I grocery shop once a month so that means I freeze most of my meat. There is nothing wrong with freezing meat, it can even help prevent food waste. However, it does mean you need to remember to thaw the meat in time for meals. I’m often pretty bad about this.
Even if I do remember to thaw the meat so often you think you have thawed it long enough only to find it hasn’t really thawed all of the way. I swear no matter how long I thaw the turkey on Thanksgiving, it’s still frozen that morning. Is this just me? Why do turkeys not want to thaw?
A life changing moment happened for me when I got my Instant Pot, an electric pressure cooker, and I learned you could cook frozen meat in it in very little time. I first tried this with chicken breasts and even though they were totally frozen they were done in around 15 minutes. And they were wonderful!
I’ve heard people talk about cooking frozen chicken in a slow cooker but this is not considered safe. It can increase your risk of food poisoning and that’s something I try to avoid. But because pressure cookers cook the food so fast it is considered safe.
After trying the frozen chicken breasts I saw people talking about cooking whole frozen chickens in their Instant Pots and figured I needed to try that. I hate finding the room to thaw something that big in my fridge and like I said I always forget anyway.
I love cooking whole chickens because we can get a nice dinner out of it and then the rest of the meat can be used in other dishes for even more meals. And the bones can also be used to make delicious broth for even more meals. It’s a great option for frugal meals and reduce food waste.
If you don’t have an Instant Pot yet (or your chicken is too big to fit in the Instant Pot) and have a frozen whole chicken to cook check out How to Cook a Frozen Chicken in the oven.
- 3-5 pound whole chicken
- 1 cup chicken broth or water
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 onion
- salt & peper to taste
- Cut onion in to large chunks.
- Salt and pepper the chicken, add rosemary or other herbs if desired.
- Add some onion and garlic to the cavity.
- Add broth or water to pressure cooker.
- Place chicken on trivet breast side up.
- Add the rest of your onion.
- Secure the lid on your Instant Pot. Select Manual, high pressure, and set for 30-50 minutes depending on the size of your chicken. Mine was about 4 pounds so I did 45 minutes and it would have been okay with slightly less time.
- Leave chicken in the pot and allow to naturally release the pressure.
- Check the temperature and cook for 5 more minutes if not done.
- Serve and enjoy! Don't forget to save the bones to make broth.
This is best for chickens that don't contain the neck and giblets. If bought fresh remove these pieces before freezing. Sometimes you can get them out while it's frozen but not always.
This recipe is for a frozen whole chicken but fresh whole chickens are great in the Instant Pot as well. For a fresh whole chicken cook it the same as above but for 6-8 minutes per pound of chicken. I tend to go to the higher side because I want to be sure it is cooked and pressure cooking helps prevent it getting dry. Just be sure to check the temperature and stick it back in if it’s not fully cooked.