crock pot whole chicken
Many busy home cooks love the ease of rotisserie chickens fresh from the store at 5pm on a Monday night. We sometimes reach for those ourselves, as we’re fanatical about transforming rotisserie chicken into easy meals like this Mexican Chicken Stew or Tex Mex Chicken Burrito Bowl.
But if you can plan a bit on Sunday night and prep your own whole chicken for the Crock Pot, there is no store-bought rotisserie chicken that will match yours.
We’re talking SO tender, you’ll have to transfer the bird delicately from slow cooker to platter so it stays in one piece. No knife needed.
Why You’ll Love this slow cooker chicken
- It’s extremely budget-friendly. When whole chickens go on sale, grab a couple.
- Whole chickens in vacuum sealed packaging can last a long time in the freezer.
- It’s unbelievably tender and flavorful; way better than store-prepared chicken.
- It’s easily prepared the night before, completely in advance.
- The juices create a savory, succulent sauce to pour over rice or potatoes.
Prep Crock Pot Chicken in Advance
- If your whole chicken is frozen, keep in mind that it can take 2-3 days to safely defrost it in the fridge. Start defrosting a few days before you intend to use it.
- Alternatively, you can fully submerge vacuum-sealed frozen whole chicken in a cool water bath. This cuts defrosting time down to a few hours.
- Spices and dry seasonings can be pre-mixed well in advance.
- Fully season whole chicken according to recipe instructions and place in Crock Pot, cover, and chill overnight or even up to 2 nights. That way, all you have to do the next day is set it and forget it.
- Leftover cooked chicken can be shredded and frozen airtight for future meals such as this One Pot Gnocchi with Spinach and Chicken or this super easy Chicken Enchilada Casserole with Rice.
Crock Pot whole Chicken
Commonly Asked Questions
A large whole chicken about 5 pounds, takes 5-6 hours on low heat.
You actually do not need to add any liquid. As the chicken slow-cooks, it produces its own juices.
We always prefer low setting, as it’s much more forgiving in the case you accidentally cook a bit longer than needed.
Though 5-6 hours is plenty of time to fully cook a large chicken, you can be sure by inserting a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh, without touching the bone. It should read 160-165F.
More to cook and eat:
- Instant pot Whole Chicken – here’s our version of this delicious recipe, using the Instant Pot
- Easy, Healthy Orange Chicken (One Pan Technique) – this is so much healthier without sacrificing flavor
- One Pot Gnocchi with Spinach and Chicken – use leftover chicken for this delicious meal
- Crispy Baked Chicken Tenders – no need for a deep fryer, nor all the grease here
Crock Pot Whole Chicken
Crock Pot Whole Chicken is even better than store bought rotisserie chickens! It’s fall-off-the-bone tender, juicy, and supremely flavorful. The seasoning is spectacular.
- Prep Time: 10 min
- Cook Time: 6 hours
- Total Time: 6 hours 10 minutes
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 large (5-6 lbs) whole chicken
- 4 tsp salt
- 2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp thyme
- 1 tsp white pepper
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- Prepare Chicken: Place chopped onion on bottom slow cooker. Remove giblets from chicken and towel dry entire chicken well, both inside and out – this step is important to ensure chicken doesn’t turn out “watery.” Using your fingers, gently pry the skin away from the chicken all around, so you’ll be able to season chicken underneath skin.
- Combine Spices (can be done in advance:) In a small bowl, combine all the spices, from salt to black pepper. Mix well. Use your hands to evenly spread two-thirds of the spice mixture onto chicken, underneath the skin. Be sure to include all areas of chicken (legs, back, thighs, etc.) Use remaining spice mixture to spread on top of skin. Place seasoned chicken on top of chopped onion in slow cooker. Cover and keep chilled overnight.
- Cook: When ready to cook, turn slow cooker on Low for 5-6 hours only. Keep on warm until ready to serve.
If you’re using a smaller chicken, adjust for less salt.
This dish is delicious over fluffy rice or potatoes so you can fully enjoy the sauce.
For best results, allow chicken to sit in seasoning overnight. I simply prepare the entire thing overnight and turn Crock Pot on the next day!
If you’d like more browning on top, place cooked chicken on a sheet pan and broil for 5 minutes or so, watching carefully not to burn.
If you enjoyed this recipe, please come back and give it a rating 🙂
- Serving Size: 1
- Calories: 192
- Sugar: 0.9 g
- Sodium: 954 mg
- Fat: 7.2 g
- Carbohydrates: 3.1 g
- Fiber: 0.8 g
- Protein: 27.2 g
- Cholesterol: 80.2 mg
- Category: dinner, main
- Method: Slow Cooker
- Cuisine: American
- Diet: Gluten Free
Keywords: slow cooker roast chicken, slow cooker whole chicken