Recipe: The Best Whole Chicken in a Crock Pot

I’ve tried a ridiculous amount of crock pot recipes, and this is by far the best (and easiest) way to slow cook a whole chicken until it is falling-off-the bone delicious. And if you have a well-stocked spice cabinet you’ll hardly have to buy anything to make thisRecipe: The Best Whole Chicken in a Crock Pot from 100 Days of Real Food dish. Once the chicken is done it is flavorful enough to eat by itself, or you can incorporate it into another dish like pasta, chicken salad, or a casserole. We use a very basic crock pot that can purchased on Amazon for about $25.

Another great trick (that I learned from a friend!) is that after you pick off the good chicken meat you can leave the bones in the crock pot to make some stock. I usually start the chicken stock after dinner by filling it to the top with water, and then adding whatever I have on hand…bay leaf, carrot, celery, onion, parsley and/or thyme. Even if I am missing parsley or celery I still make it anyway, and it always turns out just fine. I keep it on low all night, and then in the morning I strain it into 1 or 2 cup Tupperware containers to store in the freezer. It works great and couldn’t be easier!

4.6 from 167 reviews
Recipe: The Best Whole Chicken in a Crock Pot
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne (red) pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 onion
  • 1 large chicken
  1. Combine the dried spices in a small bowl.
  2. Loosely chop the onion and place it in the bottom of the slow cooker.
  3. Remove any giblets from the chicken and then rub the spice mixture all over. You can even put some of the spices inside the cavity and under the skin covering the breasts.
  4. Put prepared chicken on top of the onions in the slow cooker, cover it, and turn it on to high. There is no need to add any liquid.
  5. Cook for 4 – 5 hours on high (for a 3 or 4 pound chicken) or until the chicken is falling off the bone. Don't forget to make your homemade stock with the leftover bones!
We recommend organic ingredients when feasible.


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  1. Colleen |

    May be a silly question, does the chicken need to be thawed before putting in the crockpot?

    • Amy Taylor (comment moderator) |

      Hello Colleen. Yes is does. Otherwise it might not cook evenly.

  2. Jennifer |

    My son told me I should always make chicken this way. Delicious!

  3. |

    I have never cooked chicken without first slathering it with butter or oil – is there a reason not to, when cooking it in a crock pot? Thanks! I’m going to try this tonight – seems much easier than roasting a chicken :-)

  4. Carole |

    I made this yesterday and it worked great! I took a picture because it was so pretty. I had a 6lb chicken, and cooked it on high for 10 hours (7:30am-5:30pm). It was tender, but did not completely fall apart. I was able to remove it from the Crockpot and carve it.

  5. Kristen |

    I only have half an onion. Have you ever tried putting carrots and/or celery in addition to the onion?

    • Amy Taylor (comment moderator) |

      Hi Kristen. Some of our reader have.

  6. Karen |

    I have been making this chicken for a while now and it is the best chicken I have ever had. My entire family loves it! I have recently started making the chicken broth too! The only change I made is the cooking time. I use two different crock pots and generally the chicken cooks in both in about 3 hours. I use a meat thermometer to check it so that it doesn’t overcook.

    • Caroline |

      Mine cooks in 3 hours too. I use a large all-clad slow cooker – not sure if the pot makes a difference.

  7. Lori |

    trying to find/see the recipe for homemade broth as I made the chicken recipe tonight and would like to make the broth. Don’t see it anywhere??

  8. 100 Days of Real Food |

    It is in the notes at the top (prior to the chicken recipe).

  9. Shannon |

    The recipe says to cook it for 4-5 hours on high. Perhaps 7.5 hours on low was too long? I am waiting for my bird to finish cooking so I am not sure how mine will turn out… I stuffed it with lemon, onion and garlic and rubbed it down with butter before applying the spices. Fingers crossed.

  10. M |

    This recipe has the best return ever.
    1) I got a great tasting chicken.
    2) I used the carcass to make chicken broth which I use in just about everything I make from rice to couscous etc.
    3) I used the leftover chicken from this chicken meal to make the chicken salad and chicken pot pie recipe on this site.

    That is 3 meals and a broth all from one chicken and all recipes from 1 site!

  11. Lisa |

    Did 7.5 hours on low cook the chicken properly? I’m gone for 10 hours so I would prefer to cook on a low setting.

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