Slow Cooker Whole Chicken (Easy Prep!)
The easiest, juiciest whole chicken you’ll ever make, this slow cooker whole chicken takes less than 5 minutes to prep. No chopping, no pre-browning, and very little effort makes this an easy dinner idea you’ll want make again and again!
About this Slow Cooker Whole Chicken Recipe
There’s nothing simpler than grabbing a store bought rotisserie chicken for a quick and easy dinner.
But believe it or not, it’s even easier to make that same whole chicken at home in your slow cooker, and I know once you try it this will become your new go to easy slow cooker meal!
What’s more, this is a dump and go slow cooker recipe, meaning you don’t need to pre-brown the chicken before adding it to the crock pot.
And, you don’t even need to chop anything.
Told ya it was easy!
As far as the simple prep goes, all you need to do is stir together a handful of spices, rub them on the chicken, pop it in the slow cooker, and press on.
Cooking the whole chicken low and slow in the crockpot yields the most succulent, juicy results, without the risk of drying out the way oven roasting can.
This juicy whole chicken is perfect for an easy yet delicious weeknight dinner, and is tasty enough to serve to guests as well.
Tip: Check out the notes below on getting the most flavor out of your bird, and enjoy this simple recipe often!
Process & FAQs
Can you put raw chicken in the slow cooker?
Yes, it’s ok to put raw chicken in a slow cooker, and in fact, yields a juicy and tender bird.
For this slow cooker whole chicken with no vegetables there’s no need to pre-brown or do anything special to prep, making it the ultimate dump and go slow cooker recipe.
Can you overcook chicken in the slow cooker?
When it comes to overcooking, it is possible to overcook a chicken in the slow cooker, but it’s more difficult than overcooking a whole chicken in the oven.
Just be sure to check the temperature with a meat thermometer and pull it out once it reaches 165F in the thickest part of the thigh.
Do I need to add liquid to a whole chicken in the slow cooker?
No, you do not need to add liquid, as the bird releases quite a bit of its own natural juices during the cooking process.
So please, follow the recipe and do not add any additional liquid.
Should I cook a whole chicken on high or low?
If you’re wondering if it’s better to cook a whole chicken on high or low, the answer is either works; as it really just depends on how much time you have and want to spend on cooking.
Can I cook a frozen whole chicken in the slow cooker?
No, for food safety reasons, do not cook a whole chicken from frozen in the slow cooker. If using a frozen whole chicken, make sure it’s fully thawed before cooking.
Can I add vegetables?
To make this recipe as easy as possible and to mimic a store bought rotisserie or oven roasted chicken, this recipe does not include vegetables. I recommend this slow cooker whole chicken with vegetables recipe if you want to add vegetables such as carrots and potatoes.
What should I do with the leftover liquid?
Strain and serve any leftover liquids with the chicken as a drizzle or dipping sauce, or leave in the slow cooker and make Slow Cooker Chicken Stock!
How can I easily remove and serve the chicken from the crock pot?
Once the chicken is cooked it will be very tender and prone to falling apart. For this reason, I like cooking the chicken on a metal trivet (pictured below, under the chicken) because it simplifies the process of removing the chicken in one piece. If you don’t have a trivet, however, I recommend using tongs and a spatula to lift the chicken.
Can I make chicken stock with the leftover bones?
Yes, making chicken stock with the leftover bones is both budget friendly and time saving, since you can skip clean up and prepare the stock directly in the slow cooker the chicken cooked in! Here’s an easy slow cooker chicken stock recipe.
Slow Cooker Whole Chicken Variations
Try these tips and ideas for whole chicken recipe variations!
With Crispy Skin
Because a slow cooker uses natural steam to cook, there is no way to get crispy skin, however, a quick run under the broiler will crisp the skin right up. I’ve provided notes on how in the recipe card, below.
Slow Cooker Whole Chicken with Vegetables
I recommend this slow cooker whole chicken with vegetables recipe if you want to add vegetables such as carrots and potatoes.
Tip: Want to make this recipe with turkey instead? Here’s a recipe for juicy slow cooker turkey breast to try!
Ways to Use Leftover Chicken
There are endless ways to use leftover cooked chicken! Here are a few of my favorites ways to use any meat leftover:
Make it in the Instant Pot: If you’d rather use a pressure cooker for this recipe, try this easy and delicious Instant Pot Whole Chicken recipe!
Key Ingredients & Substitutions
Whole chicken: Use a 3-4 pound whole chicken for this recipe, fully defrosted if frozen. If you want to use turkey, try this slow cooker turkey breast recipe.
Brown sugar: Tenderizes the chicken and adds flavor without noticeable sweetness. Use coconut sugar for paleo + refined sugar free, or skip it for low carb, low sugar, and Whole30.
Spices: Garlic powder adds flavor without tasting too much of garlic, and smoked paprika adds a smoky flavor you’d typically get from roasting. Regular paprika can also be used.
Slow Cooker Whole Chicken
- 1 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 (4-pound) whole chicken, giblets discarded or saved for chicken stock
- In a small bowl, mix together the brown sugar, garlic powder, smoked paprika, and salt until well combined.
- Using your fingers, gently loosen the skin covering the breast and thighs of the chicken. Place half of the spice mixture under the skin, directly on the meat in the center of each side of the breast and on the thighs. Gentle press the skin to evenly distribute the spice mixture over the meat, then rub the entire exterior skin of the chicken with the remaining spice mixture.
- Place a metal trivet in a 6-quart oval slow cooker. If you don’t have a trivet, you can use 1 onion, quartered, and 2 whole carrots instead. See note in blog post above for how.
- Place the chicken on the trivet breast side up for the best presentation, or breast side down for the juiciest option.
- Cover and cook on high for 3-4 hours on high or 5-6 hours on low. Check the temperature of the chicken after 3 hours of cooking and continue to monitor it until the breast registers 160F and the thighs register 175F.
- Carefully remove the chicken from the slow cooker using the trivet or tongs. Allow to rest for five minutes.
- If you’d like the chicken to have crispy skin, place it on a baking sheet and broil on high for 3-4 minutes, watching closely, until light brown and crispy.
- Carve and serve with strained accumulated juices.
- Save the bones and any extra juices to make Slow Cooker Chicken Stock.