What are your Sundays like? Are they quiet and contemplative, or hectic and non-stop? I wish ours fell into the former category, but the truth is ridiculously far from that. We spend our Sundays running around like circus clowns assigned to fight fires. Half the time we don’t know where we’re headed to next, and we’re always cramming unnecessary stuff into our tiny European car. Someone is always underdressed or overdressed for the occasion. One time, Meimei insisted on wearing a full-on tulle ballgown to Costco. Another time, we arrived at the same Costco and realized Meimei didn’t have shoes. We hustle to multiple birthday parties, play dates, adult beverage time, sightseeing trips. Even if we could stop, I’m pretty sure we wouldn’t know how to.
That’s why I love this recipe for three-ingredient Instant Pot chicken. This Instant Pot chicken is the chicken that cooks while we swirl on with our busy lives. With just 3 ingredients, I can cook an entire whole chicken, shred it, store it and then use it during the week as the base for all kinds of dishes, from chicken salad to barbecue to enchiladas.
WAIT, WHAT’S AN INSTANT POT?
Okay, so maybe you don’t have an Instant Pot. Maybe you’ve become allergic to small appliances ever since Marie Kondo told you that your slow cooker doesn’t “spark joy,” and so you purged everything except for your electric kettle (because Marie believes in tea). Well, I’m here to burst your clutter-free bubble: you need an Instant Pot. An Instant Pot is basically an all-in-one pressure cooker, slow cooker, cake baker (according to some people), yogurt producer, and more. I’ve actually had fewer small appliances in my London kitchen because the Instant Pot has just replaced the need for separate, single-purpose items. Goodbye, expensive talking Japanese rice cooker! The Instant Pot has become so popular that there are entire Facebook groups and blogs dedicated solely to the many, many talents of the Instant Pot.
STEP ONE: THREE INGREDIENTS (REALLY)
This Instant Pot chicken really does only have three ingredients: three fresh scallions (green onions), a whole chicken, and a cup of chicken broth. I usually get a chicken that’s around 3.5 to 4 pounds, which I find produces enough chicken for our family of four to make two dinners out of. Actually, I also use salt, pepper and olive oil to season the chicken, but I don’t count those in my “three” because you shouldn’t need to make a special trip to the grocery store for these things. If you don’t, well — I hate to break it to you, but maybe it’s time you and I have a talk about adulting.
Cooking a whole chicken might seem intimidating, but I promise you it isn’t, and there’s lots of good reasons to do it. First of all, whole chicken is much cheaper per pound than chicken breasts or thighs, which have added labor costs from your butcher to break down. Secondly, whole chicken is so much more flavorful than chicken breast. With the bones and all the other amazing parts, you get a much more full-bodied (pardon the pun) flavor than you would off of just a couple of parts.
STEP TWO: PREP
The prep for this chicken is stupidly easy. First, you cut the scallions into thirds. It’s not an art here — you just need small sections of scallions to scatter at the bottom of the Instant Pot. Then, it’s time to massage the chicken with olive oil before seasoning the chicken generously with salt and pepper. The chicken goes in on top of the scattered scallions, and then you pour in a cup of chicken broth around the chicken. That’s it!
STEP 3: COOK THE CHICKEN
The Instant Pot takes the guesswork out of making this chicken into the juiciest, most flavorful chicken. Simply set the Instant Pot on the “poultry” function (or 30 minutes on manual, if you’re using another brand of electric pressure cooker). The Instant Pot does a wonderful job of pressure cooking a whole chicken so that it comes out juicy, tender and flavorful every time. I love this Instant Pot chicken because it’s really a delicious blank slate — you can use it for just about anything. In fact, I’ve got three suggestions for you — check back on Wednesday!
- 1 whole chicken, approximately 3.5-4.5 pounds
- 3 spring onions
- 1 cup chicken broth
- olive oil (approximately 2 tablespoons)
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Cut the spring onions (scallions) into thirds and scatter them across the bottom of your Instant Pot or other pressure cooker.
- Rinse the chicken and pat dry with paper towels. Rub the bird all over with olive oil, then season generously with salt and pepper, inside and out.
- Place the seasoned chicken on top of the scallions in the Instant Pot. Carefully and slowly pour the chicken broth around the chicken.
- Seal the Instant Pot with the lid, making sure the pressure valve is set to "sealing."
- Hit the "Manual" button and adjust the time (using +/-) to 30 minutes.
- Once the 30 minutes has finished, let the Instant Pot automatically switch to the "Keep Warm" function for 10 minutes. Slowly turn the cover of the Instant Pot to let the remaining steam out.
- Remove the chicken with a pair of tongs and leave on a cutting board to cool slightly.
- Shred the chicken with two forks and use for your favorite recipe!