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!

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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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  • Comments

    1. Erin |

      This recipe is fantastic!! My 2 year old LOOOVES this chicken prepared with the spice rub listed above. The subsequent broth that I make from the chicken scraps is sooo flavorful and works perfectly in so many recipes (ie. rice, chicken noodle soup, etc.). I used smoke paprika in my rub as that’s all I had on hand and the outcome was so tasty! This is definitely a staple recipe in our house!! Thanks!

    2. Stacy |

      I make this recipe a lot bc I like to make your chicken broth recipe afterward. We eat the chicken for dinner then I make another dish with leftovers. Tomorrow I’m trying the chicken tostadas. I really love how your readers add tips and variations in the comments; it is really helpful. I was never a very good cook til I started following your blog ☺ Now we eat clean 90% of the time.

    3. Renee B |

      I forgot to take my chicken out of the freezer. Is it possible to do this with a frozen chicken? If so for how long? On low or high?

      • Amy Taylor (comment moderator) |

        Hi Renee. No, we do not recommend using a frozen chicken. It will not cook evenly.

        • Julie Ann Lunt |

          As a general rule, NEVER cook frozen meat in a crock pot. The transition from frozen to cooking is slow enough to allow bacteria to flourish.

    4. |

      I just wanted to say THANK YOU! I’ve been using this recipe once a week and then I use the bones to create stock, and I also love that I can use some of your other (amazing!) recipes to use up the leftovers. Best.Idea. Ever.


    5. |

      Nice blog and thanks for the tips, I love cooking chicken whole in crock, i do both, high and low when time is needed or not. But i go one step further for my dogs… after taking the broth up, i leave the bones in the crock and cover with some water again, (taking out all the salty flavored water as you should not give your dogs salt, and other flavorings like onions etc) cook for a day and test the bones to see if they crumble a bit by pinching. When they get real soft, put the bones with a little water from the cooking water, cup, more or less, in your food processor, blender, ninja or whatever to pulverize it. Make a dough using one of the many dog cookie recipes avail online, incorporating the marrow paste you have made. My doggies love these cookies and I know what is in them… I keep them in the freezer as l till its time to get a handful out for treats all around.

      • Lilian |

        Do you have the full recipe for the biscuits???? I’ve got three dogs and that would be great!

    6. Melissa |

      Made this recipe about a month ago….it was delicious and literally falling off the bone! This will be my go to crock pot recipe! Thanks for sharing it.

    7. Tiffany Rohani |

      Any concern about lead in ceramic slow cookers? Any ceramic insert made in China cannot be trusted. Lead is a problem that all families need to be aware of.

        • Tiffany |

          Yes, and have tried these swabs around my house, thanks to Tamera is wonderful, and her work is inspiring. My concern is the lead leaching out of the glaze, which happens when heated above 80 degrees. (Low setting on crock pots easily goes to 180.) You’d only get a red swab if your crock was cracked or broken, and at that point you shouldn’t be using it anyway. Perhaps we need to test when the crock is hot. I will try that. However, an XRF gun would be the best way to find out.

    8. Mike |

      Instead of the onion I use 4-8 ounces of applesauce with a little onion powder for flavor. The chicken is still tender and easily slides off the bone but you don’t have to mess with picking the bones out of the chicken when the meat falls off the bones using an onion.

    9. 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??

    10. 100 Days of Real Food |

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

    11. 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.

    12. 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!

    13. 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.

    14. Amy Taylor (comment moderator) |

      Hi Lisa. If you want the reader to see your question, you need to press the reply button right under the specific question. :)

    15. Marianne |

      When I was working I left the house at 7:30 and got home at 5:30. I used my crockpot several times a week, to cook everything from chicken to stew to soup, and everything came out fine cooking for 10 hours on low. A crockpot is a very forgiving appliance!!

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