Instant Pot Whole Chicken
The convenience and speed of using an Instant Pot continues with my Instant Pot Whole Chicken! This fool proof recipe makes a juicy, tender chicken in less than an hour. Keep reading to gain culinary wisdom on thawing chicken, seasoning, salting, why you should always brown your bird first, and nutrition info on chicken.
Please do not thaw your poultry on the counter! This puts the chicken at risk of growing bacteria and making you sick. When preparing to make this Instant Pot Whole Chicken, thaw the chicken in its packaging overnight in the refrigerator. Make sure to put it on a large enough plate or container to catch all the juices. Every four pounds of chicken will take ~24 hours to thaw.1
Salt and Pepper
To season and improve the juiciness in this Instant Pot Whole Chicken, we want to rub salt and pepper onto the entire bird before cooking. Salt changes the structure of the chicken muscle, allowing it to better retain its juices.2 It is best to measure and put the needed amount of salt and pepper into a small bowl before handling the raw chicken to avoid cross-contamination. Rub the entire bird, inside and out, and make sure to get under the wings.
After browning the chicken, add the herbs of your choice to the Instant Pot. I like placing the aromatics inside the cavity of the chicken and around it. Placing the herbs and garlic inside the chicken helps the bird retain the herby flavor.
The herbs and seasoning you use with this Instant Pot Whole Chicken pairs depends on the final meal that you plan to have. The herbs I recommend in this recipe will pair well with any grains like rice, quinoa, farro, and vegetables like broccoli, sweet potato and cauliflower.
If you want to make a rotisserie style Instant Pot Whole Chicken, I have the spice blend for you! The key to a good rotisserie spice blend is paprika! There are 3 kinds of paprika: sweet, spicy and smoked––choose whichever you prefer. Combine 2 parts paprika to 1 part dried thyme, garlic powder and onion powder. I always keep a jar full of this spice because I use it so often! Rub the spice blend on the whole chicken, just like we did with the salt and pepper.
Brown the Bird
It’s worth the time to brown both sides of the chicken before pressure cooking. The “sauté” function on the Instant Pot allows you to avoid washing extra dishes. Browning helps to lock in the flavor and gives the bird a cute tan, that makes it glisten and look even more appetizing.
After you and yours have picked the delectable Instant Pot Whole Chicken clean, don’t you dare throw the bones away! What remains is the chicken carcass and you can either simmer in a pot on the stovetop for a few hours or place it back into the Instant Pot.
If you want to use the Instant Pot, Bon Appetit has a great recipe here. All the ingredients break down releasing vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.3 The high pressure from the Instant Pot will also help release collagen and gelatin from the chicken bones increasing the protein and micronutrient content.4 Chicken stock can be stored in the refrigerator for four days or stored in the freezer for up to six months.
You can enhance the nutrition in your chicken stock by adding more vegetables! Try adding kale, collard greens, peppers and cabbage. Homemade chicken stock is typically lower in salt then store bought versions and tastier. Chicken stock is a staple in my kitchen for soups, stews, curries and to make dishes like polenta more savory.
Whole Chicken Recipes
After you make my Instant Pot Whole Chicken you have countless meal possibilities! You can keep it simple with roasted vegetables and a grain or remove all that juicy chicken from the bones to use in another recipe, such as Chicken Salad! Check out my Healthy Chicken Salad or my Chicken Salad with Apples.
If you want some Mexican-style recipes this Instant Pot Whole Chicken can be shredded for tacos, quesadillas, enchiladas, burritos and nachos! You can also top the chicken on a grain bowl with vegetables and a creamy dressing. Lastly, this whole chicken would make the juiciest chicken pot pie!
Let’s Get Cooking!
After your bird is thawed this Instant Pot Whole Chicken can be ready in less than an hour! Don’t forget to brown the bird for extra flavor and feel free to change up the herbs and add whatever spices you prefer. Enjoy!
- A Guide to Roast Chicken. https://www.cooksillustrated.com/articles/599-a-guide-to-roast-chicken. Accessed February 16, 2020.
- How to Salt Chicken & How to Brine Chicken. https://www.cooksillustrated.com/articles/610-how-to-salt-chicken-and-how-to-brine-chicken. Accessed February 16, 2020.
- FoodData Central. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/172884/nutrients. Accessed February 19, 2020.
- The Nutritional Information for Homemade Chicken Stock. LIVESTRONG.COM. https://www.livestrong.com/article/362476-the-nutritional-information-for-homemade-chicken-stock/. Accessed February 19, 2020.
- 1 ~3 to 4 pounds whole chicken, giblets removed
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ cup water
- 6 cloves garlic peeled
- Bunch of fresh rosemary thyme, and sage
- Sprinkle chicken liberally with salt and pepper.
- Select the “saute” function on the Instant Pot and add oil and allow it to get hot. Add chicken, breast side down, and allow it to cook for 5 minutes. Do not move the chicken!
- Using tongs or two large spoons, carefully turn the chicken over and continue to cook for an additional 5 minutes.
- Press “off” on the Instant Pot, add water to the pot. Carefully drop in the garlic and lay the herbs around and across the top of the chicken.
- Put lid on the Instant Pot, move vent to “sealed,” and select the “manual” setting and be sure it shows 30 minutes and high pressure.
- After 30 minutes, allow the pressure to release naturally for 10 to 15 minutes then move vent to “venting” release any remaining pressure.
- Carefully move chicken to a large cutting board. Enjoy!