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How to Cook a Whole Chicken in a Slow Cooker

Created March 10, 2017
Slow-cooker chicken
With a few simple steps, you can cook a whole chicken in a slow cooker for an easy dinner.

Looking for an easy way to cook a whole chicken? Just break out the slow cooker!

You can have an entire juicy, tender chicken with just a few simple steps.

When I was first presented with the idea of cooking a whole chicken in a slow cooker, I was a wee bit skeptical. Nonetheless, I was excited to try it out as I had recently been handed down a slow cooker I hadn't used yet. In fact, I have never used one myself and this seemed like the perfect recipe for the inaugural use!  

I got my slow cooker ready to go, prepped the chicken and crossed my fingers as I tossed it in and waited. After what felt like an eternity (but was really only about 8 hours) the chicken was done. Since you can't have chicken without crispy skin, I tossed it in the oven to broil for about 5 minutes. As soon as I put the chicken in the oven I could tell how juicy it was going to be as I watched the skin bubble and crackle with all the juices flowing under it. I couldn't wait to dig in! 

This chicken was no disappointment – it was really easy to make, the meat was super juicy, with lots of flavor, and with the kiss of heat from the oven, the chicken had perfect crispy skin! This definitely won't be the last time a chicken meets my slow cooker.

Here's how it all goes down...

You'll want to use a 5-6 quart oval-shaped slow cooker and a 3.5 to 4.5 pound chicken. The first step is making sure you raise the chicken off the bottom of the slow cooker, so it doesn't stew in its own juices. To accomplish this, you can either ball up some tinfoil and place it under the chicken or, as I have done here, chop up some veggies and potatoes and place them under the chicken. 

After chopping up the carrots, celery, onion and potatoes, place them in the slow cooker and drizzle them with a generous amount of olive oil (make sure they're well-coated to keep them from drying out). Season with salt and pepper, and any other herbs that you may like. 

Next, loosely pack your chicken with aromatics. Remember not to overstuff, and don’t tie the legs together to ensure the chicken properly cooks all the way through.

I used a few lemon wedges, a few cloves of garlic, some onion, and fresh poultry herbs (rosemary, thyme, and sage). Rub the chicken with olive oil or butter (your preference), then generously season with salt, pepper, and your herb of choice (I used thyme). Rub the seasoning into the chicken, place it in the slow cooker and you're ready to roll! Set it on low heat. Depending on the size of your chicken, it should take about 6-9 hours (mine was 3.5 lbs and it took about 8 hours). Remember: Do not remove the lid before at least 6 hours of cooking have passed. 

Once your chicken reaches at least 165°F, take it out of the slow cooker, place it in a roasting pan and broil it in the oven for about 5 minutes or until the skin is crisped to your liking.

That's it! Super easy, and totally something you can throw on before going to work and have ready by the time you get home!