Recipe: The Best Whole Chicken in a Crock Pot

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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 113 reviews

Recipe: The Best Whole Chicken in a Crock Pot
 
Ingredients
  • 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
Instructions
  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!

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1,107 comments to Recipe: The Best Whole Chicken in a Crock Pot

  • 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.

  • Amy

    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!

  • 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.

  • 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!

    HTH!

  • 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.

  • 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?

  • 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!!

  • Nicole C

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

  • LauraElle

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

  • 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.

  • Sukyee

    Hi I have tried cooking an entire chicken in a crockpot and the breast meat always comes out dry.

    Did your breast meat come out dry?

    I finished Michael Pollan’s book yesterday and am slowly phasing out processed foods in our home.

  • christie

    I made this crock pot chicken and it was delicious! Fall off the bone, juicy- no dry breast here- and flavorful. I then used the carcass to make chicken stock, which I’ve frozen for future use. So easy- it is going to become a family favorite!

  • Sukyee

    I made the chicken yesterday and the dark meat was fabulous but some how the breast meat came out really, really dry. I had a 6 lb bird and set the crock pot for 6 hours. I’m wondering if perhaps I should have just used the 4 hour setting?

    I used a Perdue roaster chicken because I don’t have access to any farm raised chicken but I’m looking into it.

    Do you think the Perdue chicken’s breast meat is just dry no matter what I do?

    • 100 Days of Real Food

      Sukyee – I am sorry to hear that about the breast meat! As you can see from the other reviews that hasn’t happened to many others. I don’t know if it is b/c the chicken was perdue or if it maybe needed to cook even longer since it was so big. Six pounds is quite a bit bigger than the chickens I usually get, but I guess the locally raised ones are smaller since they are naturally raised without growth hormones. So it could be a combination of both reasons, but next time if it is that big definitely cook it even longer so it is more tender. Good luck!

  • Nicole

    Agreed! Best crock pot chicken recipe ever! I made one last weekend for my significant other and it turned out wonderfully! Great flavor, so moist and tender and yes, definitely falling off the bone:)

  • Wendi

    I made the chicken on Sunday and it was outstanding!! I passed it along to my mom and sister because I couldn’t stop talking about it. I plan to make this every week while in training for an ironman. It allows for an easy, healthy meal with leftovers for quick meal prep during the week.

    P.S. I’ve made your smoothies, breads, applesauce, power balls (both flavors) and banana ice cream. All have been excellent!

  • Kristin

    Just made this tonight! It was DELICIOUS!! So simple, and so yummy! The entire family gobbled it up. My daughter even finished her dinner FIRST, which never happens. Two thumbs up! I will be sharing this recipe for sure ~ Thank you!

  • beth g

    i cook my birds upside down in the crock pot. the dark meat is always moist and the so is the breast.

  • Zona

    what size/weight chicken do you usually use for this recipe?

  • Rebekah S

    Made this for dinner tonight. It is AMAZING! So easy! The chicken would be great in chicken spaghetti, dumplings, enchiladas, ANYTHING requiring cooked/shredded chicken. Thanks for the recipe.

  • Rebecca

    If the breast come out dry, try cooking it with breast side down next time.

  • Nancy

    I make whole chickens all the time in my crock pot, but sometimes they seem overcooked. I usually cook them about 4 hours on high (no stuffing). I tried to cook it on low once, for 8 hours, but everytime I ate the chicken, my stomach would hurt so I feared I would get food poisoning.

    Any ideas for cooking a whole chicken in a crock pot until just done, so that it doesn’t over cook?

    Also, thanks for the paprika idea. I will add it next time.

  • Shalene

    Ok, my only question is this. I noticed you do not make it easy to print your recipes, so do you have a cookbook in the works (or already in print)? I would SO buy it! This sounds SO yummy! Gonna search out the site for even more recipes. Thanks again!

    • 100 Days of Real Food

      No cookbook in the works! I just copy and paste the recipe part (at the end) into MSword to print and it seems to work. Thanks for your support!

  • Shalene

    Made this tonight, and all I can say is WOW! It is just as good, if not better than, rotisserie! Thanks for another great recipe.

  • Sarah

    This is the exact recipe I use! Love it so much. I always make up a bunch of the seasoning mixture at the same time and store it in little 4 oz. canning jars in my pantry. When I want to make a whole chicken I just grab a jar. I prefer smoked paprika but that’s personal preference. I always cook mine breast side down, 8 hours on low in my 4 qt. crock (my chickens are 3-4 pounds usually) and it’s perfect. I save the skin and bones, toss them back in the crock, add some cut up carrots, celery, or garlic if I have it, fill the crock with water, and let it go overnight on low for stock. Strain, refrigerate, skim the fat, and freeze. Super, super simple, very economical, and so much healthier than storebought.

  • Gail medaris

    I made the chicken tonight! So yummy!!! I also made the Mac and cheese it was good but my kids asked if I could make it cheesier so I guess next time I will add more cheese!! Thanks for all the recipes and ideas!

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