The Best Whole Chicken in a Crock Pot

212 Reviews / 4.7 Average
I’ve tried a ridiculous amount of crock pot chicken recipes, and this is by far the best (and easiest) slow cooker whole chicken recipe that keeps the meat super moist and falling-off-the-bone delicious—plus it's a great way to switch things up if you usually only make chicken breasts!
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Cooked whole chicken in a crock pot
Finished whole chicken in a crock pot

The outcome is so much better (and better-for-you!) than the standard grocery store rotisserie chicken. And if you have a well-stocked spice cabinet, you’ll hardly have to buy anything to make this dish.

the best whole chicken in a crockpot
This recipe is a staple in our house…here’s a vintage photo from 2010!

How to Cook Chicken in a Crock Pot

Chicken rubbed with spices and ready for the crock pot

Simply combine a few basic herbs and spices, rub them all over the chicken (I even season inside the cavity and under the skin on the breasts), add the onion and chicken to the slow cooker, and cook on high for 4-5 hours. That’s it! No liquid is needed.

Chicken and chopped onion, ready for slow cooking

Once the chicken is done, it is flavorful enough to eat by itself as the main dish, or you can incorporate it into something else like pasta, chicken salad, chicken pot pie, or a casserole (I’ve listed some of my favorite ideas below). You don’t need anything fancy, we use a very basic crock pot that can be purchased on Amazon for about $40.

Delicious, tender cooked chicken

Make Overnight Chicken Stock (Optional)

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 overnight while you are sleeping—see more on that in the FAQ below.

Overnight chicken stock is great for soups and sauces! We make it almost every time we cook a whole chicken at our house.
Featured Comment

Wow!! Mind blown! Thank you so much for this recipe. I had to call my mom and my mother-in-law about this recipe. The chicken is perfectly cooked. We are cooking the stock right now and I’ll make homemade noodles to go with it. Way to go!
– Bridget

Ideas for Your Leftover Chicken

More Crock Pot Chicken Recipes

FAQ

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1,394 thoughts on “The Best Whole Chicken in a Crock Pot”

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Recipe Rating




  1. Sandy McIlhenney

    I’m making this soon for the first time. I have found so many recipes calling for placing the chicken on wadded up balls of foil so it does not get soggy. If I do not want to use onions would you suggest the foil? Thank you, Sandy

    1. 100 Days Admin

      We have not tried it without the onion before. It shouldn’t be an issue without it. – Nicole

  2. 5 stars
    The chicken was perfect and so easy to remove the meat from the bones! There was one quart of drippings/juices left over from cooking the chicken. I know it would make delicious gravy. It was so rich and flavorful! But can that be used with broth or by itself for cooking and/or soups? What do YOU do with it, Lisa??
    Also, I immediately made the overnight broth after cooking the whole chicken. I now have 3 1/2 quarts of broth from that. Thank you! I will continue to do this. ($6.00 for a whole chicken at Aldi and one quart of broth is usually almost $2.00. I was able to get 7 cups of chicken, 1 quart of drippings, and 3 1/2 cups of broth from one whole chicken.) Everyone should do this. It’s too easy! Thank you again and I am enjoying one of your books!

    1. Go ahead and make the overnight chicken stock with it! Or it would work great with gravy, too. – Nicole

  3. 5 stars
    Love this chicken! The only thing I do different is I lift the skin and put the spices under it. Since I don’t eat the skin, I want all the flavor to be in the meat.

  4. Would this also work for bone-in split chicken breast pieces vs the whole chicken? Any modifications recommended? I usually bake them with similar spices but would like to try this.

    1. If you aren’t putting the whole chicken, with bones in, you would need to adapt by putting in liquids, also, if you aren’t putting it in with the skin, please note that it makes it much more flavorful. Hope this helps. – Nicole

  5. 5 stars
    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I have made this several times. This is my favorite way to make chicken and the chicken stock afterwards is a bonus!

  6. 5 stars
    I’ve done this before and it turned out great! I was wondering if I could add potatoes and carrots or other veggies in the bottom to make it more of a full meal? If so, would I need to add water?

    Thanks!

    1. Yes, you can pretty much add whatever you have on hand. You may need to add a little bit more water. Looks like some of our readers have added about 1/4 cup of water when they added carrots. – Nicole

  7. 5 stars
    I’ve made this in the past but now I’m on a migraine diet that excludes onions for now. Is there anyway I can make this recipe without the onions???

    1. While the onion definitely helps give it a great taste, we haven’t tried, but it should be okay. I personally don’t use onions when I make meals because I just don’t like them, and I’ve still never had a bad meal come out because of omitting an onion. – Nicole

    2. Leslee Anne Hewson

      I use the green leaves of spring onions as a substitute as a family member has a food intolerance to onions. I put them in everything. You can put the bulbs in a jar of water on the windowsill and they’ll continue to grow new leaves then after a week you can either plant them in the garden or toss. Just remember to refresh the water as you do with flowers :)

  8. Wow!! Mind blown! Thank you so much for this recipe. I had to call my mom and my mother-in-law about this recipe. The chicken is perfectly cooked. We are cooking the stock right now and I’ll make homemade noodles to go with it. I’m a teacher and mom of four who loves to cook authentic dishes. Way to go!

  9. Can this be cooked on the low setting? I’m gone at work for more than 5 hours so high isn’t an option but I’d love to try it!

    1. Hi there. Other readers have adjusted the cooking time by starting on high and switching to low but we have not.

      1. 5 stars
        Seems easy and delicious! About the nutrition facts – how much is a serving? Thank you, I can’t wait to try this!

      2. For the whole chicken, it’s hard to give an exact portion, but a whole chicken would feed five people, so assume equal parts! – Nicole

  10. cortneygray8214@gmail.com

    Should I rub the chicken down with olive oil or butter before rubbing on the seasoning?

  11. 5 stars
    I followed the instructions to a “T”. The chicken fell off the bone. My sides were can green beans and fresh steamed zucchini and squash.

    1. 100 Days Admin

      If you aren’t putting the whole chicken, with bones in, you would need to adapt by putting in liquids, also, if you aren’t putting it in with the skin, please note that it makes it much more flavorful. Hope this helps. – Nicole

  12. 5 stars
    Just put in crock pot, rubbed oil over chicken. with carrots. Onion and rolled up aluminum foil.
    Seem like going to be good.
    Thanks

    1. Ok I’m new to this. I made the chicken and have left in crockpot the onions and liquid from the chicken – do I discard this before I start on the stock or is this liquid to be part of stock? Thanks

  13. Hi, can this recipe be used in a regular oven (convection or not)? If yes, for how long would you cook it in the oven? I read in one of the comments that on 250 (I guess Farenheit, also not written for how long) would make it the same as the slow cooker? Thank you!

    1. ?? This is a crock pot recipe. If you want to bake a chicken, google baked chicken and recipes will be at your fingertips.

  14. 5 stars
    Surprisingly delish. Added carrots into the crockpot. Juicy and flavorful. A keeper! Ordered two of your books today on amazon because I’m enjoying the blog so much. Thumbs up!

  15. 3 stars
    The first time I made this the texture of the chicken was great, but I did not like the flavor that the crock pot does to the onion (I love onion, but not what crock pot cooking does to it), and the paprika over-powered all other flavors. Way too much paprika! It makes the chicken less usable in other dishes because all you taste is paprika. The paprika also made it unusable for making stock. So the next time I made it, I put 3 large peeled carrots in the bottom instead of the onion, and omitted the paprika and it was great. I also added 1/4 up water since the carrots have less water than the onion. Thanks for the heads up on an easy way to make juicy chicken!

  16. 5 stars
    Absolutely delicious and so easy! Other than an oven roasted turkey, I had never cooked a whole chicken before. Even made the broth afterward. Picked at the hot chicken while taking it apart…mmm….mmm. Have used it on top of salads for lunch, on top of Fiesta Lime Rice, eaten cold. Also had it warm with the warmed Fiesta Lime Rice. Of course, ate it hot with potatoes and carrots. Will make the Chicken Noodle soup recipe from this site using the stock from the chicken. So many meals for so little effort and money!

  17. The cookbook recommends 7 hours on low (I work outside the home so 4 hours on high isn’t an option). I think 7 hours is too long – the chicken was falling off the bone but mushy. I did make the stock afterwards and it was delicious.

  18. So easy, so delicious, so juicy, so tender and so good! I feel like, I just cook something from you everyday. Thank you for amazing, healthy, easy recipes!

  19. 5 stars
    Great recipe!!! For those that are asking about cooking the chicken in a crock pot for 7-8 hours while at work, that totally works. I added a little water to the bottom, maybe a half a cup, just because i was worried about it not having enough juices, but that worry was totally unfounded! Plenty of beautiful juice! The crock pot is going again now, making the bone broth. I’m testing that recipe for future use, as I’m having a baby girl in March & am going to try using bone broth once she is transitioning to foods other than breastmilk. Supposed to be very healthy for babies as well as kids and adults!!

  20. My homemade stock turns out really gelatinous after it cools. Just wondering if it’s supposed to this way or if it’s maybe happening because I’m leaving the skin in the pot with the bones.

    1. It’s great if your stock gets gelatinous! That means it has become bone broth, which has many health benefits and is delicious as well. I let my broth cook until I can crush the bones in it and then strain the broth well…happy cooking!

  21. Hi I was thinking of purchasing either a crock pot or instant pot. I was leaning more towards crock pot but the only thing that concerns me is the worry of lead leaching? Instant pot uses a stainless steel insert which is more comforting. Any thoughts?

    1. Another non-ceramic option I’ve used and love is the VitaClay slow cooker. Cooking time is quicker than traditional slow cooker but it otherwise does the same job (and any slow cooker recipe works in it). I use mine a couple times a week.

    2. Crock pot us much safer. I have heard & seen alot of scary reports & videos. Also thru family members & personally have used a crock pot virtually my entire life. Have not had a single crock pot related illness.

    1. Amy Taylor (comment moderator)

      I last made it breast side down and felt it came out a little more moist but I’ve never had this recipe turn out dry.

  22. 5 stars
    I made this on Saturday. I was up at 7:30 getting everything ready to go when I realized it was to cook on high for only 4 to 5 hrs. So, we had it for lunch. Delish.

  23. Ah, HA! That’s MY trick! Use the bones and leftover juices, skin and assorted trimming stuff and cook it overnight. With that monstous turkey carcass we all have after Thanksgiving, I break the bones up and stick them back into the oven until the insides begin to caramelize — that is why good stock always tastes a little bit sweet. Plop them I to the old crock-O-pot and leave overnight. I taught my friend in California how to do this. She asked me how she would know when it was done and ready to be defined. Simple — you will SMELL it! Incidentally this is a good way to get a second soup meal from a rotisserie chicken. I normally add a can of low-sodium chicken broth to the pot. But I suggest that you remove all the bones and girl and place the broth to chill for several hours. That will allow the fats to rise up and solidify so you can easily remove them and your consume won’t be greasy. My Grandma used to rise the fat quickly with cold water and save it in a glass jar in the refrigerator, rather like some folks save bacon grease. Some old recipes for cookies used this sort of cleaned fat instead of butter or shortening. Gotta use it all, right? Don’t throw out anything of value. This article was great. I roast my chickens in a convection over at about 250 degrees which is very much like using the crock-O-pot. Try tossing in half a squeezed lemon into your stock with a sprig of fresh Rosemary. Yum!

      1. Hi! Can you do this recipe on low in the slow cooker ? Want to set it up before work. Thx!

  24. 5 stars
    Can’t believe how easy this was – and so tender and tasty! And we made the stock – this is a keeper – thanks much!

  25. 5 stars
    WOW! I cooked your whole chicken recipe in my Instant Pot via high pressure and then made your chicken stock on the slow cooker setting (only dirtied one pot – yay!) and both turned out amazing. I did add about 10 whole peppercorns to the stock., and was a little leery of all the paprika but it really added wonderful flavor and my stock was the best tasting and most beautiful rich color that I’ve ever made. Thank you, this is a keeper!

  26. 5 stars
    Hey there: I just made your Best Whole Chicken in a Crock Pot, and it turned out lovely! Thanks for the great recipes. Planning to cook the overnight broth later this evening.

    Now to figure out what to make with the chicken rather than just eating it directly out of the crock.

    1. Shred or chop the meat and place in freezer bags to freeze for future recipes that call for shredded chicken. I put 2 cups of chicken per bag. It’s wonderful to have on hand so you don’t have to cook and shred the chicken right before you make the recipe.

  27. I live alone and plan this recipe for my Thanksgiving dinner rather than a whole turkey (too big) or turkey breast (not a big fan of white meat). I would be sorely disappointed if it turns out dry…

    1. I know for my crock pot that cooking on high would turn the chicken into leather. Newer crockpots seem to cook on high for low. I would start checking at 3 hours with a good meat thermometer.

  28. Hi! I want to know if I can substitute chicken bone- in thighs instead for the whole chicken? I’m preparing for a few others and I don’t want to have to cut it up afterwards? Thank you.

    1. Amy Taylor (comment moderator)

      Hi there. Yes, you can do that. Do know, however, that the chicken tends to fall off the bone pretty easily.

  29. I have made this recipe twice and both times it turned out dry. Boo! Do you think my crockpot is too hot and I need to do it for less time? What would you suggest for getting a chicken that is more tender and juicy?

    1. Amy Taylor (comment moderator)

      Hi. So I’m curious, do you have plenty of broth? Is the meat falling off the bone? If no is the answer to those questions, I would say your pot is too hot.

    2. Just found this recipe on food.com while browsing and it said to cook on LOW for 4-8 hours but it was usually done at 4-5 hrs. I have also read to use the smallest size possible for e best outcome.

      1. I just noticed this discrepancy between 2 otherwise identical recipes too. Seems to me when I used this recipe before, it was LOW for 5 – 8 hours and worked fine whilst I was at work all day! I’ve decided to start with an hour on HIGH and then low for as long as it takes, with a back-up supper (omelette!) in mind just in case.

  30. Most recipes I see say make the stock w/ bones, veggies and herbs but then they say to strain the liquid (your stock) and throw away everything else. Why do they throw away the veggies? Are they entirely drained of nutrients?

    1. If you leave the veggies, it’s not a stock- it’s a soup. And with how long it’s cooked for they’d be really overcooked.

      1. 5 stars
        I did not want to throw away my vegetable (with all their vitamins) so I just remove the Bay Leaf and blend the stock before putting the containers in the freezer.
        This is a very easy and great tasting recipe.
        Thank you.

  31. This recipe is excellent! It took me about 6 or 7 minutes to prepare it from start to finish and it came out absolutely delicious. As a mom with a toddler and a baby under 1, I am always on the hunt for quick and easy recipes and am thankful I happened to stumble upon this one. Thank you!!

  32. Did you ever think that maybe its the person making it and not the recipe thats terrible Miss Don’t Care If You Publish My Comment

  33. 5 stars
    I love this recipe! I think the flavor is great! I’m using the seasoning recipe with boneless skinless chicken in the crockpot today, and will make chicken noodle soup from it :)

  34. 4 stars
    I have been using this recipe since I discovered. It is easy to do and I add flavor later. The chicken is fall off bone great. We remove chicken from bones and add to various dishes throughout the week. We make chicken tacos, salads, sandwiches etc. ❤️

  35. 5 stars
    Made this today. I used four chicken legs (Murray’s Organic) and modified the recipe to my taste: omitted the spicy pepper. I cooked it on high for about 4.5 hours, then added some baby carrots and quartered Yukon Gold potatoes, let that cook for about another 30 minutes on high. Then I let it sit, then transferred it to a baking dish and baked on 400 uncovered for about 20 minutes. The house smells heavenly. The chicken fell off the bone on the way from the crockpot to the baking dish. Veggies are nicely seasoned. Thank you for this super-easy recipe to get me started on my first week back to Weight Watchers.

      1. I just determined the value as the amount of chicken I ate (I took off the skin after it cooked), potatoes, and carrots. There was no added oil and the seasonings are free, so that’s all I counted. I lost 2.2 this first week at WW. So the recipe was well-suited!

    1. Amy Taylor (comment moderator)

      Hi. There is fat but it is easy-to-separate from the broth. It gives the broth great flavor.

  36. 5 stars
    Seriously the best! I made it but I added potatoes and it came out perfect. Fall off the bone, flavorful, juicy chicken. So easy and so good

  37. i don’t have onions on hand. Is it ok to not have it? Will the chicken burn on the bottom of. The slowcooker pot?

  38. Have you ever tried cooking it on the low setting for a longer amount of time? If so, how long would you recommend? Thanks!

    1. Amy Taylor (comment moderator)

      Hi there. Other readers have adjusted the cooking time by starting on high and switching to low but we have not.

  39. 5 stars
    I’ve always read about doing a whole chicken in the slow cooker (LOVE my slow cooker!), but never tried it until I found this super simple recipe. Now I make it once a week! 2 minutes prep time for a meal that everyone loves!!! I use the extra meat for either chicken salad or chicken pot pie the next day. When we’re done with dinner, I put the whole crock pot in the fridge. The next day I pick the meat off the bones, and plug the slow cooker in again, covering the bones and scrapes up with water and add some extra veggies to make an amazing broth, without having to make a mess! (I then use my pressure canner to jar up the broth so that it’s shelf stable) I don’t know why I never thought to do it that way before! Thank you thank you thank you thank you!!!!

    1. Amy Taylor (comment moderator)

      Hi. The whole chicken in this recipe creates its own juices and results in a really moist dish. With breasts only, you would need to adapt the recipe to include some liquid.

  40. Do you have a suggested length of cooking time if using a pressure cooker instead of a slow cooker? Thx

  41. 5 stars
    Are you supposed to cook the chicken with the skin on? I have never cooked a whole chicken on and usually buy chicken skinless. Thanks for the advice!

    1. Amy Taylor (comment moderator)

      Hi there. Lisa leaves the skin on. You can remove it if you choose but it does make for a more flavor filled dish.

  42. 5 stars
    DELISH!!!! Love it it, kids love it, hubby loves it- it’s a winner!
    Super flex too, used with rice n beans, used in tacos, used in a salad.
    Definitely one to pass along.
    Thanks!

  43. Absolutely delicious!! I make this almost once a week. Soo very easy and delicious! I always make the chicken broth with the left overs and have chicken soup the next night. Thank you for the recipe!!

  44. i am on a budget too very little money a chicken is a chicken organic or not all tastes the same i would use a whole cut up chicken or chicken parts i have been eating store normal chicken for years and i am healthy it is just a matter of preference

  45. 5 stars
    Wow. Just wow. If you don’t want to buy organic chicken, just don’t. Nobody is forcing you. No need to be rude or demeaning. Nobody is forcing you to read this site either! SMH. Some people (or should I use the right word -trolls-) are just unbelievable.

    1. I agree. People can certainly disagree w/o being disagreeable
      I doubt they realize there is a better and more effective way to get their points across. …to bad for them.

  46. 5 stars
    Wow. Just wow. If you don’t want to buy organic chicken, just don’t. Nobody is forcing you. No need to be rude or demeaning. Nobody is forcing you to read this site either! SMH. Some people (or should I use the right word -trolls-) are just unbelievable.

  47. Wow. Just wow. Totally uncalled for. If you don’t want to buy organic chicken, just don’t. No need to be rude and demeaning. Nobody is forcing you to buy it, or to read this site! SMH.

  48. 5 stars
    MJKSL-I wouldn’t call organic chicken gentrified…ask your grandparents if they ate “organic”…they will probably tell you there was no such thing, because it was ALL organic!!! Sorry that you’re struggling financially, I do too, but I put paying for organic food over other expenses. Chickens eating GMO corn feed aren’t likely healthy and you won’t likely be either if your consuming them. Invest in yourself and save the money in medical bills later!

  49. You can take this one step further by cooking your stock and chicken bones (include all skin, etc…all the parts…everything!) overnight, or until the bones are so soft you can squeeze them with your fingers. Then, put bones and stock – a couple of cups of each in a batch – into your blender.

    It’s best to let the stock cool down before doing this, or put a towel over the lid of the blender to be on the safe side. Now, blend the stock, chicken skin and all parts and bones together until the mix is liquid and smooth. It’ll take a minute or so, and you may have to shift gears from ice crusher to low to high and back. Then pour it in glass jars. When you’re pouring, go slow at the end and throw the few little bone shards that didn’t blend into the garbage, rinse your blender, and do it again until you’ve used all the bones. (You may have some stock left over. Just strain and save for later.)

    Let the mix cool, add salt if needed and be sure to stir it a couple of times in the jars before putting it in the refrigerator.

    In my house, this is called Chicken Squiggle. It’s the BEST thing you’ll ever eat and perfect for people who need an extra boost of nourishment. We warm it up and drink it in mugs, or mix it with leftover stock for a delicious soup, add it to other dishes for flavor and share it with the cats and dogs who also LOVE it. You can freeze Squiggle, but it’s best served up fresh. It keeps in the fridge for several days, but it won’t last that long. It’s even good cold. One last thing: it’s so freakin’ good that you don’t have to add any other ingredients to the stock. Just go with the bones, etc., add water to cover, and let your already used spices do the rest , One carcass with stock makes about (4) 12 ounce jars. Go for it! :-)

  50. This is the best recipe! My husband says he thinks he could eat it every night. I make it with chicken thighs and legs since they are cheaper at the moment. I reserve 2 cups for chicken noodle soup or chicken salad. I have to take it out before supper or there won’t be enough left over! And chicken stock made from this is so good!