How to Cook a Whole Chicken in the Instant Pot

How to Cook a Whole Chicken in the Instant Pot

By Melissa Norris | Instant Pot/ Pressure Cooking

Jan 30

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Learning how to cook a whole chicken in the Instant Pot (aka pressure cooker whole chicken) is life changing. For reals, if you’ve not joined the Instant Pot craze, aka electric pressure cooking, you my friend are about to. And apparently, aka is my favorite thing to say today, so let’s rock it.

I must confess, I am a late comer to the Instant Pot, because I’m an old-fashioned kind of girl who didn’t really want to add one more thing to my homestead kitchen. But, the allure of being able to cook a whole frozen solid chicken when I forgot to thaw it out and am an hour away from super time reeled me in.Whole Chicken Instant Pot

Let’s say that tends to happen a lot, even with  meal planning the day will get away from me and I’ll forget to take things out of the freezer until an hour before cook time, in the normal world, this causes issues with getting food on the table. In the Instant Pot world (or power pressure cooker xl) it’s not a problem.

My sweet husband bought me my cooker,–> this exact model right here <–, for Mother’s Day last year. The first time I used it I whispered, “Where have you been all my life?” It also became a standing joke that everything I cooked would be via the Instant Pot and I almost brought it with us during a camping trip.

Farm fresh eggs peel like a dream, no heating up the kitchen, the programming, I can pop the food in it, tell it not to start cooking for 3 hours, how long to cook, and then keep it warm for me, yes, it’s a personal chef all tied up in a pretty little pot. That went poetic real fast. See what it does to people?

My slow cooker has since been removed to soap making and crafting projects only and I got rid of my rice cooker and vegetable steamer. Because the Instant Pot, she does it all.

Slow Cooker vs. Pressure Cooker

Cooking whole chickens or roasts are easy pressure cooker recipes to get started with. I prefer the pressure cooker texture over a slow cooker because the meat is just as tender, if not more, but the flavor is still there. When it comes to slow cooking, I never added my spices or herbs until they end, because the flavor tended to cook out. Not so with pressure cooking, the flavor is just as bright as roasting in the oven or skillet, but without the work on my part.

How to Cook a Frozen Whole Chicken in the Instant Pot

We raise our own organic and pasture raised chickens here on the homestead so when it comes to cooking a whole bird, they’re always frozen solid straight from the deep freezer. Here’s how to cook chicken in a pressure cooker when it’s frozen.

I’ve discovered that for frozen meat, by adding 15 minutes (depending upon the size of the bird or roast if going beef) to regular pressure cooking times tends to be the magic number. The first few times I only added 10 minutes and because our birds weigh in at about 6 to 7 pounds, the center of the breasts was still raw.

Here is my guideline for instant pot frozen chicken recipes

If the frozen chicken is 5 pounds or under, add an additional 10 minutes to the cooking time for a total of 35 minutes at high pressure

If the frozen chicken is 6+ pounds, add an additional 15 minutes to the cooking time for a total of 40 minutes at high pressure

What if my whole chicken is still raw after cooking in the Instant pot

If you slice into it to find it’s pink, just slap it back into the pot and pressure cook for an additional 7  minutes and she be done!

But to avoid all that extra work, follow the adjusted cooking times listed above.

Instant Pot Whole Chicken with Vegetables

If you want to toss some veggies on into this, go right ahead. Washed and diced (and peeled when necessary) potatoes, carrots, onions, anything your little heart desires, just place them on the bottom of the pot and decrease the water from 2 cups to 1 and 1/2 cups instead. Place your bird on top of them and away ya go. If adding veggies, you’ll want to do the manual release so they don’t get too soft.

Roasted Whole Chicken in Instant Pot

1 whole chicken (mine was our home raised birds and a 6 pound bird)

Salt and pepper to taste

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

Sprinkle of paprika

Dried herbs of choice

3 fresh sprigs of rosemary in cavity of chicken

 

  1. Place fresh herbs inside cavity of chicken, sprinkle outside liberally with salt, pepper, and dried spices/herbs of choice. Place 2 cups water in bottom of Instant pot and place chicken inside (I don’t use the trivet because this large of a bird won’t fit and it’s one less thing to wash, score!)
  2. Secure lid and choose meat setting on high pressure for 40 minutes if frozen, and 30 minutes if thawed, and allow to cook. You can do either a manual or natural release depending on how fast you need to eat. (You’ll get close to 4 cups worth of broth when bird is done cooking)how to cook frozen whole chicken in Instant Pot
  3. When the pressure cooking time is up, make sure pressure is reduced fully if going the natural release route, and remove lid. Using tongs, lift the chicken onto a serving dish or tray. It’s usually fall off the bone so I take mine out in big pieces. Let it cool slightly and serve! (Do you see how juicy that baby is?)
  4. Reserve all of that luscious broth (it will have gel like you won’t believe) for soup or make a quick gravy if you so desire.
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How to Cook a Whole Chicken in the Instant Pot
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 10
Ingredients
  • 1 whole chicken (mine was our home raised birds and a 6 pound bird)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • Sprinkle of paprika
  • Dried herbs of choice
  • 3 fresh sprigs of rosemary in cavity of chicken
Instructions
  1. Place fresh herbs inside cavity of chicken, sprinkle outside liberally with salt, pepper, and dried spices/herbs of choice. Place 2 cups water in bottom of Instant pot and place chicken inside (I don’t use the trivet because this large of a bird won't fit and it's one less thing to wash, score!)
  2. Secure lid and choose meat setting on high pressure for 40 minutes if frozen, and 30 minutes if thawed, and allow to cook. You can do either a manual or natural release depending on how fast you need to eat. (You’ll get close to 4 cups worth of broth when bird is done cooking)
  3. When the pressure cooking time is up, make sure pressure is reduced fully if going the natural release route, and remove lid. Using tongs, lift the chicken onto a serving dish or tray. It's usually fall off the bone so I take mine out in big pieces. Let it cool slightly and serve!
  4. Reserve all of that luscious broth (it will have gel like you won't believe) for soup or make a quick gravy if you so desire.
There you have it, the fastest and easiest way to cook a whole chicken in the Instant Pot, frozen or not!

About the Author

Melissa K. Norris inspires people's faith and pioneer roots with her books, podcast, and blog. Melissa lives with her husband and two children in their own little house in the big woods in the foothills of the North Cascade Mountains. When she's not wrangling chickens and cattle, you can find her stuffing Mason jars with homegrown food and playing with flour and sugar in the kitchen.

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