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How to Cook a Whole Chicken in a Slow Cooker: 5 Easy Recipes

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Kathy is a busy mom of two teens who loves to cook tasty and simple food for her family and friends.

Whole chicken cooked in a slow cooker, with carrots, onions and cremini mushrooms.

Whole chicken cooked in a slow cooker, with carrots, onions and cremini mushrooms.

Cooking a whole chicken in your slow cooker is incredibly easy to do, and results in moist, tender and flavourful chicken. It's a great way to prepare a delicious meal on busy days.

Easy Barbecue Chicken in a Crockpot

Here is an easy recipe for cooking a rotisserie style barbecue chicken in your slow cooker:

Ingredients

  • 1 whole chicken, giblets removed
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cups Barbecue Sauce
  • 2 cloves or 2 tsp chopped garlic

Instructions

  1. Put chopped onions and garlic into slow cooker.
  2. Add chicken to slow cooker.
  3. Pour barbecue sauce over chicken.
  4. Put lid on slow cooker, and cook chicken on low for 8-10 hours or high 4-5 hours.

Cooking Time Chart for Slow Cooker Chicken

Weight of ChickenApprox. Cooking Time

2-2.5 lbs

6-8 hrs on low or 3-4 hrs on high

3-4 lbs

7-9 hrs on low or 3.5-4.5 hrs on high

4.5-5 lbs

8-10 hrs on low or 4-5 hrs on high

Using a Meat Thermometer to Test for Doneness

Poultry should be cooked until it reaches a minimum internal temperature of 180 degrees Fahrenheit (85 degrees Celsius).

Because slow cooker temperatures can vary greatly depending on the age and model of your slow cooker, the above recommended cooking times are just a guideline. The best way to test a whole chicken for doneness is to insert a food thermometer into the thickest part of the chicken thigh, without touching the bone. There are a number of different types of food thermometers that work well for testing doneness on a whole chicken, but I've found a digital instant read thermometer to be the most accurate and easy to use.

Other Slow Cooker Chicken Recipes

There are many possible variations of recipes for slow cooker chicken. Instead of adding barbecue sauce to your crockpot chicken, you can make:

  • Lemon Herb Chicken—Add sliced lemon and rosemary or thyme to the crockpot with the chicken. Stuff a quartered lemon into the cavity for more lemon flavour.
  • Roast Chicken—Season the chicken with paprika, thyme or sage and salt and pepper. Stuff chopped garlic or onions into the cavity. When the chicken is cooked, put it under the broiler for a few minutes to get the skin nicely browned and crispy, if desired.
  • Chicken and Vegetables—Season the chicken with a mixture of your favourite herbs or spices, and cook with your choice of vegetables, such as carrots, parsnips, peppers and potatoes.
  • Garlic Chicken—Stuff a few cloves of garlic into the cavity of the chicken. Spread chopped garlic over the chicken and season with pepper.
Garlic chicken, all ready for the slow cooker.

Garlic chicken, all ready for the slow cooker.

Leftover Chicken

Be sure to save any leftover chicken. You can use it for chicken sandwiches for lunch the next day, or add it to salads, casseroles or pasta.

The chicken carcass and bones can be used to make a delicous chicken stock for soup or other recipes. Homemade stock is much healthier for you than store bought varieties, which are typically high in sodium and preservatives.

How to make chicken stock in a crockpot

To make homemade chicken stock in your slow cooker,

  • Put the leftover chicken carcass and bones into your slow cooker.
  • Add 4-6 cups of cold water, 2-3 cups of chopped up vegetables such as carrots, celery, onions and garlic. Vegetable scraps can also be used.
  • Add 1/2 tsp pepper and herbs of your choice (rosemary, thyme or parsley are all good choices) and salt (optional).
  • Put the lid on your slow cooker and simmer on the low setting for 8-10 hours, or overnight.
  • Drain the broth and put it into containers for the fridge or freezer.

Freezing some stock in ice cube trays and then placing the frozen cubes in a ziploc bag in the freezer comes in very handy for adding small quantities to recipes like stir fries, rice and sauces.

Freeze homemade chicken broth in ice cube trays to add to a variety of recipes.

Freeze homemade chicken broth in ice cube trays to add to a variety of recipes.

Slow Cooker Chicken Poll

© 2012 Kathy Sima

Comments

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on May 04, 2019:

I love your recipes to cook whole chickens. I really like every flavor you listed, so variety is the spice of life I guess. Thanks for sharing these recipes.

Lucey Andrew on March 05, 2015:

Amazing and it is really helpful. On coming week , i will be trying for my loving husband.

thanks !

Pollyanna Jones from United Kingdom on February 16, 2015:

This is a really helpful article, and I will be trying these out for certain. They look delicious!

Christine Rogers from Ohio on August 05, 2014:

I have been wondering how to cook a whole chicken- thanks for the recipe!

Kathy Sima (author) from Ontario, Canada on November 25, 2012:

You should give it a try - it's so easy and the chicken comes out so moist and delicious. Thanks for stopping by!

kitkat1141 from Ontario, Canada on November 25, 2012:

I have never tried doing a whole chicken in the slow cooker. I will give this a try. Thanks

Kathy Sima (author) from Ontario, Canada on October 02, 2012:

I know what you mean, Bill! I love my slow cooker! Fall and winter are the perfect time to try out some new crockpot recipes. Thanks for stopping by. :)

No need to feel stupid Mhatter99! I'm glad you like idea though. Enjoy!

Martin Kloess from San Francisco on September 29, 2012:

I feel so stupid. BB sauce-chicken-slow cooker? Of course! Better late than never. Thank you for correcting.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on September 29, 2012:

I have this love affair going with crock pots....and fall and winter are perfect times for your suggestions. Will be trying this for sure.