This Instant Pot whole chicken is tender, juicy, and full of flavor. It's also a cinch to make, so it’s the perfect recipe for busy weeknights—and you can use leftovers to make dinner for days!
Making a whole chicken for dinner can feel like a production, but the Instant Pot makes it doable even on a weeknight. You’ll be able to shave about 20 minutes from the cooking time by skipping the oven, without skimping on flavor or tenderness!
With the Instant Pot, you don’t have to play the waiting game with your oven, crossing your fingers that your chicken won’t end up too dry or undercooked. Plus, pressure cooking seals in all the juices and flavors, practically guaranteeing that your chicken will be moist and delicious.
To take advantage of the pressure cooking method, I add lots of seasonings, garlic, lemon, rosemary, and apples. The flavors of these ingredients are infused into the chicken as it cooks—no bland chicken here! This Instant Pot whole chicken is perfect for pairing with Crispy Roasted Potatoes and Green Bean Almondine for an old-fashioned kind of dinner, and you can continue to feast on the leftovers for the rest of the week!
Why You’ll Love This Instant Pot Whole Chicken Recipe
Here’s why I love to cook whole chicken in the Instant Pot:
- Juicy and tender. The Instant Pot makes sure the entire chicken is cooked to perfection, resulting in a juicy and tender bird every time.
- Faster cooking time. It takes just 40 minutes to cook a whole chicken in the Instant Pot, and only 15 minutes of prep time. Dinner’s done in under an hour!
- Versatility. This recipe can be customized by adding your favorite herbs, spices, seasonings, or rubs to make it your own.
- Budget-friendly. Whole chickens are often less expensive than buying individual chicken parts, making this recipe a cost-effective option for meal planning and prep.
What You’ll Need
Here are all of the ingredients you’ll need when making Instant Pot whole chicken. Make sure to check out the recipe card at the bottom of the page to see the exact quantities for each ingredient.
- Whole roasting chicken – I used a 3 to 4 pound chicken; while you could buy a bigger one, keep in mind that it will need to fit into your Instant Pot and a larger bird will mean a longer cooking time.
- Olive oil
- Seasonings – Salt, ground black pepper, Italian seasoning, paprika (sweet or smoked), and garlic powder add all the flavor.
- Garlic – In addition to the garlic powder, I like to add pungent fresh garlic too. You can never have enough garlic!
- Fresh rosemary – Thyme or sage would work too.
- Apple – I recommend a flavorful sweet-tart variety like Honeycrisp.
- Chicken stock
For the Optional Gravy:
- Flour – Use a measure-for-measure gluten-free all-purpose flour to make the gravy gluten-free.
How to Make Instant Pot Whole Chicken
Get ready for a delicious dinner in an instant! Here’s what you’ll need to do.
- Prepare. Dry the chicken with paper towels and then rub the outside with oil.
- Mix the seasonings. In a small bowl, combine the salt, pepper, paprika, Italian seasoning, and garlic powder.
- Season the chicken. Rub the seasoning blend over the chicken, on both sides and the cavity. Add the garlic cloves, lemon, and rosemary to the cavity and let the chicken sit for 30 minutes.
- Set up the Instant Pot. Pour the broth into the instant pot, then set the metal trivet inside and place the chicken onto it.
- Cook. Cook on high pressure for 7 minutes per pound with the vent knob in the sealed position. Then, allow the pressure to naturally release for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Make the gravy. Transfer the liquid from the Instant Pot into a bowl. Select the saute setting in your Instant Pot and melt the butter. Stir in the flour for about 1 minute until golden, then slowly pour in the liquid, stirring constantly. Season to taste.
Tips for Success
Follow these tips for perfect, juicy Instant Pot whole chicken
- Dry the chicken thoroughly. This will help the oil and seasonings stick, resulting in more flavorful chicken.
- Don’t stuff frozen chicken. You can cook chicken directly from frozen in the Instant Pot, but you won’t be able to stuff it; just add the stuffing ingredients on top instead. Increase the cooking time to 12 minutes per pound.
- Use a natural pressure release. Let the pressure naturally release for 10 to 15 minutes before opening the Instant Pot. This helps keep the chicken juicy and tender.
How to Get Crispy Skin on Instant Pot Chicken
One downside of the Instant Pot is that it doesn’t make the skin on the chicken crispy. If you want to crisp up the skin, you can place the chicken on a sheet pan after it’s done cooking and brush it with oil. Broil it for 5 to 8 minutes, until the skin browns and becomes crispy.
Another option is to use your air fryer—if your whole chicken fits, of course. Air fry the chicken at 400ºF for about 6 minutes to get crispy skin.
How to Store
Leftover chicken can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days. To reheat, either microwave or place in a covered dish in the oven at 350°F until heated through. For the best results, add a splash of chicken stock or broth before reheating to keep the chicken moist.
Can I Freeze This Recipe?
Leftover Instant Pot whole chicken can be frozen for up to 3 months. Make sure to store the chicken in an airtight container or freezer-safe bag with the air pressed out. Thaw in the refrigerator before reheating according to the instructions above.
More Chicken Recipes
- Blackened Chicken Tacos
- Chicken Pad Thai
- Instant Pot White Chicken Chili
- Chicken & Sausage Cassoulet with Rainbow Quinoa
- Chicken Pad Thai Quinoa Burgers
Instant Pot Whole Chicken
For the optional gravy:
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon flour
- Dry chicken thoroughly with paper towels to remove any excess moisture and rub with oil.
- In a small bowl, combine salt, pepper, paprika, Italian seasoning garlic powder.
- Sprinkle the seasoning mix evenly over the chicken on both sides and cavity using your hands.
- Then place garlic cloves, lemon, fresh, rosemary inside the cavity and set aside on a plate for at least 30 minutes to marinate.
- Add the broth to the instant pot, then place the metal trivet inside to raise the chicken. Place chicken on the trivet.
- Set to cook on High Pressure for 7 minutes per every pound of chicken weight, make sure to set the vent knob to the sealed position.
- After the cooking time ends, allow the pressure to naturally release for 10-15 minutes.
- For super-crispy skin you can place the chicken onto a sheet pan, brushing the skin with oil, and broil at 400F for about 5-8 minutes, until the skin becomes golden brown. For Air Fryer option: Set to 400 degrees F and air fry for 6 minutes or until the skin is crispy.
- If cooking a FROZEN chicken you will not be able to stuff it, so skip the stuffing step. Add garlic cloves to the broth and fresh thyme and rosemary on top of the chicken. Cooking time for FROZEN whole chicken : 12 minutes per pound.
- OPTIONAL GRAVY: To make the gravy use the remaining juices from the instant pot after the chicken is cooked. Transfer the liquid into a bowl. Select the “Saute” setting in your instant pot, add the 1 tablespoon butter and melt it. Then add the 1 tablespoon flour and stir about 1 minute until combined and lightly golden. Slowly, while stirring, add back the liquid to the pot, and stir until thickened and fully combined. Taste and adjust for salt and pepper.