Ever since I got my first Instant Pot back in 2013, I’ve been on a mission to convert all of my favorite slow cooker recipes into variations that can be made in a snap in the electric pressure cooker. (Yeah, I know that the Instant Pot has a slow cooker function, but I have to level with you: I only use my Instant Pot’s electric pressure cooker function. Why? ’Cause anything you can cook in a slow cooker can be made even tastier and faster in a pressure cooker. Exhibit A: Pressure Cooker Kalua Pig. I rest my case.) And while it does take a little finesse to convert slow cooker or conventionally cooked stew recipes into Instant Pot versions, that’s what I’m here for!
One of the most popular slow cooker recipes on my blog is Slow Cooker Roast Chicken and Gravy. (Can you believe it’s been almost 6 years since I first posted that recipe?) It’s kind of a misnomer to call it “roast chicken” because the bird isn’t cooked in an oven or over a fire, and the skin doesn’t get crispy, but this dish still manages to scratch that roasted whole chicken itch without you having to turn on the oven. Even better: You only dirty one pot, and that pot can be thrown in the dishwasher.
For this recipe, you’ll need to use the quick pressure release method (i.e., manually vent the Instant Pot) to make sure the chicken doesn’t get overcooked. If it’s your first time doing it, don’t be scared: You’ll do fine! Plus, you’ll rewarded with lots of umami-packed gravy that you can freeze for later.
Okay—let’s get to pressure cookin’ a whole chicken!
- 1 (4-pound) organic chicken (a bigger chicken won’t fit in a 6-quart Instant Pot)
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus additional if needed
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons of ghee, divided
- 2 large onions, chopped medium
- 6 garlic cloves, peeled
- 2 teaspoons tomato paste
- ½ cup bone broth or chicken stock
- 2 tablespoons arrowroot powder (optional)
- Instant Pot (6-quart or larger)
- Cutting board
- Chef’s knife
- Measuring spoons
- Measuring cups
- Silicone spatula
- Aluminum foil
- Small bowl
- Immersion blender
- Silicone ice mold
Grab your chicken and sprinkle 2 teaspoons salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper all over it, inside and out.
Tuck the wings behind the back.
Add 1 tablespoon of ghee to the pressure cooker, and hit the “Sauté” function on your electric pressure cooker. (If you’re using a stovetop pressure cooker, cook over medium-high heat.) Swirl the melted ghee to the middle of the pot if it looks like the fat is pooling on the sides.
When the fat is shimmering, sear the chicken breast-side down in the center of the pot for 5 minutes or until lightly browned.
Flip the bird (ha ha!) breast-side up. Cook for another 5 minutes or until browned on the back.
Don’t worry if the skin sticks and tears—the skin won’t be crispy when you’re done cooking anyway. You’re just browning the skin to deepen the flavor of the gravy.
Transfer the chicken to a plate and add the remaining tablespoon of ghee to the pot. Once the ghee melts, toss in the chopped onions, 6 garlic cloves, and a sprinkle of salt. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until softened.
Stir in 2 teaspoons tomato paste and cook for about 30 seconds.
Turn off the sauté function (or turn off the stove if you’re using a stovetop cooker). Pour in ½ cup broth, scraping up any browned bits.
Add a steamer insert to the bottom of the pressure cooker…
…and lay the bird on top of it, breast-side up.
Cover and pressure-cook on high for 20 minutes (or 17 minutes on a stovetop pressure cooker).
Then, turn off the electric pressure cooker (or remove the stovetop cooker from the heat), and immediately release the pressure manually.
Open the lid and transfer the chicken to a plate or carving board. Tent the cooked bird with foil, and rest it for 10 minutes.
Use an immersion blender to purée the contents of the insert to make a smooth gravy. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
If you want to thicken the gravy, mix 2 tablespoons arrowroot powder with 2 tablespoons water.
Then, turn on the sauté function and bring the contents to a simmer. Stir in the arrowroot powder slurry and cook until thickened.
Carve up the chicken and pour on copious amounts of gravy. Freeze the leftover gravy in a silicone ice cube mold so you can pop out a cube whenever your gravy cravings hit!
Looking for more recipes? Head on over to my Recipe Index! You’ll also find exclusive recipes on my Webby Award-Winning iPhone® and iPad® app, and in my New York Times-bestselling cookbook, Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans (Andrews McMeel 2013).