How to Cook a Whole Chicken in the Crock-Pot

What would we do without our slow cookers?

I don’t know about you, but my life would be a whole lot harder and I probably wouldn’t eat as many meals that require a long cooking time if I didn’t have one of these miracle electric kitchen appliances.

Vertical image of an herbed chicken breast on a plate with green beans and roasted potatoes, on a brown wood table with a folded red cloth napkin topped with a fork, with a platter filled with more of the poultry in soft focus in the background, printed with orange and white text in the top third and at the bottom of the frame.

And that would seriously be a total tragedy. How else am I supposed to get full meals made in one pot without having to do anything but throw it all in and set the timer?

Now, if you haven’t cooked up a whole chicken in your Crock-Pot yet, let me be the one to tell you that you are missing out on the easiest way to cook an entire bird without even having to check on it.

When it comes to classic comfort food, there’s nothing like a chicken dinner.

Vertical overhead image of cooked whole poultry in a slow cooker, stuffed with fresh herbs and sprinkled with salt and pepper.

I remember that my grandmother used to spend so much time getting her bird just right. She would use tons of butter, and stuff fresh herbs and lemon in the cavity.

The bird would be placed lovingly in the oven and roasted for a long time, until it came out perfectly cooked and juicy.

Of course, we all have busy lives. Finding the time to tend to a chicken that’s roasting in the oven isn’t always possible.

Vertical overhead image of cooked chicken breasts and thighs on a white serving platter, on top of a white cloth with a red border, with scattered sprigs of sage and thyme.

Using your slow cooker instead is probably the easiest way to make whole roasted poultry at home. With just a few minutes of prep, you’re free to tend to all of those other things that require your attention without wasting any precious time.

You know, like that pile of laundry that’s waiting patiently to be washed, endless piles of dog hair that need to be vacuumed up, and a sink full of dishes.

Vertical closeup image of a bite of chicken on a fork, with a plate of more of the poultry, green beans, and roasted potatoes beside a red folded cloth napkin and a platter of more of the entree in soft focus in the background.

Cooking a whole bird in your slow cooker is so easy. I took a page from my grandmother’s book by stuffing the cavity of this bird with lemons and fresh herbs, to infuse the meat with extra flavor.

The bird is also seasoned on the outside, both under the skin and outside to create the most flavorful poultry possible.

While the bird cooks in the Crock-Pot for hours with savory onions and broth, there’s this magic that happens that keeps the meat oh-so-juicy and tantalizing.

Horizontal overhead image of a slow cooked skinless chicken breast coated with herbs, on a plate with green beans and roasted potatoes, on a brown wood surface with a folded red cloth napkin topped with a fork to the left of the frame.

You can easily serve this recipe up with just about any side dish you can think of. I am one of those people who loves the classics like roasted potatoes and green beans, but you do you. You can even incorporate the meat from the chicken into a different recipe later in the week if you want.

If you’re all about meal prep right now, this is a killer way to cook up some simple poultry that you can add to salads, sandwiches, wraps, and pasta dishes. It’s also nice to just have in the fridge all week to pull out on those nights when you need something quick for dinner and want to be somewhat healthy.

Want to make your life super tasty and a little bit easier? This is one of those recipes that you’ll pull out again and again.

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Horizontal image of a slow cooked herb chicken breast on a plate with portions of green beans and roasted potatoes, on a brown wood table with red cloth napkins and silverware in the background.

Crock-Pot Whole Chicken


  • Author: Meghan Yager
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 hours
  • Total Time: 5 hours 10 minutes
  • Yield: 1 4-lb chicken 1x

Description

Yes, you really can cook a whole chicken in your Crock-Pot, and it’s the easiest thing in the world to do. You’ll love the flavorful, juicy results.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 large mild onion, peeled and quartered (about 1 cup)
  • 1 whole chicken (about 4 lbs)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 3 sprigs thyme
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 3 sage leaves
  • 1 cup chicken broth

Instructions

  1. Place onion in the bottom of the slow cooker.
  2. Place salt, pepper, and thyme in a small bowl and stir to combine.
  3. Remove the giblets from the chicken, if included. Gently lift the skin away from the meat using your fingers. Spread about 3/4 of the seasoning mixture under the skin.
  4. Sprinkle the rest of the seasoning all over the outside. Place garlic, lemon, and fresh herbs inside the cavity. Place chicken on top of onions with the breast side up. Pour stock around the bird.
  5. Cover and cook for 5 hours on High, or until completely cooked. The timing may depend on the size of your chicken and your specific slow cooker.
  6. Remove from slow cooker and cut into desired portions for serving.

  • Category: Chicken
  • Method: Slow Cooker
  • Cuisine: Dinner

Keywords: chicken, slow cooker, Crock-Pot, whole chicken

Cooking By the Numbers…

Step 1 – Prep and Measure Ingredients

Peel and quarter one large, mild onion.

Peel two cloves of garlic.

Horizontal overhead image of springs of fresh herbs, a yellow onion, a lemon, a small square glass dish of salt and pepper, a small round glass dish of chicken broth, and a raw whole chicken on a black ceramic plate, on a brown wood table.

Cut a lemon in half.

Measure out all of the remaining ingredients as listed on the ingredients list.

Step 2 – Prepare Chicken

Add the onion pieces to the bottom of the slow cooker insert.

Horizontal overhead image of a peeled and quartered onion in the bottom of a metal slow cooker insert.

Stir together salt, pepper, and dried thyme in a small bowl.

Remove the giblets from the chicken. Lift the skin gently away from the meat, being careful not to tear it, and use your fingers to spread 3/4 of the seasoning under the skin.

Horizontal overhead image of a whole raw chicken on a small black plate, sprinkled with salt and pepper, on a brown wood background.

Sprinkle the rest of the seasoning over the top of the chicken and rub it in gently.

Place the garlic, lemon, and fresh herbs inside the cavity.

Horizontal overhead image of a raw whole chicken on a black plate, sprinkled with salt and pepper and with fresh herbs stuffed in the cavity, on a brown wood surface.

Place the chicken on top of the onions, breast side up.

Overhead horizontal image of a raw chicken in a metal slow cooker insert, sprinkled with salt and pepper and with sprigs of fresh herbs stuffed in the cavity, on a brown wood surface.

Pour the stock around the bird, being careful not to wash off the spice rub.

Step 3 – Slow Cook

Cover and cook for 5 hours on High, or until the poultry is completely cooked. Check for doneness with a meat thermometer – it should register 165˚F in the thickest part of the breast, away from the bone.

Horizontal overhead image of a whole cooked chicken filled with fresh herbs and sprinkled with black pepper, in a metal slow cooker insert with about a cup of broth.

I used a 7-quart Instant Pot to cook mine and it was done in a little under 5 hours.

Horizontal closely cropped overhead image of cooked herb chicken on a white ceramic serving platter, on a white cloth topped with scattered sprigs of fresh sage and thyme.

Remove the chicken carefully from the pot, and place it on a cutting board. Allow it to rest for 10 minutes or so, then cut into portions and serve.

How Can I Give Present This Dish Beautifully?

I know, sometimes the things we cook in the Crock-Pot don’t come out looking like they should be on the cover of a magazine. As easy as this recipe is, you aren’t cooking it in the oven, and it’s going to look different than oven-roasted poultry would.

So, the way I like make this chicken look really pretty is by cutting it into pieces – the breasts, the wings, and the thighs with the legs. Then you should remove the skin, because the long cooking time doesn’t make it crispy.

I remove the skin from the breasts and thighs, slice the breasts, and arrange all of the meat on a serving platter. Then I sprinkle everything with some fresh parsley.

It’s as easy as that.

Horizontal image of a slow cooked herb chicken breast on a plate with portions of green beans and roasted potatoes, on a brown wood table with red cloth napkins and silverware in the background.

For more slow cooker recipes that feature chicken, try these Foodal favorites next:

How often do you use your slow cooker? Tell us in the comments below, and don’t forget to give this recipe a rating after you try it, to let other readers know how much you enjoyed it!

Photos by Meghan Yager, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on April 1, 2012. Last updated: January 15, 2020 at 17:10 pm.

Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.

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About Meghan Yager

Meghan Yager is a food addict turned food and travel writer with a love for creating uncomplicated, gourmet recipes and devouring anything the world serves up. As the author of the food and travel blog Cake 'n Knife, Meghan focuses on unique foodie experiences from around the world to right at home in your own kitchen.

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