This instant pot whole chicken has the best of all worlds. It takes less than 25 minutes to cook, doesn’t need marinating or brining, and turns out moist and tender every single time.
With holidays around the corner, you are surely looking for a whole chicken recipe that is easy to make and provides juicy and flavorful results. Save this recipe as you are surely going to need it sometime soon.
Why this recipe works
- Easy and quick. The instant pot is probably the easiest and quickest way to cook a whole chicken.
- Perfect for gatherings. Instant pot whole chicken is an amazing main dish for occasions when you need to feed a large number of people (just like the air fryer whole chicken).
- Always juicy. It’s certainly not the best feeling to cook a whole chicken to only find out that it’s dry and rubbery. Instant pot yields perfectly juicy results so long as the timing is right.
This instant pot chicken has all the chances to become the centerpiece of your holiday dinner table or family gatherings.
You don’t need a lot to cook a delicious chicken in an instant pot. A few spices and herbs are enough to make the chicken flavorful and fragrant. Here’s the full list of ingredients for this recipe.
- Chicken. This recipe uses a 3-pound whole chicken.
- Garlic. Peeled and smashed garlic cloves to stuff the chicken.
- Rosemary and bay leaves. To stuff the chicken to infuse it with herbal aroma.
- Lemon. Stuffing the chicken with lemon wedges creates a deeper and more balanced flavor.
- Salt and pepper. A part of the salt and black pepper goes into the cavity of the chicken to help all flavors penetrate into the chicken from the inside. Use the rest of the salt and pepper for the rub.
- Spices. I use a blend of garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika to rub over the chicken.
- Herbs. Dried thyme and oregano work perfectly for chicken. Mix them with the spices and apply them all over the chicken.
- Olive oil. To mix with the spices and rub inside and outside the chicken.
- Chicken broth. While you can use water too, using chicken broth makes the drippings more flavorful.
How to cook a whole chicken in the instant pot
As noted above, this instant pot whole chicken is very easy to make. Here’s how to pressure-cook a whole chicken.
Step 1 – Season the chicken
Stuff the chicken with smashed garlic cloves, sprigs of rosemary, bay leaves, and lemon wedges. Mix part of the olive oil, salt, and pepper and use this mixture to season the chicken.
Mix the remaining olive oil, salt, spices, and herbs. Brush this mixture evenly on the chicken.
Step 2– Cook the chicken
Place a rack inside the instant pot and add the chicken broth. Put the chicken on the rack with the breast down. Cover the instant pot and turn the valve to the sealing position. Start cooking the chicken on high pressure and set the timer to 24 minutes.
After 24 minutes, release the pressure naturally for 15 minutes followed by a quick release of the remaining pressure.
Check the internal temperature of the chicken. If the thermometer reads 165F degrees, remove the chicken from the instant pot. Allow the chicken to rest for 5 minutes before carving it.
How long does it take to cook chicken in an instant pot?
How long chicken takes to cook in an instant pot depends on its weight. A 3-pound chicken takes 24 minutes to cook on high pressure. Cook the chicken for 6 more minutes for each additional pound. Release the pressure naturally for 15 minutes.
Tips to make the best recipe
- Weigh the chicken. If the chicken doesn’t come with a weight label, make sure to weigh it yourself to be able to cook it for the needed length of time.
- Broil the chicken. If you like chicken to have a golden look and a crispy exterior, broil it in the oven for a few minutes once you take it out of the instant pot.
- Save the drippings. The juices left behind the chicken are too flavorful to waste. Turn them into a delicious gravy by adding a cornstarch slurry to it and boiling them until thick.
- Slather the spices under the skin. If you have time, loosen the skin on the breast and thighs and apply the spice mix under it for maximum flavor.
To store. Place leftovers in an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
To freeze. Place leftover chicken in ziplock bags or airtight containers and freeze for up to 3 months.
To reheat. Reheat the leftovers in the oven or in the microwave.
More instant pot recipes to try
Frequently asked questions
Instant pots come in a variety of sizes. You can fit a 5 1/2 -pound chicken in a 6-quart instant pot. If your instant pot has a larger capacity – around 8 quarts, you can fit a 6 to 7-pound chicken in it.
Yes, you can overcook chicken in an instant pot. The instant pot cooks food in a high-pressure environment. Cooking chicken in an instant pot longer than needed makes it rubbery. Check the level of doneness of the chicken to make sure you don’t overcook it.
While you can cook a whole chicken in an instant pot without a trivet, we highly recommend you do. Cooking the chicken on a trivet helps cook it evenly. It also helps remove the chicken from the instant pot more easily.
Yes, you can fit a whole chicken in a 3-quart instant pot. A small 2 to 2.5-pound chicken will fit freely in a 3-quart instant pot. You may be able to fit a 3-pound chicken in a 3-quart instant pot too.
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Instant Pot Whole Chicken
- 3 lbs whole chicken
- 2 teaspoons salt divided
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper divided
- 2 cloves garlic smashed
- 2 sprigs rosemary
- 5 bay leaves
- 3 wedges lemon
- 3 tablespoons olive oil divided
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 cup chicken broth
- Stuff the chicken with cloves, rosemary, bay leaves, and lemon wedges.
- Season the chicken with salt and pepper, and olive oil. Mix the remaining spice ingredients and season the exterior of the chicken with it.
- Place a rack in the inner pot of the instant pot and add the chicken broth. Add the chicken, breast down.
- Cover the lid and lock it, and point the valve to sealed.
- Press high pressure and set the timer to 24 minutes. Once the instant pot beeps, let the pressure naturally release for 15 minutes, followed by a quick release of the remaining pressure.
- Check the internal temperature of the chicken is at 165F. If cooked, remove the chicken from the instant pot and let it rest for 5 minutes, before carving.
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