Make rotisserie-style chicken in under an hour thanks to this Instant Pot Pesto Chicken recipe. Enjoy moist tender chicken with crispy skin covered in a fresh pesto sauce. Best of all, this recipe is ideal for those on keto, low carb, and gluten-free diets who want a super easy weeknight dinner fast.
Why Make This Instant Pot Pesto Chicken
Discovering you can roast an entire chicken in the instant pot is a life-changing hack that will save you so much time in the kitchen. This pesto chicken recipe involves a Mediterranean twist on the classic Instant Pot Roast Chicken ensuring maximum flavor with minimal effort.
Not only is this Instant Pot Pesto Chicken a super quick and easy weeknight dinner but the leftovers are ideal for soups, sandwiches, or stews. Alternatively, you can even use the bones to make a healthy Homemade Bone Broth.
This pesto chicken recipe is ideal all year round as it’s delicious served with a simple green salad or Cauliflower Rice in summer or with vegetables and potatoes for a traditional Sunday dinner during the colder months.
Be sure to check out my Homemade Basil Pesto recipe to use with this chicken.
How to Make Instant Pot Pesto Chicken Step by Step
- Remove giblets from the cavity of the chicken. Stuff the chicken with garlic and lemon. Season the outside of the chicken with salt, black pepper, and basil.
2. Pour 1 cup of water into the electric pressure cooker. Lower the chicken into the pressure cooker using a trivet.
3. Cover the electric pressure cooker with the lid and set the valve to “sealing.” Program the electric pressure to cook on “manual” or “pressure cook” for 25 minutes.
4. When the cooking cycle is complete, allow the pressure to naturally release for 15 minutes before performing a quick release of the remaining pressure. Check the internal temperature of the chicken to verify it is 165 degrees in the dark meat without touching the bone.
5. Preheat the oven to broil. Spray a baking sheet or dish with avocado oil.
6. Carefully remove the lid of the electric pressure cooker and transfer the chicken to the prepared baking sheet.
7. Broil the chicken for 5 to 10 minutes, watching closely to avoid burning.
8. Spread the basil pesto over the top of the chicken. Slice and serve with additional basil pesto if desired.
One of the many advantages of cooking a whole chicken in the instant pot is that there are so many ways you can serve it and use the leftovers. Here are a few suggestions of sides and serving ideas:
This instant pot whole chicken recipe can be adapted easily to your taste. Instead of pesto, why not try topping with salsa for a Mexican flavor. If basil is not your thing, you can mix up the seasoning and try cajun or harissa spice mix instead.
Why Use a Natural Pressure Release?
It may be tempting to push the steam valve for a quick release but to ensure moist, flavorful pesto chicken use the natural pressure release. Natural pressure release helps lock in moisture so that extra few minutes will make it worth the wait.
Can You Put Frozen Chicken in The Instant Pot?
For convenience, some may prefer to put the chicken in frozen. However, this will mean it takes longer to cook making the meat drier so I personally don’t recommend it. Ideally, let the frozen chicken thaw overnight in the refrigerator before adding to the instant pot. This will ensure the most tender and moist instant pot chicken.
Do You Need To Sear The Chicken For Crispy Skin?
I did promise this recipe was minimal effort, which is why you do not need to sear the chicken to get crispy skin. Instead, as the chicken is cooked in water then under the broiler you’ll find the skin is deliciously crispy without the extra effort of searing. You’ll also find that this method avoids the chicken drying out.
For any leftovers, it is best to remove them from the bone as this makes it easier to reheat later. It also makes it more convenient for making sandwiches, soups etc. However, don’t throw away the bones, save them to make a homemade bone broth. Any leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 4-5 days.
If you plan on freezing the leftovers, be sure to remove the chicken from the bone. As a tip, this is easiest when the chicken is still warm. Then place your leftovers in an airtight container or a ziplock bag to avoid freezer burn. Freeze for up to 3 months.
Top Tips For Instant Pot Pesto Chicken
- Use this Homemade Basil Pesto recipe with the chicken. There’s nothing like fresh pesto.
- Don’t be tempted to put the pesto on before the broiler. For maximum freshness and flavor, add the pesto after the chicken has crisped up.
- Make sure your chicken fits inside your instant pot. This may sound obvious, but for this recipe I used a 3-4lb chicken, which easily fits into a 6qt instant pot. If your chicken is over 5lb, then an 8 qt instant pot is required.
- Don’t forget to check the internal temperature of the chicken. I recommend using this meat thermometer for best results.
- New to the instant pot? Check out these guides for the Best Instant Pot Accessories and Instant Pot Cleaning tips to save even more time in the kitchen.
More Instant Pot Meals You Might Like
- Homemade Basil Pesto
- Instant Pot White Chicken Chili
- Instant Pot Turkey and Gravy
- 25 Gluten-Free Instant Pot Recipes Kids Love
Instant Pot Pesto Chicken
- Instant Pot
- Metal trivet
- Baking sheet or dish
- 1 whole chicken 3-4lbs
- 1 head garlic cut in half through the width
- 1/2 tsp basil dried
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup basil pesto
- salt to taste
- black pepper to taste
- Remove giblets from the cavity of the chicken. Stuff the chicken with the garlic and lemon. Season the outside of the chicken with salt, black pepper, and basil.
- Pour 1 cup of water into the electric pressure cooker. Lower the chicken into the pressure cooker using a trivet.
- Cover the electric pressure cooker with the lid and set the valve to “sealing.” Program the electric pressure to cook on “manual” or “pressure cook” for 25 minutes.
- When the cooking cycle is complete, allow the pressure to naturally release for 15 minutes before performing a quick release of the remaining pressure. Check the internal temperature of the chicken to verify it is 165 degrees in the dark meat without touching the bone.
- Preheat the oven to broil. Get a baking dish or pan and spray with avocado oil.
- Carefully remove the lid of the electric pressure cooker and transfer the chicken to the baking sheet.
- Broil the chicken for 5 to 10 minutes, watching closely to avoid burning.
- Spread the basil pesto over the top of the chicken. Slice and serve with additional basil pesto if desired.
FREE real food guide
Eat healthier in just 7 days with my real food guide and email course. You'll learn how easy it is to go gluten-free and still enjoy the foods that you love.