I finally mastered cooking a whole chicken in my crockpot. It’s so easy that I’m not sure why I didn’t do it sooner! Here’s everything you need to know to cook one of your own.
Before we get to the step-by-step directions, let me share why I wanted to cook a whole chicken in my crockpot in the first place.
Why cook a whole chicken?
- A whole chicken is cheaper than buying parts of a chicken. (For example, my local ALDI sells whole chickens for $0.95/lb and chicken breasts for $2.99/lb.)
- Meat from a whole chicken doesn’t dry out as quickly while cooking as boneless chicken meat does.
- When you cook the whole bird, you end up with a bunch of chicken stock in the pan (which is so delicious!).
- You can keep the bones from the whole chicken and make homemade chicken broth in the crockpot for free.
I started cooking my whole chickens in the crockpot because it meant I could leave the house instead of waiting around by the oven. I also tend to view crockpot recipes as less intimidating than oven recipes. (I’m in the process of testing out five different crockpots, and this is my favorite one so far.)
All I do is place my chicken in the crockpot with onions and seasonings and let it do all of the work for me. No extra liquid, basting, checking required.
I shred my chicken meat after cooking and use it to make BBQ chicken sandwiches, salads, and the enchiladas and calzones in my freezer cookbooks.
How to Cook a Whole Chicken in the Crockpot
Yields: About 6 cups shredded chicken (1-1.5lbs meat) and 2.5 cups chicken stock
- 5-lb chicken
- 2 yellow onions, peeled and chopped in half (Wash and save the ends to make homemade chicken broth later!)
- Seasonings (I modify this recipe from 100 Days of Real Food and use 2 teaspoons paprika and 1 teaspoon of each of the following: salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, and crushed red pepper flakes.)
- Place onions in bottom of crockpot.
- Remove insides of chicken and discard.
- Rinse chicken, pat it dry, and place it belly side up in the crockpot.
- Combine seasonings and rub *inside* the skin on the top and bottom of chicken. (It’s especially important to rub the seasonings under the skin if you’re planning to remove the skin before eating. You want your meat to be seasoned.)
- Cook on “low” setting for 6 hours or until chicken is cooked through.
Enjoy! I always keep my bones to make broth and strain the chicken stock left in the crockpot and freeze it.
Love this idea and making my own broth. But I don’t know how to use chicken stock. What do you use it for?
I’m new to making my own stock, but I’m using it to start other side dishes and main dishes on the stovetop instead of cooking spray or oil.
I have not done chicken, but I have done turkey. I’d like to try beef next. I use it for soups and sauces. I cook rice in it instead of water. Basically any savory item that requires water. It has more flavor than water and tastes so much better then the canned stuff.
I have a 6 qt crockpot and I’m trying your recipe on cooking a whole chicken, the size chicken I have is 10 lb. Do I have to worry about it sizzling over when I’m away at work?
Hmmm. Will it fit in the crockpot? I only cook 5lb chickens in my 6qt crockpot. If it fits and the lid closes, then I think you’re OK. It should only produce a few cups of liquid.
gravy (for Thanksgiving),flavoring for cassaroles, stews, etc; spiffing up pre-made or frozen dishes;make soup…
You can use broth in place of water in just about any savory dish. I use it as a base for all my soups. You can even use it in place of water when you make rice. It adds a layer of flavor that takes your dish to another level.
I bought the same crockpot that you love, but it cooks so HOT! Even on the warm setting…. but I do love the timer… thank you for all your work!!
I usually cook mine on “low” for 3-6 hours and then use the timer to switch it to warm.
About the time and level of cooking… My slow cooker only allows me to select between the four following: 4 hours high, 6 hours high, 8 hours low, 10 hours low. Your recipe says “Cook on “low” setting for 6 hours or until chicken is cooked through.” On my appliance, I guess I should select 8 hours low, to make sure the chicken is fully cooked, but I am wondering if it will be overcooked…
I would probably do 10 hours on low for chicken because it’s very easy to overcook it and dry it out. If it’s done before 10 hours, just take it out early.