Instant Pot Whole Chicken and Gravy
I admit I was skeptical, but instant pot whole chicken actually tastes exactly like traditional oven roasted chicken. It’s moist, flavorful, juicy chicken and creates its own rich oniony gravy.
A complete roast chicken dinner in 60 minutes flat, start to finish. Not bad!
Why make a whole chicken in the instant pot?
Compared to a traditional roasted chicken like our easy roast chicken breast and gravy, you’re saving about 30-45 minutes or more but adding an extra pot to wash – the Instant Pot. You’ll have to choose your priorities.
If you want crispy skin and a more presentable browned chicken, you will have to add the extra 10 minute step of roasting it in the oven. But you can take advantage of this time to add a veggie to the meal and cook it together with the chicken in the final step.
Of course, if you’re cooking a chicken to use for other purposes where browning is not important – like chicken a la king or chicken salad – or if you don’t care how it looks coming straight from the Instant Pot – it’s an excellent quick option.
And even if you want to make the full deal, there are a few shortcuts and handy ‘adds’ to maximize your effort and minimize your time in the kitchen.
It is delicious – I think there would be no argument there.
Ingredients – tailored to your taste
Chicken: I prefer using kosher chicken as it is already brined (more flavorful and juicy), but it’s not necessary. The maximum size chicken that will fit in a 6 quart/5.68 liter Instant Pot is approximately 4 pounds/1.18 kg. You can cook a larger chicken with an 8 quart/7.57 liter pot.
Seasoning: Use any seasonings or dry rub you prefer to coat the chicken. Double the seasoning mixture to brush on vegetables added to the pan for the oven roasting portion of the recipe if you like. Sprinkle on fresh herbs like thyme or chives before serving.
Step by step instructions
Cooking time with an instant pot: Even though the actual cooking of the chicken in the Instant Pot only takes about 20 minutes, you have to consider the 10-15 minutes it take to build up pressure before cooking and the 10-15 minutes to do a [partial] natural release in the total cook time for the recipe. (I found this misleading and annoying when I was an Instant Pot newbie).
Broil vs roast in final step: Some recipes suggest broiling the chicken at the end to brown it. I prefer the 500F/260C roasting method as the browning is more even.
To make a complete meal, I take advantage of the final oven roasting step by adding vegetables to the pan, tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper. I once added cauliflower steaks and they were delicious. Another time I used potatoes, precooked in the microwave, then cut into chunks. You can add extra roasting time for the veggies if needed (or if you like extra char) while you’re cutting up the chicken to serve.
Yes, you can cook a whole frozen chicken in the Instant Pot at 11 minutes per pound/450 grams.
The general rule of thumb for cooking time is calculated at 6 minutes per pound so a 3.5 pound/1.59 kg chicken will take 21 minutes. I subtract 1 minute from the total time to account for the extra 10 minutes in the oven so a 3.5 pound/1.59 kg chicken would take 20 minutes to cook. (Do this if you don’t like dry overcooked chicken).
- Use a store-bought spice mixture for the seasoning, added to the oil.
- For a quicker, flavorful gravy (and gluten free) made directly in the Instant Pot (no extra saucepan), see instructions in the recipe card below.
What to serve with instant pot roast chicken
- mashed potatoes
- oven roasted vegetables
- healthy creamed spinach
- best green beans with panko crumbs
- easy roasted boy choy (can be made on the same pan as chicken in the final step)
- The chicken can be cooked in the Instant Pot then left at room temperature, loosely covered with foil (or in the Instant Pot on OFF, cover ajar) for up to an hour. The gravy can be made ahead as well once the chicken is finished cooking in the Instant Pot. Roast the chicken in the oven and heat the gravy just before serving.
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Instant Pot Whole Chicken and Gravy
- Instant Pot I use 6 quart
- 3.5 lbs whole chicken, Note 1
- salt and black pepper to taste
- 1 onion, peeled, cut into pieces
- 1/4 lemon (optional)
- 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
- 1 garlic clove, peeled
- Optional; any cut up vegetables that will roast at 500F/260C in 10 minutes e.g. broccoli, bok choy, cauliflower, peppers (for a side dish).
Seasoning for chicken (or use pre-made seasoning)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon each, garlic powder and onion powder
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika (or paprika)
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon rosemary
For gravy recipe
- 2 tablespoon grease created from chicken in instant pot (or oil)
- 2 tablespoon flour
- 2 cups broth from the instant pot
- seasonings to taste: thyme, garlic powder, salt, pepper
- SEASON CHICKEN: Sprinkle salt and pepper inside chicken cavity and add a couple chunks onion and lemon if desired. Combine all seasoning ingredients in a small bowl. Rub 2/3 of it on chicken, including under the skin of chicken breasts (gently loosen skin from flesh, then smear it).
- PREPARE FOR INSTANT POT COOKING: Put broth, onions and garlic clove into the bottom of the pot (6-8 quart instant pot). Place the trivet that comes with pot over the mixture. Place chicken on top, chicken breast-side up.
- INSTANT POT SETTINGS/COOKING: Place on instant pot lid and turn clockwise to lock. Turn valve to SEALING position. Push HIGH PRESSURE or MANUAL button. Use + or – buttons to set time. Calculate time at 6 minutes per pound (450 g) LESS 1 minute. So a 3.5 lb/1.59 kg chicken will take (3.5 x 6) – 1 = 20 minutes. Therefore set time to 20 minutes. Pressure will take 10-15 minutes to build before the pressure clock starts. When finished (instant pot will beep), wait 15 minutes for a NATURAL PRESSURE RELEASE, then do a quick release if necessary for the pressure button to pop down.
- HEAT OVEN to 500F/260C while chicken is cooking in instant pot. Prepare a pan, lined with aluminum foil and sprayed with oil. If desired, add veggies for roasting on half the pan, tossing them with olive oil, salt and pepper.
- FINISH CHICKEN IN OVEN (WITH VEGGIES if using): Remove chicken from instant pot (I use two forks at either end – don't pierce meat). Place on prepared pan along side veggies if using. Brush remaining seasoning on chicken skin. Roast for 10 minutes until skin browns. Instant thermometer should show an internal temperature of 165F. Cut up chicken on cutting board and serve with gravy.
- MAKE GRAVY: (Note 2 to make directly in instant pot). While chicken is roasting in oven, discard onions and garlic from instant pot. Pour broth into a separator (or skim grease from broth and reserve). Put 2 tablespoons grease in separate saucepan. Heat to medium heat. Add flour and stir for 2 minutes. Add 2 cups broth (juices) from the instant pot. Continue cooking for a few minutes until thickened. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding thyme, salt, pepper as desired. Add more broth if needed to desired consistency.
- Size of chicken: The maximum size chicken that will fit in a 6 quart/5.68 liter Instant Pot is approximately 4 pounds/1.18 kg. You can cook a larger chicken with an 8 quart/7.57 liter pot.
- For a quicker gluten free gravy made directly in the Instant Pot (no extra saucepan):
- Skim the grease from the broth if desired, remove the onions with a slotted spoon.
- Press the sauté setting on the instant pot
- Make a slurry of 1-1/2 tablespoons cornstarch mixed with a tablespoon water.
- When the broth is bubbling, add the cornstarch slurry and stir gravy until thickened. Taste and adjust seasonings.
- Make Ahead:
- The chicken can be cooked in the Instant Pot then left on counter, loosely covered with foil (or in the Instant Pot on OFF, cover ajar) for up to an hour.
- The gravy can be made ahead as well once the chicken is finished cooking in the Instant Pot. Roast the chicken in the oven and heat the gravy just before serving.
- Store leftover chicken in an airtight container.
I made this chicken last night and it was delicious. I tied up the drumsticks before cooking and that helped my chicken not to fall apart from overcooking. My husband really enjoyed the seasoning on the chicken, but we didn’t end up making the gravy, just skimmed the fat from the broth and froze the broth for future use. I’ll definitely make this again, thanks.
Thanks so much for leaving a comment. Great tip about tying up the legs- I’ll add that to the recipe. Glad you enjoyed it Ellen!