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. Susan |

      When you make the stock with the bones- do you use the drippings from the chicken that are already in the slow cooker, or do you start with a clean slow cooker?

      • 100 Days of Real Food |

        Yes, I leave everything in the slow cooker including the juices before making the stock. The only thing I take out is the meat.

    2. Karen |

      I love this recipe, but I never have good luck with it in the slow cooker. But, we LOVE the spice rub. So, I think I figured it out. Over the weekend I roasted a chicken without any salt or pepper. I made yummy stock with the bones and tonight we are going to have chicken tacos using the rub as the taco seasoning. I’m very excited! I already have the chicken “marinating” and I think I’m going to bake it for a few minutes or saute it. I can’t wait! I’ve been looking to get away from packet taco seasoning!

    3. Christine |

      I don’t know what I am doing wrong, but I’ve made the chicken twice and it’s come out a bit dry particularly the white meat. Any suggestions on how to avoid that again?

      • 100 Days of Real Food |

        Did you follow the directions exactly (including the size chicken you used)?

    4. Fawnette |

      Hi, I am enjoying this website since I found it and have been on trying new recipes pretty much daily! I was really excited to try this and bought a 3.75 lb Organic chicken from the grocery store. I left it on high for about 4.5 hours and it was falling off the bone. But it stayed in a little longer once because I was preparing the potatoes and salad. It came out pretty dry and mushy once we finally started eating it. Was that due to leaving it in too long and perhaps overcooking it? I can’t figure out what went wrong. I am using the leftovers for enchiladas for tomorrow anyway and making stock in the crockpot as we speak. Thanks for all the great recipes and ideas, by the way!

      • 100 Days of Real Food |

        It sounds like it did get overcooked. Once the chicken is “done” I would turn the Crock Pot off. Hope it still worked for you in enchiladas!

    5. Genna |

      Made this last night for dinner for the second time – delicious! This time, I left out the cayenne and cut a lemon in quarters and put inside chicken. Is the point of the onions on the bottom of the crock to keep the chicken up a bit out of the liquid it makes? I think I need more onion on the bottom next time :)

      • 100 Days of Real Food |

        No, it’s okay if the chicken is in the liquid…but that’s personal preference if you want to keep it up higher.

    6. Brenda Lord |

      Found you on a friend’s board on Pinterest. My favorite way to cook. Always ready for new recipes. Thanks!

    7. Shayne |

      How can I incorporate carrots into the crock pot and make sure they are not mushy?

      • 100 Days of Real Food |

        I would add them towards the end…maybe when there’s only an hour or two left depending on how “done” you like them.

    8. Anna |

      I want to cook 10 lbs of chicken leg quarters in my crockpot with rice to make a big pot of chicken and rice for the Superbowl tomorrow. Is this too much chicken to cook in the crockpot at one time? Please help. I am new to cooking things in my crockpot. Thanks!

      • 100 Days of Real Food |

        It sounds like I am too late…I hope it worked out!

    9. jackie |

      This doesn’t come out greasy?? I put pork ribs in the crock pot and covered with BBq sauce and they came out so greasy. I have that problem alot with thing in the crock pot

      • 100 Days of Real Food |

        It’s a little bit greasy, but that’s just a natural part of cooking cuts of meat like that.

    10. Ada |

      I’m not sure how I stumbled on your web site, but want to say this recipe was awesome. It’s like a whole new world opened up. I made the chicken, it was good for 2 meals, and then left the carcass in and made stock. The next day I put the veggies and barley in, and we had soup. Thank you so much!

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