Yes, You Can Cook A Whole Chicken In A Pressure Cooker

One of the main selling points for the trendy Instant Pot seems to be that this glorified pressure cooker lets you cook all the things. This may not be quite true, since if you believe this advice you might find yourself making Instant Pot mistakes such as trying to cook dairy products (these tend to curdle) or delicate pasta (it gets mushy). Cooking chicken, however, is a task that an Instant Pot or generic pressure cooker can handle quite easily, even if the chicken isn't cut up into parts.

Mashed recipe developer Susan Olayinka likes to use her Instant Pot to "roast" a whole chicken, calling it "truly revolutionary" and enthusing, "To have a roast ready in this amount of time is unheard of." How much (or how little) time are we talking about? According to Olayinka's Instant Pot whole roasted chicken recipe, it takes 45 minutes to pressure cook the chicken, plus an additional 10 minutes to brown the bird ahead of time using the Instant Pot's saute function. This step could also be done in a pan on the stovetop if you have the kind of pressure cooker that does not allow you to saute.

How does the Instant Pot cooking time compare to oven roasting?

Before we can do a comparison of how long chicken takes to "roast" in a pressure cooker versus how much time is required to roast it in an oven, we need to know the size of the bird. Olayinka, who lives in the U.K., is using a Sainsbury's small chicken, something that the retailer lists as weighing 1.35 kilograms. A quick conversion gives us 3 pounds, and a 3-pound chicken cooked at 375 F should take between 1 ¼ and 1 ¾ hour to reach 165 F.

Before you can start roasting a chicken, though, you'll need to preheat the oven, which might take about 20 minutes. The Instant Pot, too, will take some time to build up enough pressure to start cooking, so from the time you hit "Start" it might take up to 15 minutes before the appliance's timer starts its countdown. If we do the math, this means that the total cooking time for a roast chicken might be 1 ½ to 2 hours, give or take a few minutes, while an Instant Potted one prepared according to Olayinka's recipe would need about 1 hour 10 minutes. So yes, pressure cooking your chicken will save you a certain amount of time. What's more, since you've already got the appliance out, you can go ahead and put it to good use after dinner is done. As Olayinka tells us, "The leftovers are golden ... I use [them] to make soup."