Make a whole chicken in a crockpot and come home to a cozy dinner complete with tender, slow-cooked veggies and juicy seasoned chicken. Spend a few more minutes and make homemade gravy with the drippings!
Why you’ll love it: This is a no-fuss way to cook a whole chicken for a hearty, satisfying meal with minimal effort.
How long it takes: 4 hours on High or 7 to 8 hours on Low
Equipment you’ll need: slow cooker
- 1 Recipe Overview
- 2 Reasons to Love Whole Chicken in a Crockpot
- 3 Ingredient List
- 4 How to make Crockpot Chicken
- 5 How To Know When Chicken Is Done
- 6 Optional Steps
- 7 FAQs
- 8 How to make This Chicken Recipe your own
- 9 What to Serve With Whole Chicken in a Crockpot
- 10 Make Ahead Ideas
- 11 Storage & Reheating Tips
- 12 Free Meal Plan
- 13 Leftover Love
- 14 More Chicken Recipes
- 15 Get the Recipe: Whole Chicken in the Crockpot
When we’re thinking chicken for a weeknight, you probably default to chicken breasts (as in these air fryer chicken breasts and easy chicken bites) or maybe chicken thighs (Instant Pot chicken thighs or honey balsamic chicken thighs) if you prefer dark meat.
A whole chicken? Well, that seems like a production! Something for a Sunday dinner! This crockpot whole chicken recipe proves that you can make a whole chicken for a weeknight meal.
As with most slow cooker recipes, all the heavy lifting is done at the beginning. When you’re making a whole chicken in a crockpot, this could be the morning if you cook it on Low, the afternoon if you cook it on High, or even the night before if you want to assemble everything when you’ve got a little more time.
Reasons to Love Whole Chicken in a Crockpot
- Crockpot meals are the best meals. Don’t get me wrong, I love the Instant Pot and the air fryer, but nothing beats being able to assemble a meal in the morning and have it ready and waiting by the time dinner rolls around.
- Classic, comfort food flavors. There’s nothing complicated here! Nothing spicy, nothing your kids will turn up their noses at, just juicy chicken, simple herbs and spices, and tender veggies that are infused with flavor from the slow cooking process.
- Hearty and satisfying. This is a dinner that’s filling without making you feel overly full. It’s the perfect kind of meal for those chilly winter evenings when you want something that will warm you up.
- Easy. While the ingredient list might look daunting, seven of the items are spices or herbs, so there’s really not all that much you’ll need to pick up at the grocery store. You can choose to make the chicken with the optional veggies or without; I like making adding them so I can have an (almost) complete dinner in one pot!
- Gravy! The gravy is optional, but let’s be real: is it really optional? My motto in life is “always make the optional gravy.” It’s a really easy additional step that adds a lot of wow factor to the meal.
Be sure to check the complete details on the recipe card below!
- Whole Chicken: You’ll need a raw chicken that’s 4 to 5 pounds, basically one that fits in your slow cooker.
- Olive Oil: Rubbing the chicken with olive oil allows the seasonings to stick.
- Seasonings: You’ll need standard salt and black pepper, then pantry staples like garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, dried thyme, and dried rosemary.
- Yellow Onion, Garlic, and Lemon: These ingredients are stuffed into the cavity of the chicken. As the chicken cooks, they’ll infuse the bird with flavor.
- Low-Sodium Chicken Broth: Homemade broth is fantastic too, but a good quality store-bought brand is fine.
- Optional Vegetables: If you like, add another onion, carrots, and red potatoes to the crockpot to cook with the chicken. By the time the cooking is done, they’ll be tender and flavorful.
- Optional Gravy: Want to make gravy too? You’ll need butter, all-purpose flour, and the savory juices from the crockpot.
How to make Crockpot Chicken
Coat the inside of the crockpot with nonstick cooking spray. In a small bowl, mix together the salt, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, dried thyme, and dried rosemary.
Remove any giblets from the cavity of the chicken and pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Rub the outside of the chicken with olive oil.
Season the chicken inside, outside, and under the skin with the spice mixture. Place the onion, garlic, and lemon inside the chicken’s cavity.
Place the additional onion, carrots, and potatoes in an even layer in the bottom of the crockpot, if you’re using them. Then, place the seasoned whole chicken into the crockpot, breast side up.
Pour broth in the crockpot around chicken—not on top, or you’ll rinse away the seasonings!
Cover the crockpot with the lid and set it to cook on high heat. Cook for at least 1 hour on high. Then, you can either continue cooking on high for 3 more hours, or turn to low and cook for 6 to 7 hours.
When fully cooked, remove from the crockpot and allow the chicken to rest for 5 minutes before carving.
How To Know When Chicken Is Done
Cooking times may vary based on the size of the chicken, starting temperature, and model of your slow cooker. The best way to know when the chicken is done is with an instant-read thermometer. The internal temperature of the chicken should reach 165°F (74°C) in the thickest part of the meat when it’s done.
If you don’t have an instant-read thermometer, the juices should run clear (not bloody) when you pierce the chicken deeply with a fork.
To crisp the skin: Transfer the chicken to a baking dish, then brush the skin with additional melted butter or oil. Broil it in the oven for a few minutes until it crisps up.
To make the gravy: Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and continue to cook, whisking constantly, until lightly browned. Gradually whisk in the reserved pan juices. Increase the heat to medium high to bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium and cook until thickened. Season to taste.
For chicken breasts, high is best but a whole chicken can stand up to a longer cooking time on low. I like to start a whole chicken on High in a crockpot to get the temperature up more quickly.
Did you know that the only difference between the high and low settings is the amount of time it takes for the crockpot to reach simmering temperature? The crockpot heats up more quickly on the High setting.
Absolutely! As long as the chicken has reached an internal temperature of 165ºF, it’s safe to eat.
How to make This Chicken Recipe your own
- Customize the seasonings. You can use your favorite store-bought or homemade chicken rub, or my BBQ rub. (If you use the BBQ rub, serve the chicken with BBQ sauce!) For a European feel, try my herbes de Provence blend.
- Use fresh herbs. Infuse your whole chicken in a crockpot with some herbaceous flavor! Fresh thyme, rosemary, or sage (or a combination of the three) can be added to the cavity with the garlic, lemon, and onion.
- Switch up the veggies. Other root vegetables, like parsnips, turnips, and sweet potatoes, will work with this crockpot whole chicken too. Whole mushrooms are great, too. You want a firm vegetable that will stand up to a long cooking time. Soft vegetables with a high water content such as zucchini, tomatoes, or eggplant won’t work well. They’ll get too mushy.
- Oven method: If you prefer using your oven to a slow cooker, try my roasted chicken.
What to Serve With Whole Chicken in a Crockpot
If you don’t add the optional veggies, crockpot mashed potatoes or roasted vegetables are great for rounding out this meal. If you do make the veggies in the slow cooker, a fresh salad, Instant Pot brown rice, or crusty Dutch oven bread are delicious accompaniments.
Make Ahead Ideas
To get a head start on your whole chicken in a crockpot, you can assemble everything in the slow cooker insert the night before and refrigerate it until you’re ready to cook. Never put a chilled insert into a preheated crockpot; the ceramic insert may crack.
Storage & Reheating Tips
Refrigerate: Cut the chicken into parts so it cools more quickly. Store leftover crockpot chicken and vegetables in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days in an airtight container.
Freeze: Place the cooked cut-apart chicken in an airtight container or zip-top bag; it can be frozen for up to 3 months. Let it thaw in the refrigerator before reheating it according to the instructions below.
Reheat: Leftovers can be warmed up in the microwave or in a baking dish in a 350ºF oven; add a splash of broth and cover the dish with foil, then heat until the chicken is warmed through.
Leftover whole chicken in a crockpot can be cut into pieces or shredded for using in chicken salads, BBQ chicken nachos, chicken tortellini soup, and more. Use the carcass to make homemade chicken stock too!
- 1 whole chicken (4 to 5 pounds)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1 small yellow onion, quartered
- 5 garlic cloves
- ½ lemon
- ½ cup low sodium chicken broth
Optional Added Ingredients
- 1 large onion, 1-inch chunks
- 3 carrots, cut into 1-inch chunks
- 3 to 4 red potatoes, cut into 1-inch chunks
- 4 tablespoons butter
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups reserved pan juices
- Spray the inside of the crockpot with nonstick cooking spray.
- In a small bowl, mix together salt, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, dried thyme, and dried rosemary.
- Remove any giblets from the cavity of the chicken if they are included. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Rub the outside of the chicken with olive oil.
- Season the chicken inside and out with the spice mixture, making sure to rub some seasoning under the skin as well. Place the onion, garlic, and lemon inside the chicken's cavity.
- If using the additional ingredients (additional onion, carrots, potatoes), place in an even layer in the bottom of the crockpot.
- Carefully place the seasoned whole chicken into the crockpot, breast side up. Pour broth in the crockpot around chicken (not on top).
- Cover the crockpot with the lid and set it to cook on High heat. Cook for at least 1 hour on high.
- Continue cooking on High for 3 more hours OR turn it to Low and cook for 6 to 7 hours. The internal temperature of the chicken should reach 165°F (74°C) in the thickest part of the meat when it's done. Cooking times may vary based on size of chicken, starting temperature, and model of slow cooker.
- When chicken is fully cooked, remove it from the crockpot and allow the chicken to rest for 5 minutes before carving.
- Optional: If you want crispy skin, you can transfer the chicken to a baking dish, brush the skin with additional melted butter or oil, and broil it in the oven for a few minutes until it crisps up. Keep a close eye on it to avoid burning.
- Optional Gravy: Reserve 2 cups of juices from slow cooker. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour and continue to cook, whisking constantly, until lightly browned, 5 to 7 minutes.
- Gradually whisk in pan juices. Increase heat to medium high, bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat to medium and continue to cook until thickened, about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Gravy will thicken significantly as it cools.
- Taste and season with salt and pepper.
- You can use 1 whole lemon, cut in half, if the cavity is large.
- The nutritional information is calculated for ¼ chicken without the optional vegetables and gravy.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.