Defrosting Chicken In The Instant Pot
Chicken is such a versatile and nutritious food that it’s a staple in many homes.
It’s a great protein source, and its mild flavor pairs well with just about every herb, spice, and flavoring imaginable.
Chicken is a wonderful standby to have in your freezer, and if you have an Instant Pot, you’ll never have to worry about, “what can we have for dinner?” again.
Chicken freezes well as long as you remember a few rules.
The chicken should be completely covered and well wrapped before freezing to prevent freezer burn, which will result in the meat drying out and becoming unpalatable.
A whole raw chicken can be kept in the freezer for up to 9 months, so feel free to stock up when they’re on sale. You, your freezer, and your Instant Pot are going to make a great team!
You may be wondering if it’s necessary to defrost the chicken before proceeding with your Instant Pot recipe. Read on, and we’ll tell you everything you need to know.
Why is defrosting necessary?
Defrosting of any meat, including chicken, ensures that it gets evenly cooked and reaches the correct temperature all the way through to the center.
How should I defrost chicken safely?
There are several ways of safely defrosting chicken.
- You can put the wrapped bird into a basin of cold water. (Never use warm or hot water as this will allow dangerous bacteria to grow.)
- Alternatively, you can use the “defrost” function on your microwave. You may need 20-30 minutes to defrost like this, and you will need to keep turning the chicken to ensure even thawing.
- Many people defrost meat in the refrigerator, but this method can take up to 24 hours. Most busy cooks don’t have the time for this.
- We think that thawing your chicken in your Instant Pot is the safest and most convenient way to both thaw and cook your chicken. It’s quick too.
How to defrost chicken in the Instant Pot
- Unwrap the frozen chicken completely first.
- Put the trivet into the bottom of the Instant Pot and place the chicken on top of it.
- Add a cupful of water to the pot.
- Close the lid and set the steam release knob to “Sealing”.
- Press the “Pressure Cook” button, then choose the cooking time in minutes. You should need about 20 minutes per pound of chicken.
- Once the timer is done, switch off the pot and leave it for 5 minutes to naturally release.
- After that time, you can switch the steam release knob to “Venting” and allow the remaining steam to dissipate.
- You may now open the lid and remove the chicken, and trivet.
- Check that the chicken has completely defrosted by inserting a finger into the cavity. There should be no ice crystals left.
- You may now proceed with your recipe.
Defrost and cook a whole chicken in one step
Alternatively, you can use another method of defrosting and cooking in one easy step. Add your recipe ingredients to the pot with the frozen chicken and cook the meal directly from frozen.
Being able to cook a chicken or other meat from frozen is, in our opinion, one of the best features of an Instant Pot.
For a succulent rotisserie-style chicken, rinse the frozen chicken under cold running water so that your herbs, spices, and other seasonings will adhere to it.
This step will also prevent your fingers from getting freezer burn when you apply the spices. Next, coat your chicken with a little oil and the seasonings of your choice.
Put the trivet and a cup of water into the Instant Pot. Put the chicken on top.
Your cooking times are going to depend on the size of your Instant Pot and the chicken, but here’s a guide:
|4-pound chicken||5-pound chicken|
|6-quart pot||60 min||40 min|
|8-quart pot||70 min||50 min|
As you can see, using a bigger Instant Pot makes quite a difference to your cooking times (Something to bear in mind if you’re still looking at buying an Instant Pot.)
Cook your chicken for the recommended time. After that, do not vent the pressure after defrosting and cooking are done. Allow the pressure to release naturally.
This will give the chicken time to “rest” and finish cooking. It will retain its juices, the fibers will “relax” and your meat will remain tender and succulent.
Use the flavorful juices at the bottom of the pot to make a rich soup or gravy.
Defrost and cook individual pieces in one step
Besides defrosting a whole chicken from scratch, you can also defrost and cook chicken pieces in your Instant Pot. The pieces should not be stuck together in one big lump.
Otherwise, they won’t cook evenly – they will be overdone on the edges but raw in the middle.
If your pieces are frozen together, start by putting them into a basin of cold water until you can separate them.
Put the still-frozen pieces on the bottom of the inner pot and pour in a cup of chicken stock or water. Season.
Put your lid on and set the pot as before on “Sealing” and “Pressure Cook” at high pressure.
When done, use the natural release method and rest as before.
The defrosting and cooking times for chicken pieces depend on the size of the pieces and whether they have bones in them or not. Allow a couple of minutes longer for bone-in.
|Chicken breast size||Minutes|
If you’re unsure whether they’re done, check the internal temperature. It should be a minimum of 165 degrees F.
If it’s lower, give the chicken another 2 minutes at high pressure and check again.
We hope this has shed some light on how to defrost a chicken in your Instant Pot. We know you’re going to use this easy, time-saving method often.