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!

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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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1,105 comments to Recipe: The Best Whole Chicken in a Crock Pot

  • Jenny

    My mom always told me not to do a whole chicken in a slow cooker for food safety concerns. Her understanding was that it took so long to get the ‘whole bird’ hot (since it is much larger than pieces of a whole chicken) that it gave time for bad germs to grow.

    Curious if anyone knows whether this is a valid concern or old wives tale?

  • Thomas

    Old wives tale. once the min temp is reached (165) in the center, all germs die.

  • Kelly

    Any large chicken will do? Does it need to be bought at a Trader Joe’s? Or will any ol’ grocery store chicken do? Thanks!

    • Assistant to 100 Days (Jill)

      Hi Kelly. I would try and get an organic chicken or at least one that was raised without antibiotics or hormones. If you are able to get something local, that would be even better. Hope you enjoy the recipe. Jill

  • Steffanie

    Will it cook the same if I don’t use onions on the bottom? Should I place the chicken ontop of something so it cooks evenly? Wanting to make tonight. Thank you.

    • Assistant to 100 Days (Jill)

      Hi Steffanie. I find the onions give it a lot of flavor, so, if you don’t include them you might miss out a little on the flavor. As far as cooking, it should still be fine. Jill

  • Kimberly

    OMG!!! I cooked this recipe today for the 1st time. At 1st, I was a little afraid that it wouldnt turn out like how it’s described, like the last crock pot recipe I tried. But it was delicious!! It was so juicy and full of flavor! I’m not the “World’s Best Cook”, but I have to give myself a pat on the back for a job well done with this one. My kids and my husband loved it! This meal has joined my list of “Favorite Family Meals”. Thank you so much for posting this recipe and making my life a little less hectic when it comes to dinner time! God bless!!

  • Jolene

    Can I use any size of crockpot?

  • LouAnn

    Can I cook this on low all day?

    • Assistant to 100 Days (Jill)

      Hi LouAnn. You could try it. I’m not sure what you mean by all day, but, I would probably increase the cooking time if doing it on low by about 2 hours, maybe 3. Jill

    • Amanda

      Hi, I just found this recipe a few days ago and tried it yesterday…delicious! To answer about the ‘all day’ thing…I left it on low for about 8-8.5 hours and it turned out great! My chicken was a little over 6 lbs. I’m simmering the rest of the juices and bones with water today to make the stock.

  • [...] Yes – I have had 2 full days to get organized and back into my routine.  I’m just about there.  House is fairly clean and freshened up – what a stuffy smell to a house when you come back home from being gone for awhile.  I made a whole chicken recipe in the Crock Pot last night that my sister in law tried last week.  She loved it and commented on how wonderful it smelled – then one of my daughters tried it and said the same thing – I thought what a way to get the stuffy smell out of the house besides having windows open.  I bought a chicken  when I went grocery shopping and it was cooking all day and smelled  terrific!  Yummy too!  Here is a photo of it just about done – I threw some carrots in the pot when it was almost done to cook also.  A link to the recipe here. [...]

  • Candice

    Is this cooked from raw or frozen state? My chickens are frozen, do i need to thaw first? Also, would you suggest about 8 hours on low setting? I’d like to cook it during the day while I’m at work-thank you!

    • Assistant to 100 Days (Jill)

      Hi Candice. You should defrost the chicken first. I would add probably about 2-3 hours to the cooking time if you plan to do it on low, but, that’s just a guess as I’ve not done it on low before. Jill

  • todd

    can i add some potatos in with the chiken and when should i put them in and would i need to add anymore water to the chiken do to the potatos

    • Assistant to 100 Days (Jill)

      Hi Todd. I have not tried that, but, I don’t see why you couldn’t. I might add them during the last 2 hours, but, that’s just a guess. Jill

    • RejoicedOver

      I’m not sure if this is helpful or not, but I’ve cooked whole chickens before with potatoes. I prepped the potatotes as if for a baked potato, wrapped them in foil, placed them in the cooker and set the chicken on top.

  • [...] made this twice (just to be sure!) and have not changed the recipe found at 100daysofrealfood.com one bit.  The flavor is excellent and it really does not get easier than this.  The only thing I [...]

  • Chris N

    My husband doesn’t really like chicken. Do you think this can be done with a small turkey or turkey breast?

  • Ashley

    Just cooked this for the first time today. It was delicious. Thanks!

  • Karen

    I cook whole chicken like this all the time with several variations.

    #1 I stuff the chicken with 3-4 slices of lemon, 1/3 sliced onion and 3-4 cloves of garlic, 2-3 carrots under the chicken- roast all day on low-blend juices and veggies in a blender with some flour for gravy or with out flour for broth to freeze.

    #2 Add lemon garlic and onion as above and pour 8 oz of salsa on top of chicken. I use the leftover juice for pasta and ground beef recipes

    #3 Add lemon, garlic and onion as above and pour combination of hoisen sauce, teriyaki sauce and maple syrup ( 1/4 cup each) over chicken. I use left over juice as a gravy for stir fry over rice.

    I usually freeze my broth and label for usage.

  • [...] bison, etc) 1 grated yam 1 diced onion 1 handful of kale, chopped 2-4 T homemade ranch seasoning “Best Whole Chicken with a Crock Pot” (and the i can make chicken stock!) with baked carrots Asparagus, Broccoli and Bacon Soup  (uses [...]

  • Stacy

    Found your site. All good questions for the whole chicken. What are the answeres?

  • [...] ridiculously simple The Best Whole Chicken in a Crock Pot courtesy of Lisa Leake at 100 Days of Real Food saves the day.  No carving since the meat [...]

  • Shannon

    http://www.cooksillustrated.com/tastetests/overview.asp?docid=38414
    Look at the link about chickens in the store being water cooled for the most part and what that means about contents of your meat. It matters a great deal which bird you start with-how its’ fed, etc, for many reasons and some of them result in how it tasted when cooked.

  • [...] passed this recipe on to me and although it’s pretty straight forward I have to post it because it came out SO [...]

  • [...] I have actually gotten a few really great recipes from, called 100 Days of Real Food. The recipe is here, if you want to try it or just check out the [...]

  • Chuck

    Terrific!! Tried a 5 1/2 pound grill pack chicken cooked for 6 hours (2 on high, 4 on low). The only problem is that the aroma is so heavenly it’s hard to wait that long. Will use this recipe again.

  • [...] made a great chicken recipe last night.  It is crock pot chicken from 100 Days of Real Food.  http://www.100daysofrealfood.com/2011/02/25/recipe-the-best-whole-chicken-in-a-crock-pot/  I have made several crock pot chicken recipes, but I think this was the best one so far.  I then [...]

  • Deborah

    Right now I cooking split chicken breast instead of the whole chicken I let you all know how it turns out.

  • Frannie's

    Once i want to remove the chicken, how do I drain it?

    • Assistant to 100 Days (Jill)

      Hi Frannie. I just pull the whole chicken out and the liquid remains in the crock pot. Then I let it rest a little bit on the cutting board before I cut it. Hope you enjoy it. Jill

  • angela

    Wondering whether or not to use ground thyme or dried thyme leaves??

    • Assistant to 100 Days (Jill)

      Hi Angela. I would probably say something closer to a ground thyme. I usually just cut mine to a fairly fine consistency and that seems to work great. Jill

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