Short on time? Get dinner done in 30 minutes and cook your WHOLE chicken in the Instant Pot. No need to thaw – you can even cook it from frozen! Season with homemade poultry seasoning, or blackened seasoning for a fun kick!
I love having shredded chicken – it makes for cooking any one of these 38 meal ideas that use rotisserie chicken.
The problem is, I need this chicken DONE when I get home from work!
Instant Pot Whole Chicken to the rescue! I love cooking chicken in the Instant Pot because:
- Cooks in 30 minutes!
- You don’t have to thaw the chicken!
- Great way to stock the freezer
- Cook while you’re away from home (or sleeping).
Here’s What You Need
You really need just one ingredient: Chicken!
I like to use a simple seasoning blend on my chicken as well (salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, maybe some thyme or oregano) or try my REALLY easy homemade poultry seasoning. Both are optional.
Optional Ingredients and Notes
- Vegetables. Anything you add with the chicken will increase the flavor. Therefore, they’re great for using up scraps or when you have just a half onion or a few baby carrots left.
- Citrus. Add sliced or quartered lemons or oranges to the pot to brighten the flavor.
- Fresh or Dried Herbs. They truly make Instant Pot whole chicken AMAZING, but they’re not cheap. I usually use dried herbs without a problem, and only use fresh if I find them marked down.
Psst! Wanna kick this chicken up a notch? Try finishing this recipe with a pinch of finishing salt! Just wait until the chicken is fully cooked so the salt doesn’t dry out your beloved bird! I love Ava Jane’s Kitchen because it doesn’t have microplastics (gross, right?) and it’s SO GOOD! Plus, you can get a bag for just 1¢!! Just sprinkle some on after shredding and serve! (Get your penny bag of salt on this page.)
A Quick Word About The Chicken
Quality meat is a priority for my family, so we choose to buy organic. Organic chicken is becoming easier to find, but if you can’t find it locally, check out Butcher Box. They offer organic chicken, heritage-breed pork and grass-fed beef delivered to your door EVERY MONTH!
I’ve shared my experiences with them a few times:
- My Personal Experience and Honest Review of Butcher Box
- Butcher Box Review (Updated!)
- How to Make Butcher Box Worth the Cost
Exclusive for Crumbs Readers- Get FREE Ground Beef for life when you sign up!
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Step By Step Instructions For The Instant Pot
Step 1: Add water and chopped vegetables (if you’re using) TO the bottom of your Instant Pot. Place the trivet on top. (Note: Size of Instant Pot vs bird. I highly recommend checking to see if your bird fits in Instant Pot BEFORE cooking)
Step 2: Place whole seasoned chicken on the trivet, breast side up.
Step 3: Close the lid. Ensure the seal is in place and the pressure valve is on “sealed.”
Step 4: Cook on High Pressure for 6 minutes per pound of bird.
- 4 lb chicken will take 24 minutes
- 5 lb chicken will take 30 minutes
- 6 lb chicken will take 36 minutes
Step 5: Let the pressure release naturally (i.e. do nothing) until the red pressure valve falls down.
Step 6: Open the lid carefully and remove the chicken. Serve as is or shred the chicken and portion for later.
Tip: Use can use a KitchenAid stand mixer to shred the chicken for you in minutes!
Step 7: Save the bones for chicken broth, if you want to.
Homemade chicken stock is FREE and super easy – here’s the tutorial for the Instant Pot, and here’s how to make slow cooker chicken stock as well.
FOR A THAWED CHICKEN (NOT FROZEN), allow 6 minutes per pound of chicken to cook in the Instant Pot.
3 lb chicken = 18 minutes on high pressure
3 ½ lb chicken = 21 minutes on high pressure
4 lb chicken = 24 minutes on high pressure
4 ½ lb chicken = 27 minutes on high pressure
5 lb chicken = minutes on high pressure
This means that the chicken needed to be cooked in the Instant Pot longer. ( When cooking frozen chicken breasts, let the pressure naturally release.) This will help with the texture.
Yes! You should allow 11 minutes per pound for cooking time. Be sure to remove the innards from the chicken (that are wrapped in plastic or paper) BEFORE cooking.
I have this 8-quart Instant Pot DUO. I love using it for kitchen staples like brown rice or “fancy” meals like beef and broccoli! If you use the trivet that comes with the machine, you don’t need any other accessories!
(PS – Be sure to read these 20+ things to know before you buy an Instant Pot and here’s how the Instant Pot saves money.)
Put the chicken in the oven under broil for up to 7 minutes to get a crispy skin.
To Serve Instant Pot Whole Chicken
Try these sides:
- Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes
- Easy Dinner Rolls
- How to Make Cauliflower Rice
- Instant Pot Sweet Potatoes
- Lemon Butter Asparagus
Save Time & Money
We’re all looking to save money on healthy food, and here’s how you can do that with Instant Pot whole chicken:
- If you need leftover chicken, portion that out FIRST and set it aside. Portion leftovers or lunches before serving dinner, accordingly.
- Aim to get 3 meals out of one bird. One 5-6 lb chicken yields about 6 cups of shredded chicken. For most meals, 2 cups of chicken is enough.
- Always save the bones! Homemade chicken stock is DELICIOUS and so easy to make. All you need are chicken bones!
For instance, these are my best tips for saving time while you’re at it!
- Cook more than one bird at one time.
- As soon as the chicken is done, leave the juices inside the Instant Pot and immediately make Instant Pot chicken stock.
- If you don’t need chicken stock, remove the juices from the Instant Pot and save them! You can use these in place of stock in recipes.
More Chicken Recipes For Your Leftovers
- Instant Pot Chicken Noodle Soup
- Buffalo Chicken Salad
- Chicken Southwest Salad
- Bacon Chicken Caesar Salad Wrap
Chicken Meal Prep PlanSign up to get instant access to my Chicken Meal Prep Plan, complete with recipes and shopping list!
Instant Pot Whole Chicken
My favorite way to use a pressure cooker is Instant Pot Whole Chicken. Use a frozen or thawed bird, add a few vegetables, and dinner can be ready in just 30 minutes!
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes (up to 60 minutes)
- Total Time: 40 minutes
- Yield: 6 cups 1x
- Category: Main Meal
- Method: Instant Pot
- Cuisine: American
- 1 whole chicken (thawed or frozen*), about 5-6 lbs
- 1 cup water
- 1 onion, quartered (optional)
- 2 carrots, cut into 2″ pieces (optional)
- 2 celery ribs, cut into 2″ pieces (optional)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1 tsp dried seasonings as desired (Italian seasoning, oregano, basil and coriander are all good options)
- Place the vegetables in the bottom of the Instant Pot. Place the wire rack that came with the IP on top.
- Place the chicken on the wire rack.
- Add water to the bottom of the Instant Pot.
- Sprinkle the chicken liberally with seasonings.
- Turn the pressure valve to “sealed.” Press “manual” or “pressure cook,” make sure the setting is on “high” and cook for 6 minutes per pound of bird. My bird was just over 5 pounds, so I set the timer for 30 minutes.
- Make sure the “keep warm” function is NOT set and use the natural pressure release method. When the pressure valve is down, the chicken is done.
- Shred the chicken with two forks and serve as desired!
*If using a frozen chicken double the cooking time per lbs.
- Calories: 850
Keywords: Instant pot whole chicken
I am about to cook a whole frozen chicken. I do not know if it has giblets or not. One thing I have learned from other websites is that it says to cook a frozen whole chicken for 13 minutes per pound. Which means it will take about as long in the oven. But I still think it will worth it to cook it in the IP for moisture it will have.
RAW AND BLOODY CHICKEN! Hi Tiffany, is this the re-tested, updated recipe that accounts for using a frozen chicken? Or have you not done that yet? If not, please either asterisk the word ‘frozen’ in the description and add a disclaimer or remove the ‘skip to recipe’ feature, which I used because I really needed to save time – the reason I use an Instant Pot! I of course finished my chicken after discovering it was raw inside with a blood filled cavity as I began to shred the cooled chicken but the double-duty of re-sanitizing my kitchen area after the discovery and finishing the now-cooled chicken totally negated the time saving benefit of using my Instant Pot to begin with. Thanks for your further attention to this particular recipe.
Kyare - Team Crumbs
I have adjusted the recipes instructions, I am so sorry it turned out so poorly!
I did a 3.75 lb chicken for 20 min on high on pressure cook setting and it was not cooked enough and the veggies were overcooked. What did I do wrong? I had to finish cooking in the oven for 1/2 hr.
Hi there! Was the chicken completely thawed?
The math is wrong. Is it 5 or 6 minutes per pound? The directions say 6, but the examples given equal 5 min per pound…
***“Cook on High Pressure for 6 minutes per pound of bird. For example a 4lb chicken will take 20 minutes. A 5lb chicken will take 25 minutes. And a 6lb chicken will take 30 minutes.”
4lb would be 24 min, 5=30, 6=35.
6=36… hit the wrong number.
That should be 5 min per pound, Jodi. We’ll get that fixed!
A minor correction is needed here:
“ Cook on High Pressure for 6 minutes per pound of bird. For example a 4lb chicken will take 20 minutes. A 5lb chicken will take 25 minutes. And a 6lb chicken will take 30 minutes.”
The times listed match 5 minutes per pound. Times should be 24, 30, and 36 minutes.
Thanks for providing a great, easy recipe!
I had a 5.5 lb chicken (costco) and it cooked perfect in my 6 qt Instant Pot!
Wonderful! You’re so very welcome Kristin!
Yes, naturally the frozen need more time I find depending on the size I cook for 40 to 60 minutes. I find finishing it in the oven is the best way to get a crispy skin, that way I also dont worry if it is not quite at cooked in the instapot I put it in my convection for about 10 to 15 minutes and check it with a meat thermometer,
I never skimp on the liquid either. Having stock on hand is ideal. Often the stock and left over chicken becomes the next day meal.
I put my veg in with the stock the next day for 6- 8 minutes, then when it is done toss in the left over chicken and its always a hit.
I know we all love how quick the insta pot is and sometimes seems counter productive to do two steps, sometimes it takes just as long. But I bought my Instapot for speed but know use it for quality, I have never had dry turkey or chicken in the insta pot. My curries and tomato sauce seem always to be more flavourful.
So thrill for all the folks that have posted such great tips like Tiffany Now if I could only get rice great! I still do better on the stove.
Have you tried my IP brown rice Edgar? You’ll never cook rice on the stove again! https://dontwastethecrumbs.com/2018/01/instant-pot-brown-rice/
My frozen chicken was not cooked, I am fairly certain although I did not shred it yet. Pulled the chicken out on the rack onto a plate. I let it sit a few minutes while I strained the broth. When I came back to put it into the bowl to refrigerate, there was blood on the plate as well as when I took the gizzard, neck, etc. out of the chicken they were also red. There may have been something I did wrong, but I was so disappointed that I am going to have to cook it again.
Connie – I’ve tested the timing with frozen chicken as well and mine too came out not thoroughly cooked and had to finish cooking it in the oven. I’m going to test cooking a frozen chicken in an Instant Pot further and update the post to reflect this. I’m sorry for the inconvenience and misinformation! ♥
This was lovely!
I chopped the celery, carrots, and onions smaller for soup. Chopped fresh ginger and garlic and cooked as you stated. I pull the carcass out theb throw some extra shredded chicken, season to taste, maybe add a boullion cube or two and then I have chicken soup in addition to shredded chicken!
So glad you liked this Kayla, and you got two dinners in one go!
You mentioned that fresh herbs are very expensive and I agree. I don’t know where you live (we have pretty cold, but snowless winters and very hot summers,, but I grow herbs in raised beds and when the winter is going to kill them I cut, dry on a paper towel on my counter, and have my own dried herbs for the winter.
I used your instructions for cooking my first whole chicken in an electric pressure cooker. I did not buy an Instant Pot, instead I purchased the Mueller Pressure Cooker. I cooked a 6.56 lb chicken, defrosted, sans giblets, in a 6 qt cooker. I put 1 cup of water in the bottom, my chicken sat on the wire rack inside the pot and I set my menu to broth and manually set the time to 40 minutes. Within an hour I had perfectly cooked chicken ready for soup. My cooker came to pressure in about 5 minutes. This is my first time using any kind of pressure cooker and I was a bit nervous but it went smooth and easy and I am making my second round of stock using the bones from the perfectly cooked chicken. I also used your instruction for the stock.
Thanks so much for the help!
You’re so very welcome!! I’m glad it turned out on your first try – enjoy the beauty of pressure cooking!
My 4 lb frozen took 40 minutes but its likely cause is was solid and stringed. However, the flavour was great and I dry rubbed the chicken so the skin was to bad but I did broil it in the oven for 3 min to crisp it as well. YUMM
thanks for the recipe
You’re very welcome!
I made a whole chicken in my IP and it was fabulous! I used a layer of potatoes to keep the chicken elevated, and chicken broth instead of water to flavor the potatoes, and it was delicious! I have one question though… do you have an easier way to get the chicken out? It was so big and floppy that tongs didn’t work, and it was way too hot to handle for quite a while. Thanks so much for all the IP advice – loving this series!
I’m so glad you like it Adrianne! I like using the trivet to get the chicken out. Do the potatoes again, but put the trivet in and the chicken on top. Then you can pull the trivet out with the chicken on top using pot holders!
I have an 8 qt IP too and a lot of recipes say 1 cup of liquid but my manual says at least 18 oz?? I’ve been scared to use less than that. Is yours different? I’m not sure if mine is Duo but I thought so. Thanks.
I think the manuals for all the sizes say 18 ounces, but in my research and experimenting, you only need 1 cup of liquid to get started. For recipes that will produce their own liquid (i.e. whole chickens, stews, etc.) there’s plenty of liquid for the Instant Pot to work. If you’re making something though that will not produce liquid, you should start with 18 ounces from the get go (i.e. rice, pasta, beans, etc.)
I love my instant pot!! I cooked 2 whole chickens (separately) last weekend and made 8 quarts of stock. I love being able to press the “easy” button on life 🙂
Ever make homemade cat food in IP ?
I have a 6 qt duo Plus. It says 500ml/ 18 oz too. I gave 4 of my daughters IPs for Christmas.. Their manuals says 250/8 oz. So I called the company. They told me 12 oz! LOL. I’ve been using 12..just in case
I’ve a 6 qt duo. I did one cup of water my very first time to boil eggs and the burn notification came up. 2 cups takes forever. This weekend I tried 12 oz and things worked out great.
I’ve done two frozen chickens so far. One at 35 minutes and one for 25. 25 minutes worked out ok, letting it release naturally.
My instapot’s pressure valve leans and I need to give a tap to straighten it up if I don’t it doesn’t come up to pressure.
The first time I did a whole chicken in the instant pot I did sear it before with the saute button on all sides. It had an amazing flavor. My granddaughter even said it was the best chicken she’s ever had.
I love this series because I have an Instant Pot and am always looking for new ways to use it. However, I have to respectfully disagree—I think Instant Pot chickens are flabby and unappetizing. I’ve gone back to the baked in oven version, followed up by stock made in the Instant Pot.
It’s totally okay to disagree! 🙂
I never tried a whole chicken or turkey breast and I have a Ninja foodi
I like this site.
Tiffany – Thank you for all of your information and posts!!! I’m so excited by your Daily Instant Pot Basics Challenge and have leaned a lot already!!!
I have the 6 qt Instant Pot and tried to cook a frozen 4 1/2 lb chicken (organic from Costco) and unfortunately, after a 1 hour and 30 minute cook time (plus time to build pressure beforehand and release pressure afterwards), PLUS 10 minutes under the broiler to brown and crisp the bird, it was still raw in the middle. We sliced off the breasts and finished cooking them in a saute pan. What would be your recommended time per minute with frozen meat?
**Oh and our bird did have a paper bag with the giblets frozen inside – I will definitely remove those before freezing my chickens in the future.
You’re most welcome!! I’ll experiment again with a frozen chicken. I did it once, but I don’t remember it taking 90 minutes. I’d hate to give you a quote and it not turn out, so let me keep experimenting for you. 🙂 Yes!! Take out those bags and put them right into the stock bag. 🙂
I’m wondering if the difference is my Instant Pot is a 6 Qt and yours is an 8 Qt???? Could there be better circulation with the larger pot that it cooks faster?
Maybe? I’m not sure…. I’ve done a frozen chicken once, and it wasn’t completely done either. Definitely more experimenting needed!
My guess is that it never came to pressure. Sometimes you have to press down on the lid to get the valve to fully lock and allow it to fully pressurize.
Any updates on the frozen chicken time?
Kyare - Team Crumbs
It has been updated, I am so sorry for the initial mix up!
I’ve learned on the 6 quart, a 4 pound chicken is about as big as you can go. But I’m in love with the IP.
Great recipe! What size Instant Pot do you have? I received the 6qt size for Christmas and I’m excited to start using it.
Thanks Kalico! I have the 8 quart DUO.
My only caution on IP’ing a frozen cooked chicken is sometimes the giblets can be in a bag that contains plastic. I cannot imagine that eating meat cooked with plastic is good for us. We use the Costco organic whole chickens, which unfortunately do not have giblets inside (at all), and so this is a moot point.
Thanks Kathleen! It must be a regional thing… or maybe the quality of chicken? I’ve seen the giblets in paper bags, but it’s been awhile since I’ve seen plastic.
I used a Perdue chicken with a plastic bag of gibbkets
I just bought a Instapot dou crisp. If you wanted crispy skin you can pressure cook, drain the water out and use the air frier lid
I’ve made this twice and going for #3 now. It’s very tasty! Bird #3 had giblets in paper (the other 2 didn’t have any). I didn’t add the giblets – should I? What can I do with the giblets now? I’m not much of a cook so the Instant Pot is very helpful. Thanks!❤
Use the giblets in homemade chicken stock! I’m so glad you’re enjoying this recipe, Warren!
Hi there! Reading through all the details before turning on our IP to make this. I’m using Costco organic whole chicken and double-checked … there are loose giblets and neck inside but not in a bag. Probably easily missed.
Besides the veggies in the bottom of the pot, I added chicken Better Than Bouillon, and seasoned with Italian blend and sage herbs, fresh ground black pepper and pink sea salt..
Thank you so much for posting these IP recipes – I’m working my way through your challenge!
You’re very welcome!! Just a heads up on the Better than Bouillon – it has a lot of salt. It might not make a difference in a dish like this, but if the chicken comes out salty, that could be why.