Monday, March 19, 2018

Instant Pot Whole Chicken

For a while, my Instant Pot was used. Then it found its way to my pantry and it rested there for many months. But the other night, I was running late with dinner. So instead of roasting a whole chicken, I Instant Potted it.

The Instant Pot is a pressure cooker. It's just not nearly as scary as our mothers' pressure cookers were. I remember everyone joking about waiting for it to explode and shoot the contents to the ceiling. That never happened. But somehow, we were all intimidated by it.

The Instant Pot can also be used as a slow cooker and a steamer. I'm itching to try Chinese dumplings in it.

For the record, I have cooked a few whole chickens in the Instant Pot. Some recipes will advise you to first brown the chicken, which can be done in the Instant Pot. Fair warning, if you eat chicken for the crispy skin, don't pressure cook it. While the chicken meat may well be the most tender chicken I have ever eaten, the skin doesn't fair well, even if you try to brown it first.

Along those lines, don't Instant Pot the chicken if you want to make a pretty presentation. It would work great in chicken salad for instance, but it's not very pretty when it comes out of the Instant Pot.

The recipe is about as simple as it gets. Do not forget to add water! (As I did once, duh!) It will make dinner very late because your chicken will still be raw.

I like to rub mine with some barbecue style seasonings like smoked paprika, dark brown sugar, garlic powder, and salt. But the sky is the limit here. Add onion powder, pepper, celery seeds, whatever you like. The key is to mix the seasonings with some oil and spread it all over the chicken. And that's it! It's so simple!

One other caution, though, if you're thinking of buying an Instant Pot. The cooking is fast. But it's not as instantaneous as the name would lead you to believe. There's always a brief heat up time, and then after the cooking, you need to wait for it to cool off before you open it.

I read somewhere not to use the manual (and quicker) steam release when cooking meat because it won't be as tender and juicy. It will dry it out. I don't know if that's true, but it only takes 15 minutes for it to naturally decompress. Not counting the warm up time, it takes 25 minutes to cook the chicken, and 15 minutes for decompression. No matter how you look at it, that's still faster than roasting a whole chicken.

HINT: There will be juices at the bottom. They will help you make delicious homemade chicken soup. Recipe coming soon.

Instant Pot Whole Chicken

1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon olive oil  (add more if rub is too dry)
2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 chicken

Place the trivet in the bottom of the Instant Pot. Add 1/2 cup of water. In a small bowl combine olive oil, dark brown sugar, salt, paprika, and garlic powder.

Remove giblets and neck from chicken. Rinse and pat dry. Rub chicken with oil mixture all over. Place chicken on top of trivet. Place lid on top and close the steam vent.

Pressure cook for 25 minutes. Wait for steam vent to decompress, approximately 15 minutes.

The chicken.

Mix spices with olive oil.

Rub with spices.

Reserve juices for soup!

Not pretty, but so tender!


  1. I did the same with my Instant Pot. I used it everyday for awhile then in a cleaning spree I put it in the pantry a few weeks ago. I'm going to bring it out again though & try the chicken recipe. I've never done a whole chicken in it. We're eating low carb so this recipe is perfect if I cut down on the brown sugar. I also really like it for beef tips, stew and roasts. Definitely share yoru Chinese dumpling recipe when you do them in the Instant Pot!

  2. I don't own an instant pot but have been intrigued by the touted multi-functionality of it. Am still debating but love that you explain what was beneficial and what was not about how the instant pot cooked your chicken. Love the flavors you use.

  3. I, too, like your seasonings.
    An instant pot isn't for me. I can't face yet another gadget taking up space.
    But I appreciate your information.