Learn how to easily cook a whole chicken in the slow cooker (or crockpot) in just a few simple steps. This recipe is for whole chicken and vegetables in the crockpot that cooks together for a complete meal.
My slow cooker will always be one of my favorite kitchen gadgets. It is my go-to appliance any time of the year. Between crockpot soups in the winter to chicken recipes in the summer, slow cooker meals are a staple in my home. This Whole Chicken in Slow Cooker is now at the top of my list of favorites.
You are going to be amazed at how delicious this simple meal is to make and the end result! The chicken is so juicy it falls right off the bone and the vegetables are cooked perfectly – not too crunchy, not too mushy.
This recipe is perfect for a complete dinner meal any night of the week. Save the leftovers to make Rotisserie Chicken Cobb Salad, Buffalo Chicken Dip, Broccoli Parmesan Chicken Soup or Chicken Baguette Pizzas.
How to Cook a Whole Chicken in a Slow Cooker
- Add the vegetables. Place whole carrots or a combination of root vegetables into the base of the slow cooker. Make sure to peel the vegetables prior to placing into the base. Do not add liquid to the base of the slow cooker.
- Add the chicken. Place chicken (breast side up) on top of the vegetables.
- Season the chicken. Sprinkle chicken with spices. Any combination of spices will work.
- Cover the slow cooker. Place the slow cooker lid to cover the ingredients. It is important to keep the lid on the slow cooker for the entire cooking process. Removing the lid allows the steam to escape, which could result in uneven cooking and longer cooking times.
- Turn on the slow cooker. Slow cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 7-8 hours. Take the temperature of the thickest part of the chicken with a meat thermometer. Cook until the internal temperature is 165°F.
- Serve the meal. Carefully remove the chicken and veggies from the slow cooker. Allow the chicken to rest on a serving dish for 15-20 minutes before carving. Slice the chicken and serve immediately with the vegetables.
There are lots of recipes for whole chicken using rolled up tin foil balls, which works well when trying to keep the chicken off the bottom of the slow cooker to prevent soggy skin.
The method I prefer though is to use fresh root vegetables. It does the same task, but results in a delicious veggie side dish with almost no extra work. I tend to use root vegetables in my slow cooker since these veggies won’t turn to mush after cooking.
Choose Root Vegetables
Choose one or multiple root vegetables to add to your slow cooker.
- Sweet Potatoes
PRO TIP: If your chicken and vegetables do not fit in your slow cooker, opt for a smaller bird or use small tin foil balls to lift up your chicken. You can roast the vegetables separately in the oven.
Once the carrots are arranged on the bottom of the crockpot, place the whole chicken on top of the vegetables. I used a 4-pound chicken for this recipe.
Tips for cooking a whole chicken:
- When purchasing your whole chicken, consider the weight that best fits your family. Choose between a broiler, fryer or roaster chicken. Broilers weigh approximately 2-3lbs, fryers are typically 3-4lbs and roasters are around 5-7lbs.
- Store your whole chicken in the refrigerator after purchase for up to two days prior to cooking.
- If your whole chicken is frozen, defrost in the refrigerator prior to cooking. Keep in mind the defrost process can take 24-48 hours depending on the size of the bird. If you need to defrost quickly, submerge the chicken in cold water (change the water every 30 minutes until defrosted). Do not leave the chicken at room temperature to defrost.
- To prevent cross-contamination, peel, and chop the fresh vegetables prior to handling the raw chicken. Clean all surfaces, tools, and utensils used to prepare the chicken immediately after handling the raw chicken.
- Use a dry rub on your chicken to boost the flavor.
- Keep the chicken from touching the bottom of the slow cooker by placing on a slow cooker rack, using balls of foil or fresh vegetables.
- Cook the whole chicken breast side up in the slow cooker.
- The most ideal way to make sure your chicken is ready to be served is by using a meat thermometer. When temping, insert an instant-read thermometer horizontally from the side so it penetrates the thickest part of the chicken.
Time to spice things up a bit! When it comes to seasoning your whole chicken, there are numerous flavor combinations to pick.
Try a different dry rub each time you make this whole chicken in a slow cooker recipe.
Personally, I keep my dry rub recipe on the simpler side by mixing together paprika, minced onion, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. You could also check out 5 of the Best Dry Rub Recipes for Chicken for more flavor options!
Yes, meat can touch the sides of the slow cooker as long as it is below the max fill line. Meat touching the sides of the crockpot has the potential to cook faster, resulting in a dryer piece.
Nope! You do not have to put water in the bottom of the slow cooker. The moist heat cooking method of a slow cooker circulates steam from the ingredients.
It takes about 3-4 hours on high or 7-8 hours on low. It honestly depends on the size of your chicken. When the internal temperature reaches 165°F, the chicken is completely cooked. When temping, remember to insert the meat thermometer in the thickest part of the chicken.
As crazy as it might seem, you can cook raw chicken with vegetables. By ensuring the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165°F, you can be certain that your vegetables are safe to eat.
You can leave a slow cooker on low for 8-12 hours. I do not recommend leaving this recipe in the slow cooker longer than 8 hours because it can result in a dryer chicken.
It is highly recommended that you do not put a frozen whole chicken into a crockpot due to food safety concerns. You will want to defrost your whole chicken prior to placing in your slow cooker.
Once the whole chicken is done, I use poultry lifters to remove the chicken from the slow cooker and place on a baking sheet or large serving dish. Then, I remove the vegetables from the slow cooker.
Save the Broth
Cooking a whole chicken slowly in the crockpot creates a delicious broth. This broth can be turned into an Easy Homemade Gravy to pour over the top of this recipe or saved for a later recipe.
Crisp the Skin
You can take your rotisserie-style chicken one step further by making the skin crispy! Place the whole chicken on a baking sheet and set under the broiler for 5 minutes or until the top is brown and crisp.
PRO TIP: For easy clean-up, I will line my baking sheet with foil before placing the chicken on the sheet.
Once your chicken is golden brown, let the chicken set for 15-20 minutes. This allows your chicken to keep moist. If you carve your chicken too early, the juices will escape creating a dry chicken.
Looking for more chicken recipes?
Check these out!
- How To Boil A Whole Chicken
- Air Fryer Chicken Thighs
- Shredded Chicken Skillet Nachos
- Chinese Honey Garlic Chicken
- Chicken Tostada Recipe
- Greek Chicken Thighs
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How To Cook Whole Chicken In Slow Cooker
- 1 small chicken (4-5 lbs)
- 7-8 whole carrots peeled (or baby carrots to fill the bottom of slow cooker)
- 1 tablespoon dry minced onion
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- Place whole carrots into the base of the slow cooker.
- Place chicken (breast side up) on top of the carrots.
- Sprinkle chicken with spices then cover.
- Slow cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 7-8 hours or until internal temperature reaches 165°F.
- Carefully remove chicken and carrots from the slow cooker. Slice chicken and serve.
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