Instant Pot Pressure Cooker Whole Chicken

Heather Dessinger

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Instant Pot Pressure Cooker Whole Chicken - This

I adore a good slow-roasted chicken, but sometimes a mama just needs to get dinner on the table quickly. Unfortunately, I’ve found that rushing the oven-roasting process with higher temperatures usually means drying out the chicken breast in order to get the dark meat fully cooked on time. 

That’s why I love this easy pressure cooker whole chicken recipe. It yields juicy, flavorful white meat, fully-cooked dark meat, and with just five minutes under the broiler you can still get the crispy, golden brown outside, too. 

Plus, it takes less time than actually roasting a chicken, and after your fall-off-the-bone tender meal is over, you can just toss the frame back in the pot to make Instant Pot chicken broth. That’s two tasty dishes with less cleanup. (The BEST, right?)

Ways To Use Pressure Cooker Whole Chicken

I usually rub this “roast” chicken with rotisserie spices (recipe below) or lemon pepper seasoning for a burst of flavor. However, sometimes I season it more simply – with just salt and pepper – so that it has a more neutral flavor that can be used in: 

Also, if you have leftovers, you can shred and freeze them for easy weeknight meals later on. 

My Favorite Easy Rotisserie Chicken Seasoning

When my plan is simply to slice and serve, I love to make this chicken with rotisserie-style seasoning. In addition to salt and pepper, just add the following. (This blend is listed in the recipe as an optional addition so that everything is in one place..)

  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne

Cooking Times

The standard size in my recipe is a 4 pound chicken because I’ve found that it holds together the best. With larger chickens it can sometimes be challenging to get them out of the Instant Pot the drumsticks separating a little.

Even with smaller chickens, the “wing” area sometimes separates, but I just tuck into the serving dish and don’t worry about it. 

The flavor will be just as delicious either way, so if needed you can adjust your cooking time based on the size of your chicken by multiplying the number of pounds by 6 minutes. That means: 

  • 3 pound chicken =  High pressure for 18 minutes with a 15 minute natural pressure release
  • 3.5 pound chicken = High pressure for 21 minutes with a 15 minute natural pressure release
  • A 4 pound chicken = High pressure for 24 minutes with a 15 minute natural pressure release
  • 4.5 pound chicken = High pressure for 27 minutes with a 15 minute natural pressure release
  • 5 pound chicken = High pressure for 30 minute with a 15 minute natural pressure release
  • 5.5 pound chicken = High pressure for 33 minute with a 15 minute natural pressure release

Quick Tips

  • In case you skipped the section above, smaller chickens tend to hold together better and look “prettier.”
  • If you want to use the drippings to make gravy or include them in your next batch of bone broth, I recommend refined coconut oil instead of virgin coconut oil because it has a more neutral flavor.
Instant Pot Pressure Cooker Whole Chicken - This
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Instant Pot Pressure Cooker Whole Roast Chicken

This pressure cooker whole chicken yields juicy, flavorful white meat, fully-cooked dark meat, and with just five minutes under the broiler you can still get the crispy, golden brown outside, too.
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 24 minutes
Natural Release 15 minutes
Total Time 49 minutes
Servings 1 chicken
Calories 1755kcal
Author Mommypotamus


  • 6 to 8 quart Instant Pot Pressure Cooker 
  • Trivet with handles


  • 1 four pound whole chicken (giblets removed)
  • 2 tbsp room temperature refined coconut oil or ghee
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ¾ tsp black pepper
  • 1-2 cups chicken bone broth (Use 1 cup for a 6 quart pressure cooker and 2 cups for an 8 quart pressure cooker)
  • 1 lemon (cut in half)
  • rotisserie seasoning or other additional seasoning if desired (Rotisserie seasoning is 1 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp sweet paprika, 1/2 tsp smoked paprika, 1/2 tsp thyme, 1/8 tsp cayenne)
  • Fresh herbs for garnish (optional)


  • Pat dry the chicken with a paper towel.
  • Mix together your salt, pepper, and any additional spices you're using. (See the rotisserie blend above for suggestions.)
  • Turn on the sauté setting and add 1 tablespoon coconut oil or ghee so that the Instant Pot can start to warm up.
  • Rub one tablespoon of coconut oil or ghee ove the chicken breast  and thighs – then sprinkle seasoning over the entire top of the chicken. 
  • Stuff the cavity of the chicken with two lemon halves.
  • When the Instant Pot says "HOT," gently tilt it (just a tiny bit) until the oil/ghee covers the bottom of the stainless steel pot.
  • Place the chicken inside with the breast side down, then move it around immediately (rolling side to side) to keep it from sticking. Brown the chicken for 3 minutes, rolling it occasionally from side-to-side for more even browning.
  • When the chicken is nice and brown, remove it from the pressure cooker and place it on a plate.
  • Add the bone broth to the pressure cooker and use a silicone spatula to scrape up any caramelized brown bits from the bottom of the pan.
  • Set your trivet inside the pot with the handles lifted on each side. Place the chicken inside breast-side-up.
  • Lock the lid into place and set the valve to “sealing.”
  • Using the Manual setting, select high pressure and adjust the cooking time to the number of minutes needed. For a 4 pound chicken, which is what I usually use, the time is 24 minutes. See the "Cooking TImes" section above for additional times based on weight.  
  • When the time is up, allow the Instant Pot to depressurize naturally for 15 minutes. If you allow it to fully depressurize naturally the meat will be fall-off-the bone tender, but it will probably fall apart as you lift it out of the pressure cooker. Toward the end of the depressurizing period, set your oven to broil.
  • When the 15 minute natural release period is up, turn the valve to quick release and allow any remaining pressure to escape fully.
  • One the pressure is released, remove the lid and use the handles on the trivet to lift the chicken out of the pressure cooker. Transfer it to an oven-safe dish.
  • To crisp up the skin, place the chicken in the oven broiler on high for about five minutes before serving. I like to season with a little extra pepper before putting it in the oven. Garnish with a few sprigs of fresh herbs if desired.


The cooking time does not include the time needed to come to pressure. 


Calories: 1755kcal | Protein: 142g | Fat: 128g | Saturated Fat: 45g | Cholesterol: 571mg | Sodium: 533mg | Potassium: 1440mg | Vitamin A: 1066IU | Vitamin C: 12mg | Calcium: 84mg | Iron: 7mg

Frequently Asked Questions

If you don’t see your question here, please leave it in the comment section below!

Can I cook a frozen chicken in my Instant Pot?

Theoretically, yes, you can safely cook a frozen chicken in your Instant Pot. However, I’ve tried it and sometimes it worked and sometimes I ended up with a chicken that was cooked on the outside and raw on the inside. If I ever find a method that consistently delivers good results I’ll update this article. 

How do I make this recipe in a slow cooker?

You can find my instructions for making a whole chicken in a slow cooker here

More Recipes To Try

Instant Pot Coconut Yogurt – This creamy, thick dairy-free yogurt is an easy way to get extra probiotics into your family’s diet, and you probably have everything you need to make it right now. Unlike some methods, you don’t need a thermometer or a lot of hands-on time.

Instant Pot Chicken Soup – This recipe from Dr. Karen Lee’s Instant Pot cookbook is so flavorful and easy!

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Heather is a holistic health educator, herbalist, DIYer, Lyme and mold warrior. Since founding in 2009, Heather has been taking complicated health research and making it easy to understand. She shares tested natural recipes and herbal remedies with millions of naturally minded mamas around the world.