How to Cook a Whole Chicken in the Crock Pot

How to Cook a Whole Chicken in a Crock Pot

So I know cooking a whole chicken in a crock pot might not be as glamorous as some of the other recipes I post on Mondays around here, but believe me, this is something you need to know about.  This chicken has changed my life.  You simply need to know how to cook a whole chicken in a crock pot.

When it comes to home-cooked meals, there is nothing easier than the crock pot.  And there are very few foods that are as family-pleasing and healthy than roasted chicken.  Combine those two things and you have a winner every time.  That’s basically what you’re doing when you use this method to cook your chicken.  And I promise you have never had a more tender, flavorful chicken than this one. The slow cooking gives you chicken that literally falls off the bone.  There is not a shred of chicken that goes to waste.  And to add to the already huge payoff you’ll get by having dinner waiting for you at the end of the day, you can also use my method for making chicken stock in the crock pot when you’re done with your meal. So this is not only a recipe that saves you time and makes the whole family happy, but it also helps the budget too.

Since we started twice a week soccer practice a few weeks ago I’ve been making a whole chicken in the crock pot on a weekly basis.  I’m willing to bet you will too!  Feel free to vary the spices based on what you like and have on hand.

Whole Chicken in the Crock Pot
serves at least 4

1 large mild onion, peeled and quartered (I use a yellow onion)
1 large whole chicken (about 4 lbs)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
2 cloves garlic, peeled

Place onion in the bottom of the crock pot.

Combine salt, pepper, and thyme in a small bowl and stir to combine.  Remove the giblets (if included) from the chicken.  Gently lift the skin away from the chicken using your fingers.  Spread about 3/4 of the salt mixture under skin.  Sprinkle the rest over the top of the chicken.  Place garlic inside the cavity of the chicken.  Place chicken on top of onions in the crock pot.

Cover and cook for 5 hours. or until chicken is completely cooked.  (This may depend on the size of your chicken and your specific crock pot.  For my 4 pound chicken it took my crock pot 5 hours.) *Note, apparently I have the oldest crock pot in the United States.  I had no idea there was a way to chose your time and temperature separately.  On my crock pot if you pick 5 hours you are automatically picking “high” temperature.  So the answer to your questions is yes, High for 5 hours. This was for my 4 lb chicken in my ancient crock pot, so your time may vary slightly. :)

Remove chicken from crock pot and cut into desired portions for serving.

Recipe adapted from


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    • says

      My crock pot is an older one – it doesn’t give me many specifics to choose from. For this chicken I always use the setting labeled “High 4-5 hours”. I think with newer crock pots you can chose the temperature and the time separately, so I’d use high for this if you have a choice.

    • says

      My crock pot is an older one. It doesn’t give me many specifics to choose from. For this recipe I always use the setting labeled “High 4-5 hours”. I think with newer crock pots you can chose the temperature and the time separately, so I’d stick with high for this.

  1. Jen says

    I cook chicken in the crockpot all the time! You are right, so yummy and easy! I cook mine for the first hour on high to get it up into the safe food temperature range, and then about 9 hours on low from there. So its great to put into the crockpot before work. Also, the juices make a great gravy! Let them separate and skim off 1/4 cup of fat from the top, put fat and 1/4 flour in a saucepan and stir over medium till smotth, then add 2 cups of other juices or broth, bring to a boil stirring constantly and cook for 1 minute more till thickened. A little salt and pepper to taste, and done!

  2. elithea says

    so if you need eight hours or so (I work from 6:30 toround 4+, with the commute) could you put it on low instead?

  3. Rachel G says

    I cook my whole chicken, breast side down, on low for about 6 hours until it reaches 165F. My crockpot is newer and not very fancy (Hamilton Beach with knob settings Warm, Low, and High). When I first made a whole chicken in my crockpot, I had misgivings about the time and safety of the chicken. I tested the chicken on all parts (breast, leg, thigh) to ensure it was cooked all the way through. I would think if I cooked this chicken any longer, the chicken would be dry and chewy.

  4. melanie says

    I’ve done my chicken several times in the crockpot with great results….but what do I do with all the liquids at the bottom. Can I use to make stock?

  5. Sheri says

    I made this and the breast meat was dry, juices didnt reach the meat. Guess we should know to cook this breast side down?

    • says

      Sheri, That is a good idea, though I didn’t cook mine that way and it wasn’t dry at all. Thanks for the suggestion. :)


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