Best Whole Chicken in a Slow Cooker

Who knew you could throw a question up on your Facebook page about what to cook in a crock pot and wind up with enough inspiration to last a month of dinners.

And who knew talented cookbook writer Tara Matazara Desmond would be tuning in at just the right moment and offer up a real keeper of a recipe for slow cooker chicken.

And who knew I’d make the time to test out her recipe and find it works just as she said it would.

Indeed, who knew you could plop a whole chicken in a slow cooker with very little else besides and end up with some seriously tasty, tender bird.

And so, here you have it: “Who Knew” Crock Pot Chicken.

While crock pot cooking doesn’t result in the crispy skin that comes from oven roasting, it does make the chicken darn delicious on the inside. Plus, you can make double duty of this dish:  As soon as the chicken is cooked, pull it from the pot and let it rest until cool enough to handle. Then, discard the skin (which has the upside of also removing much of the fat), strip the meat from the bones, and store it in a container in the fridge until ready to use.

Then, you can pop those bones back into the slow cooker and brew them into a tasty chicken stock (instructions for making broth are featured below the recipe).

I used the chicken meat for taco salad one night and chicken sandwiches for lunch the next day. The broth is stowed away in the freezer waiting for my next pot of soup.

Who knew home cooking could be so easy.

Whole Chicken in a Slow Cooker

Ingredients

  • 1 whole chicken , 3 to 3 1/2 pounds.
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground paprika (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 medium carrots , cut in half
  • 2 stalks celery , cut in half
  • 1 medium onion , peeled and quartered
  • 2 cloves garlic , peeled
  • 1 large or 2 small bay leaves
  • 1/2 cup water

Instructions

  1. Season the chicken with the salt and pepper. Do this a day ahead and store in the refrigerator, if possible.
  2. Sprinkle the outside of the chicken with paprika, if desired. Put the chicken in the slow cooker. Add the carrots, celery, onion, and garlic to the pot, tucking them around the chicken. Add the bay leaf and the water. Put on the lid and turn the pot to low. Cook until the chicken is done. You can check for doneness by inserting a little knife where the leg attaches to the body of the chicken to see that the meat is no longer pink. This will take 4 to 4 1/2 hours.
  3. Remove the chicken from the pot and set it on a carving board. Carve the bird into pieces.

Recipe Notes

To make chicken broth, once the chicken is cooked, pull the meat off the bones. Store the meat in the fridge until ready to use. Put the bones back into the crock pot. Add two more whole carrots, 2 whole stalks celery, half an onion, and another bay leaf. Add 5 more cups of water, turn the pot to low and cook an additional 4 hours. Strain the broth through a fine mesh sieve. Refrigerate or freeze until ready to use.

Comments

03.24.2013 at 10:10 AM #

Meg

Its a Sunday, feels like a perfect day to cook this chicken. Thanks for the great recipe. One question…what dressing do you make for the yummy taco salad?

03.24.2013 at 10:10 AM #

katiemorford

Lime juice, olive oil, salt and pepper.

04.02.2013 at 11:29 PM #

Pam H

Thanks! I did this today. Yummy chicken and the broth is in the freezer.

04.02.2013 at 11:29 PM #

katiemorford

Yay! BTW, I haven’t forgotten your 15 Minute Fix request 🙂

05.22.2013 at 12:19 PM #

Janet Marten

Dear Katie,
I am enjoying reading your suggestions and recipes. Since you are a registered dietician I wondered if you would have any advice for me and diet. I am not over weight but under weight by about 15 pounds. I do not starve myself. I eat well. I snack. I am about 5’3″ and have stayed at 96 pounds for many years. I am 49 years old. I do have a bit of a squishing belly, which I suppose sit ups would remedy. The only fat I have seems to go there. I read that belly fat is the worst to have and that if you measure just above your hips around your waist and it is at 32″ that is the beginning of a danger zone for women. I measured recently at 30″. I do walk fairly often. I try to stay away from soda’s and lots of sweets, chips, and crackers. It seems I crave breads and protein the most. I wondered what advice or wisdom you might have concerning my body type and why it may respond the way it does. ( I do not lift weights but I imagine that would be an intelligent thing to try and do.) Thank you!

05.22.2013 at 12:19 PM #

katiemorford

Hi Janet

It’s not possible for me to do a proper assessment in this way. I will say that we all have different body types. Our weights and where the weight settles is very individual. Exercise and strength training str always a good idea, especially as we get older. If you are concerned, I’d check in with your doctor or seek the counsel of a dietitian in your area, which you can find by going here: http://www.eatright.org/programs/rdfinder/

Good luck to you.

08.11.2013 at 6:06 PM #

Sam K

Katie, my husband and I both work leave for work roughly 7am and dont return most days until 530 or so. It is so easy to become the ‘eat out’ couple due to time/ convenience, but we try to make and have dinner at home together. A lot of things I make in the slow cooker actually overcook when on low for that amount of time. I was wondering if you had any slow cooker ideas that can withstand the whole 10+ hours we are not at home?
I appreciate your time!
Sam and Tim

08.11.2013 at 6:06 PM #

katiemorford

Hi Sam

That is a common issue, Sam. And while I have experimented with the slow cooker, I am not an expert. I would turn to the folks at the Zen of Slow Cooking (www.thezenofslowcooking.com) for recipes and with this question. They are the real pros! You may also want to check out my 15 Minute Fix recipes, which are listed on my blog under the recipes tab on the home page. Those are good ones for when you roll in the door and don’t want to fuss too much over supper! Good luck. Katie

11.11.2013 at 5:14 PM #

Felicia

Thank You for sharing! I have recently focused my time on crock pot cooking due to my busy schedule and the needing to watch what I eat. I’m trying out whole chicken, cream of mushroom soup, onions, bay leaf and Montreal Chicken seasoning as I write this. I find that if I cook my food the night before I go to work I won’t have to worry about over cooking my food, plus the main course is already done when I get home from work 🙂

Again thanks for sharing and Continued Success 🙂

11.11.2013 at 5:14 PM #

katiemorford

Thanks Felicia. I know, there is nothing better than coming home to a fully cooked, warm meal.

02.17.2014 at 4:44 PM #

Pam H (the other one)

Katie,

I don’t know how I missed this recipe but am going to try it soon. Often I find it tough to find a 3-4 lb bird. They seem to only grow monsters, even at Rocky. I’ll of course need to increase the cooking time here, but any suggestions on how to gauge that? My chicken is 5 lbs.

Pam

02.17.2014 at 4:44 PM #

katiemorford

I would just take a paring knife and make a little slit to see that it’s cooked through.You could also use an instant read thermometer. Insert it in the meatiest part of the thigh and check that it’s at least 165 degrees.

11.01.2016 at 11:25 AM #

Jennifer M Pultz

Hi Katie,
Remember to put a splash of vinegar into your chicken broth as your cook the bones to draw our more minerals. Also throw some chicken feet in. Read Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon and you will learn a lot.
THanks,
Jen

11.01.2016 at 11:25 AM #

katiemorford

That’s so funny…I have a pot of broth bubbling this very moment and for the first time have added chicken feet. Looking forward to the finished broth!

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