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This low-prep, budget-friendly Instant Pot Whole Chicken recipe turns out moist and flavorful every single time. The fresh herbs, garlic, and onion hidden inside the bird bring big flavor as they slowly marry with the chicken juices. The drippings at the end are used to create a delicious gravy to serve on top.
Benefits of Making Whole Chicken in the Instant Pot
While cooking a whole chicken in the Instant Pot does not yield the prettiest bird ever, this method does have some major benefits:
- The pressure cooker infuses flavor and keeps the moisture locked into the chicken.
- You can make the gravy directly in the Instant Pot, instead of dirtying up a pan on the stovetop.
- The Instant Pot doesn’t heat up your kitchen like Roasted Chicken and Vegetables does.
- You can freeze it and cook it later FROM FROZEN in the Instant Pot. So be sure to prep two chickens at the same time, make one for dinner, and freeze the other for another day.
If you prefer to serve this as a whole bird, we’ll show you how to create a crispier exterior by placing it under the broiler at the end of the cook time. Serve it with some Bread Machine Dinner Rolls and Homemade Stuffing for a divine meal!
Only a few fresh, whole-food ingredients are needed for this healthy and flavorful chicken meal.
- Chicken – We get our chicken from ButcherBox. Don’t forget to remove the giblets from inside the cavity before you get started.
- Butter – You can substitute olive oil or avocado oil.
- Herbs – Fresh herbs make a big difference in flavor. However, you can use dried ones in a pinch.
- Gravy – To make the gravy at the end you will need butter, flour, salt, and pepper.
Prep the Bird
Season the outside and inside generously with salt and pepper and stuff the bird with onion, garlic, and fresh herbs. Tie the legs together with kitchen twine to help with even cooking.
Place the rack inside the pot and add 1 cup of water. Set the bird on top of the rack and pressure cook on high for 40 minutes with a natural release (at least 15 minutes).
Broil Until Crispy on Outside
Using tongs, transfer the chicken to a baking dish, breast-side up. Broil for 5-10 minutes, until crispy and golden brown, keeping a close eye on the chicken so it doesn’t burn.
Warning: It will be very tender/fragile after pressure cooking!
Make the Gravy
While the chicken rests, make the gravy in the Instant Pot using the leftover juices, flour, and butter. Season to taste with salt and pepper. This just takes a few minutes!
Slice and Serve with Gravy on Top
Carve the chicken and serve with gravy. We love it on top of mashed potatoes.
Make It a Freezer Meal
Freezer meal prep is our specialty! (Did you know we’ve published two popular cookbooks with our best freezable recipes in them?)
The beauty of this particular recipe is that after seasoning and prepping the chicken, you can freeze it and cook it later FROM FROZEN in the Instant Pot. So be sure to prep two chickens at the same time, make one for dinner, and freeze the other for another day.
Here’s how to make Instant Pot Whole Chicken into a freezer meal:
Freeze For Later: Follow Step 1 in the recipe below. Place the seasoned/stuffed chicken in a gallon-size or two gallon freezer bag (have someone help you by holding the bag open), or wrap it tightly in a few layers of plastic wrap and then a few layers of foil. Freeze.
Prepare From Frozen: Note: You will need to have butter, flour, salt, and pepper on hand to complete this meal. Follow Step 2 in the recipe below, but cook the frozen chicken for 40 to 50 minutes (10 minutes per pound from frozen, as a rule of thumb). Follow Steps 3-6.
A FRESH whole chicken takes 6 minutes per pound, so a 4-5 pound bird will take 24-30 minutes at high pressure with a natural release.
A FROZEN whole chicken takes 10 minutes per pound, so a 4-5 pound bird will take 40-50 minutes with a natural release.
You absolutely can make whole chicken in the Crock Pot, and it’s delicious. We’ve tested and done all the work of converting this same recipe for the slow cooker. It takes 4-6 hours on low in the crock pot. Give it a try!
Instant Pot Cooking Times Chart
After testing hundreds of Instant Pot recipes, we have honed in on the best timing and methods for cooking different types of meals in the Instant Pot.
Did you make this? Snap a photo and tag us on Instagram at @thrivinghome so we can see your creations and cheer you on!
For the Chicken:
- 1 (4-5 pound) whole chicken
- 1 tablespoon butter, at room temperature (sub: olive oil)
- Salt and pepper
- 5 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- Handful of fresh parsley
- 1/2 head of garlic, halved crosswise
- 1/2 onion, cut into 2-inch pieces
For the Gravy:
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour (sub: 1:1 gluten-free baking flour)
- Salt and pepper
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Make It Now:
- For the chicken: If necessary, remove the neck and gizzards from the cavity of the chicken (save them to make chicken stock, if you’d like). Pat the chicken dry and rub the butter all over the outside. Season the chicken generously inside and out with salt and pepper. Stuff the thyme, rosemary, parsley, garlic, and onion into the cavity. (Freezing instructions begin here.)
- Pour 1 cup of water into the 6-quart Instant Pot. Place a steamer rack in
the pot and set the chicken on it, breast side down. Lock and seal the lid. Cook at high pressure for 24 to 30 minutes (6 minutes per pound, as a rule of thumb), then allow the pressure to release naturally, about 20 minutes. (The chicken is done when it registers 165°F near the inner thigh, between the leg and breast.)
- Position the top oven rack about 8 inches below the broiler. Preheat the broiler.
- Using pot holders, use the steamer rack to remove the chicken from the pot, then transfer it to a shallow baking dish, breast side up. Broil for 5 to 10 minutes, until crispy and golden brown, keeping a close eye on the chicken so it doesn’t burn. Tent with foil and let rest for about 20 minutes.
- For the gravy: While the chicken rests, transfer the juices left in the pot to a glass measuring cup or a bowl. Set the Instant Pot to “Sauté.” Place the butter in the pot. When the butter has melted, whisk in the flour and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until the mixture becomes a smooth paste. While whisking, slowly pour in the juices and whisk continuously until the gravy is smooth and thickened, 3 to 5 minutes.* Taste and season with salt and pepper. (Tip: To get super-smooth gravy, you may want to strain the juices before adding them to the pot.)
- Carve the chicken. Serve warm, drizzled with the gravy.
Freeze For Later: Follow step 1. Place the chicken in a gallon-size freezer bag, if it will fit (have someone help you by holding the bag open), or wrap it tightly in a few layers of plastic wrap and then a few layers of foil. Freeze.
Prepare From Frozen: Note: You will need to have butter, flour, salt, and pepper on hand to complete this meal. Follow Step 2, but cook the frozen chicken for 40 to 50 minutes (10 minutes per pound from frozen, as a rule of thumb). Follow Steps 3-6.
Slow Cooker Method: Try our Crock Pot Whole Chicken recipe.
Oven Method: Try our Roasted Whole Chicken and Vegetables recipe.
Gluten-Free Version: Use 1:1 Gluten-Free Baking Flour (like Bob’s Red Mill brand) in place of the all-purpose flour.
Your whole chicken will likely have the neck and giblets inside the cavity. Remove these before cooking but don’t pitch them!