Slow Cooker Whole Roast Chicken

I’m sure this is common knowledge, but up until late last week, I had no idea that you could cook a whole chicken in the crock pot. It makes complete sense — if you can cook a whole roast, why not a chicken? — but somehow it never occurred to me that you could put an entire bird into the slow cooker. My friend Jenn (who also introduced me to the two-bean and kale soup recipe I wrote about a while back) gets the credit; she made a whole chicken in the slow cooker last week, told me it turned out great, then sent me the recipe for it.

I am here to tell you that this slow cooker whole chicken is about the easiest thing you can make, and it is so flavorful and tender. Literally, you just rub the chicken with some spices and pop it into the slow cooker. No liquids to prepare, nothing to chop if you decide to omit the bed of onions. I love me a good oven-roasted chicken, but this is a lot less messy (no oven splatters to worry about!), and the white meat is so juicy. If you’re an avid crispy skin fan, you might bemoan the less-crispy skin on this, but surprisingly, the skin wasn’t soggy at all. It was a little crispy and had great flavor from the spice rub. I’ll definitely be making this again!

Slow Cooker Whole Roast Chicken (from


  • 4 teaspoons salt (all the reviews recommended 2 teaspoons; I went with 2.5, just to be a rebel)
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper*
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder (I didn’t have this, so I just used more garlic powder instead)
  • 1 teaspoon thyme (I accidentally left this out, and it was still fine!)
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 large roasting chicken
  • 1 cup chopped onion (I used this, but Jenn didn’t, and she reported that the results were still great)

*I worried that this might make it too spicy for the kids, but they totally gobbled it up. It provided the tiniest bit of a kick, but not enough to set off alarm bells in spice-sensitive kids


Mix the spices in a small bowl. Set aside.

Remove any giblets from the chicken, then rise the chicken and pat dry with paper towels. Rub the surface of the chicken with the spices. If you want, loosen the skin of the chicken from the neck to thigh area and rub some of the spices between the skin and the meat. You totally don’t have to; this wasn’t in the original recipe, but Jenn said she’d do it next time, and I thought it was an excellent suggestion. Plus, I find it kind of fun to loosen the chicken skin — it’s grossly satisfying. πŸ˜‰

If you have time, place the chicken into a gallon-sized ziploc bag and put it in the fridge overnight. The original recipe said you could skip this step if you’re short on time.

If you’re using chopped onion, place it in the slow cooker. Then, place the chicken right on top. I did this at 4 a.m. so that I would have time to take pictures of the finished product before picking up Jack from school (to take advantage of the best light … ahh, the occupational hazards of food blogging), so in my sleepy haze, I forgot to put this breast-side up. It didn’t matter too much, but next time I’ll put it breast-side up so that the skin on that side is crispier.

Put the lid on the slow cooker and set it to cook on low for 4 to 8 hours. That’s right, no liquid needed! The chicken will make plenty of its own, as you’ll see in this picture of the roasted chicken:

The chicken will be so tender that you probably shouldn’t try to remove it from the crock pot to carve, as it will fall apart. Instead, just use tongs or a dinner knife and fork to remove the meat. Serve with a side or two and enjoy!


About Saucy Mommy

I'm Beverly, a mom of two who loves to cook and write. Check out my blog at for family-friendly (but tasty) meal ideas and pictures of bento box lunches.


29 thoughts on “Slow Cooker Whole Roast Chicken

  1. Made this tonight- very easy and tasty. An unexpectedly satisfying part is the cooking liquid/broth that comes out around the chicken. Not really sure what to do with it but it is amazing!

    Posted by Amy D | October 17, 2012, 7:45 pm
    • Amy, so glad you liked it!! You know what I did with that liquid? I used some of it to make a delicious chicken noodle soup (with the leftover chicken) the next day! I put a cup or so of the liquid, water, chopped veggies, shredded chicken and noodles in the soup — yum! Froze the rest of the liquid for future soup-making!

      Posted by Saucy Mommy | October 17, 2012, 10:44 pm
    • I love the sound of this easy and tasty what more can we ask for?! I have made the spice rub but as my lemon tree is overflowing with beautiful lemons I thought I would add the juice of 1 lemon to make it into a paste. So will let you know the results πŸ™‚

      p.s did you know that you can freeze lemons straight from the tree? Just pop in the freezer! super easy to grate if needed and no waste because you just put it back in the freezer! and when let to defrost they are fine a little squishy but no change to flavour of juice and they seem to provide more juice too :))

      Happy little housewife πŸ™‚

      Posted by Sharon | September 14, 2013, 7:58 pm
  2. Delish. Loved it. We did it breast side up and the only issue was the white meat was a bit drier that way (although still way more moist that a normal bake would be). BUT…I had planned on using the extra for chicken pot pie so the drier part will work perfectly for that:-) Thanks for sharing!

    Posted by Beth | October 18, 2012, 8:06 pm
  3. I’m making this right now. I was looking for slow cooker roast chicken and this recipe looks the best. I rubbed my chicken last night and can’t wait to taste it tonight. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

    Posted by Coral | January 29, 2013, 8:22 am
    • Oh, good! Can’t wait to hear how you liked it. πŸ™‚ I’ve had a number of friends make it and put it on their regular rotation. I’ll probably make it again this week!

      Posted by Saucy Mommy | January 29, 2013, 10:06 pm
      • Lol I’m making this again today. This is our favorite recipe for chicken and it’s now a go to in this house. Nice to have a meal all family members will eat. Thanks for the recipe.

        Posted by Cora | February 10, 2016, 11:59 am
  4. Tried this — loved it! I’ve never got the hang of roasting chicken in the oven, even though I’m a decent cook, but this one turned out perfectly.

    Posted by pentamom | March 11, 2013, 2:20 pm
  5. Just trying this recipe, but my chicken is small – about 3 lbs, so I’ll keep an eye on it.

    Posted by aquari8 | March 20, 2013, 10:23 am
  6. I made this recipe for my family this weekend, and it was wonderful!! Thanks so much for the tasty and easy recipe! I put a link and a review on my blog, if you want to check it out: Thanks again! πŸ™‚

    Posted by mominthewoods | April 1, 2013, 10:09 am
  7. if you google, you’ll see that cooking whole chicken in a slow cooker is not safe. it doesn’t get hot fast enough in the middle, so bacteria grows.

    Posted by GP | June 10, 2013, 11:56 pm
    • I reckon it would subsequently get hot enough for any bacteria to be killed off again. People have been doing this for yonkers without dying from it, so enjoy the tastiness and ease that is slow-cooker roast chook. Better than trusting Google without engaging brain cells. And more delicious!

      Posted by MistressMary | September 15, 2013, 4:27 am
      • I agree, mistressmary. I did some extra research and found that most people just put the slow cooker on “high” for the first one or two hours to get the temperature up fast, then switch it to low. But I’ve made this chicken and other large cuts of meat many time in a slow cooker and it’s just fine. And delicious!!

        Posted by mominthewoods | September 15, 2013, 11:53 am
      • LOL. I agree!

        Posted by Saucy Mommy | September 16, 2013, 7:10 pm
  8. I’m going to cook this for all my partners friends to come home to tonight, and I’m curious if i can add my vegies straight into the crock pot? Potatoes, carrots, etc… And if so, how long after the chicken has been in there? -Cheers πŸ™‚

    Posted by Chloe | July 5, 2013, 8:03 pm
  9. i added a bit of extra virgin olive oil to the spice mixture and it was much easier to rub on the chicken and i was able to get a nice even coat

    Posted by tara | August 25, 2013, 6:55 am
  10. This is exactly why I bought a slow cooker – I can put something on in the morning with minimum fuss, come home after work and we have a fantastic dinner ready. I’ve made this several times now and it’s always a big hit. Thanks for the know-how!

    Posted by Joanne | September 24, 2013, 3:07 am
  11. Trying this tonight, going for breast down to see how moist it is. Putting a layer of crumpled tin foil in the bottom so it does not wallow in its juices though. Thanks for the tips, really looking forward to it.

    Posted by Rachel | October 31, 2013, 6:01 am
  12. This is not your recipe…

    The white pepper is the only difference. So not cool!

    Posted by Natasha | January 27, 2014, 3:10 pm
    • Did you actually read the post? She doesn’t claim it’s her recipe. She provides a link–twice–to where she got the recipe. And if you actually go to that link, the recipe was posted in 2002–long before 100 days posted it. As novel an idea as it may seem to some, crockpot chicken has been around for quite some time, and has become quite popular, so I think you would be hard-pressed to prove who has stolen which “recipe” for it from whom…since there are about a jillion on a little thing called Google. Get a grip.

      Posted by Lisa | January 27, 2014, 5:55 pm
  13. Delicious n fun! I added smoked paprika, dehydrated minced garlic, and red pepper flakes. Use a meat thermometer and it will register 165 degrees when done! Thanks for posting!

    Posted by Dianne Mayne | January 29, 2014, 4:22 pm


  1. Pingback: Roast Chicken – Slow Cooker Style | Mom in the Woods - April 1, 2013

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