The easiest way to cook a whole chicken, this Instant Pot Whole Chicken is full of flavor and always juicy, making it the perfect option to feed a crowd or an easy meal prep for the week! Serve it with your favorite sides for a complete meal everyone will love.
The Secret Code to Cooking Chicken
Is there a more agreeable dinner option than chicken? Whether you’re making air fryer chicken tenders, chicken salad sliders, or Thai chicken soup, there’s an option for everyone! However, a problem I’ve run into when feeding a crowd is that some guests want white meat while others prefer dark meat like thighs and wings. Clearly, the answer in this situation is to serve a whole chicken, but who has time to roast one every time they host a dinner?!
Well…I do, and so do you!
That’s because I took the process of how to cook a whole chicken and made it super simple with the help of the Instant Pot! Yep, you read that right. A whole chicken in the instant pot! I cracked the code to creating the juiciest, most tender, and flavorful chicken you’ll ever taste, and it’s ready in less than an hour! Sounds too good to be true, I know, but trust me. It’s real. Keep reading to find out everything you’ll need to know!
How to Prepare a Whole Chicken
We took the guesswork out of cooking an entire chicken and simplified the process with a failproof method and easy marinade to add tons of flavor and lock in the moisture. However, to make sure your chicken turns out absolutely perfect every time regardless of the cooking method used, we’re also giving you our top-secret tips!
Pat the Skin Dry. To make sure you get crispy skin, pat your chicken dry with a towel! Or, if you have time, store your chicken in the fridge anywhere from 1 hour up to 24 hours to dry up any moisture.
Season the Skin. The secret to flavorful meat is to add your seasonings just underneath the skin and around the legs!
Note: Use these tips when making chicken in the oven, too! For the best results follow the method used here, and season accordingly.
Tips for the Instant Pot
Cook Per Pound. As a general rule of thumb, you’ll want to cook your chicken for 6 minutes per pound. Then, let your Instant Pot natural release for 15 minutes before setting it to the manual release mode. For the most accurate cooking times, weigh your chicken before cooking.
Use a Trivet. To ensure your chicken cooks evenly, place it on a trivet in the center of your Instant Pot, and add a cup of vegetable or chicken broth
How to Create Extra Crispy Skin
Finish By Browning the Skin. To create beautiful golden-brown skin, add your instant pot whole chicken to the oven for 10-12 minutes at 500˚ F. For extra crispy skin, let it broil for a minute or two longer.
Cover with Foil. If your chicken begins to burn before the skin has finished browning, cover the breast with foil, and continue cooking.
How to Cook a Whole Chicken in the Instant Pot
Alright, now that you know all our secrets, let’s get into how to actually make a whole chicken in the Instant Pot!
- Prepare the Chicken & Create a Brine. As mentioned, you’ll want to make sure to remove the moisture from the chicken skin. Then, whisk all of the ingredients together for a light, citrusy brine.
Baking Tip: Use the brine for other proteins such as chicken or fish, too!
- Ready the Trivet. Place the chicken on a trivet in the Instant Pot, skin side up. Then, add broth to the pot.
- Separate and Season. Using the back of a spoon or your fingers, carefully separate the skin of the chicken from the meat. Next, gently rub half of the marinade between the skin and the meat, making sure it covers around the legs. Add garlic, lemon, and onion to the cavity of the chicken, and baste the remaining marinade on top of the skin to lock in the flavor.
- Cook. Seal the Instant Pot, and cook your chicken on high for 24-30 minutes (or 6 minutes per pound) before letting it naturally release for 15 minutes. Then, let the remaining pressure release manually.
- Broil. To finish the chicken, season the skin with more salt and pepper, and transfer it to the oven to broil for 10-12 minutes or until the skin has reached the desired doneness and color.
Pro-Tip: To prevent the skin from tearing during the cooking process, tie the legs of your chicken together before cooking in the instant pot!
Can I Make this Instant Pot Whole Chicken Recipe with a Frozen Chicken?
Yes, but fresh or thawed chicken will work best for this recipe. Frozen options won’t be as flavorful as you won’t be able to add the marinade under the skin. Not to mention, the cooking time will nearly double, depending on the size of your chicken!
Can You Overcook Chicken in the Instant Pot?
Technically, you can, but it’s super difficult to do! The pressure of the Instant Pot locks in moisture, preventing the chicken from overcooking.
More Ways to Use Instant Pot Whole Chicken
One of the reasons why I love Instant Pot whole chicken is because it’s so versatile! It’s an easy way to meal prep once and enjoy different meals all week. Oh, don’t forget to save the bones and broth, too! It makes for excellent bone broth lattes and soups. Then, use your leftover chicken to make:
Instant Pot Whole Chicken
- Total Time: 1 hour 2 minutes
- Yield: 1 whole chicken
- Diet: Gluten Free
Create the juiciest chicken ever and extra crispy skin with ease with this Instant Pot recipe! Perfect for feeding a crowd, it’s ready in no time and always delicious.
For the Marinade:
¼ – ⅓ cup freshly squeezed orange juice or lemon juice
¼ cup naturally refined avocado oil or melted butter
1 Tablespoon fresh Thyme, chopped (or ½ teaspoon dried Thyme)
½ teaspoon smoked paprika or regular paprika
½ teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon garlic powder
Kosher salt to taste
Pepper to taste
Instant Pot Whole Chicken:
1 chicken (4-5 pounds), giblets and excess fat removed
3 garlic cloves
½ lemon, squeezed
½ yellow onion, sliced
1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
Kosher salt to taste
Pepper to taste
- Remove the giblets and any excess fat from the chicken. Use paper towels to pat it dry inside and out.
- Use fingers or the backside of a spoon to loosen the skin, starting from the breast. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, combine all of the ingredients for the brine. Whisk until smooth.
- Gently rub half of the marinade on the meat of the chicken underneath the skin, spreading evenly.
- Place a trivet rack in the center of the Instant Pot, and add the stock. Add the chicken to the post, breast skin side up.
- Stuff the cavity of the chicken with garlic, lemon, and onion. Add the remaining brine to the top of the chicken skin and around the legs, making sure to coat the entire outside.
- Pat the skin dry with a towel, making sure no moisture remains. Season with salt and pepper.
- Place a trivet rack in the center of the Instant Pot, and add the stock. Place the chicken on top of the trivet, skin side up.
- Using fingers or the back of a spoon, carefully lift up the skin on top of the chicken breast and near the legs, careful not to tear it to create a small space to rub the brine.
- Gently rub half of the marinade between the skin and the meat, spreading evenly. Reserve the remaining ½ of the brine to add to the top of the skin.
- Add the garlic, squeezed lemon, and onion to the cavity of the chicken.
- Pour the remaining marinade on top of the chicken and around the legs, making sure to baste the entire outside.
- Pressure cook on high for 24-30 minutes. Allow for a 15-minute natural pressure release before letting the rest of the pressure manually release.
- Transfer the chicken to a foil-lined baking sheet or roasting pan. Season with more salt and pepper to taste.
- Adjust the oven rack to the lowest position, and broil the chicken at 500˚ F for 10-12 minutes or until the skin is browned. Cover the breast with foil if it begins to burn before the legs have finished browning. Rest 10 minutes before slicing.
As a general rule of thumb, cook chicken on high pressure for 6 minutes per pound. Then, do a natural release for 15 minutes before manually releasing the remaining pressure.
For an oven-baked option see here.
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 57 minutes
- Category: Main
- Method: Instant Pot
- Cuisine: American
- Serving Size: 4 ounce cut
- Calories: 158
- Sugar: 1 g
- Sodium: 51.4 mg
- Fat: 4.8 g
- Saturated Fat: 0.9 g
- Carbohydrates: 1.7 g
- Fiber: 0.1 g
- Protein: 25.7 g
- Cholesterol: 82.7 mg
Keywords: air fryer, instant pot, whole chicken, chicken, main
Trust me, once you learn how to cook instant pot whole chicken you’ll never go back to slow oven methods again! If you give it a try, I would love it if you let me know in the comments below!
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