Happy (Almost) Thanksgiving!! What are you thankful for this year?
While I’m incredibly thankful for my husband and family, one other thing I’ve been thankful for is my Instant Pot! It may sound silly, but this crazy cool appliance has been a lifesaver for me this Fall during my health journey and brief stint on the GAPS diet. It also has a permanent place on my countertop now because I use it at least once a week!
I know I’ve already raved about this appliance in my bone broth post, but I just had to squeeze in another Instant Pot recipe before turkey day – one that’s perfect for a small Thanksgiving for two! And this one is not at all soup-related! 🙂 This Instant Pot Whole Chicken with Cranberry Orange Sauce is a stunning turkey alternative that is fancy enough for company or holiday meals, yet can be made easily and quickly for weeknight dinners! It has all the flavors of slow-roasted or slow-cooked chicken, but can be made in less than an hour! Plus, the Cranberry Orange Sauce really puts it over the top with tartness from the cranberries, sweetness from the oranges, and a tangy kick of balsamic vinegar. So whether you serve chicken, turkey, or even ham tomorrow, definitely include this sauce with your meal!
So, I think we can agree that Thanksgiving is pretty much every food blogger’s dream holiday! What a great excuse to cook LOTS of delicious food and share it with loved ones! Mark and I are so fortunate that we don’t have to travel this weekend, since both our families live close. While sharing dinners with both families is a blessing since we’ve been married, we’ve also started our own tradition of having a small Thanksgiving celebration for just the two of us – even if it happens a few days after the holiday.
On our “mini-Thanksgiving,” Mark and I make a day of it and hunt for a Christmas tree (real trees rock!), decorate our home for the season, and then settle down to a nice dinner together. Since cooking a whole turkey for two seems a bit much, I always opt to cook a whole chicken instead. I’ve tried various roasted and slow-cooked chicken recipes in the past, but this year, I knew I had to utilize my beloved Instant Pot!
The result was my Instant Pot Whole Chicken with Cranberry Orange Sauce! This herb and citrus-stuffed chicken falls off the bone after only 40 minutes of cook time and is absolutely mouth-watering when slathered generously with colorful Cranberry Orange Sauce! This stunning chicken dinner is definitely gracing the table for my own little Thanksgiving this year! Here’s how to make it!
First of all, get an Instant Pot (or ask for one for Christmas!) so that you can break it in with this recipe. Then, source an organic, cage-free chicken. I found one at Trader Joe’s. For the chicken, I removed the giblets and stuffed it with herbs and orange wedges. I also spread a bit of homemade ghee and sea salt on the chicken skin to help it brown and be flavorful. The skin won’t get nearly as dark as it would if you were roasting the chicken, but the Instant Pot does have a sauté feature that will put a little color on the bird before you pressure cook it.
I browned the chicken using the “Sauté” function for about 5-6 minutes per side. It’s a bit difficult to flip the chicken in the Instant Pot, so you could alternatively just brown it on the stovetop first. But, it’s nice to get those brown bits at the bottom of the pot to help with flavor.
Once your chicken is lightly browned, pull it out of the Instant Pot and throw in some onions, garlic, and bone broth or chicken stock. Put your chicken on the steamer rack that comes with the Instant Pot and lower it back into the pot so that it’s resting on the onions.
Make sure the lid is closed securely and the steam vent is set on “Sealed.” Now, just hit the “Poultry” button with high pressure and it should start heating up. The cook time will read 35 minutes, but it will take some additional time to build pressure. Now, if you use a different size chicken, reduce or add to the cook time, depending on the weight of the bird. Multiply each pound of chicken by 6-7 minutes to get an adequate cook time.
Once the Instant Pot finishes, leave the chicken in for an extra 5-10 minutes on “Warm” and then turn it off. Manually (and carefully) release the steam valve. I like to use a spoon or tongs to push open the valve so I don’t accidentally burn my hands on the hot steam. Steam will sputter out for a minute or two and then it’s safe to open the pot.
What awaits you is a fully cooked, lightly browned, juicy whole chicken! Fill a serving platter with some fresh cranberries, orange slices, and rosemary, to help showcase your lovely Instant Pot Whole Chicken. All that’s left to make is the Cranberry Orange Sauce and dinner is served!
You can use a 1/2 cup of the chicken stock from your freshly cooked chicken to make the sauce. With the rest of the chicken stock, onions, and garlic that remain in the Instant Pot, use a hand blender to puree it into a savory gravy or just strain it and save it to use in future soups and stews. And don’t forget to save your chicken carcass after you’ve carved the meat off of it! It’s perfect for Instant Pot Bone Broth!
While the chicken cools a bit, combine all of the Cranberry Orange Sauce ingredients in a saucepan, except for the arrowroot powder. Let it bubble and simmer for 10 minutes and it should reduce slightly and start to thicken and darken in color. Add the arrowroot powder last and whisk it into the sauce. Let it cook for another couple minutes until you have a thick, deep red sauce. Such a beautiful color and it tastes amazing, too!
Brush or spoon on generous helpings of Cranberry Orange Sauce on the whole chicken or on individual pieces. The chicken carves so easily and it just looks absolutely scrumptious covered in this jewel-toned sauce! Total eye candy right here!
Mmmm I cannot WAIT to make this dinner again this weekend! This Instant Pot Whole Chicken with Cranberry Orange Sauce is a comforting, flavorful dinner that I’m thankful to be sharing with you this Thanksgiving! Consider making it for the holidays, for dinner parties, or any day in between! And keep in mind that I have some great side dish recipes here on the blog that would be wonderful with this chicken dinner, including Apple Bacon Brussels Sprouts Salad, Roasted Rainbow Root Veggies, and Roasted Parsnip Pumpkin Soup!
Have a happy and delicious Thanksgiving, and remember to take some time to reflect and be thankful!
- 5 lb whole organic chicken
- 1 navel orange, cut into wedges
- 2 sprigs rosemary
- 2 sprigs thyme
- a few sage leaves
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 tablespoon garlic
- 2 teaspoons ghee or coconut oil
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 cup bone broth
- 3 oranges, juiced (about ½ cup of juice)
- ½ cup bone broth or chicken stock from Instant Pot
- ½ cup fresh cranberries
- ⅛ cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons raw honey
- 1 tsp chopped rosemary
- ½ tsp orange zest
- ½ tsp thyme leaves
- pinch of sea salt
- 1 teaspoon arrowroot powder
- Empty chicken cavity, rinse chicken and pat dry. Stuff with orange wedges and herbs. Spread ghee or oil on chicken skin and season with sea salt.
- Turn on Instant Pot "Saute" function and allow to heat up. Brown chicken about 5 minutes per side, or until golden brown. Turn Instant Pot off, remove chicken.
- Throw chopped onion and garlic underneath chicken, stir together, then add bone broth.
- Place chicken on steamer rack or just set on top of onions. Close lid and make sure steam vent is closed.
- Set "Poultry" function on high pressure for 35 minutes. (if using a different size, multiply each pound of chicken by 6-7 minutes of cooking time.)
- Once it finishes cooking, let warm for 5-10 minutes, then release steam. Remove and let cool for a few minutes before carving.
- For the sauce: Combine all ingredients except arrowroot powder in a saucepan and bring to a simmer for 10 minutes, or until slightly reduced. Whisk in arrowroot powder and cook for another 1-2 minutes, or until thickened.
~Save the chicken carcass to make bone broth! Put the whole thing in a freezer bag and keep it in your freezer until you're ready to use my Instant Pot Bone Broth recipe!
**This post contains affiliate links to which I may receive a small commission if an item is purchased. Please know that I only share honest reviews about items I love and am passionate about! For more information, read my disclosure.**