When you want options when it comes to quick and easy meals, few things beat a whole chicken in an Instant Pot and all of the possibilities it affords. From salads to soups and sandwiches and more, this budget-friendly protein is a game-changer when made in the Instant Pot because you just need a handful of ingredients and less than 15 minutes of hands-on prep time.
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This is Where the Magic Happens
If you’ve been resisting the urge to get an Instant Pot (or another brand of electric pressure cooker), this Instant Pot Whole Chicken just might be the recipe that convinces you to pull the trigger on one. We’ll cut to the chase and say this, making a whole chicken like this is a game-changer for those who like to meal prep or those who like to have easy options for busy weeknights. But it’s also a great way to get a delicious dinner on the table with little to no fuss. While the chicken cooks, you’ll have plenty of time to whip up a couple of side dishes.
Easy on the Budget
A 4-lb. organic chicken will run you anywhere from $11.00 – $15.00 depending on where you live and where you shop and makes enough protein for two to three meals for a family of four on average. Plus you can get 2-3 quarts of bone broth from the bones when you’re done cooking it, saving you even more money. We know that saving time and money while eating well is important to you so that’s why we’re sharing our fool-proof method for How to Make a Whole Chicken in the Instant Pot today.
Instant Pot Whole Chicken Ingredients
As you can see, the ingredient list is surprisingly short and simple.
- Whole chicken – A 3-4 pound whole chicken fits perfectly in the inner pot of a 6-quart Instant Pot
- Cooking fat of choice – Any fat will do! We like ghee for its buttery flavor but avocado or olive oil are excellent dairy-free options
- Salt and Black pepper
- Fresh or Dried herbs – Rosemary, thyme, marjoram, and sage are typically found in poultry seasoning and are great for cooking a whole chicken in the Instant Pot that you will then use for other recipes like salads or sandwiches. Feel free to substitute your favorite herbs or spice rub to suit your taste
- Water or broth
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How to Make Instant Pot Whole Chicken
Step 1: Prepare the chicken by removing the bag of giblets from the inside cavity of the chicken (if the chicken came with them). Place the chicken on a plate and pat it dry with clean paper towels. Sprinkle the entire chicken with salt and pepper.
Step 2: Select the ‘Saute’ function on Instant Pot. Add your cooking fat of choice to the pot and when it just starts to shimmer (but before it starts to smoke), add the chicken breast-side down to the pot. Allow the chicken to cook, undisturbed for 5-7 minutes, until the skin starts to brown. Then, using tongs or 2 wooden spoons, carefully flip the chicken over in the pot. Continue cooking in ‘Saute’ mode for another 5 minutes while you chop the garlic and get your herbs (fresh or dried) and water ready to add to the pot.
Step 3: Carefully lift the chicken from the pot using tongs and place it on the metal trivet that came with your Instant Pot. Sprinkle the minced garlic and a little more salt and pepper over the chicken then top with fresh or dried herbs or your favorite spice rub, if using, then pour the water or broth into the pot.
Step 4: Carefully place the lid on the Instant Pot and turn it to the ‘Locked’ position. You may have to wiggle it a bit to get it locked as the steam created by adding liquid to the hot pot will cause the float valve to pop up – just gently poke it down with your finger then lock the lid in place. Once the lid is locked in place, turn the vent to ‘Sealing’ (the vent is the little flipper-looking thing on top of the lid).
Step 5: Select the ‘High Pressure’ setting (‘Manual’ on older models) and set the cooking time to 23 minutes (25 minutes for high-altitude).
Step 6: When the cooking time is up, allow for 10 minutes of natural pressure release before carefully flipping the vent valve to the ‘Venting’ position to release any residual steam. Remove the lid then transfer the chicken to a large plate or bowl so it can cool slightly before removing the meat from the bones.
How to Store Instant Pot Roast Chicken
Store the cooked chicken in a covered container in the fridge for up to 4 days. For longer storage, place cooled chicken in a large freezer-safe container with a lid (or a reusable silicone bag) and store in the freezer for up to one month.
Ways to Use Instant Pot Whole Chicken
Now that you’ve got all of this tender, juicy, and delicious cooked chicken it’s time to decide how you’ll use it. Here are a few of our favorite ways to use cooked chicken:
- Creamy Chicken Spaghetti Squash with Bacon and Asparagus
- Dairy-Free Spaghetti Squash Chicken Alfredo
- Buffalo Chicken-Stuffed Spaghetti Squash
- Creamy Buffalo Chicken Casserole
- Mango Chicken Salad with Avocado
- Harvest Chicken Salad
- Plus these 7 Healthy Chicken Salad Recipes
First Comes the Chicken, Next Comes the Broth!
You can get even more bang for your buck by turning your leftover chicken bones into a nutritious and delicious broth. If you’re going to make bone broth (which we highly encourage you to do!) save the bones by placing them into a freezer-safe container with a lid or a zip-top bag. They can be refrigerated for up to 3 days or placed in the freezer for longer storage. We almost always go on to make broth right away — here’s a tutorial and recipe for that – but sometimes we don’t have the time so we just toss the bones in the ‘bone bag’ in the freezer. This bag is also a great place to toss the ends of celery, carrots, and onions so that when you’re ready to make stock you’re pretty much halfway there.
- 1 (3-4 lbs.) whole chicken, giblets removed
- 1 Tbsp. cooking fat of choice
- Salt and black pepper
- 1 small bunch of fresh herbs for poultry (rosemary, thyme, parsley, marjoram, and/or sage, etc.) or 1 tsp. each of dried rosemary, thyme, and crushed sage or your favorite spice rub
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup water or broth
- Remove the bag of giblets from the inside cavity of the chicken (if the chicken came with them).
- Place the chicken on a plate and pat it dry with a couple of clean paper towels. Sprinkle sea salt and pepper on both sides.
- Select the ‘Saute’ function on Instant Pot. Add 1 Tbsp. fat of choice to the pot. When it just starts to shimmer (but before it starts to smoke), add the chicken breast-side down to the pot. Allow the chicken to cook, undisturbed for 5-7 minutes, until the skin starts to brown.
- Using tongs or 2 wooden spoons, carefully flip the chicken over in the pot. Continue cooking in ‘Saute’ mode for another 5 minutes while you chop the garlic and get your herbs (fresh or dried) and water or broth ready to add to the pot.
- Press the ‘Cancel’ button to stop sautéing. Lift the chicken from the pot using a set of tongs and place the metal trivet in the bottom of the pot. Return the chicken to the pot, placing it on the trivet then add the water or broth to the pot. Sprinkle minced garlic and a little more salt and pepper over the chicken then top with herbs.
- Carefully place the lid on the Instant Pot and turn to the ‘Locked’ position. You may have to wiggle it a bit to get it locked as the steam created by adding liquid to the hot pot will cause the float valve to pop up – just gently poke it down with your finger then lock the lid in place.
- Once the lid is locked in place, turn the vent to ‘Sealing’.
- Select the ‘High Pressure’ setting (‘Manual’ on older models) and set the cooking time for 23 minutes (25 minutes for high-altitude). If you find you need more time, you can always replace the lid and add a couple more minutes. After a few tries, you’ll have it down to a science.
- When the cooking time is up, allow the pressure to naturally release for 10 minutes to help seal in all those tasty juices – then flip the vent valve to ‘venting’ to allow any residual pressure to be released before removing the lid.
- Carefully remove the chicken to a plate to cool slightly before removing the meat from the bones.
- Store the cooked chicken in a covered container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
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About Jessica Beacom
Jessica is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist living in Boulder, CO with her hubby and two daughters. She’s been described as a ‘real food evangelist’ and loves sharing her knowledge with others to help them break free of the diet mentality and find their own food freedom. In her spare time she enjoys CrossFit, telemark skiing, mountain biking, teaching herself how to play the banjo and camping out under the stars.