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. Lou-Ann |

      I’m gonna try this this week – just stumpled across this blog :) Question – I know we will have leftovers of the chicken. Can anyone point me to recipes or ways to use the leftover chicken? I always feel so wasteful with leftovers b/c I don’t know what to do with them :(

    2. Megan |

      I am trying this recipe today and I am so excited! I put carrots and onions at the bottom of the pot and added a few spices to my rub, but in essence I am following the recipe. I also patted my chicken dry and then coated it with oil before rubbing it down with my spice rub (inside the cavity, under the skin, over the skin). After reading the reviews I put my chicken breast side down for cooking. I love my crock pot, and I love experimenting with the 1000nds of things it can cook :) I am in medical school and my husband is in a masters program so good and inexpensive food that takes very little time is a plus in our book!
      In response to Lou-Ann, there are tons of things you can do with the leftover chicken. We usually shred some up to make chicken salad, cut some up to put on top of garden salads, sometimes I make chicken tacos or even easy chicken enchiladas with the leftovers. In the winter I will use the leftover chicken to make chicken and dumplings or chicken noodle soup. Because of this we usually cook about a 6 lb bird and it is easy gone by the end of the week, and it is not the same old leftovers every night :)
      We are carnivores by nature so cooking large quantities of inexpensive meat in our crock-pot over the weekend keeps us going all week with our limited time schedule. Thanks for what looks to be another great recipe!

    3. Trish |

      Awesome…and my kids ate it right up! Thanks for sharing.

    4. Coupon Cook |

      I read somewhere to add a splash of vinegar to the water and carcass. Let it stand for 30 min before turning it back on to simmer for stock. The vinegar is supposed to draw more calcium from the bones. I don’t know if it works, but I do it all the time and end up with really yum stock.

    5. |

      Thanks for this recipe. My 9 yr old son is learning to cook and I can’t wait for him to try this recipe. All the kids seem to eat more when he cooks :).

    6. murph |

      I am tring this tonight i was wondering why you dont put water in it like you do for a pulled pork

      • 100 Days of Real Food |

        You can add water if it makes you feel better, but it works great without any as well!

    7. |

      Here is a recipe very similar to yours with the same idea…cook low and slow in the oven. The chicken turns out amazing. I also mix up a large batch of the spices and keep on hand for each time I make this. I love the idea of the crock pot as the oven really heats up the house (summers in Florida=no oven usage). If you want to try the oven version, I sometimes do 4 chickens at a time. We eat one and then I pull the chicken to store or freeze for later (we eat so much, so quickly, I rarely need to freeze it). Then I make a huge batch of stock in large stock pot, cooking on low overnight, and then I end up with a bunch of stock to freeze. This recipe has you put the onion in the chicken cavity and also marinate in the spices overnight. Subtle difference, not sure how it effects the end product, but I’m definitely trying the crock pot method!

    8. |

    9. Carmen |

      How long would you suggest cooking a 6 1/2 bird for on low?

    10. Barbara Love |

      This chicken was awesome. I put mine on low for 6 hours and cooked perfectly and it was delicious. Just had leftovers with my salad for lunch. Yum!!!!

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