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
  • 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!

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

  • [...] is yours. *Then, rinse and pat the bird dry.  You can then season it according to your recipe (here is a crockpot recipe).  Alternatively, you can bake it in an oven bag.  I rub butter and seasonings on the outside [...]

  • [...] with Great Harvest‘s Dakota bread.  Andy threw the mixin’s into the crock pot for The Best Whole Chicken in a Crock Pot recipe from 100 days of Real Food’s blog for dinner… we were on a roll!  Then Tucker [...]

  • Elizabeth

    I’ve NEVER been a big crockpot user, but always held on to the one I have nonetheless. I just made this chicken tonight, and…..OMG! “YUM!” says it all. Like everyone has said, it literally fell off the bone. Had a 4-pound bird, turned it on at 2:00 and it was ready at 6:30 (on HI temp). And, yes, the house smelled amazing when I got home from work. Definitely a “keeper” in my recipe library! :)

  • Cherie

    Do you need to cut the whole chicken up first or just place the entire chicken in the crock pot? I have never cooked a whole chicken before so this is a little intimidating. I am attempting this recipe today.

    • 100 Days of Real Food

      You just plop it into the crock pot whole…no cutting necessary. But do make sure the neck/giblets are removed from the cavity inside the chicken.

  • Katie Grace

    So good! I had a bigger bird and got it in late so we didn’t eat it for dinner tonight (though I did sample a few tasty bites). I just finished putting the chicken in the fridge and adding stuff to make the stock. Can’t wait to have a yummy chicken sandwich (using your homemade bread recipe) for lunch tomorrow!

  • Nev.

    I was wondering if you take the chicken out of the pot when it is done or do you leave it in until everyone has eaten for the night?

    • 100 Days of Real Food

      Yes, you can take it out as soon as it is done. Just make sure if any bones come out with it that you put those back in to make the stock.

  • I had to admit, I was a bit skeptical about just placing the whole chicken (minus the neck and giblets) into a crock pot and just letting it go. But it did turn out wonderful! The only downside was the absence of crispy skin.

    Instead of letting the chicken thaw, I placed it in completely frozen and while it took a bit longer to cook still turned out great.

    Once the bird was cooked I placed it on a wire rack on a baking sheet to let it drain. Then, as suggested, added a few carrots and celery, the giblets and neck and the bones of the chicken back in the crock pot to make stock.

    I imagine that you could also drain off a bit of the leftover juices and thicken it to make a tasty gravy. Only gotcha’ that I would recommend looking out for is to make sure that your chicken fits your crock pot. LOL!

  • Do you use the giblet/neck to make your stock? Or do you just throw those parts away?

  • I made your chicken in the crock pot tonight. I just want to say that my two little ones (2 and 3.5 years old) ate multiple helpings of the chicken, and they do not usually touch meat!! I made whole wheat couscous, steamed fresh green beans, and whole grain corn bread from scratch in my cast iron skillet to go with it. Everyone cleaned their plates tonight. Thanks for giving me another recipe that my family loves. Oh, and this was my first time ever cooking a whole chicken!! :) Now I have our leftover bones in the crock pot to make stock, and then tomorrow I’m going to attempt your chicken noodle soup recipe. Thanks again! :)

    • 100 Days of Real Food

      So glad to hear that!! Sounds like it was avery good dinner and you were one busy bee putting it all together. Thanks for all the comments (and facebook posts)! :)

  • Heather

    Not to sound silly, but what can I do with the stock?? I know you said you freeze it, but what are somethings that I can do with it? Thanks in advance…..(I’m learning!!)

    • 100 Days of Real Food

      Not silly at all! I find that a lot of soup recipes call for stock (or the recipe might say chicken broth…same thing). I also use it in risotto as well. I just posted a few soup recipes over the last few weeks so check those out for ideas!

  • Angie

    So glad I found this recipe, I’ll be making it tonight. Based on the reviews, it sounds like it’s a winner. Thank you :)
    PS- I read the comment above asking for tips on use for the stock. I’d love to hear what you use it for as well.

    • 100 Days of Real Food

      I just answered that comment, and I use it mainly for soups (I just posted 3 or 4 soup recipes over the last few weeks if you want ideas) and I use it for risotto as well. Good luck!

  • Rachelle

    I was wondering if you could use leg quarters with this recipe? If you did would you need to add a liquid?

  • [...] This is really great paired with beef stew or roasted chicken! [...]

  • Marsha

    So, I just finished this in the crockpot (smells delicious) and want to make stock. I see what to do when the chicken cools, but.. how long do you cook when you put the water in? Or do you? Do you just use the leftovers, bones and all, pour water over and call it stock? I am so confused? to this… :(

    • 100 Days of Real Food

      After making the chicken I take out the edible meat and leave absolutely everything else in the crock pot. I then add water, celery/onion/carrots, herbs and then fill it to the top with water. I leave it on low all night and after straining out the veggies/herbs in the morning you end up with stock!

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  • Susan

    I am looking at making this chicken tomorrow. I work full time and it is really nice to come home to a meal that is home cooked rather than restaurant cooked. I would like to include fresh vegetables in the same crockpot; i.e. red potatoes, carrots, green beans. Do you have any suggestions on how this can be done without the veggies becoming mush?

  • Gina

    I have this recipe in my crockpot right now. I am using leg quarters instead of a whole chicken. My hubby & son are very particular about their chicken. I usually love anything from my crock pot!

  • karen

    This is how I always make my stock but I would suggest adding 2 tablespoons of organic apple cider vinegar. It gets more of the good stuff out of the bones :) and also when allowed to cook slowly overnight the bones become so soft that they are safe to feed to cats or dogs. They LOVE THEM!!

  • Priscilla Morse

    well out if all the other ways to make chicken in a crock pot im going with this one i am cooking this tonight cant wait to try it. Iam not a good cook so this reciept seems pretty easy for me . Thanks

  • Unbelievably good! I find about only 1 out of 20 crockpot recipes are any good. This blew them all out of the water. Made for the 2nd time tonight. First time i made it I treated the onions as thought they were just there to add flavour during cooking and keep the chicken from sticking, so I didn’t serve them on our plates. When my hubby went for seconds he couldn’t believe I hadn’t served them. So this time I served them up and omigoodness they are as good as the chicken! Next time i’ll double the onion just to have extras!

    I used thighs and drumsticks both times. Sooo good, tender, juice, falling off bone good. And the flavour. Ooooh. I can’t wait to make this for company. Thank you for the best slow cooker recipe EVER

  • Oh the possibilities with this recipe! Stock for soup or rice, leftover chicken for tacos, yum! Question, though… Could I also do this on the low setting for 8 -10 hours or would that completely wreck the chicken? Some crockpot recipes can go either way, some only one way or the other. Thanks!

    • Erika

      Yes, Edee….I have made this twice and both times cooked it all day while at work…about 11 hours total, on low. I was worried it would be dry but it was awesome both times! My young kids loved it and my opinionated husband raved about it and there was plenty left over so he used it for sandwiches for a couple days. Very very tender and tasty and super easy! I smooshed a 4-5 lb chicken in my 4qt crock and it did well….just make sure the lid is on good. I do not put the onion in since hubby will not eat them, but that’s the only thing I changed…I imagine it would be even more flavorful with onion. I may have been out of one of the spices so I added more of the others I think. Took about 6 mins to prepare before I went to work. It’s also good if you put the rub on the chicken the night before, put the chicken in a huge ziploc bag (unfortunately did not fit into the gallon bags…found out the hard way, so I saran-wrapped the heck out of the bird instead :)) so all you have to do in the morning is drop it into your crock. I bet it makes great stock, though I’m too much of a novice to have tried yet. Awesome recipe….so easy, so idiot-proof (I’m a terrible cook). I am now incorporating it into our meals weekly. Especially since the cost per pound for a whole chicken is so much less than buying boneless. Good luck!

      • 100 Days of Real Food

        Thanks for sharing that with us! Also, you could put the rub on the chicken in the crock pot the night before…store the whole crock pot container (minus the electrical part) with the chicken inside it in your fridge then all you have to do is start it before work. Couldn’t be easier!

        • Jennie

          I love this idea! The recipe I’m used to has you rub on the spices and bag it up the night before, and I hate the waste/mess and using plastic. Your solution is simple and elegant! Thanks!

          (P.S. The recipe I have was renamed “Woo Chicken” by a friend who made it for her boyfriend, and then got proposed to.)

    • 100 Days of Real Food

      I have not tried it on low for longer, but I bet it would work!

  • [...] small red potatoes, approx 12 2T EVOO 1 large leek, chopped 2 cups chicken broth (check out this recipe for homemade broth) 3T flour (preferably unbleached white whole wheat) 2 cups skim milk 1/2 cup [...]

  • [...] I also added about 1/4 cup of white wine to the bottom of the crockpot with cut up onion chunks. Here is the full recipe with rub etc….. this is the where the chicken came from on [...]

  • Dana

    do any adjustments need to be made if the chicken is pasture raised and therefore leaner?

  • Kristin

    I don’t have an onion this time around, do you think covering the bottom of the crock pot with carrots will be ok?

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