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 169 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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  • Comments

    1. |

      Have you ever tried it without the skin? Wonder if it would be as good?

      • 100 Days of Real Food |

        I haven’t…but I would imagine the skin adds some nice flavor. You don’t have to eat the skin though, you could just take it off after it is done cooking.

    2. |

      Thanks for the recipe. I often make my own stock after roasting a chicken. I actually get the whole chicken so I can make my own stock. But I haven’t tried to cook it in the crock pot. I’ll try it next time – less dirty dishes!

    3. |

      I crock pot a whole chicken every other week. After I take the cooked chicken out, I take out the juice with a turkey baster. I put mine in a container and let cool in the fridge. It ends up becoming a gel or gello.(about 2-3 cups) I use that as a concentrated stock for soups. I can usually get enough for two large pots of soup. It keeps well in the fridge.

      I never considered throwing the carcass back in and cooking it longer. I might try that next time. I figure I could freeze the soup stock afterwords.

      Have you tried freezing in canning jars? I’ve wondered about that.

      Thanks for this post!!! Great Blog!

      • 100 Days of Real Food |

        I have not tried freezing in jars, but based on the other comment it sounds like it would work! Also, thanks for the tip about the concentrated stock.

    4. Lisa Stevens |

      I freeze in canning jars all the time (and old glass spaghetti sauce/ peanut butter etc) it works GREAT. Just be sure to leave room on the top for expansion. I use to use bags and it was such a pain to fill them! Now I just put a funnel into the jar and fill ’em up. No mess! Also, if I need to defrost something then I don’t have to worry about the plastic in the microwave next to my food!

      If you add vinegar to the water when making the stock it will take nutrients from the bones and add nutrients to the broth!


      • Misty |

        Can you tell me how much vinegar you add to the broth? I’m all for extra nutrients for the kids. Thanks! :0)

      • 100 Days of Real Food |

        Good idea about the jars…thanks for letting us know it works just fine!

        • Liz |

          I freeze mine in ice cube trays – then put them in a bag. That way I can pull out only what I need.

          • Elizabetg |

            That’s q great idea! I make a lot of my own broth, and I like the ice cube tray idea.

    5. Beth |

      What size crock pot do you use to make the chicken and stock? Or does it not matter?

      • 100 Days of Real Food |

        I think ours is 3 1/2 quarts (on the smaller side for crock pots). You could make this recipe with any size though. The more water the less concentrated the stock will be, but it will still work.

    6. Misty |

      Your chicken looks yummy! Can I assume the 4 – 5 hours is on the low setting? Can’t wait to make my own stock. Thanks!

      • 100 Days of Real Food |

        It is 4 – 5 hours on the high setting. Good luck!

        • Zoe Crowder |

          I am thinking about taking the jump and making this (never made a whole chicken period, let alone in a crock pot). Is there an option for cooking this longer, on low, so I can go to work in the AM at about 9am and come back at 5pm and it won’t be overcooked?

          • Assistant to 100 Days (Amy) |

            Hi Zoe. Several readers have cooked the chicken for 7-8 hours on a low setting with success. ~Amy

    7. Karen B |

      Thank you for the idea about stock. I having been cooking for a long time and just never thought of that. Good Idea!!

      • 100 Days of Real Food |

        Well we have to thank my friend who gave me the idea in the first place! :)

    8. Nicole C |

      I was wondering the same thing as Misty…high or low setting on the crock pot?

      • 100 Days of Real Food |

        On high for 4 or 5 hours…but low would probably work for longer (maybe even twice as long).

    9. LauraElle |

      I cook the whole chicken 8 hours on low, 4 hours on high.

    10. Mandy |

      Made the chicken last night and it was perfect…and of course easy! Adding to my “go to” recipe file. We get a whole chicken each week with our CSA and usually grill or bake- now I have another great option.

      • 100 Days of Real Food |

        I am so glad to hear that!! Thanks for leaving a review.

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