Instant Pot Whole Chicken

My Instant Pot whole chicken recipe brings you fall-off-the-bone chicken with a fragrant savory gravy. Use this easy brine to make the juiciest chicken and finish it up with a soy glaze for an extra kick. 

Carved roast chicken

A whole roasted chicken takes some effort to make. One wrong move, and parts of it could turn out dry. Plus, since the weather is getting warmer every day, I’m less enthusiastic about running my oven all the time. That’s why I love this Instant Pot whole chicken, because it gets the meat so incredibly juicy. Bite for bite, it will make a perfect hearty meal to bring you great comfort.

Carved roast chicken served on rice with baby bok choy

Highlights of this recipe

The Instant Pot has to be one of my favorite kitchen tools for exactly this reason. You get a healthy, delicious, home-cooked meal in a fraction of the time. And there’s no beating the taste.

  • An easy brine to make extra juicy and flavorful chicken.
  • I used aromatics in the Instant Pot to steam the chicken, to infuse it with extra fragrance.
  • Finished up the chicken with a dark soy sauce glaze and 5 minutes of oven roasting, to create a crispy skin that resembles Chinese roast chicken.
  • A super simple 5-minute gravy made from pan drippings that tastes super rich. 
Instant Pot whole chicken with gravy

Cooking process

Brine the chicken

The secret to this Instant Pot whole chicken recipe is to brine the chicken first. You can start that process up to 24 hours beforehand. But even if you forget, 4 hours will suffice. The brine is infused with aromatics including garlic, ginger, and peppers, which create a fragrant aroma that will make your stomach rumble in anticipation, and they give a slightly spicy effect, too.

How to make Instant Pot whole chicken step-by-step

NOTE: When you purchase the whole chicken, try to find one that’s on the smaller end of the spectrum, so it will fit into your Instant Pot.

Cook in Instant Pot

  1. Set up the Instant Pot by adding chicken broth and aromatics
  2. Place the chicken onto the steaming rack.
  3. Cook at high pressure. 
  4. Brush the chicken with a thin layer of dark soy sauce
How to make gravy using pan dripping

PRO TIP 1: Instant of steaming the chicken with water, the aromatics in the chicken broth will keep infusing the chicken with a rich fragrance throughout the cooking. Once you’re done cooking, you can either use the chicken broth (without the aromatics) to steam your rice, to make Hainan Chicken Rice style savory rice. Or you can use the recipe below to make a rich gravy.

PRO TIP 2: Brushing a layer of dark soy sauce onto the chicken will add another layer of flavor and make the skin look more appealing.

Crisp up the chicken

If you prefer to have that crispy-skinned roast chicken texture, I recommend placing it in the oven (or under the broiler) for a few minutes.

This step is not necessary though, because the chicken is super delicious and ready to serve, straight out of the Instant Pot.

Roasted whole chicken with gravy

NOTE: You should always rest the chicken for at least 10 minutes once you’re done cooking it. Only carve the part of chicken you plan to serve right away, to retain the moisture in the chicken meat.

10-Minute gravy

You can (and should!) also make gravy to go with your Instant Pot whole chicken. Simply use the drippings and you’ll have a rich and lovely gravy with a slight spiciness. 

Once you’ve done the Instant Pot cooking, you will have quite a lot of chicken broth. I would pour it into a measuring cup and skim the chicken fat from the top, and use the chicken fat (instead of butter) to make the gravy, for an extra rich result.

To make the gravy:

  1. Add the chicken fat and flour into a saucepan
  2. Cook until the flour is fully incorporated and turns light golden
  3. Add chicken stock in batches and stir to mix
  4. Simmer until the gravy thickens
How to make Instant Pot whole chicken step-by-step

NOTE: I added 1/2 teaspoon of dark soy sauce into the gravy to give it a darker color. You can skip it if you like.

NOTE: The gravy will continue to thicken once it has cooled down. If the gravy turns too thick, you can stir in a bit more chicken broth and heat it up again to bring back the texture.

How to serve

Once the chicken rests, you can serve the chicken with steamed rice or boiled noodles and put the gravy in a gravy boat to allow guests to pour on as much of it as they’d like. I also like to serve some blanched or pan-fried vegetables on the side, to make my meal more balanced. Greens like broccoli, baby bok choy, Chinese broccoli, spinach and mustard greens are great options. And of course, don’t forget to drizzle the gravy onto your veggies, too!

Brining chicken

Thanks to the method of the Instant Pot, the meat is super moist and falls right off the bone. It turns any daily dinner into a more extravagant experience without you having to work too hard. It’s easy enough for any night and impressive enough for guests.

Carved roast chicken close up

Easy side dishes that go with the chicken

If you give this recipe a try, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it (once you’ve tried it), and take a picture and tag it @omnivorescookbook on Instagram! I’d love to see what you come up with.

My Instant Pot whole chicken recipe brings you fall-off-the-bone flavorful chicken with a fragrant savory gravy. Use this easy brine to make the juiciest chicken and finish it up with a soy glaze for an extra kick.

Instant Pot Whole Chicken

My Instant Pot whole chicken recipe brings you fall-off-the-bone chicken with a fragrant savory gravy. Use this easy brine to make the juiciest chicken and finish it up with a soy glaze for an extra kick.
5 from 2 votes
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Course: Main
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: home style
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Brining time & resting time: 4 hours 30 minutes
Total Time: 5 hours 15 minutes
Servings: 4 to 6 servings
Calories: 272kcal
Author: Maggie Zhu

Ingredients

  • 4 lb (1.8 kg) chicken

Brine:

  • 10 cups water , separated
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 4 in (10 cm) ginger , roughly chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 6 red chilis stems removed and cut in half

Cook:

  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 in (5 cm) ginger , sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic , smashed
  • 2 chilis , sliced
  • Dark soy sauce , to glaze the chicken (Optional)

Gravy

  • 2 tablespoons chicken fat from the drippings (or butter)
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups pan drippings

Instructions

Brine the chicken

  • Add 4 cups of water and the rest of the brine ingredients into a blender and blend until the aromatics are chopped and the salt and sugar are dissolved.
  • Pour the blended mixture into a large bowl that can hold 10 cups of water, and add the remaining 6 cups of water.
  • Add the raw chicken into the brine and make sure it is fully submerged. Allow it to brine in the fridge overnight, up to 24 hours, or brine at room temperature for a minimum of 4 hours.

Cook

  • Add the chicken broth, ginger, garlic, and chilis into the Instant Pot. Add the steaming rack. Pull the chicken out of the brine and place it onto the rack, breast side up.
  • Seal the Instant Pot and set to pressure cook for 25 minutes, or 6 minutes per pound of chicken. After cooking, allow the Instant Pot to release the pressure naturally for 15 minutes.
  • While the chicken cooks, set your oven to 500°F and prepare a roasting pan with a rack.
  • Once you have removed the chicken from the Instant Pot, carefully place it onto the prepared rack.
  • (Optional) Brush the chicken with a thin layer of dark soy sauce, to give it a caramelized look after crisp up in the oven.
  • Bake for 5 minutes, or until golden brown.
  • Allow the chicken to rest for 10 minutes before slicing.

Gravy

  • Prepare the gravy while resting the chicken. Transfer the liquid from the Instant Pot to a 4-cup measuring cup. You should get more than 2 cups of chicken broth. Skim the oil on top using a large spoon and transfer it to a small saucepan. You will need 2 tablespoons for the gravy.
  • Heat the saucepan with the chicken fat over medium heat until hot. Add the flour. Cook and stir until it becomes smooth. Cook and stir for another 2 minutes, until golden.
  • Slowly add the chicken broth (from the Instant Pot), a few tablespoons at a time, and whisk it with a spatula, until fully incorporated. Once you’ve added all the liquid, let it simmer until the gravy thickens just enough to coat the back of a spoon. Transfer the gravy to a serving bowl or gravy boat.
  • Serve the carved chicken over steamed rice with the gravy. Enjoy!

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 272kcal | Carbohydrates: 2.3g | Protein: 34.7g | Fat: 12.7g | Saturated Fat: 4.9g | Cholesterol: 111mg | Sodium: 767mg | Potassium: 348mg | Fiber: 0.1g | Sugar: 0.2g | Calcium: 22mg | Iron: 2mg

Lilja Walter is a part of the Omnivore’s Cookbook team and worked closely with Maggie to develop and test this recipe.

Disclosure

Omnivore's Cookbook is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.
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Meet Maggie

Hi I'm Maggie Zhu! Welcome to my site about modern Chinese cooking - including street food, family recipes, and restaurant dishes. I take a less labor-intensive approach while maintaining the taste and look of the dish. I am originally from Beijing, and now cook from my New York kitchen.

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4 thoughts on “Instant Pot Whole Chicken

  1. Dana

    Only in the long description off the process is the dark soy mentioned, it’s not in the actual recipe or recipe process. I kept looking for this “soy glaze” and finally read the long part. You may wish to revise the recipe and list.

    Reply