Slow Cooker Whole Chicken
This slow cooker whole chicken is juicy on the inside with delicious, herbed skin on the outside. Prep it in just 15 minutes in the morning and come home to a finished chicken dinner with very little effort!
Rotisserie chicken is a great idea for busy weeknights. It’s delicious and feeds a whole family. But instead of making a trip to Costco or the market, you can make a whole chicken right at home with today’s easy slow cooker recipe.
It’s similar to my roast chicken recipe, but more “set it and forget it” thanks to the slow cooker. Just add some chopped vegetables below the chicken and sprinkle herbs and seasoning on top for an irresistible flavor.
Oh, and the best part is the versatility of this chicken. You can eat it as is, or shred it into small pieces as part of your meal prep. Just toss it into a salad or mix it into a soup – the options are endless! Now let’s get prepping.
Slow Cooker Chicken Tips
Before we begin, here’s a few tips and things to look out for when cooking.
Create a base for the chicken
The whole chicken will give off a lot of juice while it cooks, so you’ll want to raise it off the bottom of the slow cooker. The best way to do this? Add large chunks of vegetables to the bottom of the pot, such as carrots, potatoes, parsnip, onion, or sweet potato. Oh, and your side dish is now done too.
- Note: In this recipe, I am using a 4QT slow cooker. But if you have a bigger crock pot, I suggest adding a bit more vegetables. Just make sure your chicken doesn’t touch the lid.
Be careful when taking the chicken out of the pot
In fact, you might want to enlist help (if you’d like it to remain in one piece). Believe me when I say, your chicken will be JUICY! More juicy than any rotisserie chicken you’ve ever bought at the supermarket. It will break apart as soon as you attempt to remove it from the slow cooker. So I suggest using two large spatulas to carefully lift it out.
Is It Better To Slow Cook On Low Or High?
When it comes to using your crock pot, you can either cook the chicken on low or high. If you are cooking on low, it will take about 7 to 8 hours. If cooking on high, it will take between 3 to 4 hours.
But, I find that the “low and slow” method works best and prefer the 8 hour cook time. This means I can prepare the chicken in the morning and have it ready for dinner.
How To Get Crispy Skin
Slow cooking creates the juiciest interior because you’re using moist heat for cooking. The drawback is that skin may not get as crispy as my roast chicken or crispy baked chicken thighs. So, here are three optional steps you can take to get the ultimate browned, crispy skin.
- Rub the raw chicken with a teaspoon of salt and leave it uncovered on a plate in the fridge overnight. This will allow the chicken skin to dry up and get crispier in the slow cooker.
- Don’t add any liquid to the slow cooker. Don’t use olive oil on the chicken and don’t add lemon juice.
- Once the chicken is cooked, transfer it to a baking sheet and put it under the oven broiler for a minute or two to get super crispy skin.
How To Cook A Whole Chicken in the Slow Cooker
With a few simple steps and some prep work, this recipe will be done in no time. Here’s what you’ll need to do.
- Prep the veggies. Dice up the carrots, parsnip, and onion into large pieces and layer them at the bottom of the crock pot.
- Prep the chicken. First, ensure the giblets have been removed from the cavity of the whole chicken.
- Sprinkle the herbs and spices onto the chicken. Feel free to add more or less depending on your preference.
- Slow cook the chicken. Place the chicken into the crock pot and cook the chicken on low for 7-8 hours (cook time will depend on the size of your chicken).
- Remove the chicken carefully, transfer to a large plate along with the veggies like sauteed spinach, steamed broccoli, roasted sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, and more!
More Recipes To Make With Leftover Chicken
If you’ve got some leftover rotisserie chicken, tear it apart and save it for these delicious chicken recipes.
- Kale Salad With Apples And Chicken
- BBQ Chicken Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
- Chicken and Black Bean Wrap
- Zucchini Noodles With Chicken, Spinach, And Parmesan
- Cobb Salad
- Parsnip Noodle Chicken Alfredo
Want more slow cooker recipes? You’ll love my slow cooker pulled pork and slow cooker pot roast!
Slow Cooker Whole Chicken – Rotisserie Style
- 2 large carrots, cut into large chunks
- 1 parsnip, cut into large chunks
- 1/2 onion, cut into wedges
- 1 whole chicken, (4-5 pounds)
- 2 tsp paprika
- 1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Add the carrots, parsnip and onion to your slow cooker. If you have a large slow cooker, feel free to add more vegetables.
- Add the herbs and spices to a small bowl and mix together.
- Remove the giblets from the cavity of the chicken.
- Sprinkle the herbs and spices onto the chicken and rub them in and all around with your hands. Then place the chicken in the slow cooker on top of the vegetables.
- Add the lid to the slow cooker and cook the chicken on low for 7-8 hours, depending on the size of your chicken. When done, carefully remove and serve.
Recipe originally posted September 2014, but updated to include new photos and information.
I just made this dish. It was so easy to make. The best part of it is that it came out so tasty 😋. Chicken was so moist and tender. I highly recommend it especially to those who doesn’t have a lot of time to be in their kitchen after a long day of work. Put it on in the morning and then come home to a good smelling
and a yummy dinner. I will cook this again and again and again!!!
Glad your whole chicken turned out deliciously juicy!
Do you cover the veggies and chicken with water in the slow cooker?
There’s no need to cover with water!
Made this today! The most juicy and tender chicken ever! I don’t usually buy whole chickens but my neighbor gave me one. I put it in the crockpot and OMG! I couldn’t understand why the recipe wouldn’t need some liquid but I later discovered all the juices in the crock pot. Wow! Now, I will meal plan with the chicken and probably freeze some. I have a question. I want to confirm that the nutrition information you post is per serving on your recipes? Some recipes seem high in numbers but I am double checking since I am trying to track my fiber intake now due to diverticulitis. Thanks again!
Glad you enjoyed this chicken recipe Elizabeth! And yes, the nutritional information is per serving. If you do see anything wonky though, let me know as sometimes the calculator could be wrong.
I have made this recipe three times in the last month because my family loves it. I don’t eat meat myself, so I have not tried it, but it is a big hit with the men. I added some cabbage this time around. Thanks for another great recipe!
I used the recipe but roasted the chicken in convection oven @ 350°F for 90 minutes. It was still very moist, tender and flavourful.
I love your recipes, but I think there is something wrong with my slow cooker. I followed the instructions exactly. Neither my veggies nor chicken were close to cooked after 8 1/2 hrs. I took it out of the slow cooker and put it in my convection oven on a roasting rack to finish along with the veggies (separate pyrex container covered with foil). The only thing wrong might have been that I put my chicken in the slow cooker cold out of the fridge. Hmmm….
Hi Robin – it sounds like your slow cooker isn’t working properly. I had the same issue on a previous slow cooker (the low temp didn’t cook at the right temp). I tried several new slow cookers before purchasing the new one I have, which is linked on the Shop page on my website. :)
Thanks for sharing this very nice article. Everybody should read it.
I had this on low but after 3-4 hours it didn’t look like it was cooking, so I turned it to high. smells really good. It’s got another hour or 2 to go. Fingers crossed.
Hopefully your chicken turned out well Sally!
Hi Lisa! First time making this, I am so excited to see how it turns out. Unfortunately, I work 30 minutes away from home. So I had to get it started this morning before leaving. According to my timer it will be ready around 3 but I won’t be home until 4:30. My crock pot automatically switches to “warm” so I’m not concerned about it sitting out or anything but will an hour and a half on warm cause this to dry out?
Hope your chicken turns out perfectly Julia!
Not dried out, but chicken meat texture may become mushy from overlooking.
Felt like this was pretty bland compared to your other recipes. I tried this recipe to help decide whether it was worth it to keep the slow cooker, but I feel like you can do a whole chicken better roasted in the oven over veggies in cast iron pan for 1+ hrs. That way you get the crispy skin without having to move from slow cooker to oven, and it takes less time overall.
Hi Sally – Thanks for giving it a try! You’re right in that the skin does crisp up better with an oven roasted chicken. But this is a great option for those who might not have an oven and/or don’t care as much about crispy skin (or plan to remove the skin entirely). I’m all about options. :)
Just made this and it’s delicious! Another excellent and super easy recipe – just what w busy family needs. Thank you, Lisa! I appreciate you.
Just made this and it’s delicious! Another excellent and super easy recipe – just what w busy family needs. Thank you, Lisa! I appreciate you.
Happy to hear the whole family enjoyed this Lana!
Wonderful! Glad the whole family got to enjoy this slow cooker chicken. It really does wonders for busy weeknights!
I found you by accident & have regularly followed you ever since !! I do Paleo & try to be gluten free…..Can’t say enough about your recipes. – I have never cooked meals so well or so tastily before !!! I receive your eMails & almost never pass up a chance to try something you’ve sent….You’re actually my home page :)
Happy to hear you discovered Downshiftology as well Paula! Hope you keep enjoying my recipes :)
Am confused. When discussing crispy skin, you said #2 NOT to use olive oil. Then next paragraph “Prep the chicken,” you mention rubbing skin with olive oil. Then printed recipe doesn’t have oil. Which is best?
Hi Jan – thanks for the catch! I removed that part in the “prep the chicken” section. It’s best to not use any oil at all if you’re trying to achieve crispy skin. Enjoy!
Really chicken looks so delicious. They are nice article share. This chicken looks amazing. They are sounds really interesting. Thanks for sharing your information.
Wow, my chicken came out super tasty and tender. And the ‘crispy tips’ really worked. High praise from the family. Thanks Lisa for again a wonderful recipe!
Hi Babette – Thrilled to hear this recipe turned out perfectly juicy and crispy!
So I made your crispy skin chicken thighs tonight and it was easy and a hit with my 10yr old. It will now become a staple for us. But speaking of this recipe, I notice the spices are essentially the same as the thigh recipe. Would you have an idea of a diff type of rub for the rotisserie chicken? Maybe a take on chipotle or a diff flavor all together. I would love to get your thoughts and thank you for the crispy thigh recipe!
Hi Mac – So glad to hear this was a hit with your 10 yr old! My crispy thighs are also a staple in my house :) As for dry drubs, this is my go-to spice and herb mix, but for my next chicken recipe, I will definitely keep in mind of a different dry rub for you guys.
Help! Put this chicken on exactly as described but added lower carb turnips as parsnips replacement. With about 3 hours left to cook, I noticed a harsh smell, almost like burning, a real bitter smell that I had experienced once before but using an Instant Pit to cook beef on its own. That time the gravy was awful as a result of the bitter smell. After this slow cooker had finished, I removed the chicken which, even though placed on a bed of vegetables, was about 1/2 inch deep in juices. The chicken skin smelled almost like an electrical fire (no electrical issues with pot or outlet) and tasted harsh and inedible. although it did not look so. I had to peel the skin away. The chicken inside was tasty and moist. But I had to throw away all the lovely looking vegetables and juices as the harsh, bitter smell and taste was awful! Could the turnips be responsible in this case? Any other ideas?
Hi Jan – Wow, I have no idea why that happened. I’ve never had that happen in my slow cooker and there should definitely not be any harsh burning smells. The turnips would definitely not be responsible for that, it sounds like you may need a new slow cooker.
Have had that happen twice for beef dishes in my IP! Awful smell and taste! Once for sure used turnips. Not sure other time. Did not happen with other cooking in the IP. Strange! Not using turnips again anyway.
I have cooked chicken in my crockpot like this for a couple of years. I cook on low and when it is finished I cut off a leg and thigh to throw under the broiler for dinner that night. The rest I skin and debone throwing the skin and bones back into the crockpot with the juices given off when cooking the chicken. I then pour in water to 1 inch of the top and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours. (I add onion celery and carrots before adding the water) makes a great chicken broth to make soup or to freeze
Made this on Sunday (19th Jan), husband couldn’t believe how juicy and tender it was, we all wolfed it down. We had used Brussels sprouts, potatoes and parsnips and it was delicious. Would definitely make it again if we are out all day and need something hot and perfectly cooked to come home to. Very easy recipe – far too easy!!
Hi Dorothy – Isn’t this chicken so juicy and tender! Plus, I’m loving your combination with the sprouts, potatoes, and parsnips :) So glad to hear you and your husband enjoyed this recipe.
Lisa, you and Alton Brown are my Goddess and God of chicken! Only two people who reliably have recipes for juicy and delicious chicken that actually deliver! And this was dirt simple. I am loving slow cooker meals that aren’t just glop in a pot, and are actually flavourful. And great tips for crisping up the skin after. Everything worked brilliantly!
As an aside, my chicken was only maybe 3.5 pounds, and it still turned out perfectly.
Hi Megan – So thrilled you loved this recipe so much! :)
I just added this to my “Try” list. Thanks for the well-written information.
Hi Bill – Can’t wait for you to try this recipe! :)
How many pounds should the chicken be?
Hi Hannah – The chicken should be around 4-5 pounds!
This chicken looks amazing. I have never tried to cook chicken with crispy skin in a slow cooker, but will try the salt rub method.
Hi Colleen – I hope this method works out for you! Enjoy the recipe :)
I never knew you can make a rotisserie chicken in a slow cooker, and such a simple recipe too! I’ll need to make this ASAP. :)
Hi Anita – Absolutely! It’s such an easy way to let it slow cook.
This sounds delicious and so easy! I love the idea of crisping the skin after to get the best of both worlds, a moist and juicy chicken with crispy skin. Thanks for the great recipe!
Hi Sophia – You can never go wrong with a crispy skin :)
Ah, I’ve just told myself I would take a break from chicken… Well, after I try this recipe now :-) Fabulous looking rotisserie chicken recipe!
Hi Elaine – Hope you enjoy this recipe! You’re gonna love it :)
This looks so easy! I’ve never cooked chicken like this in the slow cook before. It’s a brilliant idea, perfect for a busy weekday!!
Hi Laura – This is such an easy way to make rotisserie chicken that’s extremely juicy and tender :)
I finally got around to making this . Tell right off the bone! I’ve always used vegetables on bottom but never tried aluminium foil. So I did a onion cut in half and 2 balls of foil for the chicken to rest on. Yummy!! Thank you!!!😚
Hi Lourie – Ah! I’m glad this recipe came out okay for you. I am actually updating this recipe and will be posting the newer version next week :)
This is a great recipe. The meat just fell off the bone! I have a request, could you share a recipe for homemade stock/ broth? Thanks. Love your website.
Thanks so much Teresa! And yes, it’s almost hard to get the chicken out of the slow cooker as it just falls apart. Lol. I have a homemade broth recipe in my Gut Superfoods Guide that goes out to all subscribers on my e-newsletter. :)
Hi Lisa, thank you for the recipe as i was waiting for it so much appreciated ! Do you recommend any brand of slow cooker? Thank you
Hi Rosa – I still find that my crock pot is the best :)
Found this recipe yesterday and making it today…I just noticed from your pictures you put the chicken in breast side down. I didn’t realize until I already put mine in the crock. Does the breast side down make the breast meat juicier?
No, no difference. I usually put it in breast side up as well, I probably wasn’t really paying attention when I did this. ;)
Would this work with a pressure cooker?
I don’t see why not. :)
I made this for the second time. Because this time I had no plan to eat the skin, I didn’t pre-roast/grill it at all. The chicken is so succulent. The versatility of this ingredient is exponential. Delicious!
Happy you loved it Wendy! And I agree, I make this chicken all the time and use it in soups, salads, sandwiches and so much more. :) x
I learned my lesson when making the paprika chicken
also on this website.
When using a crockpot
for chicken, the objective is not to cook the chicken until the flesh peels off the bones. In fact, the real
objective is to make sure it does not dry out and still have a “biting consistency”. Observing this rule, this recipe has turned out quite well.
Hi Ian – not sure which recipe you’re referring to as I don’t have a recipe for paprika chicken. But glad you’ve had success with the slow cooker rotisserie chicken. :)
I made this today and it was easy and delicious! Both my husband and I really liked it.
The recipe does not call for any liquid, but I added 1/2 cup broth. Was this necessary?
Wonderful – glad you liked it Sharon! You don’t need to add any liquid as juices will form naturally. But if you’d like to add broth, that’s fine as well. :)
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