A favorite Sunday night dinner for us is roast chicken. I can put the chicken in the oven and just let it roast away filling the house with a warm cozy aroma. Dinner is hearty and delicious, and, even better, I have leftovers to use later in the week. But what if you don’t have time to roast it in the oven? Or worse, forgot to take the chicken out of the freezer? That is one of the best things about this Roast Chicken Instapot recipe. You can make a “roast” chicken in an hour, even from frozen! And it is the most tender, delicious chicken you’ve ever had!
Why Cook a Chicken in an Instapot?
I do love the way the house smells with a chicken roasting away in the oven. You can’t beat that cozy, comforting aroma. But, some days, I just don’t have time and that is when the Instapot comes in really handy.
It is fast! The chicken cooks under pressure in under 30 minutes. I plan for 6 minutes per pound, so a 4-pound roasting chicken takes about 24 minutes. Now, that doesn’t include the time it takes for the Instapot to get up to the right pressure (about 10 minutes) or account for the slow release of pressure, which I recommend, and that takes another 20 minutes. But still, under an hour is good.
When it is done, you end up with an incredibly tender, juicy chicken. No dried-out meat here! It just falls off the bones. If you like shredded or pulled chicken, here you go – tender and juicy and perfect for tacos, salads, and casseroles.
Finally, the “stock” that is left over is amazingly rich and flavorful and perfect to use for making soup, with some of the chicken from the roast.
Tricks to Making A Chicken in the Instapot
I have to be honest…my first couple of tries with “roasting” a chicken weren’t overly successful. Yes, tender meat, but it was missing a lot of flavor and I really missed the bronzed skin. After some trial and error, I finally got it right, and while still doesn’t have that deep rich, crispy brown skin, it is still tender and delicious.
It all comes down to a few important tricks.
- Rub the chicken with spices and herbs before cooking.
- Sear the chicken on both sides before pressure cooking.
- Place the chicken on the rack and put some water or broth below it. (Don’t put the chicken directly in the broth)
- Let the pressure come down slowly – try not to do the fast release.
How to “Roast” a Chicken in the Instapot
This really is pretty simple but I start with the bird. I have a smaller Instapot – the 7 in 1 (affiliate link) so I usually look for a smaller bird. Around 4 pounds is perfect for my pot but has gone as high as 5. Any bigger and it just won’t fit, so look for a size bird that will fit snugly but that you’ll still be able to turn over and easily lift out of the pot.
Remove the bag of innards from the cavity of the bird and save the neck for stock. Rub the chicken with some grapeseed or canola oil and then rub in some spices. The seasoning could be as simple as salt and pepper or stuffing a lemon in the cavity with a few herbs. But, if you want a little more flavor, rubbing an Italian seasoning blend or southwest blend over the bird and sprinkling some in the cavity is really good.
For this one, I used my Homemade Taco Seasoning Mix because I’ll be using the leftover meat to make enchiladas and chicken tortilla soup.
Turn the saute mode on and let the Instapot heat up. Add a tablespoon of either grapeseed or canola oil (or avocado would work too) and once it is hot, place the chicken in, breast side down. Sear it, allowing it to cook for about 5 minutes, then turn it over and sear the other side for 5 minutes.
Remove the chicken from the pot and place the rack in the bottom of the pot, with the sides, or handles of the rack pulled out, resting on the side of the pot. Add at least 1 cup of water or chicken broth to the bottom and place the chicken on the rack.
Seal the Instapot and make sure the release valve is closed. Set the pot on manual mode, or for mine, I set it on the “poultry” setting and adjust the time to 24 – 30 minutes. A good rule of thumb is about 6 minutes per pound. Then, sit back and let it come up to pressure and cook.
When it is done, allow the pressure to release on its own. The manual release works just fine when you are pressed for time though!
Then, it is all about breaking the chicken into pieces and serving it. The bones pull apart easily and the meat really does slide off the bone. Strip the skin off and pull off the meat.
I typically make my chicken this way when I know I’ll use the meat for other dishes, which is what I did here. I packed it into 2 cup portions and placed them in freezer bags and will freeze the meat to use later. Then to finish up, I also saved the bones for stock. While most of the meat has been stripped off, there is still some good stuff on those bones, and once it is added to another chicken carcass and some good veggies they will make a rich chicken broth. (By the way, I love my Brother Label Maker for labeling everything that goes in my freezer – no more mystery containers!)
So, there you have – Instapot Roast Chicken! The fastest, and most tender roast chicken you’ll ever have!
Note: This post contains affiliate links, meaning if you click on a link and make a purchase I will earn a small commission.
Instapot Roast Chicken
- Clean out the cavity of the chicken, reserving the neck to make stock later.
- Rub the chicken all over with the taco seasoning. (or use another seasoning blend such as Italian seasoning, or salt and pepper.)
- Turn the Instapot on the saute mode and add the grapeseed oil. When hot, add the chicken, breast side down. Sear and then flip the bird over and sear on the other side. Removed from the Instapot.
- Place the rack in the bottom of the Instapot with the lift handles pointing up and resting on the sides of the pot. Pour the stock in the bottom of the Instapot and place the chicken on the rack.
- Seal the Instapot making sure the valve is set to sealing position. Close the lid tightly and turn the Instapot on either the manual mode or poultry mode and set the time for 24 – 30 minutes (or 6 minutes per pound of chicken)
- Once it is cooked, allow the steam to release on its own. When finished, open the pot and gently remove the chicken to a cutting board. Cool slightly and then break apart. It is ready to enjoy!