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    You are in: Home / Community Forums / Slow Cooker & Crock-Pot Cooking / How to slow cook a whole chicken
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    How to slow cook a whole chicken

    Red Apple Guy
    Tue May 01, 2012 8:49 pm
    Forum Host
    I love roasted chicken; however, there are times when a crock pot works better for my schedule.

    Some basics:
    This is not a set-it-and-forget-it dish. Chicken cooks quickly compared to meats and most other crock-pot dishes. My experience is that an overcooked chicken is usually dry. I have seen rare exceptions to that, but I’m really not sure why.

    Cook until the breast is 170F internally and/or the thigh is 180F. Alternatively, purchase a bird with a pop-up timer. I would offer times for cooking; however, slow cooker vary so much in cooking characteristics, it’s much better to use temperature as your guide. You can also estimate cooking times as roughly three quarters of the time required for meat dishes like roast using your slow cooker.

    Add little or no liquids to the pot; they are not needed. If it’s stock you’re after, use the bones left over and cook them in water using one of the stock recipes on this site. A slow cooker is excellent at this.

    Go simple on the seasoning, using salt, pepper and one or two spices or herbs. Rosemary and sage are good.

    A note about the difference between slow cooking and roasting: the skin will not be crisp. Neither is the skin “rubbery” as with some slower cooking methods (like smoked chicken). If you must have crisp skin, either roast in the oven or finish cooking in a hot oven (375 to 400F) for a few minutes uncovered. The color of the skin will also not be as brown as in an oven-roasted chicken.

    Aluminum foil is your friend. Balls of foil can hold the chicken up out of the liquid that forms. Foil "slings" or bands can help with lifting the cooked chicken after cooking.

    There are recipes here that follow those guidelines. They are among the most highly rated recipes for chicken.

    Whole Chicken Crock Pot Recipe

    Mexican Style Lime and Cilantro Whole Chicken (Slow Cooker)

    And…Italian Dressing Whole Chicken Crock Pot Recipe

    Wed May 02, 2012 9:11 am
    Forum Host
    Red, I've browned the chicken in a skillet before putting it in the crock - that makes the color a little nicer. Deglaze the skillet with a little wine or broth and pour over the chicken. But you are right, you need no additional liquid otherwise.
    Red Apple Guy
    Wed May 02, 2012 7:46 pm
    Forum Host
    Well, I wouldn't have thought of that. I typically brown meats before slow cooking but I hadn't thought of browning a whole chicken. Of course! That's exactly what should be done.

    Duonyte, I take back half the things I've said about you. icon_lol.gif

    Thanks, great input as usual.

    Sat May 05, 2012 3:46 pm
    Semi-Experienced "Sous Chef" Poster
    When recipes call for the store rottisere chicken, make one in the crockpot instead...No need to worry about what has been added to that store bought chicken.
    Red Apple Guy
    Sun May 06, 2012 7:30 am
    Forum Host
    Yeah, it does give you more control and it's cheaper. It's just not as easy.
    Sun May 06, 2012 2:07 pm
    Semi-Experienced "Sous Chef" Poster
    It's not hard at all...toss a bird in the Crockpot and season, cook all day. That really isn't much more difficult that buying and MUCH better for you. Plus you don't risk getting an old bird sitting in the store all day catching a food born illness!
    Sun May 06, 2012 9:28 pm
    Forum Host
    One of my local markets had whole chickens on sale for so I ran down after church and picked one up. It was still frozen. I remembered a recipe from here that I cannot find now that used a whole frozen chicken plopped into the crockpot. Well, I browned it in a skillet just to add a bit of color. I transferred the chicken to the crock, and then deglazed the skillet with about 3/4 cup dry vermouth. I simmered it until it was reduced to half a cup. The Rival company's website said you can cook frozen meat if you add at least 1/2 cup of liquid into the crock. I've never done large pieces of frozen meat, the idea has made me nervous.

    I made minimal seasonings - salt, ground pepper, a little thyme. I will be using the meat in a number of ways. I put it on high because at this point it was 1 pm. This was a 5 lb chicken. It was done in 4 hrs, perhaps even a little overdone going by the thermometer, but very moist and juicy and I had the bonus of lovely broth. I served tonight au jus, but will make in a number of ways later.

    If I had had the energy to pick all the meat off the bones, I would have put the carcass back into the crock with carrots, onion etc. to make broth.

    I realized this was going to happen, but of course with it still being frozen I could not remove the giblets beforehand. It was surprising to find quite a bit of liver and other giblets inside - no bag, thankfully, they were just stuffed in. And the liver was quite nice.

    I served the chicken with a nice green salad and potatoes made as per this recipe, my current favorite way, Anglo-Indian Beef (Or Lamb) Stir-Fry
    Red Apple Guy
    Mon May 07, 2012 6:20 am
    Forum Host
    That sounds good. I saved the Anglo-Indian recipe.

    sissy sue
    Wed Oct 31, 2012 11:43 pm Groupie
    I love this Whole Chicken Crock Pot Recipe whole chicken crock pot recipe, on this site.
    It truns out perfect every time. I put it in the broiler at the end, to brown.
    I then make gravy out of the jucies. really good
    Red Apple Guy
    Thu Nov 01, 2012 5:41 am
    Forum Host
    Thanks for pointing out that recipe. It's a winner for sure.

    I crock-potted a chicken this week and had forgotten about this thread except I recalled duonyte's hint of pan-browning the bird before cooking. I tried that (what a hoot rolling a 5 lb bird around in a frying pan).

    I'd like to try crisping the skin afterward as you suggest.

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