Slow-Cooking a Whole Chicken using the Instant Pot
This recipe uses the Instant Pot for Slow-Cooked Chicken and broth. It’s the simplest of methods for making tender, juicy chicken and broth in the same pot. By using just a quart of water (so that the top of the chicken isn’t covered), you’ll get some crispy chicken skin on the top of the chicken for those who like it.
You may say (and you’d be right!) that using the Instant Pot is overkill for slow-cooking. However, if I haven’t mentioned this before, I have a pretty small kitchen! The Instant Pot works as a slow cooker here and as a pressure-cooker for my garbanzos for hummus. And I can sear meats for curries too.
Hmm …. I hope you don’t think that you can do those things WHILE you are cooking the chicken. I’m sure you don’t, just kidding.
Ingredients for Slow-Cooking a Whole Chicken
It’s important to me to find the best-quality, pastured chicken, or organic if pastured isn’t available. Pastured chickens have less meat on them than organic ones, so be aware of that in planning how many people you will be feeding. I believe that the quality of the meat and of the broth is worth the expense, however. Here I’ve used an organic chicken.
I also believe it’s worth the bother to start with the whole chicken. Certainly boneless meat is convenient, yet meat cooked with the bones is so much more flavorful. And what happens to all those bones? Someone else is making bone broth from them. Why not you?
(I hope you will join me in thinking that the phrase “boneless ribs” is a complete oxymoron.) Isn’t it? But there it is, right on those packages, usually of beef ribs.
The seasonings are light so that the chicken and the broth can be used for a wide variety of meals later on: just salt and herb-pepper mix, plus some apple cider vinegar or lemon juice. The vinegar (or lemon juice) helps dissolve the calcium from the chicken bones and allowing more of the collagen to become part of your broth. You want your broth to “gel” once it cools because of all that good gelatin that has gotten into it.
Once it is cool enough to touch, remove the top layer of crispy skin for anyone who likes it. Then debone the chicken, separating light and dark meat and returning bones and connective tissue to the pot. I use clean rubber dishwashing gloves to protect my hands, mostly because I don’t want to smell like chicken all day, and because I can get to the deboning before the bird has cooled completely.
Notes: The meat should separate easily from the bones and connective tissue. If not, or if you are using a Crock Pot rather than an Instant Pot, you may need to adjust the cooking time.
Could you pressure-cook the chicken instead?
Numerous recipes describe how to do this. We prefer the texture of the slow-cooked meat, and the ability to throw the bones back in the pot to slow-cook for bone broth.
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Instant Pot Slow-Cooked Chicken and Broth
- 1 chicken organic, about 4 ½ pounds
- 1 quart filtered water
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon mixed herb seasoning like Trader Joe’s 21 seasoning salute
- Remove the chicken from its wrapping and pull out any giblets.
- Place the chicken with breast side down in the Instant Pot.
- Pour the quart of water into the pot.
- Dribble the vinegar over the chicken and into the water.
- Sprinkle the salt and herb-pepper blend over the chicken.
- Cook in the Instant Pot for 8 hours on Normal Slow-Cook setting.
- Allow to cool at least 30 minutes.
- Pour off the broth (I use a Mason Jar) – this will allow the chicken to cool faster so that you can debone it. There should be just over 1 quart of broth of this “first broth” as well as 5 cups dark meat and 5 cups white meat.