Instant Pot Whole Chicken

Step-by-Step Guide on how to cook Instant Pot Whole Chicken. Learn the secrets to cooking the most tender and juicy Instant Pot Roast Chicken with our “Zero-Minute” method. Easy butter garlic rotisserie-style chicken made with a few healthy pantry ingredients. Plus you’ll end up with a bonus chicken soup!

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instant pot whole chicken | instant pot roast chicken | instant pot rotisserie chicken | pressure cooker whole chicken

Instant Pot Whole Chicken

For the best tasting experience, different parts of the whole chicken need different cooking times.

You wouldn’t want to perfectly cook one part of the chicken, then overcook or undercook other parts of the chicken.

So how can we evenly cook a whole chicken in Instant Pot?

Time for Amy + Jacky’s Test Kitchen Experiment for Instant Pot roast chicken!

whole chicken instant pot

Amy + Jacky’s “Zero-Minute” Whole Chicken

We spent months researching and testing dozens of chickens with many techniques and cooking times. To find an easy foolproof method that yields the best Instant Pot whole chicken.

Excited to introduce our game-changing technique: the “Zero-Minute” cooking method!

This “Zero-Minute” method is inspired by the ancient poaching method, a gentle cooking technique. It yields the most tender and juicy whole chicken in Instant Pot.

You’ll be surprised how both the dark meat and white meat are juicy and moist!! You gotta try this Whole Chicken Instant Pot recipe to believe it.

instant pot roast chicken

Since publishing our “Zero-Minute” Whole Chicken in 2018, readers have been showering us with love:

Jody: “Tonight we tried your Game Changing BBQ Chicken. Holy smokes was it delicious!! My husband who is the white meat eater of a chicken RAVED how moist it was! I myself can not get over how great the dark meat was! Neither one of us has had chicken so good.”

Wayne: “OMG, folks. You outdid yourselves on this one…In roasted chicken, I often find that the white meat is dryer than the dark. In this case, both were equally moist and tender, and tasty. I finished it under the broiler in the oven, which not only gave it a nice colour, but additional flavour as well. This is definitely going on my keeper list and I will be recommending it to others.”

Thanks for being adventurous and trusting our innovative “Zero-Minute” method!

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What is Poaching?

You might be skeptical about how does it work? Does it really work?

If you enjoyed Poached Eggs before, then you’ve savored the deliciousness of the poaching cooking method. 🙂

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

cook whole chicken in Instant Pot

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

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

“Zero-Minute” Method – Deep Poaching with Instant Pot

How to Pressure Cook at High Pressure for 0 Minutes

When you set the pressure cooking time to “zero minutes”:

  • Stage 1: Instant Pot preheats and builds pressure in the pot
  • Stage 2: Once it reaches high pressure, it automatically ends the pressure cooking cycle
  • Stage 3: Instant Pot releases pressure in the pot

With this method, we’re using the heat generated during “Stage 1: Building Pressure” and “Stage 3: Releasing Pressure” to cook the whole chicken.

Make sure you measure the chicken’s internal temperature with a food thermometer. And the thickest part of the chicken reaches at least 161°F (72°C).

How to Cook Instant Pot Whole Chicken

instant pot rotisserie chicken

Here are a few ingredients for whole chicken Instant Pot recipe.

butter roasted chicken ingredients

Whole Chicken. The chicken’s size affects the optimal natural release time for cooking the whole chicken. Adjust according to our Tested Time Chart.

Water. 8 cups (2L) cold water is not a typo! Don’t worry! We’re not using too much water because we’re using the deep poaching method to cook the whole chicken in Instant Pot. Plus, you’ll end up with a delicious chicken broth.

Salt. 5 teaspoons (35g) salt is also not a typo! And it won’t make your chicken too salty. Remember it’ll dissolve into 8 cups (2L) of water, and not added directly to the pressure cooker whole chicken. But you can reduce the amount or omit it if necessary.

Unsalted Butter. We develop recipes with unsalted ingredients so we can better control the flavors. If you’re substituting it with salted butter, keep in mind that the sodium level can vary a lot between different brands. Adjust accordingly.

Regular Soy Sauce (Optional). We’re using soy sauce for some bonus umami flavors and colors.

Step 1

Pressure Cook Whole Chicken in Instant Pot

Add 5 teaspoons (35g) fine sea salt, 2 bay leaves, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, 1 teaspoon dried rosemary, and 1 teaspoon dried thyme to Instant Pot.

salt and herbs

Pour in 8 cups (2L) cold water and carefully submerge the whole chicken (breast side facing up) in the liquid.

pressure cooker whole chicken

Amy + Jacky’s Pro Tip! Make sure the whole chicken is at least 90% submerged in the liquid. Because we’re using the deep poaching method, it’s critical to ensure the chicken is fully submerged in the salted water.

whole chicken in instant pot

With Venting Knob in Venting Position, close the lid, then turn Venting Knob to Sealing Position.

Instant Pot Whole Chicken Cook Time: Pressure Cook whole chicken at High Pressure for “0 (zero)” minutes, then Natural Release for 20 to 22 minutes.

Amy + Jacky’s Notes – “Zero-Minute” Method: Zero minutes is not a typo! We’re using the time it takes to “get up to pressure”, and “release pressure” to perfectly cook the whole chicken in Instant Pot. For reference, it’ll take roughly 30 to 32 minutes to “get up to pressure”.

Zero-Minute method: Pressure cook at High Pressure for 0 minute

Natural Release Time Chart:

  • For 2.8 pounds (1260g) Whole Chicken: Natural Release for 18 minutes
  • For 3.2 pounds (1450g) Whole Chicken: Natural Release for 20 minutes
  • For 3.6 pounds (1633g) Whole Chicken: Natural Release for 22 minutes

After 18 to 22 minutes, release the remaining pressure by turning the Venting Knob to Venting position. Carefully open the lid.

Amy + Jacky’s Pro Tips!

  1. Keep Warm Mode: It doesn’t matter if you keep the “Keep Warm” mode on or off during the Natural Release process.
  2. Opening the Lid: Even if your pin drops before the stated natural release time, leave the lid close and wait.

remove and drain pressure cooker whole chicken

Remove Instant Pot whole chicken, then drain the hot chicken stock in the chicken carcass.

Step 2

Make Garlic Butter

When the whole chicken is cooking in Instant Pot, melt 3 to 4 tablespoons unsalted butter in a saucepan over medium heat.

homemade garlic butter

Add minced garlic and a pinch of kosher salt in the melted butter.

Sauté the garlic for 1 to 2 minutes until fragrant and golden in color.

Remove from heat, add in 1 tablespoon (15ml) regular soy sauce (optional), then set aside.

Step 3

Measure Temperature & Pat Dry Whole Chicken

Carefully place the Instant Pot whole chicken on an oven tray.

Measure the temperature at the chicken’s thickest part. Make sure the temperature reaches at least 161°F (72°C).

Gently pat dry the pressure cooker whole chicken with a paper towel.

Amy + Jacky’s Notes: If the whole chicken’s internal temperature doesn’t reach this food-safe minimum, put the chicken back in the hot broth. Close the lid, then let it cook in the hot broth for a longer time (5 to 10 minutes).

make simple chicken soup

Amy + Jacky’s Pro Tip! You can dilute this yummy chicken broth, then add some vegetables, meat, or noodles to make a simple soup.
Step 4

Optional – Crisp Instant Pot Whole Chicken

Note: You can use an oven, Air Fryer, Instant Pot Duo Crisp‘s “Air Fry” function or Instant Pot Air Fryer Lid for this step.

Brush the garlic-infused butter sauce all over the pressure cooker whole chicken. If you like, you can continue to brush more sauce on the chicken during the caramelizing process.

Amy + Jacky’s Pro Tip! Try to avoid having garlic pieces on the top because they’ll burn easily in an oven.

brush garlic butter

Option 1 – Oven

Put the chicken breast-side down under the broiler for 4 to 8 minutes until the chicken skin is browned and lightly crisped.

Be careful if you’re also browning the breast side because white meat is more likely to dry out.

Option 2 – Air Fryer or Air Fryer Lid

instant pot air fryer whole chicken

Place a trivet in Instant Pot.

Put whole chicken (breast side down) on the trivet in Instant Pot. Brush sauce on the chicken.

Place the Air Fryer Lid on Instant Pot.

Press “Airfry” button, set Temperature to 400°F and Cooking Time to 20 minutes.

For reference, it’ll take roughly 8 to 12 minutes until the chicken skin is browned & crisped. You can open the lid to check the progress.

Flip the chicken over if you want to brown the breast side too.

Step 5

Serve Instant Pot Roast Chicken

Yasss you did it!! That was easy. Wasn’t it? 🙂

Let the Instant Pot roast chicken rest for a few minutes before carving.

Squeeze some fresh lemon juice on the chicken if you like.

Serve this butter garlic instant pot rotisserie chicken immediately.

instant pot whole chicken recipe

What to Serve with Instant Pot Rotisserie Chicken

Our Butter Garlic Roast Chicken instant pot recipe makes a healthy, low-carb, easy chicken dinner. You can serve this Instant Pot rotisserie chicken with a variety of side dishes or soups like Instant Pot Bread #15, salads, potatoes, vegetables, beans, or garlic bread.

Delicious side dishes you can serve with Instant Pot Whole Chicken:

Enjoy this “Zero-Minute” Whole Chicken Instant Pot recipe!

4.99 from 120 votes

Instant Pot Whole Chicken

Author: Amy + Jacky
How to cook Instant Pot Whole Chicken: Learn the secrets to cooking the most tender and juicy Instant Pot Roast Chicken with Amy + Jacky's "Zero-Minute" method. Easy butter garlic rotisserie-style chicken made with a few healthy pantry ingredients. Plus you'll end up with a bonus chicken soup!
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Servings 4 - 6
Total Time 1 hour
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Ingredients

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Instructions 

  • Pressure Cook Whole Chicken: Add 5 tsp (35g) salt, 2 bay leaves, 1 tsp dried oregano, 1 tsp dried rosemary, and 1 tsp dried thyme to Instant Pot. Pour in 8 cups (2L) cold water. Carefully submerge whole chicken (breast side facing up) in the liquid.
    Pro Tip: Make sure the whole chicken is at least 90% submerged in the liquid.
    With Venting Knob in Venting Position, close the lid, then turn Venting Knob to Sealing Position. Pressure Cook at High Pressure for 0 (zero) minute*, then Natural Release for 20 - 22 minutes.
    For 2.8lbs (1260g) Whole Chicken: Natural Release for 18 minutes
    For 3.2 lbs (1450g) Whole Chicken: Natural Release for 20 minutes
    For 3.6 lbs (1633g) Whole Chicken: Natural Release for 22 minutes
    After 18 to 22 minutes, release remaining pressure by turning the Venting Knob to Venting position. Carefully open the lid. Remove chicken, then drain the hot chicken stock in chicken carcass.
    *Amy + Jacky's Notes: Zero minutes is not a typo! We're using the time it takes to "get up to pressure", and "release pressure" to cook the chicken. For reference, it takes roughly 30 to 32 minutes to "get up to pressure".
  • Make Garlic Butter: While the chicken is cooking in Instant Pot, melt 3 - 4 tbsp unsalted butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add in minced garlic and a pinch of kosher salt. Sauté garlic for 1 - 2 mins until fragrant and golden in color. Remove from heat, add in 1 tbsp regular soy sauce (optional), then set aside.
  • Measure Temperature & Pat Dry Whole Chicken: Carefully place the chicken on an oven tray. Measure temperature at the thickest part of chicken. Make sure the temperature reaches at least 161°F (72°C).
    Gently pat dry the chicken with paper towel.
    Note: If the internal temp doesn't reach this food safe minimum, put the chicken back into the hot broth. Close the lid, then let it cook for a longer time (5 - 10 mins).
  • Optional - Crisp Chicken: Brush garlic-infused butter all over the chicken. Try to avoid having garlic on top as it'll burn easily in oven.
    Option 1 – Oven: Put the chicken breast-side down under the broiler for 4 – 8 minutes until the skin is browned & lightly crisped. Be careful if you're also browning the breast side because white meat is more likely to dry out.
    Option 2 – Air Fryer or Air Fryer Lid: Place a trivet in Instant Pot. Put whole chicken (breast side down) on trivet. Brush sauce on chicken. Place Air Fryer Lid on Instant Pot. Press “Airfry” button, set Temperature to 400°F and Cooking Time to 20 minutes. Flip chicken over if you want to brown the breast side too. For reference, it’ll take roughly 8 - 12 mins until the chicken skin is browned & crisped. You can open the lid to check the progress.
  • Serve: Rest chicken for a few minutes before carving. Squeeze fresh lemon juice on chicken if desired. Serve & enjoy immediately!

Notes

1. Water: 8 cups (2L) cold water is not a typo! We're using this amount of water because we're using the deep poaching method to cook the whole chicken.
2. Salt: 5 teaspoons (35g) salt is also not a typo! And it won't make your chicken too salty.
  • Omit Salt: If you're worried about the sodium level, as long as you don’t drink all the broth, the chicken's sodium level will be quite minimal. If you must reduce the amount of salt, it won't affect the poaching result. It's there to add flavor.
3. Unsalted Butter: We develop recipes with unsalted ingredients so we can better control the flavors. If you’re substituting it with salted butter, keep in mind that the sodium level can vary a lot between different brands. Adjust accordingly.
4. Regular Soy Sauce (Optional): For adding some umami flavors and colors.
5. Frozen Whole Chicken: Frozen whole chicken won't work well with this method because it'll take a much longer pressure cooking time.
6. Instant Pot Models: For reference, we developed & tested this recipe with 6 Quart Instant Pot Duo Pressure Cookers. Since this is a time-sensitive recipe, using the optimal Natural Release time is critical. If you're using Instant Pot models with a higher wattage or pressure level (i.e. Instant Pot Pro, Instant Pot Pro Plus, Instant Pot Pro Crisp, Instant Pot Duo Crisp, or Instant Pot Max), adjust the Natural Release time accordingly.
7. Can't Set Zero-Minute: If your Instant Pot doesn’t let you set “zero minutes”, set it to “Pressure Cook at High Pressure for 1 minute”. Once it gets up to pressure, press “Cancel”, then let the pressure Natural Release.
8. Keep Warm Mode: It doesn't matter if you keep the "Keep Warm" mode on or off during the Natural Release process. For the Instant Pot, the "Keep Warm" mode won't kick in well after the pressure is released.
9. Opening the Lid: If your pin drops before the needed natural release time, leave the lid close until you reach the required time.
10. High Altitude: We developed & tested this method close to sea level. So if you're cooking at a high altitude, increase the cooking time accordingly.
11. Turn Chicken Broth into Soup: You can dilute the yummy chicken broth, then add some vegetables, meat, or noodles to make a simple soup.
Rate Amy + Jacky's Recipe: If you've tried our recipe, rate the recipe in the Comments section. Thank you!
Calories: 314kcal
Course: Main
Cuisine: American
Keyword: instant pot chicken, instant pot roast chicken, instant pot rotisserie chicken, instant pot whole chicken, pressure cooker whole chicken, rotisserie chicken, whole chicken instant pot

Nutrition

Calories: 314kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Trans Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 105mg | Sodium: 489mg | Potassium: 245mg | Fiber: 0.4g | Sugar: 0.04g | Vitamin A: 368IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 40mg | Iron: 2mg

Instant Pot Whole Chicken Recipes

instant pot whole chicken | instant pot roast chicken | instant pot rotisserie chicken | pressure cooker whole chicken
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