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 food.com)
- 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. 😉
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!