Make this amazing pressure cooker chicken with just a quick sear in the pan, and a sit on the can (of beer). After minutes at high pressure, you can have a whole, beautiful, tender, flavorful chicken on the table in about half an hour!
The beer does not only a braise, but the beer can goes in the pan serving as a stand to keep the chicken upright and steaming the chicken from the inside. Pressure cooking a chicken in this position keeps all of the dark meat in direct contact with the bottom of the pressure cooker, and the delicate wings and breast safe from being overcooked.
When developing this recipe for your I ran into a couple of problems:
- My first chicken was too tall for my pressure cooker – I was able to remove some height by cutting off the tail (pointy end of the rump) with poultry shears and chucking that into the pan to add flavor to the braise.
- My second chicken fit in the pressure cooker, but since it was smaller, I had a hard time inserting the beer can completely into the cavity of the chicken – this was remedied by using my poultry shears and trimming the can to be a bit shorter (careful of the sharp bits!) so it could still serve as a stand.
Well.. the picture above is the third chicken. Just right! What I learned: cooking a whole chicken is a tight fit in a 6LT pressure cooker – be prepared to measure and improvise! For a smaller pressure cooker, you can use chicken pieces, laying the dark meat at the bottom of the pan, and resting the breast and wings on top of them.
I browned and seared my chicken in a separate pan, but if your pressure cooker is large enough, I recommend you do this step in the pressure cooker and then de-glaze the pressure cooker with beer and proceed with the recipe as stated.
|Pressure Cooker||Accessories||Pr. Cook Time||Pr. Level||Open|
|6 L or larger||none||20-25 min.||High(2)||Normal|
- 1 3-4lb. Chicken (measure your pressure cooker prior to buying)
- 1 small can, Beer
- 1 Lemon, squeezed and zested.
- 2 Bay Laurel Leaves
- ⅓ of the can of Beer
- 2 Tbsp. Fresh Rosemary, chopped
- 2 Tbsp. Fresh Sage, chopped
- 2 Tbsp. Fresh Thyme, chopped
- 2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
- Juice from one lemon
- ½ tsp. Salt
- Pepper to taste
- Rinse and dry the chicken inside and out and pat dry. If there are giblets, or the neck, you can use them to flavor the braise, so rinse them off too, and set them aside.
- Prepare the seasoning by mixing the herbs, olive oil, lemon salt and pepper. Tuck the tips of the wings behind the neck opening of the chicken and brush on the seasoning.
- In a separate pan (or your pressure cooker) brown the seasoned chicken well on all sides- about 10 minutes. This is the only step that will add color to the bird, so don't be shy with the browning!
- Prepare (or de-glaze) the pressure cooker by pouring ⅓ of the beer out of the can and putting half of the lemon zest and one bay leaf into the can, then the other bay leaf and the rest of the lemon zest in the pan, with the can in the middle of the pan.
- Lower the chicken into the pressure cooker, sitting it over the can of beer. Before closing the pressure cooker, pour on any of the remaining seasoning, and liquid from the sauté pan over the chicken.
- If you have any giblets or other parts of the chicken, put those at the bottom of the pan in the braising liquid.
- Close and lock the lid of the pressure cooker.
- For electric pressure cookers: Cook for 25 minutes at high pressure.
For stove top pressure cookers: Turn the heat up to high and when the cooker indicates it has reached high pressure, lower to the heat to maintain it and begin counting 20 minutes pressure cooking time.
- When the cooking time is up, open the pressure cooker using the Normal method - release the pressure by pushing, twisting or opening a valve.
- Carefully remove the chicken pulling from the neck cavity, and not the wings - it will be so tender the wings may come right off in your hands. Place the chicken on the serving platter to rest tented with aluminum foil.
- Turn the heat up to high and reduce the contents of the pressure cooker without the lid for about 5 minutes.
- Strain, if you had giblets in there, and pour over the chicken.
- Sprinkle with some fresh rosemary before serving.
I made this a few days ago. YUM!!! Literally fell off the bone. I have a 7L pressure cooker (one of my 4 pressure cookers) that I used for this and a 4lb chicken.
Now, I didn’t have any cans of beer (we all drink bottles!) but my friend gave me a can of seltzer, I drank the seltzer and then filled the can with 2/3 beer and used the other 1/3 in the pressure cooker!
Thanks so much for the recipe!!!
Great idea, Harriet!!
I purchased a 6-pack of canned beer to try this recipe for dinner, as we normally only have bottled beer. After I drank the first five cans during the afternoon, the sixth one produced a wonderful tasting chicken! I had been preparing this on the grill for years, (using a beer-filled Turkey Cannon by Camp Chef). But, this fast PC version is great for the weeknights. The chicken skin does not come out anywhere near as crispy as the grill, but the flavors infused into the meat and the time savings make up for it!
Beach Dude, thanks for your comparison between the BBQ version of this dish and the pressure cooker version.
I bet you can get the best of both worlds by pre-cooking the chicken in the pressure cooker (say for only 15-20 minutes) and then rolling it around on the grill.
You can skip the initial browning stage if you’re going to give it a broil or a grill after pressure cooking.
This looks like a GREAT recipe. Is it possible to get the skin browned like your pic (or even darker), with the leg bones dark brown, just by searing in my Instant Pot? I have no BBQ grill, and worried that finishing the whole chicken in the oven broiler might make a huge mess inside the oven?
Bill, unless you get a really small chicken or you have a particularly large Instant Pot you will not be able to brown the whole chicken in the pressure cooker. I browned the chicken in a large saute’ pan before lowering it in the pressure cooker.
The broiler can add color as well as make the skin a bit crunchy. The best way to avoid making a mess is to put the chicken on the largest platter (or roasting pan) that you have.
Thanks Laura, I have the 6,6 litre 6-in-one Instant Pot but if it were a little tight for chicken, I bet a cornish hen, partridge, or quail would work? But my thought was actually would IP pre-sear brown the bird’s skin enough to retain much “crispiness” after passing through the IP’s pressure cooker process?
have tried this on the grill many times and its great so can’t wait to try it in the pressurecooker !
I just received a Wolfgang Puck 8-q Rapid/Pressure Cooker! I made porkchops today and I was impressed. Especially since I hate porkchops. I want to try this recipe but I’m a bit scared still. For an electric pot I just brown then set to my cooking time right? My version dosnt have a “Meat” setting, just a timer dial and a pressure/warm indicator light. I’m still scared I’m going to blow the silly thing up LOL
This is on my menu for tonight, I am looking forward to trying it! I’m a rookie and so far IN LOVE with my pressure cooker (only having cooked 2 meals so far – thai chicken soup and a mushroom risotto). This will be my first “meat” cook up…..hope it works!
Would a small cornish game hen work and if so, what would be the actual cooking time? I just got a 6 L electric by T-Fal / Emeril LaGassee and have never used a pressure cooker before! So far your site and information has been very helpful. I can’t wait to actually cook something in it!!
Momecat, a cornish game hen would probably be ready in 10-15 minutes with natural release. Try 10, then if it looks under-done bring the cooker up to pressure another 5 minutes.
I tried this last night, but alas my chicken was too tall for my 6L pressure cooker. I’d have bought a smaller one had I known I was going to end up trying this recipe, but it was more a case of having a chicken in the fridge and seeing this recipe and going “Ooh that sounds good!”.
So, it ended up being an oven job, but actually whilst this obviously took a lot longer, I got the best of both worlds as the chicken was amazingly tender, and the skin was gloriously crispy. I read an article later which myth busts the beer can recipe (hardly any beer gets evaporated, because you block up the cavity no hot air circulates so the inside takes longer to cook etc.), but I can honestly say I’ve never had chicken that tender and juicy before so obviously something about it works!
And so my pressure cooker didn’t feel left out, I used it to cook the veggies. Delicious glazed carrots and sautéed potatoes.
Got to this recipe in my exploration of this site. Results were about what I have come to expect… Absolutely Bloomin’ Marvelous!
1.8Kg chicken & it only just fitted into my 12L KR. The chook sat about 3cm off the base of the PR thanks to the beer can. I’m not a beer drinker, and when I looked, cans were in short supply. Only two brands in 375ml size, and nothing smaller. Everything else was in bottles. Sigh.
I added a little tarragon as it was on special in the supermarket when I went to get the chook. Apart from that, cooked as per recipe.
Note to self: Next time reduce the “jus” more.
I can’t use a can of beer since my mom has celiac disease (it’s the barley in the beer that causes problems) so maybe a can of pop that isn’t too sweet? I have a small pressure cooker (4.something quarts) so a whole chicken might not fit anyway.
You can replace the beer in the recipe with chicken stock and a squeeze of lemon. You may be able to fit a small fryer-chicken in your pressure cooker, but it may only feed 1 or 2. You can fit more chicken in your cooker if it’s cut into pieces – so why not try my Ligurian Chicken recipe, instead?
Thursday Next, I have in my hand something that would be great in a beer can chicken. It’s called “Angry Orchard” and it’s a hard cider.It says right on the bottle it’s gluten free so it would work. Plus it’s tasty to drink and so seasonal.
While likely not for this recipe, canned coconut water (I think I used Goya) works well, with the flavor translating very nicely. One word of warning, there is the risk of the chicken becoming a little too sweet, especially if you add more fruits to the recipe.
I suspect some of the Angry Orchard varieties could pose similar problems, but might be an interesting fall dish.
There are also many Gluten free beers out there!
Hi Laura, Can I substitute a glass canning jar for a beer can?
The can goes directly on the base of the PC. I would be wary that glass could break if used like this. Either elevate the jar slightly so it is not directly on the bottom of the pan. Or use some other small can that you have washed and de-labelled(if necessary).
A glass canning jar is designed to be in a canner on a rack- and in place of a can it would be in direct contact with pressure cooker base (which can get quite hot).
In a pinch, you can just put the beer in the pressure cooker without the can. : )
Thank you Greg and Laura for your replies. That is pretty much what I thought, but I was hoping :) I’m enjoying my new pressure cooker and this web site is a major reason why its fun. You provide assistance, and take away the fear. When I get a can of beer I will let you know how it turns out.
I am new to this whole thing but I think I might have a leg up on this recipe! I’v been using my 23 quart pressure canner as a pressure cooker. Today I made a massive batch of the best chicken stock ever in an hour. (I’m canning it now, holding steady at 11 lbs!). I know I could fit a chicken in this bad boy no problem. How great to have a hot meal on the table in no time! I am 100% giving this a try this week.
Can I put the beer in the bottom of the pressure cooker without the can, and then prop the whole chicken on the steaming rack?
I dont like the idea of bringing an aluminum can in contact with the high heat, due to toxicity issues from the metal. I no longer use an aluminum pressure cooker because I could actually taste the aluminum on my beans.
Thanks for your help and advice! I have never cooked a chicken in my life and am integrating meat after 22 years of vegetarianism! I have a whole chicken in the fridge and need to figure out the easiest way to deal with it!!!
Hi Anna, yes you can skip the can. ; )
For a 5.5 lb chicken, in an 8 quart stove top PS, what would be the cook time? 35 mins? Thanks.
Try just +5 min extra and then take the temperature in the chicken’s upper-thigh to see if it’s fully cooked.
How are you?! Hope everything´s fine!!
First of all, let me tell you that I love your recipes and I´m always trying something you posted here in the site or put in your book. Thanks a lot for sharing your recipes and knowledge!!
Laura, yesterday I tried the beer can chicken recipe for the lunch. My pressure cooker is the one of 4L capacity and the chicken I bought was about 2,3Kg. It means that the chicken is much taller than the pressure cooker pot, let alone when you put the beer can! Because of that, I tried to cut the neck and a little bit of the superior part of the chicken. The problem is that I did this after browning it and when it almost took pressure in the pot.
Well, the result is that in the picture. My son´s baby sitter called this “run over chicken”!!
Thanks a lot for the recipe and, please, continue to share with us your ideas!
Marcelo, next time you can forego the can and just pour the required amount of beer in the base of the cooker. : )
Just found this recipe!! This is awesome! Best chicken we ever ate!
THis looks divine! I will be making tomorrow. Do you recommend a lighter lager or a darker beer? Does it matter? So my fear of carbonated liquid in my pressure cooker is totally unfounded, right?! lol
Use the beer you like to drink. I’ve tried both and prefer a dark wheat beer. but then that is what I prefer to drink. I am very proud of my Hobgoblin T-Shirt :D. Cans of beer are increasingly hard to find here though, so it is usually a case of the beer can I can get.
Yes unfounded. At worst, it will add slightly to the pressure at the start. But the reality is most of the carbon dioxide will out gas before you get the lid on. I wouldn’t recommend putting a SEALED can in the PC though.
Hi Laura: I made your beer can chicken tonight and it was delicious. The remaining liquid, after reducing, as you suggested was so tasty. But then all your recipes are so good and your instructions leave nothing to the imagination. Again thanks so much for sharing not only your recipes but your extensive knowledge.
Hi Laura I bought an instant pot a week ago and tried 4 recipes only one turned out good that of pot roast beef cooked for 45 minutes.
I pressure cook pot roast beef which it does well but does not do much else too well.
Does not do KFC style fried chicken. There is too much to experiment before you may get it right.
Tried chicken biriyani (rice and curry chicken) as per online recipe where the deboned chicken turned out DRY, cooked for total 5 minutes with rice on top even though the rice was quite moist – this also wound up in the trash.
Tried pot roast yesterday with online recipe using a 3 pound roast beef and this was the only thing that turned out fine.
Our house prefers deboned chicken breast in stews or curry dishes NOT CHICKEN WITH BONES IN as all the online instant pot recipes are. Update, I have tried chicken curry again today with 1.5″ cubed chicken breast and while the coconut curry/sauce tasted great, the chicken was quite DRY again – far from being moist and juicy. I cooked the chicken for 4 minutes pressure cook in the curry with potatoes and carrots. Maybe I should I have cooked it longer? This is again trial and error much time consuming. Thinking of returning this to Amazon.ca. I have been cooking for 55 years I know what good food should taste like. Don’t ask me to put the whole breast in and debone it later as this is not the way a curry or stew is made.
I have a whole chicken can I put it in frozen or should it be defrosted? If I can put it in frozen how long will it take?
Hi Tammy, please take a look at my article about pressure cooking frozen meat…
P.S. I don’t recommend pressure cooking whole frozen chicken – unless you cover it completely with liquid to make soup. ; )
I only have grapefruit beer in the fridge, do you think it would work and tadte good?
I don’t know what grapefruit beer tastes like. If you like the flavor of the beer, I’m sure it will be fine with the recipe. Citrus, in general, pairs well with chicken dishes!