Can you roast a whole chicken in an Instant Pot? Absolutely. Is it “technically” roasted? No. Is it juicy, tender, delicious, easy, and fast as any rotisserie chicken? Yes!
How to ensure your Instant Pot roast chicken turns out perfectly
Just a couple quick and easy things to bear in mind…
What is the right size chicken for an Instant Pot?
The most important thing to remember when you’re planning to pressure cook a whole chicken is to make sure it weighs less than 4 pounds. Anything bigger and you risk a bird that’s too big and will likely get pushed up against the walls of the Instant Pot which results in an unevenly cooked chicken. So get one that fits.
Will my Instant Pot chicken have a crisp skin?
The great thing about cooking a chicken in an Instant Pot is that you don’t need to hover anxiously for fear of the chicken turning tough. Because the environment the chicken being cooked in is so humid, it’s really hard to overcook the bird, and each of our recipe testers found the chicken to be wonderfully juicy in the time instructed. The tradeoff is that very same humidity also prevents the skin from being crisp, but then, neither is the skin on most rotisserie-style chickens. Just align your expectations accordingly.
Instant Pot Rotisserie-Style Whole Chicken
- Quick Glance
- 20 M
- 1 H
- Serves 4
Special Equipment: Instant Pot and kitchen string (optional)
In a small bowl, combine the smoked paprika, cumin, garlic powder, 1 teaspoon black pepper, 1 teaspoon salt, brown sugar, and cayenne.
In a large skillet set over medium-high heat, warm the oil. Season the chicken with the remaining salt and pepper and, if you have some kitchen string, tie the legs together. Sear the chicken in the skillet, turning it to brown all sides, 10 to 12 minutes total. (Alternately, if you’re using a pressure cooker and it has a sauté function, you can sear the chicken in the pressure cooker, leaving you with one less dish to clean.) Let the chicken cool enough to handle, about 3 minutes.
Place the steam rack inside of the pressure cooker. Pour in the chicken stock and beer. Rub the chicken with the spice rub and place it in the Instant Pot or pressure cooker on the steam rack. Secure the lid and cook under high pressure for 18 minutes. Allow to naturally release for 5 minutes, then quick release and remove the lid.
Remove the chicken and serve: Using tongs, carefully move the chicken from the Instant Pot or pressure cooker to a platter. Carve and serve immediately with hot sauce, if desired. Originally published February 9, 2018.
Recipe Testers' Tips
I may never buy a rotisserie chicken again! This method of cooking a whole chicken in the pressure cooker worked brilliantly. I was skeptical that 18 minutes in my Instant Pot would be enough time to thoroughly cook the 3 1/2-pound bird, but it was—the chicken temperature was actually 180°F to 190°F when I opened the pot. Then I was worried that it might be dry or overdone at that temperature, but it was tender, moist, easy to strip away from the bone—just about perfect.
I didn't need all of the spice rub, but what I used gave a nice "sweet heat" southwestern flavor to the bird. I’m planning on using the chicken in salads, wraps, and tacos, so this was a good fit, but I do think you could sub just about any of your favorite chicken seasonings, depending on your preferences. The next time I make this recipe—which will likely be later this week—I'll use just 1 cup chicken broth to cook the bird. That way I'll be able to use the resulting cooking liquid as a base for chicken stock. This one cooking technique alone will be worth the price of my Instant Pot.
In the time you can go to the store and buy a rotisserie chicken, you can have a chicken that is far more delicious and far moister than any prepared chicken you could buy. At least that’s what happened for me. I have tried rotisserie chicken from the best supermarkets and from warehouse stores that specialize in them. I have bought them at a local mom-and-pop neighborhood store that everyone swears by. I have even bought rotisserie chicken at restaurants that specialize in just that and this Instant Pot recipe won out. It is amazingly moist and much cheaper than those you can buy elsewhere, which is always a plus, especially for families on a budget.
Whenever a local store has their Mary’s Free Range Air-Chilled chickens on special, I buy a few, vacuum seal them, and stick them in the freezer. That way I always have one at the ready. This worked out well when I wanted to make this recipe on a very rainy day. No need to go out to pick up a chicken. The spice rub was easy to make, and consisted of spices that I always have on hand. The aroma and flavors of the rub were very pronounced. This recipe would lend itself to a whole world of flavors. Just adjust the rub to the flavors you want to showcase. Needing 1/2 cup of beer proved to be a bonus when making the recipe. I poured a half cup into my Pyrex measuring cup, and had the rest of the bottle to enjoy while making the dish.
Bottom line, or probably the best part of this recipe, you end up with an extremely moist, maybe one of the moistest roast chickens I’ve ever made, in just 27 minutes or less. The chicken was so succulent, we did not need the skin.
Although this chicken did not end up having crisp skin, the chicken was so moist and falling-off-the-bone tender and richly permeated by the spice rub that not having crisp skin wasn't much of a disappointment. With the flavor of the spice rub in there, it was all very lovely to eat!
I am delighted to have yet another chicken recipe and Instant Pot favorite. This dish, required a few involved steps but I can't deny how nice it is to plop a whole chicken into the Instant Pot, close the lid, and forget about it. This technique is a good one to have ready when planning time for dinner is limited (isn’t it always?) and easy enough to replicate with all different flavor profiles.
The skin is delicious but have ready some hot sauce or other condiment as well for another flavor boost. It took about 8 minutes for the Instant Pot to get up to high pressure before the 18 minute cook began. I had to let the chicken cool for about 10 minutes before cutting into it. My boyfriend and I devoured almost the whole thing for dinner. I poured on Sriracha, which I preferred over his choice of Frank’s. I thought the sweeter Sriracha went better with it than the vinegary Frank’s.
The meat was moist and not tough at all. The skin was wonderfully seasoned and made the kitchen smell amazing. The only criticism was that this wonderful flavor was only in bites from the outside of the chicken. Deeper bites of breast were moist, but much less flavorful. This is when the hot sauce was best used.
I was really excited to try this whole chicken recipe because it integrates a few of my favorite things—roasted chicken, cumin, and paprika. Only upon reading the recipe did I realize that this was a pressure cooker recipe with just a bit of flash roasting at the end. I borrowed a pressure cooker because I don't have one and have been on the fence about buying one. I think my biggest issue with this is simply that you end up with a boiled chicken, in essence, and not an actual roasted chicken.
This method does result in a VERY moist chicken, but I would have preferred it roasted in the oven. However, my guests LOVED it, so I am in the minority. Like I said, it was exceptionally moist. I used a locally produced lager and homemade chicken stock. I also seared the chicken right in the pressure cooker rather than on the stove top. I let the chicken cool and then covered it with the spice mixture and there was more than enough of it to thoroughly cover the entire bird. My 4-pound chicken fed 5 of us but the carcass was absolutely picked clean.
For the hot sauce, I used cherry peppers because I don't think I've ever seen Fresno peppers up here. Once cooked, I gave it another spin through the food processor until it was smooth. It has a great, true peppery taste with a good level of heat.