How Long To Cook Whole Chicken In The Instant Pot? Introducing you to the best instant pot recipe for whole chicken and exactly what cook times to use at home in your instant pot pressure cooker.
Here at Recipe This we ran an instant pot whole chicken experiment to see how the cook times vary, when you cook different sized whole chickens in the instant pot pressure cooker. From small chickens to extra-large chickens, we have tested them all.
This instant pot whole chicken recipe and cooking time chart is an updated post. We originally shared with you how to cook a whole chicken in the instant pot back in 2017.
Instant Pot Whole Chicken
It feels like yesterday when we cooked our very first instant pot whole chicken. It was early 2017 and we had only had an instant pot for a couple of months. We were excited about how good a whole chicken would turn out in the instant pot.
But most of all what truly fascinated us about the instant pot whole chicken trend, was how much quicker it is for cooking a whole chicken in the instant pot.
Forget a Sunday dinner taking a couple of hours in the oven with loads of washing up and a roasting tin to scrub, this was the modern way of prepping and cooking your roast.
Fast forward almost five years and we are still as in love with cooking a whole chicken in the instant pot as we was back then.
But what we find the most interesting is the idea that the cook times for a whole chicken is a simple act of science when going from size to size.
Today, we put to test the different whole chicken sizes in the instant pot, to answer once and for all, how long to cook a whole chicken in the instant pot.
Can You Cook A Whole Chicken In An Instant Pot?
Yes, you sure can. Its one of those genius things that an instant pot pressure cooker can do and also what many other brands of electric pressure cookers can do also.
I have cooked a whole chicken for years in the instant pot and also do so regularly via the Ninja with my Ninja Foodi whole chicken recipe.
Can You Instant Pot Frozen Whole Chicken?
Yes, you can. And we have a recipe just for frozen whole chicken. Its called instant pot frozen whole chicken and it gives you cook times, a great recipe and how to stop your frozen chicken from going dry.
Instant Pot Whole Chicken Cooking Time Experiment
Before we dive into this instant pot roasted whole chicken recipe, I wanted to explain to you the experiment we did and why we did it.
We had seen time and time again that the recommended cooking time for a whole chicken in any electric pressure cooker is 6 minutes per pound. Therefore, if you have a 2 pound chicken you would cook it for 12 minutes, or a 4lb chicken would be 24 minutes and so on.
Our whole chickens in Portugal (we moved back to England from Portugal a few months ago) was always small.
We never had a chance to compare notes and see if this statement was true and we had many readers asking us to confirm or deny if this is really the case.
Therefore, we bought four whole chickens from Morrison’s.
- Extra Large
The plan was then to cook each of them, using the six minute golden rule. We would convert them from kilos to pounds and then times the pounds by six for a cook time.
Today, we are sharing with you in full the experiment as well as how we recommend you cook your whole chicken in the instant pot.
We will be starting with the whole chicken ingredients, how to cook a whole chicken in the instant pot and then will be going into more detail about our experiment.
Cooking Whole Chicken In Instant Pot
I am sure you want to know what you truly need, in order to cook the best ever instant pot whole chicken. Well, the ingredients list is much more simple than you might think.
Chicken – You will need any whole chicken that will fit in your size of instant pot pressure cooker. You can go organic and use a service like Butcher Box or use any supermarket or butchers chicken.
Onion – I also recommend that you start the chicken recipe with a sauté of an onion with extra virgin olive oil. You can use red or white and also add some garlic too.
Wine – It adds such a lovely flavour to a roast chicken in the instant pot if you deglaze your instant pot with some white wine before cooking your chicken.
Oil – You may wonder why the extra virgin olive oil? This is because the oil helps the seasoning stick to the chicken and stops the chicken from going dry.
Seasoning – You can mix and match seasonings. We cook whole chickens with salt and pepper and then add in our favourite dried herbs. We also cooked a whole chicken with cajun seasoning and this was also delicious.
Then for the kitchen gadgets that we have used in this recipe for whole chicken in instant pot, it has just been our instant pot pressure cooker. We have this one and it is amazing for cooking a whole chicken FAST.
How To Cook A Whole Chicken In The Instant Pot?
- Sauté. Add your onion to the instant pot and sauté with some extra virgin olive oil until the onion starts to soften along with the garlic.
- Deglaze. Add some white wine and deglaze the instant pot.
- Prepare. Add the trivet to the instant pot. Add extra virgin olive oil and seasoning to your chicken. Tie up your chicken legs with string.
- Cook. Place the chicken on the trivet and place the lid on the instant pot pressure cooker. Cook for the recommended time for your weight and then do a 15 minute natural pressure release before releasing pressure.
Instant Pot Whole Chicken Time
As mentioned above the instant pot whole chicken time is 6 minutes per pound. We experimented with four different sized chickens.
Above is the picture of the four chickens we bought and below they are close up with their weights.
They weighed the following:
- Small = 1.4kg = 3lbs
- Medium = 1.48kg = 3.2lbs
- Large = 1.76kg = 3.89lbs
- Extra Large = 2.15kg = 4.7lbs
Then if you follow the 6 minute rule the cook time is as follows:
- Small = 1.4kg = 3lbs = 19 Minutes
- Medium = 1.48kg = 3.2lbs = 20 Minutes
- Large = 1.76kg = 3.89lbs = 23 Minutes
- Extra Large = 2.15kg = 4.7lbs = 29 Minutes
As the instant pot doesn’t do half a minute, any that were in between were rounded off to the next minute.
For example, the small whole chicken was 18.5 minutes and we rounded it off to 19 minutes.
We then cooked each of the chickens in a similar way, under high pressure, seasoned and with the instant pot deglazed and plenty of flavour added.
And guess what?
Each of the chickens were perfectly cooked. They were perfect. You couldn’t get any more perfect if you tried.
I am so glad I tried it and now I can buy different sized whole chickens and know that they will be perfectly cooked.
You also know that an instant pot 5 pound whole chicken will take 30 minutes, an instant pot 6 pound whole chicken will be 36 minutes and so on.
I should also mention this rule also applies to other bone in poultry such as our instant pot whole duck.
Instant Pot Whole Chicken Time Vs Oven Whole Chicken
I am sure you want to know how much faster the instant pot is for cooking a whole chicken compared to baked in the oven.
Is it worth the effort and is it a time saver?
These are the instant pot chicken cook times with the natural pressure release:
- Small = 19 Minutes + 15 Minutes NPR = 34 Minutes
- Medium = 20 Minutes + 15 Minutes NPR = 35 Minutes
- Large = 23 Minutes + 15 Minutes NPR = 38 Minutes
- Extra Large = 29 Minutes + 15 Minutes NPR = 44 Minutes
Then these are the instant pot chicken cook times vs what it says on the packaging for oven baked:
- Small = 34 Minutes IP vs 1hr31 = 57 Minutes FASTER
- Medium = 35 Minutes IP Vs 1hr29 = 54 Minutes FASTER
- Large = 38 Minutes IP Vs 1hr40 = 62 Minutes FASTER
- Extra Large = 44 Minutes IP Vs 1hr56 = 72 Minutes FASTER
LOL its seriously not a typo, Morrison’s packaging really does say a medium is quicker to cook than a small.
Regardless of this, can you believe how much quicker it is in the instant pot. Of course, this doesn’t take into account time to pressure which is about 15 minutes. But even with this time to pressure they are still a good 45 minutes quicker in the instant pot.
Instant Pot Whole Chicken With Crispy Skin
If you would like a crispy skin for your whole chicken, we recommend using the air fryer straight after.
We sprayed our whole chicken with extra virgin olive oil and extra seasoning and loaded it into the air fryer basket.
5 minutes at 200c/400f and it looked like this:
Of course, if you are just using the chicken for shredding there is no need to do this. But if you can’t stand to eat a whole chicken that looks anaemic because it has simply been pressure cooked, then maybe this method is for you.
Lessons Learnt From Our Instant Pot Chicken Experiment
There were a few things that we noticed when cooking whole chicken in the instant pot.
The first was how silly it looked. We cooked it breast side down and the trivet left a big mark on it where it had rested.
Next was not tying up the legs of the whole chicken. If you don’t not only will the chicken not be compact during the cooking process, but the meat is likely to fall off the chicken more.
The most tender whole chicken is achieved with a 15 minute natural pressure release. I can’t believe the difference with or without it.
Will A 6 Quart Instant Pot Hold A Whole Chicken?
Yes, it will. Though some of the bigger sizes of whole chicken might not fit in the 6qt instant pot. For example, we found that a medium sized chicken was a perfect fit, which was a 3.2lb chicken, but our large one was slightly too big.
How Much Water Do I Put In Instant Pot With Chicken?
You only need 1 cup of water (240ml) to bring a 6qt instant pot pressure cooker to pressure. However, I much prefer to add two cups and then it can add more flavour to the pot and I can use it for my lazy instant pot chicken stock.
Instant Pot Whole Chicken Cooking Time Chart
I have also made you an instant pot whole chicken cooking time chart. One that you can print off and place on your fridge for easy reference when cooking a whole chicken in the instant pot.
It includes both metric and imperial and it also gives you FREE access to our instant pot mini course.
Simply enter your email address below for an instant access:
More Instant Pot Chicken Recipes
- Instant Pot Vegetable Stock
- Instant Pot Chicken Stock
- Instant Pot Chicken & Potatoes
- Instant Pot Frozen Whole Chicken
- Instant Pot Frozen Chicken Thighs
- Instant Pot Frozen Chicken Drumsticks
How Long To Cook Whole Chicken In Instant Pot?
Instant Pot Whole Chicken Ingredients:
- Peel and slice up your onion and place it into the instant pot with the extra virgin olive oil. Whilst it heats up, peel your whole garlic cloves, and add to the instant pot Sauté your garlic and onion until your onion starts to change colour.
- Cancel sauté and deglaze the instant pot with white wine.
- Place your whole chicken on a clean chopping board and using string secure the chicken legs.
- Rub a teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil over the skin of the chicken. Then add your seasonings and the oil will help the seasonings stick to the chicken. To make it easier you can use an olive oil spray.
- Place your chicken on a trivet inside the instant pot inner pot. It can be breast side up or down (it doesn’t matter which way)
- Place the lid on the instant pot set the valve to sealing and cook for 23 minutes.
- Then allow for a 15 minute natural pressure release before manually releasing pressure.
- Once pressure is released allow the chicken to rest for a couple of minutes before serving.
- Alternatively load into the air fryer, add extra virgin olive oil, extra seasoning and air fry breast side up for 5 minutes at 200c/400f.