Slow cooking a whole chicken is so easy anyone can make it! Roast a chicken in a slow cooker for a juicy, tender chicken just like you would expect from a rotisserie chicken.
It’s really easy to pick up a rotisserie chicken from Costco or Sam’s Club and enjoy an easy dinner, but making your own whole chicken can be less expensive and healthier, because you’ll know exactly what’s in it. When cooking a whole chicken in the slow cooker it turns out just as mouthwatering and tender as a store-bought chicken, if not better.
The plus to cooking a whole chicken at once is the fact that you will have chicken leftovers for dinner the next night or even chicken to use in other meals throughout the week. There are so many ways to cook a whole chicken, including Air Fryer Whole Chicken and Instant Pot Whole Chicken, but this one is definitely a favorite of mine.
When I have time I love roasting chicken in my oven but when I need to have dinner prepped and cooking before leaving the house my go-to way to cook a whole chicken is in the slow cooker. Trust me when I say you will never want to go back to store-bought rotisserie chicken again once you give this slow cooker whole chicken cooking method a try!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- No Need to Brine: When cooking a chicken using a dry method like grilling or air frying, I always recommend brining the chicken first. Using the crockpot is a wet cooking method, so no brining is needed!
- Hands Off: Toss everything in the slow cooker and walk away for 3 to 5 hours. It’s so simple!
- Simply Flavored: Less is sometimes more when it comes to seasoning chicken. The simple seasonings in this recipe mean that this chicken will go with all of your favorite side dishes.
- Whole Chicken: A 4-5 pound chicken serves 4-6 to people. You can use whatever size you desire as long as it fits in your slow cooker and the lid is still able to close. Before starting be sure you have removed the giblets from the inside of your chicken.
- Olive Oil: Olive oil gives a great flavor to the chicken and helps the seasonings to stick to the skin.
- Paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, dried thyme, dried rosemary, dried basil. These herbs and spices make the perfect homemade dry rub for a delicious flavor that soaks into the chicken as it slowly cooks.
Complete list of ingredients and amounts can be found in the recipe card below.
Use fresh herbs in place of dried ones when you can to add more fresh flavor to the chicken.
How to slow cook a whole chicken
- Mix: In a small bowl, combine the dry rub ingredients (paprika, garlic, onion, thyme, rosemary, and basil).
- Prep: Place a trivet into the bottom of the slow cooker, and then place the chicken on top of it. Drizzle with olive oil and then apply the dry rub all over the chicken. Truss the chicken legs with twine and place breast side up.
- Slow Cook: Cover the crock pot and cook for either 3 hours on high or 5 hours on low. The chicken is ready when the internal temperature reaches 165°F/74°C when checked using an instant read thermometer.
- Brown: To crisp up the skin after slow cooking, place the chicken on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and place under the broiler for 5 to 10 minutes or until the skin is crispy.
Tips and Tricks
- Try Butter: Use melted butter instead of olive oil to add more savory flavor to the chicken.
- Switch Flavors: Other spice rubs work just as well as this homemade one. My favorite is shawarma seasoning, but you may also like a fajita or Italian seasoning rub as well.
- Thaw it Out: Make sure your chicken is thawed before cooking in a slow cooker, this is very important for safety reasons. Don’t try to cook a frozen whole chicken this way.
What to Serve With Slow Cooker Whole Chicken?
With Your Favorite Sides: Any type of potatoes, rice, or steamed vegetables would be perfect to serve with your chicken. I like to serve instant pot butter potatoes and broccoli, but you could try Sausage Stuffing, Dirty Rice, or Hashbrown Casserole.
On a Salad: Cold, shredded or diced slow cooker rotisserie chicken is perfect to add to salads. Try it with a Chicken Caesar salad for the easiest dinner ever.
There is no need to add water to a whole chicken recipe in the slow cooker. If you do add water it tends to make your chicken lose its flavor and taste bland. However, you can add butter or lemon juice to give it more flavor if you desire.
Start by scraping the bottom of your slow cooker to remove any excess skin that may have fallen off or stuck to the bottom. Gather up ¼ cup of broth and whisk in 3 ½ tablespoons cornstarch and set aside. Next, heat a skillet over medium-high and pour in 2 ¾ cups chicken broth and the pan scrapings. Bring to a simmer then whisk cornstarch mixture into the pan and season with salt and pepper if needed. Continue cooking mixture and whisking constantly, until thickened, for about 1–2 minutes. For thicker gravy, you can add in a little heavy cream.
You can overcook your chicken in the slow cooker. However, this recipe is very forgiving and the chicken will not dry out if you cook it for an hour longer than this recipe calls for.
The slow cooker does not brown or crisp the chicken. You can broil the chicken in the oven if you want crispy skin. To brown or crisp the chicken all you have to do is place it in the oven on a baking sheet for 5-10 minutes or until the chicken is crispy.
The best thing about cooking a whole chicken no matter if it is in a slow cooker or air fryer is the amount of leftover chicken you end up with. I love shredding the chicken and using it in other dishes throughout the week. It really helps make meal prep so much easier already having pre-cooked chicken. Try:
Baked chicken tacos.
Chicken enchiladas or quesadillas.
Chicken pot pie.
Chicken and Rice or Lemon Chicken Orzo soups.
Before storing your leftover chicken make sure it has cooled down before placing it in an airtight container and storing it in the fridge. The chicken will last up to 3-4 days in the refrigerator.
- Trivet – A trivet is best used to help the chicken from sticking to the bottom of the slow cooker. If you do not have a trivet you can roll up balls of aluminum foil and place them in the bottom of your slow cooker before placing the chicken in.
- Instant read Thermometer – A must have tool to test meat to make sure that it is properly cooked to the correct temperature.
- Baking Sheet – Having a nice strong baking sheet that is sturdy enough to hold the whole chicken without bending is really important if you wish to crisp the chicken skin in the oven.
You are going to fall in love with this simple, hands-off method for cooking a whole chicken in the slow cooker! Don’t forget to pin it.
- In a small bowl, combine the dry rub ingredients: paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, thyme, rosemary, and basil.
- Place trivet in the slow cooker, and then place the chicken in the slow cooker over the trivet. Drizzle with olive oil then apply the dry rub all over the chicken. Truss the chicken legs with kitchen twine and place the chicken breast side up.
- Cover and cook for 4 hours on high or 6 hours on low. The chicken is ready when the internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C) when checked using an instant read thermometer.
- If you wish to crisp up the skin after slow cooking, place on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil and place under the broiler for 5-10 minutes or until the skin is crispy.
- To make Gravy. Start by scraping the bottom of your slow cooker to remove any excess skin that may have fallen off or stuck to the bottom. Gather up ¼ cup of broth and whisk in 3 ½ tablespoons cornstarch and set aside. Next, heat a skillet over medium-high and pour in 2 ¾ cups chicken broth and the pan scrapings. Bring to a simmer then whisk cornstarch mixture into the pan and season with salt and pepper if needed. Continue cooking mixture and whisking constantly, until thickened, for about 1–2 minutes. For thicker gravy, you can add in a little heavy cream.
- Storing. Before storing your leftover chicken make sure it has cooled down before placing it in an airtight container and storing it in the fridge. The chicken will last up to 3-4 days in the refrigerator.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.
© Little Sunny Kitchen