Crockpot Whole Chicken

5 from 7 votes
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Yes, you can cook a whole chicken in a crock pot! My recipe keeps the chicken perfectly juicy and tender and makes a great fuss-free choice for Christmas or Thanksgiving.

top view of a whole chicken cooked inside a crock pot

Cooking a whole chicken in a crock pot can give you a little bit of everything – deliciously moist meat (no matter which part of the chicken you like best) and, with a little extra time, super crispy skin. It’s an easy substitute for store-bought rotisserie chicken or an easier way to make a weekday dinner where your crockpot does all the hard work for you.

And it’s not just the chicken you can enjoy. A crockpot whole chicken can also help you make gravy and stock with the leftovers so you’re really getting your money’s worth.

cooked whole chicken on a plate with portatoes and carrots

Ingredients

  • Whole Chicken: Depending on the size of your crockpot, pick a chicken that’ll fit comfortably inside (mine is 6-quart). If they’re not already, remove the giblets before cooking.
  • Onion: White or yellow onion for creating a deliciously caramelized flavor.
  • Potatoes: Because of the longer cooking time, you want potatoes that won’t turn mushy i.e. starchy potatoes. Go for Russet, Maris Piper, or red potatoes.
  • Carrots
  • Lemon
  • Butter unsalted.
  • Rosemary: I like using fresh rosemary for flavor, but dried works just as well.
  • Seasonings: Onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, oregano, salt and black pepper.
ingredients for crockpot whole chicken

Instructions

Tie Up the Chicken: If your chicken is particularly large or wide across the legs, you might want to tie the legs together. This will stop the chicken from sticking and ensure even cooking. Using a piece of ordinary string, tie the legs together just above the bone – this will help the chicken maintain its shape during cooking and makes it look beautiful when served!

Lemon Rub: Pat the chicken dry with a piece of kitchen paper, then rub it all over with lemon juice. I also added lemon juice to the inside of the chicken.

Season Generously: When it comes to chicken, don’t be afraid to season really well, it’ll make all the difference. Rub the chicken with your preferred seasonings, herbs, and spices on the inside and outside of the chicken. This will infuse the chicken with a delicious flavor as it slowly cooks.

Preparing chicken for cooking in a crockpot

Cook on a Bed of Vegetables: To stop the bottom of the chicken from getting soggy (and to help make dinner complete!), line the bottom of the slow cooker with your vegetables. Chop up the onion, carrot, and potatoes into large pieces and layer them over the bottom, then add the chicken on top.

You can also use any other ingredients that’ll do well in a slow cook like celery, sweet potato, butternut squash, and parsnips. They’re also going to help add a lot of flavor to the dish.

Melt the butter and pour it over the chicken, rubbing to make sure it’s evenly distributed. Don’t worry if it all looks a little dry – the chicken will release lots of juices during cooking that blend with the butter and keep everything moist.

Top the chicken with a few sprigs of fresh rosemary and, if desired, a few slices of lemon.

Cook on low for 5-6 hours – the exact time will depend on the size of your bird. Don’t be tempted to open the lid, but if you need to, remember to add on extra cooking time.

seasoned raw chicken on a bed of vegetables inside a crockpot

Check for Doneness: So, now you know how to cook a whole chicken in a crock pot – but how can you tell if it’s done? Generally, when poked with a sharp knife, the juices of a cooked chicken will run clear, rather than red. The meat should easily fall apart and you may find the legs and wings coming away from the body.

For more specific checking, use a meat thermometer. Test the thickest part of the chicken – it should have an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) at a minimum.

methods for checking the doneness of chicken

Crispy Finish (optional): For a crispy, rotisserie-style crockpot whole chicken, transfer the chicken from the crockpot to a baking tray. Brush it with the leftover juices or a bit of melted butter and place under the broiler in your oven for 2 minutes. Keep a close eye on it so it doesn’t burn – this will give you wonderfully crispy skin.

before and after broiling the chicken

Save the Drippings: Keep those delicious juices from the crockpot and use them as a base for gravy – it’s the perfect complement to a crockpot whole chicken.

To make the gravy, sieve the liquid to a saucepan to remove any veggies. Make a slurry with 1 Tbsp of cornstarch (or corn flour) and 1 Tbsp of water. Mix it with the strained liquid and bring it to a boil. Allow it to simmer for 5-10 minutes or until it reaches your desired consistency.

steps for making chicken gravy

Serve: Serve the chicken sliced with the gravy and vegetables while everything’s still hot. It’s a great option for an easy weekday dinner or an impressive Sunday roast.

Top tips

  • No Extra Liquid: Don’t be tempted to add any extra liquid to the crockpot. The chicken will release its own flavorful juices as it slow-cooks and blends with the butter.
  • Keep The Lid Closed: For the majority of the cooking process, don’t open the lid. Not only will it help keep your chicken tender and moist, but it helps it cook better. You can remove to check for doneness after the 5 hour mark – but remember, any earlier and you’ll need to add extra cooking time on.
  • Seasonings: Be generous when it comes to seasoning – it’ll help give the chicken flavor. Use seasonings and fresh herbs that complement the meat.
  • Vegetable Layer: Not only will layering your crockpot with vegetables give you an easy side dish for serving, but it’ll stop the chicken getting soggy at the bottom and give it even more flavor.
  • Let It Rest: Like most meats, resting is an important step of the cooking process. Let the chicken rest for a few minutes after removing from the broiler – this will allow the juices to redistribute through the meat and give you juicy meat when you carve.
pouring gravy on cooked chicken on a plate

How to store leftovers

Remove any leftover chicken from the carcass. Allow your leftovers to cool before transferring into an airtight container or in a ziplock bag. In the fridge, it’ll keep for 3-4 days or, if you’re freezing, for up to 3 months.

What to serve with crockpot whole chicken

More crockpot recipes

If you try this easy chicken pasta recipe, let me know how it goes in the comments below. I’d appreciate a recipe card rating and would love to see your recipe recreations – tag me on Instagram @Alphafoodie!

Crockpot Whole Chicken

5 from 7 votes
By: Samira
Yes, you can cook a whole chicken in a crock pot! My recipe keeps the chicken perfectly juicy and tender and makes a great fuss-free choice for Christmas or Thanksgiving.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 6 hours
Total Time: 6 hours 20 minutes
Servings: 8

Equipment

Ingredients 
 

  • 5 lb whole chicken giblets removed
  • 1/3 cup butter melted

Chicken Seasoning

  • 1 Tbsp paprika
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 Tbsp dried oregano

Vegetables

  • 14 oz carrots 3 large carrots, chopped into large pieces
  • 12 oz onion 3 medium onions, chopped into large pieces
  • 1 lb potatoes
  • 3 sprigs rosemary optional

For making the gravy

  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 Tbsp water

Instructions 

Prepare the ingredients

  • Pat dry the chicken with a paper towel. Cut the lemon and rub it all over the outside and inside of the chicken.
  • Mix the chicken seasoning together and use your hands to rub it over the inside and outside of the bird.
  • Chop the vegetables into larger pieces – if using baby potatoes, keep whole. Layer on the bottom of the crockpot.
  • Place the seasoned chicken on top of the veggies. They stop the chicken getting too soggy and will keep the bird elevated.
  • Melt the butter in a microwave-safe dish and pour over the chicken.

Slow cook

  • Cook the chicken on LOW for 5 to 6 hours or on high for 3 to 4 hours. You'll need to adjust your timing based on the size of your chicken. Don't be tempted to open the lid!
  • Check for Doneness: At the five-hour mark (if you're cooking on low) or at the three-hour mark (if you're cooking on high), gently prod the chicken with a sharp knife. If the juices run clear, the chicken is cooked.
    You can also use a meat thermometer. Pierce the thickest part of the chicken – it should be 165°F/74°C at minimum.

Optional: Broil in the oven

  • For crispy, rotisserie-style chicken, remove the chicken from the slow cooker and place on a baking tray or rack. Broil in the oven for 2 to 3 minutes – keeping an eye on the skin so it doesn't burn.
  • To make the gravy
  • Use the leftover juices in the pot to make gravy. Sieve the liquid from any remaining veggies into a saucepan, then add 1 Tbsp of cornstarch and 1 Tbsp of water. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
  • How to carve a chicken
  • Cover the chicken with aluminum foil and allow it to rest for 10-15 minutes before carving.
  • Use a sharp knife to remove the wings and legs – following along the bone to get an even cut. Set them aside. Use a carving fork to balance the chicken, then cut at an angle into the breasts to make even slices.

How to store

  • In The Fridge: Allow to cool, then transfer into an airtight container or ziplock bag. In the fridge, cooked chicken will keep for 3-4 days after cooking.
    In The Freezer: Once cool, transfer the chicken into a freezer-safe bag or container. It'll keep for up to 3 months when stored correctly.
    How to reheat frozen chicken: Allow to thaw in the fridge overnight, then add to a baking tray or frying pan. Reheat with a little oil or butter for a few minutes until it's cooked through, making sure there are no pink or red bits.

Video

Notes

  • Use a meat thermometer: To ensure the chicken is properly cooked, insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part (the breast of a whole chicken). It needs to reach 165ºF/74ºC.
  • Allow it to rest: Allow at least 10 minutes of resting time for the chicken juices to settle and redistribute.
  • Cook with the skin on: It will lock in the moisture and flavor while cooking. You can remove it after if preferred.
  • For more flavor: Spread the seasonings/herbs under the chicken skin, too. To add extra depth of flavor, use a combination of water and dry white wine.
  • Cooking time varies: based on the size of the bird and if it’s stuffed or not. Use a meat thermometer to ensure the whole chicken is cooked.
  • If you’re using a frozen chicken: It needs to be fully thawed in the refrigerator and can take up to 48 hours, depending on the size.
  • Enjoy with or without the vegetables: Either way, it will taste delicious!
Check the blog post for serving suggestions!
Course: Main
Cuisine: American, Global
Freezer friendly: 3 Months
Shelf life: 3-4 Days

Nutrition

Calories: 452kcal, Carbohydrates: 21g, Protein: 28g, Fat: 29g, Saturated Fat: 11g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g, Monounsaturated Fat: 11g, Trans Fat: 0.4g, Cholesterol: 123mg, Sodium: 492mg, Potassium: 747mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 5g, Vitamin A: 9164IU, Vitamin C: 12mg, Calcium: 60mg, Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

5 from 7 votes (7 ratings without comment)

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