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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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
Print Recipe

Instant Pot BBQ Whole Chicken

Course: Dinner, Lunch, Main Course, Meat, Party Food, Quick Meals, Super Easy
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 55 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 6
Calories: 254 kcal
Author: Amy + Jacky

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.

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

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.
  4. Serve Instant Pot Whole Chicken: Remove the BBQ whole chicken from oven and serve with your favorite side dishes!
Nutrition Facts
Instant Pot BBQ Whole Chicken
Amount Per Serving
Calories 254 Calories from Fat 144
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 16g 25%
Saturated Fat 4g 20%
Cholesterol 81mg 27%
Sodium 2136mg 89%
Potassium 233mg 7%
Total Carbohydrates 4g 1%
Sugars 3g
Protein 20g 40%
Vitamin A 3.6%
Vitamin C 2.1%
Calcium 1.6%
Iron 5.9%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

 


Other Instant Pot Whole Chicken Recipes

Instant Pot Pho Ga (Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup)

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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