Yes, make that an entire roasting chicken tucked right in there, seasoned perfectly to taste like it’s fresh off the rotisserie. I have to admit that the idea to cook a whole chicken in the slow cooker had never occurred to me before. But while I was standing in the poultry section at Trader Joe’s this week, trying to decide which of my (many) shredded chicken recipes sounded good to toss in the slow cooker, the lightbulb finally went off. Why just buy a handful of chicken breasts to cook and shred in the slow cooker when — for actually less cost– I could cook an entire chicken?!?
I’ll admit my biggest question right off the bat was whether or not a whole chicken would even fit in a slow cooker.
Without a doubt, my favorite method for making a whole chicken at home will always be roasting it, especially if you want that traditional crispy-skinned chicken fresh out of the oven.
But if you ever have a day when you don’t have time to babysit the chicken in the oven, or just want to come home to the most delicious smelling dinner after a long day’s work, or even if you just want to have a nice mix of light and dark chicken meat to make shredded chicken (vs. the usual breast-only recipes), then this slow cooker method is a fantastic alternative.
Plus, it only takes about 5 minutes to prep. You can season it however you’d like (notably, knowing exactly what goes into it). You can use organic chicken if you’d like (knowing that most store-bought rotisserie chickens are not). And, well, it’s just pretty darn tasty.
To make this chicken, begin by removing any of the insides and the neck, if they are included. And then give the chicken a thorough rinse, and pat it dry with paper towels. Then whisk together your dry rub seasoning mix, and rub it evenly all over the chicken. (Optional: If you’d like, you are welcome to add some onions or veggies inside the cavity for extra flavoring.)
Then pop the bird in the slow cooker!
If you don’t want the bottom of the chicken to sit and cook in its juices all day, you can place a layer of aluminum foil packs or balls on the bottom of the slow cooker, to serve as a “rack” to elevate the chicken an inch or so. Or you can also cook the chicken on a bed of onions or vegetables (like carrots and celery, etc.) — your choice. I went with the aluminum foil route, and it definitely kept the chicken elevated above the juices that accumulated below (which make an excellent base for chicken broth, by the way!).
Cover and cook the chicken on high or low until the meat is completely cooked through, noting that the cooking time will vary slightly depending on the size of the bird. Then once it’s done, carefully transfer the chicken to a serving plate, and reserve the juices for future use if desired.
By contrast to a traditional rotisserie chicken, the slow cooker method will definitely result in a chicken that is fall-off-the-bone tender and juicy, so much so that the chicken may actually fall apart a bit when you try to remove it from the slow cooker. (In a very delicious way, but not always the prettiest for serving.) It also will have a soft and seasoned skin, versus crispy. If you really want your chicken to be crispy, simply transfer the chicken to a baking dish and pop it under the broiler for 3-5 minutes (on the “high” setting) until the chicken reaches your desired level of crispness. But otherwise, just serve and enjoy it as is. Or shred the meat off of the bones and freeze it for future use, as I obviously love to do with slow cooker shredded chicken. ;)
This Slow Cooker “Rotisserie” Chicken recipe only takes a few minutes to prep, and then your slow cooker will do all of the work!
1 whole chicken (about 4–5 lbs.), insides removed
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
(aluminum foil, or thickly-sliced onions or vegetables)
Rinse the chicken thoroughly and pat it dry with paper towels.
In a small bowl, whisk together the paprika, salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder until combined. Rub the seasoning mix all over chicken — on the outside skin, the inside cavity, and (if you’re feeling brave) on the chicken breasts underneath the skin.
Roll up a few small balls of aluminum foil (or thickly slice some onions, and/or veggies) place them on the bottom of your slow cooker bowl to serve as a “rack” for the chicken, so that it doesn’t have to cook in the juices that will accumulate in the bottom of the slow cooker. Place the chicken on top of the aluminum foil (or veggies), pressing it down a bit if need be for the lid to fit. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours, or on high for 4-5 hours until the chicken is cooked through and reaches an internal temperature of 160 degrees F.
Carefully remove the chicken from the slow cooker (it may be so tender that it falls apart on you), discard the bones, and serve the chicken as desired.
*I used this small 3-quart slow cooker, and the chicken just barely fit. (It also shrunk down a bit while cooking.)
I am OBSESSED with this!
Whenever I am majorly lazy I just go buy a rotisserie chicken for dinner, because they are SO good. But I have actually never MADE ONE.
And now I can do it with all the easy peasy goodness of a slow cooker? I am SO in. Pinned!
I’ve still yet to try this method, but you make it sound so appealing! A whole chicken may have to make its way onto my next grocery list…
Never thought to shove an ENTIRE chicken in my slow cooker. Love it. Can’t wait to try it out!
How can we save your recipes now? Are you using Epicurious.com?
Thanks so much!!
Looks like an amazing way to utilise a slow cooker!
I do this at least once a month! The chicken is incredibly juicy and it’s beyond easy. After you’ve removed the chicken, add in veggies, herbs & top off your slow cooker with water. Let it cook on low for 12 hours and you’ve got yourself some amaze-balls homemade chicken stock! Yum!
THIS IS BRILLIANT. I steer clear of evening trying to roast a chicken in the oven because I know it will take me multiple times to come close to getting it right – but this I think I can handle!!!!
I’ve always had a fear/complete inability to clean out a chicken. Can you please give us a tutorial on that?
Looks so easy! I am LOVING your blog. I’m a KC girl and recently started following you. You inspire me in so many ways. Thank you for all you do!
Love making whole chickens in my crock pot! I’m going to have to try this spice blend!
Is this a 3-quart cooker? What a great idea!
Looks great! What size slow cooker are you using?
I’m adding this to the post now. I used a 3-quart slow cooker, and the chicken fit perfectly. But a larger slow cooker would also work well!
this is the almost the only way I’ve cooked chicken for the last 5 years, I love it, plus when its done i just leave the carcass and all the juices in it to make my own chicken broth overnight :)
Mind blown! This is amazing!!!
You can save the bones and the juices released from cooking and make homemade chicken broth. I find that you can use the bones 2 or 3 times. Just keep them in a freezer bag after they cool.
Great idea to make this in the slow cooker! So delicious!
I’m with you, I definitely prefer roasting it, but if I can’t baby-sit it, throwing it in the slow cooker is great! I’m actually roasting a chicken today, so I’m going to try out your rub!
Mmm… I love the juicy chicken that comes from nearly no work! And it is enough chicken for a few dinners and a few lunches. :)
thank you for this! I’ve been wondering if a whole chicken can fit in a 3 quart slow cooker. Fabulous.
II did it! Didn’t follow the seasoning but learned I could definitely throw a whole chicken in the crockpot and it didn’t need to cook for too long! Thank you for the inspiration! – https://flavianflavors.blogspot.com/2015/05/happy-healthy-monday.html?m=1
Trying this now. I love using the crock pot to slow cook pork tenderloin as it is so easy/healthy and comes out very tender. I imagine this will have similar results. Can’t wait!
Awesome, Jon! I hope you enjoyed it!
This is in the crockpot now! I cant wait to see how it turns out!
Thanks, Sandi, hope you loved it!
Don’t throw the bones away! Make bone broth in your slow cooker too!
Thanks for the tip, Erin! : )
This is the best tasting roast chicken I have ever tasted
At 83 I have tasted BBQ chicken ,my wife Barbara’s roast chicken in the ove n
And every time she makes it with slow cooker just want more and moreThank you
Thanks Leonard, we’re so happy you like it!
I’ve been doing this for years, but I was looking for a good rub. Your’e looks good. I also like the foil trick. I’ve always used the veggie bed.
Here’s a tip for you: after you’ve pulled all the meat off the chicken, drop the bones back into the crock pot and add a cup or few of water and some apple cider vinegar (up to three tbsp, depending on the size of your CP). The apple cider vinegar allows the bone to be penetrated so it releases its minerals and other nutrients. and bone broth (which is what you get) is super-rich in nutrients and makes a great base for chicken stew or soups or dumplings. And you don’t need as much as you would use if it was just regular broth. A little goes a long way. Let your crock pot go with the ingredients on low for 24-36 hours. Just add water if you see it get low. I save all my chicken bones to make broth like this once a month for use throughout the month.
Thanks Lola, and thank you for sharing that awesome tip with us, we will definitely have to give that a try! :)
WOW cannot wait to try
Thanks Tammy, we hope you love it!
Made this chicken today & I love it! I’m not usually a big fan of baked chicken. This chicken was awesome. Next time will try to get more of the rub under the skin. It was fantastic !!!
Thanks LeAnn, we’re glad you liked it!
I bought a 6.5lb bird and cooked on high for 6hrs. The meat falls off the bone! Absolutely delicious and took about 5 min to prepare. Lots of juice left after the chicken is done– for gravy, etc. I put whole carrots in the pot with it and they are sooo good, going to try adding halved potatoes next time.
“This is BETTER than the rotisserie chickens at the supermarket”–my Husband :)
Aww yay, we’re so glad to hear that Michelle! Thanks for sharing with us, we’re happy you and your husband enjoyed this! :D
I have tried the slow-cooker method for rotisseerie chicke n and I like the ease and convenience of it. I lparticularly like your choice of spices in this recipe, Sounds like a very tasty chicken. dinner!
Thank you for this! I made it this week and was so pleased with the results.
You’re welcome Jenn, we’re happy you enjoyed it!
Would this turn out ok if I took the skin off the chicken before cooking it?
We wouldn’t advise that Sarah, the skin helps keep the chicken moist and flavorful! :)
Very good mix.
I wrap sweet potatoes or baking potatoes in aluminum foil and place them in the bottom and rest my chicken on top of them. Just add a salad and you have a meal! The potatoes are so good!
Thanks for sharing Norma, we think that sounds like a yummy idea that we’ll have to try next time! :)
It never occurred to me to cook a whole chicken in a CROCKPOT – that is amazing! I plan to do this tomorrow morning with the awesome sounding dry rub. I look forward to this meal!
Thanks Melanie, we hope you enjoy the recipe! :D
I am going to fix it today for the playoff game Panthers vs.Seahawks.Get the picture we want some Bird for dinner.
Awesome, we hope you enjoyed the game and the chicken! :)
Hi I’m really looking forward to trying this but I just want to be sure if the chicken goes in breast up or breast down? Thank you!
Hey Melissa, if you’re using a boneless, skinless breast, we don’t think it matters. :) We hope you enjoy!
I love doing a whole chicken this way. For the “rack” I wrap small baking potatoes in foil and set the bird on top. Then when ready only a green veggie or salad is needed to complete the meal. Of course, this depends on the size of your cooker and the size of your bird.
I bet a small turkey breast would work too. Hmmm….may try that next time they go on sale.
Thank you for posting; I am new to this site but will be back often.
Thank you for sharing with us Maria! :)
I tried this last week and it was very moist and tender. I had to leave it on low for 10 hours while I was at work and I thought it was going to be dry because of the extra time but it was great! If you are sensitive to spicy I would cut back the pepper some; it was on the verge of too spicy for me. Thanks so much!
Thanks for sharing with us Carrie! We’re sorry you found it a little too spicy, but we’re glad you still enjoyed it! :)
Omg, this is the BEST! My husband likes–and compliments–my cooking, but when I made this, he RAVED about how good it was. Who’d know that making chicken this way would be so good. And the rub is just great! Thank you so much for sharing. Oh, one question, though, in the photo it looks like you’re placing the chicken breast down; I cooked mine breast up, do you think it makes a difference? Thanks again!
Thank you Cindy! We’re so happy this was a hit with you and your husband! And since these are boneless chicken breasts, it doesn’t matter which side up these are cooked.
I have a question, is there a way to do this without using aluminum foil at the base?
Yes, you can just use thickly-sliced onions and/or vegetables at the bottom. We hope you enjoy!
Can I season the chicken the night before, put it in the fridge, and then put everything in the crockpot the next morning? (So sorry if this has been asked before!)
Hi Nelsy! Yes, we think that should be fine — we hope you enjoy! :)
Tried this recipe today and i used red potatoes at the bottom instead of onions/veggies. Also i added jerk seasoning and olive oil to my chicken. Can’t wait to see the ending results!!!!
That’s awesome Angie, we hope you love it! :)
Decided to give this a try as I adore rotisserie chicken
Hope it works
I did place my chicken on celery carrots and onion
We hope you enjoyed it! :)
Just popped my chicken in! Dinner will be less stressful tonight ?
Awesome, we hope you love it! :)
Just made it for our Easter dinner, super easy WOW and so tender. Thank you so much, I’ll be making this often for sure! ?
Thanks Emida — we’re so happy you enjoyed it! :)
I I’d this for their suggestion for a quick roasted chicken bread fillet. Was amazing. Trying this one for the first time today. Been in 2 hours and smells amazing. ☺
Awesome — we hope you love it! :)
DISCARD THE BONES??? Sacrilege! :-)
Let them cool, take your cleaver bladeback to the big bones to expose the marrow and generally chop small, then bag and freeze. When you have enough raw/cooked chicken bones(2-4 birds), put them into the slow cooker, add boiling water and table spoon of vinegar and cook on low for 24 hours for nice chicken stock.
When you prep the chicken for the slowcooker, remove the wings, cut tip (put in bone bag), cut rest in half, freeze that separately for frying/bbq at a later time, it does not shine in the recipe.
Remove and chuck the butt! (it’s got yucky glands the birds use to preen their feathers.). Chop ankles off, throw into bone bag for later freezing, along with tips and the cooked bones.
Been waiting all weekend to try this recipe! Can’t wait! I’ll be sure to #gimmesomeoven when I’m finished! Thanks for the tips!
Awesome Tiffany — we hope you loved it! :)
Making this today in a large multicooker with slow cooker function. Chicken is 6 pounds and will post my results later. Will also make stock from broth & carcass.
We hope you enjoyed it Lois! :)
Wow! This was amazing, the whole house smelled great and now I have a large amount of broth. Thanks.