was stiill moist, tender and delicious but not mush (haven’t tried the leftovers yet). So at least we know the instant pot was functioning and able to get to temperature and pressure, it just took a lot longer than expected.

    So, that’s my story.

    1. Hi Ben! I appreciate you putting the detail into this to let us know how it went for you. At the end of the day, there are a lot of different variables when it comes to cooking, including how cold you refrigerator is (which in turn affects how cold your bird is), your specific instant pot, how meaty your bird is, etc. It’s hard to tell exactly what went wrong with your bird not being completely cooked in the allotted time, but I think you likely only needed an extra 2-4 minutes of cook time, if your bird had already come up to 140. I’m going to update some of the language I use, in case somebody else comes up to this situation about how to proceed if the bird hasn’t reached the proper temperature. Sorry this didn’t turn out as expected for you!

  26. Hello again Lexi, thanks for your latest response! This will almost certainly be my final message on this topic, but I had just a few final thoughts.

    First, an oversight, despite my faithful efforts I neglected to include that I allowed 15min natural release in both of the 30min cooking episodes. Just FYI for you or anyone reading.

    Second, I’m surprised to hear that you think I could have rectified the undercooking with as little as 2 – 4 minutes additional cook time! Is that per pound or in total? That seems counterintuitive and I’d love to hear you expand on how such a small additional margin could have made such a large difference, either in these comments or maybe in a future post. I use my instant pot almost every day, but I still feel like I’m just learning. For what it’s worth, the “cheat sheet” that came with my pot recommends 8 minutes per pound of whole chicken, vs your 6, which for a 5lb bird would call for an extra 10 minutes total (40 vs 30). Thoughts?

    Finally, I’m very impressed with your transparency in posting our conversation in full, and promptly, as it speaks to your integrity and inclines me to trust your recipes in the future.

    Use your meat thermometers, kids!

    ps the leftovers are great! Maybe you can’t oversteam a chicken?

    1. Hi Ben! We stand by our recipes so I’m happy to have this conversation here in the comments! Our timing of 6 minutes per chicken has always worked for us, and we have felt that 8 minutes per pound overcooks the chicken. I’ve made it with this formula (btw this is Kelli the food editor speaking!) since we developed this recipe a few years back, and it’s never failed me. The point of this specific recipe isn’t to make shredded chicken, but to make cooked chicken, similar to how it would come out in the oven. Of course, me cooking in my kitchen, or Lexi cooking in hers doesn’t always translate to another person cooking in their kitchen. There can always ALWAYS be differentials we can’t account for, but we do our best to address them if we can foresee them happening. It seems that for some reason, this formula didn’t work for you this time, and I’ve enumerated in a previous comment to you some possibilities for that. And just like it is suggested to be a good cook you have to get to know your oven, after years of professionally working with IPs…the same goes for that. I have two different sizes and models of IPs and they definitely work differently. That’s really the best I can offer you on that.

      As to why I think 2-4 minutes of additional cook time would work? It’s just how the Instant Pot works. You have to remember, that it takes a minimum of about 5 minutes for the IP to come up to pressure and whatever is in it for that period of time is cooking as it’s heating up, as well as the few minutes it takes for it to come down from pressure. If your chicken was at 140, even if it was in the oven it might only take about 10 minutes to come up to the correct cook time, depending on the temperature of your oven. The IP works even faster.

      Per this discussion here, I’ve updated the recipe to include my suggestions on what to do if another reader encounters a similar issue you’ve had.

  27. You changed it to a cup of broth, but earlier you say 1/2 cup still. Not sure why there are two sets of directions.

    1. Hi Dan! Thanks for the catch! If you read the notes, we updated the recipe after we published it and increased the amount of broth from 1/2 cup to 1 cup. The overview of steps didn’t get updated along with it. So I went ahead and updated that. Thanks for pointing that out!

  28. I pushed manual and time in receipe and it must of been on low. LUX 80 is stew and meat 35 min (normal) I hope it’s high pressure.. Should I stop it at 24 min ? Manual did not allow for choosing pressure so it must of not cooked left lid on reset to meat.

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