This Slow Cooker Whole Chicken recipe is a super-easy way to make a comforting and hearty family supper without slaving all day in the kitchen! Only 4 ingredients are needed! Plus it frees up your oven to cook dinner rolls or other side dishes.
Slow cooking ensures the chicken stays juicy and tender and the skin will still get brown and crispy with just a few minutes under the broiler (optional step).
Want to make a nice dinner for your family but just have no time to spend in the kitchen preparing it? If so, then this recipe is for you! I had no idea how easy it is to 'roast' a chicken in the crock pot.
I was amazed (and I admit, slightly dubious) when I heard that you can cook a whole chicken in the crock pot. Honestly, at the time, I was under the impression that you had to have a lot of liquid in order to be able to cook effectively with the slow cooker.
As it turns out, that is not true! The slow cooker will trap the steam that gets generated from cooking the chicken, which helps to keep the meat tender and juicy. If you are not sure that you believe that, feel free to put some water or chicken broth in the bottom of the slow cooker. But I highly encourage you to be adventurous and give it a try without the liquid. It really works!
The best part of this method is that the chicken turns out tender and juicy every time! I have found that I tend to dry mine out in the oven, but because of the way the crock pot cooks, it is really hard to dry out that chicken.
The slow cooker makes it really easy to produce fall-off-the-bone, juicy, perfectly cooked chicken. And if you think you have to sacrifice brown crispy skin to have the convenience of slow cooking, you would be wrong!
I like to cook my chicken on high, and it actually results in the skin starting to get brown and crispy right in the crock pot. Then, when it is done, I just stick it under the broiler for a few minutes to get a little more color. While that doesn't make the skin EXACTLY like roasting in the oven, absolutely no one has ever complained! (The broiler trick will also work if you cook the chicken on low, you just may need to broil it a minute or two longer to get some good color.)
Combine the spices and the oil in a small bowl.
Remove the giblets from the chicken, then rub the spice mixture all over the chicken.
Place a layer of baby carrots at the bottom of the slow cooker, and then nestle the chicken on top of the carrots, breast side up. (Note: I accidentally cooked my chicken with the breast side down, LOL. It turned out great anyway, so no worries either way!)
Tips and variations
- Don't cook your whole chicken from frozen. Thaw it first. It's just safer.
- You don't need to add any water or other liquid to cook the chicken in the crock pot.
- Keep the lid on - there's no need to peek! Every time you peek you let out heat and steam that is trying to do its job to cook your chicken.
- If you don't have baby carrots, you can use wedges of onion, or trimmed celery stalks, or even balled up aluminum foil. If your slow cooker has a rack, you can use that. Don't have a rack but want one? Check out this silicone slow cooker rack.
- There is no need to brown the chicken either before or after cooking in the slow cooker. However, if you really want that nice brown crispy skin, place it in the broiler for 3-5 minutes after removing it from the slow cooker.
- If you don't have a packet of onion soup, you can just rub with some olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Still delicious!
- You can use this recipe to make roasted chicken to slice for sandwiches and wraps, or you can shred it and make chicken salad, chicken tacos, chicken enchiladas, etc. Anywhere you would have normally used rotisserie chicken, you can use this chicken.
- Like gravy? Make a batch of my Easy Homemade Gravy to go with this dinner. No meat drippings required!
- This is a great freezer friendly meal. Just cook, completely cool, and package in an airtight container or large zipper freezer bag. Then stick it in the fridge to thaw about 2 days before you want to use it. (If you are interested in more meals you can freeze, check out this post with over 20 freezer friendly recipes!)
I can't say enough good things about this chicken. I wish I had known how to do this when my kids were younger! It's a recipe that will make your family feel like you dedicated your day to serving them a wonderful meal.
Serve with a side of pasta tossed with some olive oil and Parmesan cheese, and a steamed veggie, and you have a wonderful meal your family will rave over.
Or, for a really special yet super easy side dish, try my flavorful Lemon Dill Rice!
If you love this recipe, please give it 5 stars! Enjoy!
Slow Cooker Whole Chicken
- Combine the onion soup mix, garlic, and olive oil in a small bowl.
- Remove the giblets from the chicken and rub it all over with the spice mixture.
- Place the carrots as the first layer in the slow cooker (see recipe notes for alternatives).
- Place the chicken on top of the carrots, breast side up.
- Cook on high for 3-4 hours or low 7-8 hours (chicken should reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees F).
- Optional: Broil for 4-5 minutes to get skin brown and crispy.
- If your chicken is frozen, thaw it first for safety.
- You don't need to add any water or other liquid to cook the chicken in the crock pot. Resist the urge to lift the lid! Your slow cooker will do its job best if you leave it alone.
- If you don't have baby carrots, you can use wedges of onion, or trimmed celery stalks, or even balled up aluminum foil. If your slow cooker has a rack, you can use that. The idea is to elevate the chicken from the bottom of the slow cooker.
- I typically place the chicken in the slow cooker breast side up, but once I accidentally cooked it breast side down and it was still delicious.
- If you don't have a packet of onion soup, you can just rub it with oil or butter and then some seasoned salt, or taco seasoning, or even just salt and pepper.
What you can do with the leftovers...
You may not have leftovers if you serve this recipe for dinner, but sometimes I roast a whole chicken just so that I can have cooked chicken handy to use for lunches and for other recipes.
It's so easy to just throw it in the crock pot, there is no reason to buy chicken lunch meat anymore! You can also use the cooked chicken pieces in this Super Easy Chicken Pot Pie. And it's perfect for Fiesta Chicken Salad, a lightened up chicken salad full of fresh and zesty flavors. Or how about these Bacon Blue Cheese Chicken Wraps, which are perfect for a delicious, quick lunch or weeknight dinner!
Wondering what else you can do with your slow cooker besides cooking a whole chicken?
Here are some of the Best Tips for Slow-Cooker Meals. And this article, 15 Things I Learned While Using A Crockpot For 100 Days Straight has some great ideas and information you will find very useful!
Check out my Dizzy Busy and Hungry store on Amazon for other great kitchen products I love!
I hope you like this recipe! It will save you time and money and your family will love being able to sit down to this wonderful supper together any day of the week. Leave a comment and let me know what you think!