If you’ve never cooked a whole chicken, you’ll be relieved to learn it’s not as messy or overwhelming as it may seem. This is one of the most delicious and healthy crock pot chicken recipes to get you acquainted with cooking a whole chicken. In this recipe video, you’ll learn how to transform a raw whole chicken to a hearty meal in the crock pot or slow cooker.
Cooking a roast chicken in a slow cooker is an easy way to get tender, fall off the bone chicken breast, thighs and wings with minimal effort. It’s one of my best chicken slow cooker recipes ever. And one of the most easy chicken crockpot recipes for two or four people.
Buying a whole chicken is much less expensive than buying pre-sliced chicken breast or thighs.
Once you learn how to cook a whole chicken in the crock pot, you can start making it in batches. Use slow cooked chicken in chicken pot pies, tacos, enchiladas, chicken wraps, protein-packed salads, or on top of homemade pizza with store bought dough.
Can you put raw chicken breast in a slow cooker?
Yes, it is OK to put raw chicken in slow cooker. But I suggest you take a few minutes to sear the raw chicken in a pan on the stove before putting it in the crock pot. This will add maximum flavor and help the whole chicken stay together while slow cooking.
How to sear a whole chicken on the stove
To sear a whole chicken on the stove before slow cooking it, marinade or season the chicken first. Add olive oil to a medium-hot pan that will fit the size of the whole raw chicken. Sear each side a few minutes until golden brown. Before turning each side, add another drizzle of olive oil.
How many hours does it take to slow cook a whole chicken in the crock pot?
Cooking a whole chicken in the slow cooker turns out well on both the high setting for 4-6 hours, or the low setting for 6-8 hours. See the recipe for tips on how to make slow cooker roast chicken with crispy skin for just 20 extra minutes in the oven.
How to season a slow cooker whole chicken
This recipe calls for a marinade made with cilantro, garlic, lemon juice and spices. Alternatively, here are a few easy ideas to season a whole chicken before slow cooking it:
- Old Bay
- Salt Lick BBQ dry rub
- Season under the chicken skin with butter and garlic, then add salt and pepper outside the skin
- Italian dressing or seasoning
- Onion powder and garlic powder
- Sliced lemons and garlic
- Montreal steak seasoning
- Farm dust seasoning
For tender, fall of the bone chicken, add one cup (about 1”) chicken or vegetable broth to the slow cooker. If you don’t have broth, add water seasoned with herbs (rosemary, thyme, and/or two bay leafs) or salad dressing (try Italian or balsamic).
Save the tasty stock left over from the crock pot chicken for future recipes.
Making roasted or rotisserie chicken in the crock pot
Someone recently asked, “Can I roast a chicken in a slow cooker?”. The answer is yes. But cooking a roast chicken in a slow cooker requires one more step. If you’re craving a roasted or rotisserie chicken, first cook the whole chicken in the crock pot. Once it’s done, add butter to the outside and pop the whole chicken in the oven at 425 degrees for 20 minutes. This will crisp the skin.
Vegetables to cook with a whole chicken in the crock pot
Any vegetables added to the bottom of a whole chicken cooked in the crock pot will absorb delicious chicken droppings and double as a side. In this recipe for whole chicken cooked in the slow cooker, I use carrots, red onion and garlic. Potatoes, celery, and peppers are also great vegetables to cook with raw whole chicken in the crock pot.
Here’s a delicious idea: make baked potatoes while you slow cook whole chickens. Wrap seasoned potatoes in foil and place them below the chicken in the slow cooker.
Cooking chicken in the crock pot without vegetables
Don’t have vegetables to hold the chicken in the crock pot? Place four rolled up foil balls at the bottom of the crock pot to suspend the chicken over the stock while it cooks.
One of my favorite sides to serve with slow cooked chicken is twice baked sweet potatoes with bleu cheese.
Slow cooked whole chicken in the crock pot is a meal that’s constantly revisited in my house, especially during the Fall and Winter months. If I’m just cooking for us two, I’ll sometimes have the butcher cut a whole chicken in half, and I’ll season and freeze the other half for a future meal. Otherwise, I’m usually happy to cook the whole chicken and eat the leftovers in tacos or in a hearty salad the next night.
Your learning to batch-cook because having a baby is going to make-life-crazy food blogger bud, Jenna.
Slow cooked whole chicken in the crock pot
- 2/3 cup cilantro chopped
- 2 tbsp garlic diced
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp chili powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 whole chicken
- 1.5 tbsp olive oil
- 1 red onion cut in half
- 3 carrots
- 1 tbsp garlic diced
- 1 cup chicken broth
Ideally, marinade the chicken for one hour up to one day ahead. Alternatively, season chicken with recommendations in recipe post.
Add olive oil to a large medium-hot pan. Sear the whole chicken for a few minutes on each side until golden brown, adding a drizzle of olive oil with each turn.
Add vegetables and one cup (about 1”) chicken or vegetable broth to the slow cooker. If you don’t have broth, add water seasoned with herbs (rosemary, thyme, two bay leafs) or salad dressing (try Italian or balsamic).
Slow cook the whole chicken on the high setting for 4-6 hours, or the low setting for 6-8 hours.
Serve straight from the crock pot. Or, for crisp skin, once the chicken is done cooking in the crock pot, add butter to the outside of the chicken and roast the whole chicken in the oven 425 degrees for 20 minutes.
Save any stock left over from the crock pot for future recipes.
I’d love to see what you make with your whole chicken in the crock pot! Find me @sipbitego on Instagram and #sipbitego so I can see your meal!