How to cook a whole chicken

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I have been looking all my cooking life for THE Roast Chicken Recipe, and I’m pretty sure I’ve found it. This recipe is for all of you busy moms on the go , a roast chicken that your family will love is mere minutes of prep away and is so simple! Stop right now and print, bookmark, pin or otherwise save this recipe. Write it on a recipe card. I don’t care how, but you NEED to save this recipe from now on. I honestly don’t think I will ever make roast chicken (or turkey, for that matter, just you wait until Thanksgiving!) any other way. This post has been updated from 2015.

roast chicken on a platter with vegetables and a glass of wineroast chicken on a platter with vegetables and a glass of wine

Roasted Chicken Using Butter and Herbs

This is basically a gorgeous, large and in charge roast chicken that was cooked using ONE CUP of butter. I’ll pass the smelling salts out now for those of you who just fainted. That’s right folks…one whole cup of butter. Let that sink in for a moment, because as soon as it really hits you, you are going to realize that there is just no way this recipe isn’t anything other than freaking fantastic.What truly makes this fantastic is that it is so incredible easy to make, you guys. The ingredients are so simple for the chicken and then when you add in my laziness, I came up with the perfect roast chicken meal.

raw chicken covered in herb butter before roasting on top of vegetables in roasterraw chicken covered in herb butter before roasting on top of vegetables in roaster

It was Easter and we were barely home from our three months in Arizona. I was very happy to be home in my kitchen, don’t get me wrong, but we had only three weeks to clean all of our laundry, organize care of the house, the animals, the garden and clean the entire yard. Cooking was actually a priority, believe it or not, because I knew that I wouldn’t be touching a stove for a couple of months. I had to get some recipes done that I could post while I was here in Europe. However, I’m not one for complex recipes that take all day, I’m not sure if you’ve noticed that. I wanted to fiddle around with some devilled eggs instead of a chicken all day long.

roast chicken on a platter on dinner tableroast chicken on a platter on dinner table

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This crispy skinned, flavourful chicken is going to be your family's favourite new roast chicken recipe! Family dinner together is fast and easy! #chicken #recipe #roast #butter #dinner #supper

  • one large chicken around 5-6 lbs
  • 1 cup of salted butter room temp
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp poultry seasoning
  • one lemon
  • one small onion for inside the chicken cavity
  • 3 large potatoes washed and sliced into large chunks
  • 4 large carrots washed and sliced into large chunks
  • 1 large white onion peeled and quartered – cook with the vegetables
  1. Combine the butter with the oil and poultry seasoning until completely mixed. Rub onto the outside of the entire chicken completely, until coated.
  2. Slice the lemon in half and place inside the cavity of the chicken, along with any leftover butter mixture.
  3. Place into a large roaster on a baking rack. Add your desired vegetables around the edges.
  4. Roast chicken uncovered in the preheated oven until browned and the juices run clear, about 2 hours. At the one hour point, give the vegetables a stir to coat with the melted butter mix and juices.
  5. The chicken is done when an instant-read meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of a thigh, not touching bone, reads at least 175 ° F. ( for meat texture, 175 is best)
  6. Remove from oven and tent with foil, letting it rest for 10 minutes minimum.
  7. Remove, carve and serve along with the vegetables.
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Amount Per Serving (5 -6) Calories 402 Calories from Fat 315 Total Carbohydrates 19g 6% * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet. 146

So, when celebrity chefs and popular food magazines recently started sharing a simple and super fast way to roast chicken, I was all ears.

Their claim was that all you needed to do was to roast a whole bird at 500 degrees for ten minutes for every pound. So, say you have a four pound chicken? You would roast it for 40 minutes.

I was skeptical.

Would it really cook all the way through in that short amount of time?

And, if it did, would it be charred to a crisp because of the super high heat?

Wouldn’t it be dry?

500 degrees is hot… Would my smoke detector blare through the house the whole time?

Despite my skepticism, I gave it a try.

I grabbed a two and half pound bird from my freezer, let it defrost in the fridge for a couple days, and pulled it out for dinner after a busy day at work.

I let the bird come to room temperature as I settled into the house and did some minimal prep. All I added was a little olive oil, sea salt, and pepper to the skin. Things like lemons and garlic could be added to the cavity, if desired, but if I was going the simple route, I was going to keep it very simple.

Once the oven reached 500 degrees I put the chicken in on a roasting pan breast side up and hit the timer for 25 minutes.

I checked on the bird periodically anticipating smoke or a splattered mess.

Instead, I found neither.

The bird’s skin was becoming perfectly golden and crispy. The sputtering sounds and scents of the meat gave me the same warm and fuzzy, traditional cooking feelings I get with a whole chicken roasting low and slow all Sunday afternoon. And, upon exiting the oven, the bird was cooked through, yet still incredibly juicy.

So much for skepticism. It was simple, speedy, and delicious. Perfect for a week night…or even to switch things up on a Sunday! You have got to learn how to cook a whole chicken FAST!How To Cook A Whole Chicken FAST!

  • 1 whole chicken (be sure to note the weight, as it will be needed for the cooking time)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil (quality organic olive oil)
  • Sea salt (kosher sea salt, if desired), generous sprinkle
  • Fresh cracked black pepper, to taste
  • Optional: ½ lemon or a couple cloves of garlic for stuffing the cavity
  1. Move oven racks so that the chicken will be on the rise second from the bottom. Heat oven to 500 degrees.
  2. Let chicken come to room temperature on the counter. Trim any fat and remove any giblets.
  3. Cover the chicken in olive oil and season with salt and pepper. If lemon or garlic is desired, place in cavity.
  4. Place chicken on a roasting pan, breast side up. Roast in the oven for 10 minutes per pound of the chicken, or until the juices run clear. (Example. If using a four pound chicken, roast for 40 minutes.)
  5. Let chicken rest ten minutes upon removal from the oven.

Instant Pot Whole Chicken From Fresh or Frozen

Instant Pot Whole Chicken rotisserie style is very popular in our household. The best thing about this recipe is that in case you forgot to thaw the chicken, you don’t have to worry, you can still cook a delicious dinner. That is the beauty about the Instant Pot, you can cook frozen meat like its no big deal. Learn here How To Cook Frozen Chicken Breasts in the Instant Pot, Frozen Chicken Wings and Frozen Ground Beef!

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The Instant Pot rotisserie style chicken is to die for! The meat is perfectly cooked, juicy and very tender. To get the skin crispy, just brush the pressure cooked chicken with a garlic butter mixture and broil until golden brown. Your family will love this easy, delicious and budget friendly meal.

Cooking a whole chicken in the Instant Pot is a great idea. First, you can cook a fresh or frozen chicken, bonus points for that. The chicken ends up being very moist and tender, just like it has been slow roasted for hours. Also, you can’t beat the convenience of being able to cook a frozen chicken in just under 2 hours, it takes way longer to defrost it.

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Instant Pot Whole Chicken Recipe from fresh or frozen

How long do you cook a whole chicken in the Instant Pot?

Cooking time for Instant Pot whole chicken using FRESH chicken:

  • 3 pounds chicken = 20 minutes cooking time on High Pressure with a 15 minutes Natural Pressure Release
  • 3.5 pounds chicken = 23 minutes cooking time on High Pressure with a 15 minutes Natural Pressure Release
  • 4 pounds chicken = 25 minutes cooking time on High Pressure with a 15 minutes Natural Pressure Release
  • 4.5 pounds chicken = 28 minutes cooking time on High Pressure with a 15 minutes Natural Pressure Release
  • 5 pounds chicken = 33 minutes cooking time on High Pressure with a 15 minutes Natural Pressure Release

Cooking time for Instant Pot whole chicken using FROZEN chicken:

  • 3 pounds chicken = 39 minutes cooking time on High Pressure with a 15 minutes Natural Pressure Release
  • 3.5 pounds chicken = 46 minutes cooking time on High Pressure with a 15 minutes Natural Pressure Release
  • 4 pounds chicken = 52 minutes cooking time on High Pressure with a 15 minutes Natural Pressure Release
  • 4.5 pounds chicken = 59 minutes cooking time on High Pressure with a 15 minutes Natural Pressure Release
  • 5 pounds chicken = 65 minutes cooking time on High Pressure with a 15 minutes Natural Pressure Release

How do you cook a whole chicken in the instant pot?

Making Instant Pot Whole Chicken is very easy and it involves just a few steps, you can also make this in any other electric pressure cooker:

  1. All you have to do is add either fresh or frozen chicken to the Instant Pot, add water and cook on High Pressure per recipe directions.
  2. Release pressure, remove chicken from the Instant Pot and brush with melted butter mixed with your favorite seasoning.
  3. Broil, checking often so the chicken doesn’t burn.

Instant Pot Whole Chicken Recipe

What can you do with leftover chicken?

Leftover chicken doesn’t have to go to waste, it can be added to many delicious recipes, like this Chicken Spaghetti Casserole or Crack Chicken Casserole. You can also add it to salads, wraps sandwiches.

What is a Natural Pressure Release?

A Natural Pressure Release means that the pressure is released gradually. For a Natural Pressure Release, you click on Keep Warm, and wait 10-15 minutes (or based on what the recipe says), after which you open the valve and let any leftover pressure to release. Another option is to Turn Off/Unplug the pressure cooker, wait 10-15 minutes (or based on what the recipe says) and after that open the valve. A natural release is usually used when cooking soups, meat in a large amount of sauce, pasta or steel cut oats. This method prevents any foam from the dish to shoot out through the valve, which can happen during a Quick Pressure Release.

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Instant Pot Whole Chicken Recipe


  • 1 (4 pounds) whole chicken
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 6 tablespoons butter room temperature or use olive oil

Stuff Chicken (optional):

  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1 lemon halved
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 4 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 4 sprigs fresh oregano
  • 3 bay leaves

Buttery Mixture for Broiling:

  • 1/2 cup butter unsalted
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon thyme powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

  1. If cooking a FROZEN chicken you will not be able to stuff it, so skip the stuffing step. Proceed to the step where you add the chicken to the Instant Pot.
  2. Remove giblets from chicken if present.

Stuff Chicken:

  1. If cooking a fresh chicken, stuff the chicken with garlic cloves, lemon, fresh thyme, rosemary, oregano and bay leaves.

  2. Optional: Gently loosen the skin from the chicken breast, lifting it from the meat with your fingers and rub about 3 tablespoons of butter (or olive oil) under it. You can also add some seasoning.

  3. Rub the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter (or olive oil) all over the chicken surface. You can also add some seasoning if desired.


  1. Add a trivet with handles to the Instant Pot and add the chicken broth. Place the chicken, breast side down, on top of it.

  2. Cover with the lid and lock it, point valve to sealed.

  3. Press High Pressure and set the timer to 25 minutes. See the blog post for cooking times based on chicken weight and if using fresh or frozen chicken.

  4. After the cooking time is done and the Instant Pot beeps, let the pressure naturally release for 15 minutes, followed by a quick release of the remaining pressure.

  5. Using a food thermometer, check the internal temperature in the thickest part of the breast, it should be a minimum of 165 degrees F. If needed, pressure cook for 5-10 more minutes.

  6. Turn on the Oven Broiler.

Buttery Mixture for Broiling:

  1. Melt butter and mix with garlic powder, onion powder, thyme powder, paprika, oregano, salt and pepper.


  1. Open the Instant Pot lid and remove the chicken from the pot and place it on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil and drizzled with olive oil.

  2. Brush the chicken with the Buttery Mixture and place under the broiler for about 5-8 minutes for extra crispy skin.

  3. Watch chicken closely, and if needed rotate the pan, so it doesn't burn. If needed brush more with the sauce from the pan. Broil until skin is golden-brown and crispy.

  4. Serve and enjoy!

Calories: 541, Fat: 47g, Saturated Fat: 22g, Cholesterol: 165mg, Sodium: 929mg, Potassium: 369mg, Carbohydrates: 5g, Fiber: 1g, Protein: 24g, Vitamin A: 26.8%, Vitamin C: 20.6%, Calcium: 6.4%, Iron: 13%

Show me what you made on Instagram and tag me at @sweetnsavorymeals or hashtag it #sweetandsavorymeals.

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