Instant Pot BBQ Whole Chicken

Instant Pot BBQ Whole Chicken Recipe (Pressure Cooker Whole Chicken): Make this 4-ingredient Life-Changing Instant Pot Whole Chicken in 3 Easy Steps! Tender, juicy chicken glazed with caramelized BBQ sauce. Super easy weeknight meal. #instantpot #instantpotrecipes #pressurecooker #pressurecookerrecipes #chicken #chickenrecipes #wholechicken

Make this 4-ingredient Game-Changing Instant Pot BBQ Whole Chicken Recipe (Pressure Cooker Whole Chicken) in 3 Easy Steps! Tender & juicy chicken glazed with deliciously caramelized BBQ sauce. Super easy weeknight family meal.

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5 from 47 votes

For many many months, fellow potheads have been asking for our secrets to cooking whole chicken in Instant Pot or Pressure Cooker. Thanks for your patience! 🙂

We’re overwhelmed with your love for our Juiciest & Most Tender Pressure Cooker Chicken Breast Experiment.

So, for the past months, Jacky & I have grounded ourselves in our Test Kitchen, researching, testing multiple techniques & cooking times with dozens of chickens. ?

Determined to find the best way to cook a perfectly tender & juicy whole chicken in the Instant Pot! hehe~

But wait, is it even possible?

Since different parts of the chicken need different cooking times, how can we evenly cook a whole chicken in Instant Pot?

After testing and tasting dozens of whole chickens…

Finally!!! We’re soo thrilled to introduce this whole new Game-Changing Technique into the Instant Pot World!! Ohhh yes!! 😀

Instant Pot BBQ Whole Chicken Recipe (Pressure Cooker Whole Chicken): Make this 4-ingredient Game-Changing Instant Pot Whole Chicken in 3 Easy Steps! Tender, juicy chicken glazed with caramelized BBQ sauce. Super easy weeknight meal. #instantpot #instantpotrecipes #pressurecooker #pressurecookerrecipes #chicken #chickenrecipes #wholechicken

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We’ve decided to keep it simple. All you need is 4 ingredients & 3 Easy Steps to make this Game-Changing Instant Pot BBQ Whole Chicken!

How to Cook a Whole Chicken in Instant Pot?

  1. Pressure Cook Whole Chicken
  2. Pat Dry & Apply BBQ Sauce
  3. Finish Under Broiler

 


 

Game-Changing Technique: Instant Pot Poaching Method

Like our previous experiments, we started off by testing different cooking times with whole chickens in Instant Pot. Sadly, we were not fully satisfied with any of the results. 🙁

Within the pressure cooker’s closed environment, the trapped high-pressure steam rapidly transfers heat to the chicken’s surface that’s not submerged in liquid. So, it’s easy to overcook the outer parts while the inner parts are still raw.

After being disappointed with multiple methods, we had an epiphany.

Why not go back to our roots and try an Ancient Chinese Cooking Technique – Poaching?

This gentle cooking technique has always been a winner in the Chinese culinary world for cooking delicate food.

And by applying the deep poaching method with our Instant Pot, the chickens yielded the best results!

We were amazed – even the chicken breast was moist, juicy, and tender!!! 😀

Instant Pot BBQ Whole Chicken Recipe (Pressure Cooker Whole Chicken): tender, juicy, moist chicken breast cooked in Instant Pot Electric Pressure Cooker
Check out the beautifully moist & tender chicken breast! 😀

What is Poaching?

If you’ve enjoyed Poached Eggs before, then you’ve savored the heavenly deliciousness of Poaching. 🙂

The Deep Poaching Method involves cooking food submerged in liquid at a relatively low temperature.

Instant Pot BBQ Whole Chicken Recipe (Pressure Cooker Whole Chicken): ensure water covers at least 90% of the whole chicken in Instant Pot Electric Pressure Cooker

This method allows the proteins to denature without pulling out too much moisture out of the food. That’s why poached food comes out so moist and tender!

Poaching is most commonly used for cooking delicate or fragile food that might easily fall apart or dry out using other cooking methods, such as eggs, fish, or poultry.

 


 

Cooking Tips for Instant Pot BBQ Whole Chicken 

1. Ensure Water Covers At Least 90% of the Chicken.

8 cups (2L) of Water is not a typo!

In this recipe, we’re using the deep poaching method in the Instant Pot to cook the whole chicken. So it’s critical to ensure your whole chicken is fully submerges in the salted water.

2. Pressure Cook at High Pressure 0 Minute

Also not a typo! 🙂 How can this be?!

We’re setting the pressure cooking time to 0 (zero) minute because we’re using the heat generated during the “coming up to pressure” stage AND the “depressurizing” stage (i.e. during natural release) to cook the chicken.

Just remember to have your food thermometer ready to make sure the chicken’s internal thickest part reaches at least 161°F (72°C).

 


 

Ingredients for Instant Pot BBQ Whole Chicken

Instant Pot BBQ Whole Chicken Recipe (Pressure Cooker Whole Chicken) Ingredients

  • 1 whole chicken, 3 – 4 pounds
  • 8 cups (2L) cold water
  • ¼ cup (60g) your favorite Barbecue Sauce
  • 5 teaspoons (35g) fine sea salt

*Pro Tip: 8 cups (2L) of cold water is not a typo as we’re using the Instant Pot Poaching Method.

 


 

Tools for Instant Pot BBQ Whole Chicken

 


 

How to Cook Instant Pot BBQ Whole Chicken

1

Pressure Cook Whole Chicken


5 teaspoons (35g) fine sea salt
8 cups (2L) cold water


Add 5 teaspoons (35g) fine sea salt and 8 cups (2L) of cold water in Instant Pot.

Instant Pot BBQ Whole Chicken Recipe (Pressure Cooker Whole Chicken): add fine sea salt and 8 cups (2L) of cold water in Instant Pot Electric Pressure Cooker

With tongs, carefully lower the whole chicken into the water with chicken breast side up.

Instant Pot BBQ Whole Chicken Recipe (Pressure Cooker Whole Chicken): lower whole chicken in Instant Pot and submerge it into the water with chicken breast side up

*Pro Tip 1: Make sure the water covers at least 90% of the chicken (as shown in below photo).

Instant Pot BBQ Whole Chicken Recipe (Pressure Cooker Whole Chicken): ensure water covers at least 90% of the whole chicken in Instant Pot Electric Pressure Cooker

Close lid and pressure cook at:

  • Pressure Cooking Method: High Pressure for 0 minute, then Natural Release (20 – 22 minutes).
    • For 2.8lbs (1260g) Whole Chicken: 18 minutes Natural Release
    • For 3.2 lbs (1450g) Whole Chicken: 20 minutes Natural Release
    • For 3.6 lbs (1633g) Whole Chicken: 22 minutes Natural Release

*Pro Tip 2: We’re setting the pressure cooking time to 0 (zero) minute. Yes!! It’s not a typo! The whole chicken will be cooked during the “coming up to pressure” stage AND the “depressurizing” stage (i.e. during natural release).

Open the lid carefully.

With tongs, carefully remove the chicken from the Instant Pot.

Instant Pot BBQ Whole Chicken Recipe (Pressure Cooker Whole Chicken): remove pressure cooked whole chicken from Instant Pot Electric Pressure Cooker with kitchen tongs
Yay!! Check out the beautifully cooked chicken still in-tact.

*Pro Tip 3: Be very careful as there will be hot liquid in the chicken carcass.

 

 

2

Pat Dry Whole Chicken


Pressure Cooked Instant Pot Whole Chicken, from above


Drain the hot chicken stock liquid in the chicken carcass.

Instant Pot BBQ Whole Chicken Recipe (Pressure Cooker Whole Chicken): drain hot Instant Pot Chicken Soup liquid in chicken carcass

*Pro Tip 1: You can use this salted chicken stock to blanch vegetables, make chicken soup, or other dishes to serve with your whole BBQ chicken.

Place the whole chicken on a wire rack in a baking tray.

Measure the temperature of the thickest part of the chicken.

*Pro Tip 2: Make sure the temperature reaches at least 161°F (72°C). If the internal temp doesn’t reach this food safe minimum, place it back into the hot liquid for a longer time (5 – 10 minutes) & close the lid.

Pat dry the whole chicken really well with paper towels.

*Note: If your oven is not big enough, you can place the whole chicken on a baking tray without the wire rack.

 

 

3

Apply Sauce and Finish in Oven


¼ cup (60g) your favorite Barbecue Sauce


Brush your favorite BBQ sauce all over the Instant Pot whole chicken.

*Pro Tip: Feel free to adjust & brush more BBQ sauce to your liking, especially if you have a bigger chicken.

Instant Pot BBQ Whole Chicken Recipe (Pressure Cooker Whole Chicken): place Instant Pot Whole Chicken on baking tray, pat dry, and brush with bbq sauce

Place the whole chicken under oven’s broiler for 5 – 15 minutes until caramelized and the skin is lightly crisped.

Instant Pot BBQ Whole Chicken Recipe (Pressure Cooker Whole Chicken): Make this 4-ingredient Game-Changing Instant Pot Whole Chicken in 3 Easy Steps! Tender, juicy chicken glazed with caramelized BBQ sauce. Super easy weeknight meal. #instantpot #instantpotrecipes #pressurecooker #pressurecookerrecipes #chicken #chickenrecipes #wholechicken
Man! This was a gorgeously delicious BBQ Chicken!! It was tough to photo-shoot as our mouths were watering.

 


4

Serve Instant Pot BBQ Whole Chicken

Remove the BBQ whole chicken from oven and serve with your favorite side dishes!

Instant Pot BBQ Whole Chicken Recipe (Pressure Cooker Whole Chicken): Make this 4-ingredient Game-Changing Instant Pot Whole Chicken in 3 Easy Steps! Tender, juicy chicken glazed with caramelized BBQ sauce. Super easy weeknight meal. #instantpot #instantpotrecipes #pressurecooker #pressurecookerrecipes #chicken #chickenrecipes #wholechicken

Enjoy your Game-Changing Instant Pot BBQ Whole Chicken!! 😀

 


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Instant Pot BBQ Whole Chicken Recipe (Pressure Cooker Whole Chicken): Make this 4-ingredient Life-Changing Instant Pot Whole Chicken in 3 Easy Steps! Tender, juicy chicken glazed with caramelized BBQ sauce. Super easy weeknight meal. #instantpot #instantpotrecipes #pressurecooker #pressurecookerrecipes #chicken #chickenrecipes #wholechicken

Instant Pot BBQ Whole Chicken

Make this 4-ingredient Game-Changing Instant Pot Whole Chicken in 3 Easy Steps! Tender, juicy, moist chicken glazed with deliciously caramelized BBQ sauce. Super easy weeknight meal.
5 from 47 votes
Print Rate This Recipe
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 55 minutes
Total: 1 hour
Servings: 6
Calories: 254kcal
Author: Amy + Jacky

Ingredients

  • 1 whole chicken 3 - 4 pounds
  • 8 cups (2L) cold water
  • ¼ cup (60g) your favorite BBQ Sauce
  • 5 teaspoons (35g) fine sea salt

Instructions

  • Pressure Cook Whole Chicken: Add 5 teaspoons (35g) fine sea salt and 8 cups (2L) of cold water in Instant Pot. With tongs, carefully lower the whole chicken into the water with chicken breast side up. Make sure the water covers at least 90% of the chicken.Close lid and pressure cook at High Pressure for 0 minute (yes! zero minute is not a typo 🙂 see above for explanations), then Natural Release (20 - 22 minutes). Open the lid carefully.
    For 2.8lbs (1260g) Whole Chicken: 18 minutes Natural Release
    For 3.2 lbs (1450g) Whole Chicken: 20 minutes Natural Release
    For 3.6 lbs (1633g) Whole Chicken: 22 minutes Natural Release
    With tongs, carefully remove the chicken from the Instant Pot. Be very careful as there will be hot liquid in the chicken carcass.
  • Pat Dry Whole Chicken: Drain the hot chicken stock liquid in the chicken carcass. Place the whole chicken on a wire rack in a baking tray. Measure the temperature of the thickest part of the chicken. Make sure the temperature reaches at least 161°F (72°C). Pat dry the whole chicken really well with paper towels.
    *Note 1: If the internal temp doesn't reach this food safe minimum, place it back into the hot liquid for a longer time (5 - 10 minutes) & close the lid.
    *Note 2: If your oven is not big enough, you can place the whole chicken on a baking tray without the wire rack.
  • Apply Sauce and Finish in Oven: Brush your favorite BBQ sauce all over the Instant Pot whole chicken. Place the whole chicken under oven’s broiler for 5 – 15 minutes until caramelized and the skin is lightly crisped.
  • Serve Instant Pot Whole Chicken: Remove the BBQ whole chicken from oven and serve with your favorite side dishes!
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Recipe Notes:

*Rate the Recipe: If you've tried the recipe, don't forget to Rate the Recipe in the Comments Section. Thank you! ?

Nutrition:

Calories: 254kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 20g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 81mg | Sodium: 602mg | Potassium: 233mg | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 180IU | Vitamin C: 1.7mg | Calcium: 26mg | Iron: 1.1mg
Course: Dinner, Lunch, Main Course, Meat, Party Food, Quick Meals, Super Easy
Cuisine: American
Tried this recipe?Mention @pressurecookrecipes or tag #AmyJacky!

 


Other Instant Pot Whole Chicken Recipes

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Make Easy Homemade Instant Pot Pho Ga Recipe (Pressure Cooker Pho Ga): this fragrant Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup warms the heart and nourishes the soul.

Instant Pot BBQ Whole Chicken Recipe (Pressure Cooker Whole Chicken): Make this 4-ingredient Game -Changing Instant Pot Whole Chicken in 3 Easy Steps! Tender, juicy chicken glazed with caramelized BBQ sauce. Super easy weeknight meal. #instantpot #instantpotrecipes #pressurecooker #pressurecookerrecipes #chicken #chickenrecipes #wholechicken

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newest oldest most helpful
Mike
User
Mike

Really good. I used a chipotle bbq sauce which really gave the flavour profile a lift. Used a Philips All in One pressure cooker. Wasn’t able to set for zero minutes so just waited for the float valve to rise then turned it off. Set a timer for the appropriate release time.

Pressure Cooker
Other Pressure Cooker, Please specify in comment.
Anne H
User
Anne H

My husband can’t have salt. Is it required?

Pressure Cooker
Instant Pot DUO 80
Anne H
User
Anne H

Well I can answer my own question! I used 0 salt but plenty of other spices. I use a lot of Penzey’s Spices and used both their Mural of Flavor and their Justice seasonings. Turned out very flavorful. My chicken was just under 5 pounds so I checked it at 30 minutes and it was already fully NR. The temperature was just between 161 and 165. Thanks Amy and Jacky for another great recipe!

Beth Tess
User
Beth Tess

BEST CHICKEN EVER! EASY, EASY, EASY. I use the broth in other dishes. Fabulous.

Jacob Callister
User
Jacob Callister

Hi! This recipe looks delicious and easy. Any thoughts on using cold chicken/vegetable stock in place of water? I tend to substitute more flavored ingredients for water, but I haven’t seen in mentioned in the comments yet so I don’t know if it is a good/bad idea for this recipe.

Patricia Wise
User
Patricia Wise

Very easy and tasty! I did a 5.2lb chicken, 8c water, 5t salt, 0 min pressure, 40 NR. The temperature of the chicken was 164 when I took it out. I think I might do NR a few minutes less next time because there definitely will be a next time! Sooo easy!!

Patricia Wise
User
Patricia Wise

I forgot to select the 5 stars!!!

Jan Berg
User
Jan Berg

Can’t wait to try this. Do you turn the pressure cooker off during the 20-22 minute natural release or do you let it stay on “keep warm”? I am always confused about this on recipes that use a natural release. Thank you!

Selena Wilskn
User
Selena Wilskn

Hi Amy and Jacky,
Do you have an Asian BBQ sauce recipe that you have tested? If not, I would suggest you develop one for your fans. ?
Selena

Mary
User
Mary

I tried this recipe with a 3.8 lb organic chicken and let it slow release for 24 mins …it was overdone but still not bad considering it read 175F. I will try again but not sure how long to NR for to get the right reading. Seems that particular chicken will take less time.

Julie
User
Julie

Really good. I had my doubts, but every recipe that I have tried from Amy + Jacky has been great so I took the chance. I will absolutely make this again. Two recommendations. First, I totally underestimated the amount of time the Pre-heat phase would take. It was way longer than most recipes. Please consider revising your instructions to alert us Newbies that this phase could take 20 minutes. Second, I couldn’t find a bird less than 4.2 pounds. So I calculated the amount of time based on the weights of smaller birds. I don’t think it is totally linear,… Read more »

Nicole Miller-Strauss
User
Nicole Miller-Strauss

Hi! I have a 6.75 pound chicken. Is 50 minutes a good NR time? Also, once it gets to pressure, do you hit cancel when the warm setting goes in or do you leave it in warm while it releases naturally? Thanks so much!

Naomi
User
Naomi

How long does it take to come to pressure? I am seeming like the 17 mins was far too short???

Maria
User
Maria

Trust the timing on this one. We are not particularly fond of the white meat so this is perfect. We put the dark meat on to broil while I shredded the white meat and put it back in the pot as a chicken soup started. Now I have a base to add barley, pasta, vegetables etc. If you like the white meat for chicken salad, then you will still have a great stock for later.

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