(GUIDE) How To Cook Whole Chicken In Pressure Cooker?

Cooking a whole chicken in a pressure cooker is a fantastic way to enjoy a juicy and flavorful chicken without spending hours in the kitchen. Pressure cooking locks in the moisture and infuses the chicken with delicious flavors, resulting in a tender and succulent meal in a fraction of the time compared to traditional cooking methods. In this guide, we will walk you through the process of cooking a whole chicken in a pressure cooker to ensure it turns out perfectly every time.

Quick Answer: How Long To Cook Whole Chicken In Pressure Cooker

The cooking time for a whole chicken in a pressure cooker depends on the size and weight of the chicken. As a general guideline, cook a whole chicken for 6 minutes per pound on high pressure. However, it’s essential to factor in additional time for the pressure cooker to come to pressure and for natural release. Hence, a typical cooking time for a 3 to 4-pound chicken would be around 25 to 30 minutes.


Before diving into the cooking process, proper preparation is crucial to ensure a delicious and successful outcome. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Thaw the chicken: If your whole chicken is frozen, make sure to thaw it completely before cooking. This is important to ensure the chicken cooks evenly.

  2. Season the chicken: Generously season the chicken with your preferred herbs, spices, and marinades. This will help infuse the flavors into the meat during the pressure cooking process.

  3. Truss the chicken: While not mandatory, trussing the chicken (tying the legs together and securing the wings) can help the chicken retain its shape and cook more evenly.

Pressure Cooker Basics For Whole Chicken

Understanding the basics of using a pressure cooker is essential for cooking a whole chicken to perfection. Here are a few key points to keep in mind:

  1. Choose the right pressure cooker: Ensure that your pressure cooker is large enough to comfortably fit a whole chicken. A 6 or 8-quart pressure cooker is typically suitable for accommodating a whole chicken.

  2. Use a pressure cooking rack: Placing a pressure cooking rack at the bottom of the cooker helps elevate the chicken from direct contact with the liquid, preventing it from becoming overly soggy.

  3. Add liquid for steam: Always add the required amount of liquid, such as broth, water, or wine, to the pressure cooker. This will create the steam necessary to cook the chicken.

  4. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions: Different pressure cooker models may have specific guidelines for usage and safety. Familiarize yourself with the instructions manual and follow the steps accordingly.

Cook Times For Whole Chicken In Pressure Cooker

As mentioned earlier, the cooking time for a whole chicken in a pressure cooker depends on its weight. Here’s a guideline for cooking times based on the weight of the chicken:

  • 2 to 3 pounds: 15 to 20 minutes
  • 3 to 4 pounds: 25 to 30 minutes
  • 4 to 5 pounds: 35 to 40 minutes
  • 5 to 6 pounds: 45 to 50 minutes

Note that these times are for cooking on high pressure. The cooking time may vary slightly depending on factors such as the efficiency of your pressure cooker and the desired level of doneness.

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How To Cook Whole Chicken In Pressure Cooker

Now let’s walk through the step-by-step process of cooking a whole chicken in a pressure cooker:

  1. Begin by seasoning the whole chicken with your preferred herbs, spices, and marinades. Ensure the chicken is fully coated for maximum flavor.

  2. Preheat the pressure cooker by selecting the sauté function and allowing it to heat up for a few minutes. This step is optional but can help sear the chicken and add extra flavor.

  3. Add a tablespoon of cooking oil to the preheated pressure cooker, followed by the seasoned chicken. Sear the chicken on all sides until it develops a golden brown crust. This step is optional but can enhance the overall appearance and taste of the chicken.

  4. Once the chicken is seared, remove it from the pressure cooker and set it aside for a moment.

  5. Place a pressure cooking rack in the bottom of the pressure cooker.

  6. Pour the required amount of liquid, such as chicken broth or water, into the pressure cooker. This will create the steam necessary for cooking the chicken.

  7. Carefully return the seared chicken to the pressure cooker, making sure it is elevated on the pressure cooking rack and not submerged in the liquid.

  8. Close the pressure cooker lid securely and set the valve to the sealing position.

  9. Select the high pressure setting and adjust the cooking time according to the weight of the chicken, as mentioned in the previous section.

  10. The pressure cooker will take some time to come to pressure, during which the chicken will start cooking. Once it reaches the set pressure, the countdown timer will begin.

  11. After the designated cooking time, allow the pressure to release naturally for around 10 to 15 minutes. Natural release helps the chicken retain its juices and prevents overcooking.

  12. Carefully open the pressure cooker lid, ensuring there is no remaining pressure inside. Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the chicken. It should register at least 165°F (74°C) at the thickest part of the meat.

  13. If the chicken is fully cooked, you can remove it from the pressure cooker and let it rest for a few minutes before serving. If it needs additional cooking, you can return it to the pressure cooker and cook for a few more minutes.

  14. Once the chicken has rested, you can carve it into desired portions and serve.

Optimal Pressure Cooking Techniques For Whole Chicken

To take your whole chicken to the next level, here are a few pressure cooking techniques you can experiment with:

  1. Broiling for crispiness: After pressure cooking the chicken, you can transfer it to a baking tray and broil it in the oven for a few minutes to achieve a crispy skin.

  2. Using flavoring agents: You can enhance the flavor of the chicken by adding aromatics such as onions, garlic, lemon slices, or fresh herbs to the pressure cooker along with the liquid. These ingredients will infuse the chicken with delightful flavors.

  3. Basting with sauce: Towards the end of cooking, you can baste the chicken with your favorite sauce or glaze and pressure cook for a few more minutes. This will create a flavorful glaze on the chicken’s surface.

  4. Making stock with the cooking liquid: Once the chicken is cooked, you can strain and reserve the cooking liquid to use as a flavorful base for soups or sauces. This allows you to utilize every bit of flavor.


If you encounter any issues while cooking a whole chicken in a pressure cooker, here are a few troubleshooting tips:

  1. Chicken is not fully cooked: If you find that your chicken is still slightly undercooked after the initial cooking time, you can return it to the pressure cooker and cook for an additional few minutes until it reaches the desired temperature. Make sure to release the pressure naturally before opening the lid.

  2. Chicken is overcooked and dry: Overcooking can result in dry and tough chicken. To rectify this, try reducing the cooking time slightly in your next attempt. Additionally, you can experiment with reducing the natural release time to help retain more moisture.

  3. Chicken is not flavorful: If you find that the chicken lacks flavor, adjust the seasonings and marinades accordingly in your next attempt. You can also try adding more aromatics or using a flavored liquid, such as broth or wine, for cooking.

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Variations And Flavoring Options

While a simply seasoned whole chicken can be delicious on its own, there are numerous variations and flavoring options you can explore to customize your pressure-cooked chicken. Here are a few ideas:

  1. Herb and garlic: Rub the chicken with a mixture of fresh herbs like rosemary, thyme, and sage, along with minced garlic.

  2. Lemon and herb: Place lemon slices and fresh herbs, such as parsley and dill, inside the chicken cavity before pressure cooking. This infuses the chicken with vibrant flavors.

  3. BBQ chicken: Coat the chicken with your favorite BBQ sauce before pressure cooking. You can also brush on additional sauce towards the end of cooking for a sticky and flavorful glaze.

  4. Asian-inspired: Use a marinade made with soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger, garlic, and a touch of honey for an Asian-inspired twist.

  5. Cajun-style: Season the chicken with a mix of Cajun spices, including paprika, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder, for a spicy and flavorful kick.

  6. Mediterranean: Rub the chicken with a blend of dried oregano, thyme, rosemary, and minced garlic for a taste of the Mediterranean.

Feel free to experiment with different herbs, spices, and marinades to create your own unique flavor profiles. The versatility of pressure cooking allows you to get creative and deliver delicious and exciting meals every time.

In conclusion, cooking a whole chicken in a pressure cooker is a convenient and efficient way to enjoy a delectable meal with minimal effort. With the right preparation, cook times, and techniques, you can elevate your chicken dishes to new heights. So, grab your pressure cooker and get ready to savor every juicy and flavorful bite!


Why Should I Cook A Whole Chicken In A Pressure Cooker?

Pressure cooking a whole chicken not only saves time but it also locks in moisture, resulting in a tender and juicy meat with a crispy skin.

How Long Should I Cook A Whole Chicken In A Pressure Cooker?

It varies depending on the size of the chicken but generally, a whole chicken should be pressure cooked for 6-8 minutes per pound.

Should I Put Anything In The Pressure Cooker With The Chicken?

While it’s optional, adding some garlic, onion, and herbs to the pressure cooker can add flavor to the chicken.

Do I Need To Let The Pressure Naturally Release Or Can I Manually Release It?

It’s recommended to let the pressure naturally release for at least 10 minutes before manually releasing the remaining pressure to prevent overcooking and dryness.

Can I Brown The Chicken After Pressure Cooking It?

Absolutely, for a crispy skin, you can transfer the chicken to a baking sheet and broil it in the oven for a few minutes until the skin turns golden brown.