Recently I've been buying whole chickens (~4-4.5 pounds) from the grocery store and pressure cooking them to great effect. It cooks fairly well, and I add about 1.5 cups of water to get it started. When the chicken comes out, I end up with just under a quart (4 cups) of liquid and fat. I strained off the fat and ended up with a liquid that got beautifully gelatinous overnight in the fridge.

In previous attempts, I've always taken this liquid along with the bones and little bits of meat, added more liquid to get to about 8 cups total, added aromatics, and pressure cooked it again. I end up with much more liquid (obviously), but it doesn't end up as beautifully gelatinous as the initial liquid.

My question is this: if my initial cook is in the pressure cooker, should I expect any additional extraction of flavor or gelatin from the carcass and remaining bits, or is it likely that all the substantive extraction took place on the cook of the whole chicken, and that the liquid I got the first go-round is all I'll get?

  • Hi and welcome - how long is your initial cooking time?
    – logophobe
    Commented Oct 30, 2018 at 21:09
  • I cooked the whole chicken at 25 minutes on high pressure in my Instant Pot. When I go for the stock I've typically gone for ~30 minutes on high pressure.
    – Dan Fego
    Commented Oct 30, 2018 at 21:18

1 Answer 1


If you are cooking the chickens whole, and I think you are from your description, then your cooking liquid has not had sufficient contact with the bones to extract the available gelatin. You should absolutely be able to make a stock with the carcass later.

As you say, even with the nice gelatinous cooking liquid you have from your first step, you don't have a whole stock without the aromatics. My advice is to make your stock with the carcass as usual, but add your cooking liquid too for a nice boost.

  • 1
    Thanks for this answer! Do you have any idea how much total liquid I should hope to extract, including my initial cooking liquid with all the gelatin? I don't want to dilute it too much, but I do want to get as much as I can!
    – Dan Fego
    Commented Oct 31, 2018 at 16:09
  • 1
    Making the stock with the carcass of a chicken that's been cooked in this manner shouldn't be any different from making any other stock. Use enough water to submerge the bones and bring it to temperature slowly. After you strain your stock (and this is where I'd add the cooking liquid from the previous step) just reduce it until you have the consistency you like.
    – Tuorg
    Commented Oct 31, 2018 at 22:33
  • /facepalm I reduce stuff all the time and it didn't once occur to me I could reduce my stock.
    – Dan Fego
    Commented Nov 1, 2018 at 15:40

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