Cooking A Whole Chicken In An Instant Pot

Have you heard of an Instant Pot?  This pot has become my favorite appliance in the kitchen.  I love it for a few reasons.  I purchased an Instant Pot with 7 features (pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, sauté/browning, yogurt maker, steamer and warmer) and feel I could eliminate a few appliance on the counter with just this one.  With the warm season upon us, we have utilized the Instant Pot instead of the oven.  I love how FAST this pot cooks everything.  Cooking a whole chicken is very quick, simple and easy to do!  In the past two weeks, we have used our instant pot to make stews (grabbing frozen meat and having a meal ready in 30 minutes is AMAZING), bone broths (cooks in two hours what I spent cooking for 2 days) and steaming vegetables.  The Instant Pot continues to amaze me!

This recipe is for how to cook a whole chicken in an instant pot.  If you do not have an instant pot, but a pressure cooker it will still work.  However, your process for getting the pressure will be different, please follow your pot instructions.  The cook time should be the same.

Whole Chicken

Cooking A Whole Chicken In An Instant Pot


1 whole chicken

Seasonings of choice

1 cup water

1 tbsp coconut oil


1.  Place one cup of water in your Instant Pot and place the steam rack inside the pot.

2.  In a large skillet heat the oil.

3.  Cover the chicken in seasonings and place in the oil and allow the skin to sear for one minute on each side and remove from heat.

4.  Place the chicken in the Instant Pot on the steam rack.

5.  Lock the lid and set the Instant Pot to Chicken (it should be on high pressure) and adjust the time (you will need to do some math, it’s 6 mins per lb of chicken and then add 2 minutes to the total time.  Example: 3lb chicken would be 3×6=18+2=20 minutes).

6.  Allow chicken to stay in the pot and steam to release naturally for 15 minutes.  You can leave the chicken in the pot longer, but I do not recommend longer than 30 minutes.


96 thoughts on “Cooking A Whole Chicken In An Instant Pot

  1. Where can we find the fancy shmancy magical instant pot you speak of? I’m curious! I have a Crockpot w/ a timer for cooking, multiple heat temps, and auto shutoff, that’s all it does.

    • I found mine on Amazon and it was a ‘lightning deal’ getting it for around $100. It’s a magic machine…we use it 3 times yesterday in prep for the week (pot roast, pork lion and mushroom soup).

      • I got my IP from Amazon on sale for $78. One trick I learned with a frozen chicken. Follow the timing rule (6 minutes per pound plus 2 minutes) and let pressure drop for 15 minutes afterward. Use a minimum of 1 cup of water under rack After it has cooked, put the chicken on a cookie sheet and pop under the broiler to brown up the skin. Works great and makes the best chicken ever, pus a little yummy broth.

    • I got mine yesterday from Walmart. The great news is that Walmart price matches Amazon, so I didn’t have to wait two days to get it! Walmart had it marked for $159 but I got it for $99 as a price match. The caveat is that it has to be sold by Amazon, has to be in stock and limit 1 per item. Trying a whole chicken today! I can’t wait!

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  3. I am way too lazy to sear my chicken. Would it still turn out ok if I skipped that step? Thanks! Recently got an instant pot and am trying to figure out how to use it!

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    • I cooked a 1.25 lb whole chicken today & it was slightly frozen (as it had been defrosting in the fridge for a few days), for 15 minutes. It wasn’t fall off the bone ready, and slightly pink on the inside, although juices ran clear (I didn’t have a thermometer to read internal temp). My guess is it could’ve used 5 more minutes. But used it in chicken noodle soup, so I cut it up and used it anyhow. Thought I’d share my experience for those curious on the frozen bird. How easy to make chicken noodle soup in the IP from a whole bird!

  6. It will not brown because it is just steam
    To add a bit of color use some Kitchen Bouquet on the skin. It can also be used to add some color to cooking in Crock Pot and microwave and those large electric roasting pans, where foods do not brown.
    It is a liquid and should be in the spice section of your grocery store. Brown bottle with bright yellow label and red words..

      • Stacy, I’m with u. Stay out of those middle isles!
        I Always brown my meat on saute first & then pressure cook it.
        Browning adds an Extra layer of flavor, without adding artificial color and flavor!!
        Ain’t nothing like the Real thing baby!! lol

  7. 4 lb chicken today. 1 cup of water, sprinkled some seasoning over it and put it on the steaming rack inside the IP.
    Set it to poultry and changed time to 30 min.
    Let the pressure come down completely on its own. (Still checked with instant thermometer to make sure it was 180 degrees and juices were clear)
    The chicken literally fell off the bones. I’m using it in other related I pies so it didn’t mattdr. Skin came off easily and there was nothing left but bones and skI .
    Poured juices in a measuring cup, covered it with plastic wrap and in refrigerator to let the fats solidify easily and will freeze the broth for another day. From 1 cup of cup of water I got 2.5 cups ofbtoyh.

  8. Yeah, ditto that question on the Frozen Chicken… Would be great if we could just add some time to make up for the frozen-ness? For those of us who don’t plan ahead before discovering a lone chicken in the freezer.

  9. Just bought an InstantPot – I am wondering about the whole chicken overfilling the pot…I don’t see this addressed. I have a 6 quart pot. Perhaps yours was bigger? The directions say not to fill it more than 2/3 full.

  10. i read other recipes for whole chicken making sure it fits in pot and not touch the sides and of course make sure you can lock the lid is it ok if it touches the side using a 6 quart pot what is the size of the chicken c=you cab use mike

  11. I was told to try 50 minutes for a frozen chicken. I am wondering if you can throw in veggies with the bird? Like baby carrots and onions.

  12. I’ve used this recipe twice now, in less than a month. Thanks so much for posting such simple steps it’s much appreciated!

    • Yeah!! THANKS for sharing! If you use Instagram, tag me..I love to see my recipes in action. It’s an easy cheap recipe to do a lot with. You might like my post on how to make Lime LaCroix Butt Chicken (it’s cooked in the oven…tastes like a deep fried chicken).

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  16. FYI, you set the same identical time whether your chicken is completely frozen or thawed. Frozen chicken will take a lot longer to come to pressure though.

    But no additional “time” on the timer is needed for frozen.

  17. I have not yet gotten a InstaPot but looking at getting one soon. Can you cook larger chickens? I have farm grown chickens that are 7-8 pounds. Will those fit and can you use the same formula?

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  20. I did not sear my whole chicken. It was frozen solid, and I think between 4 and 5 pounds. I did not put it on the rack because it wouldn’t fit. As for not over filling the pot, this is generally with liquids. Usually meat and veg come above the 2/3 line, but they are not solid, lots of space between pockets.
    After the 30 minutes at high pressure, I let it come down off pressure naturally. About 20 minutes. My chicken was not done! Only came up to 120 on my thermometer, and it was still frozen on the inside. This is when I discovered my foster farms chicken had a neck, liver and heart shoved in the cavity.. Which were frozen solid still. Along with a still attached kidney and part of the lungs… Gross, they don’t clean their chickens well.
    I then cooked the chicken in the IP another 30 minutes under high pressure.

    Chicken was fall off the bone tender, and juicy. I thought for sure it would be tough. The drippings I strained into another pot on stove and made fabulous gravy for the spuds. I “shredded” the chicken for serving because I fed 15 people with that 5 pound bird, and had a little for lunch the next day.

    HINT: Clean your chickens before freezing!! Apparently foster farms stuffs the cavity with the neck and some organs.

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  22. After making the chicken I refrigerate the drippings/broth for soup. Do you have a good ratio of water to drippings to make broth?

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  24. So your math isn’t clear because you added 20 mins. Where did that come from? It’s very frustrating to read instructions and not be told all the facts. Do you mean to add the extra minutes to the already added poultry settings? because I haven’t used my Instant Pot yet and don’t understand how it works exactly to time and properly cook with it yet. Thanks for understanding my question. I hope you can clarify in the future.

    • I think it may have been a typo. I’m guessing it was meant to say

      My IP is supposed to be arriving today and looking forward to trying this.

    • You sound like you are just learning. I am enjoying my instapot because I can forget and burn anything on the stove. I look at several different sites because I do not follow directions well. Eventually I find what I need to cook. We are eating at home more because of the instapot as well as eating better

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  26. A, cooking this now with nice little Amish free range chicken for the first time. After that, I’ll try regular grocery store chicken. Maybe it doesn’t make much difference. Looking forward to making the stock! Thanks for your recipe

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  28. Curious… I have a frozen, fully cooked, rotisserie chicken. Can I use this to bring it back to life and what suggestions do you have

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  33. I love my instant pot. Have made a whole chicken but love the additional step of browning in skillet. I tried my second chicken to do it in the IP but was a little narrow for the length of the chicken. For me browning in a skillet with seasoning is quick and want to have the crisper skin. Will also put in broiler after, such a great idea.
    In reference to chicken sizes, I have found that when I buy an organic chicken they are not like the big name brand one. But the hormones are given to fatten chickens up and in cages they don’t exercise so become fat and bigger. Then there is the antibiotic issue…. Paleo recommends organic and free range chickens or grass fed cows, bison, etc. I have noticed prices coming down since so many more are demanding this of the meats they purchase.

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  35. I just made a completely frozen chicken last night, and was forced to leave the “packet” of organs inside the bird because I didn’t have time to thaw it enough to get it out! (I KNOW! but at least they were wrapped in paper not plastic -from a organic free range bird). This may be the reason that the formula for cook time everyone states above did NOT work. It was a 5 lb chicken, so I did 6 X 5 + 2 = 32 mins. on high pressure and let the steam come down on its own (about 15 more mins). My chicken was still a little frozen on the inside, but the good news is I could now get the packet out of the center 🙂
    I put the bird back in, and set it for 15 more mins. It came up to steam fairly fast and then was perfect (after I browned in under the broiler) after that. I hope everyone learns from this as stated by another comment above… Completely prepare your chickens before freezing if you want to use the IP with a frozen bird. I also agree with all the comments above that it was fine to have carrots, celery, onion, rosemary and fennel in there too. Plenty of room for the steam, and I only added one cup of broth, putting the chicken on the rack.

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  43. Good directions and lots of good replies too. Only ONE thing …. I wish folks would stop saying “bone broth”. If you use the bones it’s STOCK, not broth.

  44. How big of a whole chicken can I cook in a 3 qt instant pot? My chicken is 3lbs and I’d have to stuff it in to close the lid. Will it still cook properly?

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