This Crockpot Whole Chicken is incredibly moist and flavorful, thanks to a coating of seasoned garlic butter and the slow cooker! The perfect make ahead weekend dinner, great for meal prepping!
Table of Contents
- How do I prepare a whole chicken for cooking?
- How long does it take to cook a whole chicken in the slow cooker?
- Tips for making the best Slow Cooker Whole Chicken:
- Can I cook a Crockpot Whole Chicken on low?
- Variations on this Crockpot Whole Chicken:
- What to do with leftover chicken:
- Crockpot Whole Chicken Recipe
There is so much to love about this Crockpot Whole Chicken.
- It’s so easy to make — literally 5 minutes prep and you’re on your way!
- So flavorful and juicy, with no babysitting the oven and worrying about drying out your chicken.
- The leftovers are just as great as the day you made it — and they can be enjoyed in so many ways.
I love having a stash of whole chickens in the freezer for quick meals when we have a busy week.
It’s easy to throw a whole chicken in the slow cooker, let it cook a few hours hands off, and enjoy it all week long in different recreations (I’ve shared a few of my favorites below!).
Then I have extra time to prepare my favorite additions to a roast chicken dinner: these Cream Cheese Mashed Potatoes, (these Roasted Potatoes and Carrots if I’m feeling less indulgent) and my Mom’s Homemade Buns — which are incredibly fluffy and perfect for soaking up all those juices!
If you have a whole chicken but don’t have 4 hours to let it cook, check out my Instant Pot Whole Chicken Recipe — you can cook it from fresh or frozen!
How do I prepare a whole chicken for cooking?
- Remove the giblets from the cavity if there are some — they come in a small package that is easily removed before cooking. We don’t use them, so I discard it. It should say on your package whether the chicken comes with giblets or not, but when in doubt, check.
- Tie the legs — this is optional, but it makes for more even cooking and a nicer presentation. If you want to place some onion or lemon slices in the cavity (this recipe doesn’t call for that, but you can add some), do so before tying the legs together.
- Create a sling — if you know you want to remove the chicken later to broil it, and your crockpot liner isn’t oven safe, you can create a sling out of foil and place it under the chicken to lift it out later.
- Rub a dub — place the whole chicken in the slow cooker and massage it with the garlic butter. You can rub some in the cavity for more great flavor if you like, but I find the butter does a pretty good job of penetrating the chicken as it cooks. The juices will release from the chicken and add flavor during the cooking process as well.
How long does it take to cook a whole chicken in the slow cooker?
When cooking a large cut of meat like a whole chicken in the slow cooker, it is often cooked on high to prevent the chicken from remaining at an unsafe temperature for too long.
I have had great results cooking a whole chicken on high for the whole cook time, and I like that it’s done in a few hours.
I can prep it in the morning for a Sunday lunch with the family, or I can throw it in the crockpot after lunch for an easy weeknight dinner.
I find that 4-5 hours on high is perfect for my slow cooker, but it will depend on your model, the size and how hot it is.
I use my 2.5 quart casserole crockpot for most things, and it heats pretty quickly. If you are using a larger slow cooker, or it is not as hot, you may find you need 5-6 hours on high.
If you need to cook it on low, I recommend 8 hours on low.
Be sure to always check the internal temperature of a cooked chicken and ensure it reaches 165 degrees F in the thickest part of the thigh.
Tips for making the best Slow Cooker Whole Chicken:
- Add flavor — chicken is a great blank canvas and takes on flavor easily. This garlic butter is one of my favorite ways to do it up, but I’ve included several variations below.
- Get that cook time just right — the best thing about cooking a whole chicken in the crockpot is that it’s actually pretty difficult to overcook it. You aren’t going to overcook it by leaving it 10 minutes too long, as you might when roasting in the oven. The cook time is flexible, as long as you ensure it’s cooked to a safe temperature and don’t go crazy and leave it for 8 hours on high, thinking it’s on low.
- Broil the skin — if you want that crispy, golden skin that we all love (I’ll admit, I love it and I don’t even eat the skin!), we can’t do that in the slow cooker. To get crispy skin, you will need to broil the chicken for 5 minutes in the oven, in your crock pot dish if it is oven safe or in a large baking dish. This will take your crockpot whole chicken to the next level. (The photo below is a look at the chicken before broiling — juicy and delicious but not the most appealing!)
Can I cook a Crockpot Whole Chicken on low?
As I mentioned above, you can cook a whole chicken in the slow cooker on low, but it’s generally not the preferred method as it means the chicken is sitting at a lukewarm temperature for longer, which is somewhat unsafe.
Raw meat should either be cold, or hot (as in the cooking process), and not left in the middle for too long.
If you need to cook a whole chicken on low, I recommend 8 hours, and you should cook it on high for the first hour to encourage the slow cooker to heat quickly.
Variations on this Crockpot Whole Chicken:
- Can I add potatoes or vegetables? You can add potatoes to this recipe, provided you have room to do so. Potatoes cook anywhere from 2-6 hours on low, depending on the size and temperature of your slow cooker, so the tricky part is figuring out exactly how long to leave them in.
- Spice up the seasoning: if you want some extra kick, add a pinch of cayenne or some chili powder to the garlic butter before rubbing on.
- Sweeten it up: add a spoonful of brown sugar before cooking for a bit of sweetness if that’s your thing
What to do with leftover chicken:
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Crockpot Whole Chicken
- 4 lb whole chicken
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- 1 teaspoon seasoning salt (I use Lawry's)
- 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- Unwrap your chicken and remove any bag from the inner cavity if there is one. Gently loosen the skin but do not remove it.
- Tie chicken legs together if desired (this is optional) and place in a 3-6 quart crockpot.
- In a small bowl, combine butter, parsley, seasoning salt, garlic powder, pepper, and paprika. Spread butter evenly under the skin and on top of the skin.
- Put the lid on the slow cooker and cook on high for 4-5 hours, until a meat thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh reaches 165 degrees F. Try not to open the lid too many times during the cooking process and this can release the heat.
- When chicken is cooked, you can slice and serve, or place in an oven safe baking dish (some crockpot liners are oven safe) and broil until the skin is golden if desired.
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