This crockpot whole chicken recipe is of those that feels like cheating. It’s really not actively “cooking” anything, but it definitely revolutionized my cooking.
With five minutes worth of prep (maybe even less – I should time myself) and you get a beautiful, foolproof, succulent Sunday dinner.
Or throw it in the crockpot in the morning before you go to work and have a perfectly roast chicken waiting for you when you get home.
Buying a whole chicken is cheaper than buying the individual pieces at the store because it saves the companies butchering costs. While picking up a rotisserie chicken is easy, this crock pot method is the easiest way to feed the whole family with only minutes of prep time.
Or, if you’re lucky enough to have your own home-grown meat chickens, this recipe cooks the chicken long and low all day, so they end up juicy and tender.
This isn’t so much a recipe as it is a technique.
Crockpot Whole Chicken – How to Cook a Whole Chicken in the Crockpot
All you have to do it break off three sheets of aluminum foil and bunch them up into golf-ball sized balls. Lay these in the bottom of your slow cooker to elevate the chicken and place chicken on top.
If you’ve bought your chicken from a store, chances are it’s been “plumped”.
Plumping is the act of injecting chicken meat with saltwater, seaweed extract, chicken broth, or some combination of all three.
The existing food industry doesn’t have a great reputation with me, so I had to research this myself.
“Plumped” chicken is often 15%-30% injected liquid. This means, when you buy chicken from a large producer, you can pay up to $1.70 per package of mystery liquid. Ew.
I would like to think they “plump” their chicken to make it look more appealing and NOT to cheat us out of more money, but it wouldn’t surprise me.
Another certain with plumping chicken, is that the liquid can contain 200-500 mg of sodium per serving. This is more than 25% of your recommended daily allowance for sodium.
All in something most assume doesn’t have any sodium. We wonder why the US is so unhealthy.
We’re consuming sugar and sodium unknowingly, from foods that shouldn’t have any. But that’s another rant for another day.
Unfortunately, plumped chicken can still carry the “all-natural” and “100% natural” label because saltwater, seaweed, and chicken stock are all considered “natural”.
Because of this “plumping” practice, a store-bought whole chicken will release a LOT of its own juices as it cooks.
The tin foil balls in the bottom of the slower cooker will help elevate the chicken to keep the bottom from getting soggy.
If you’re cooking a home-grown chicken, however, you may want to add a little chicken broth to the bottom of the crockpot to make sure it doesn’t get too dry.
Pat the whole bird dry with paper towels to remove any water or chicken “juice”. Now simply drizzle with olive oil and add any seasonings you would normally want on a chicken into a small bowl: salt and pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, seasoned salt, butter and herbs — go crazy!
Cook time varies on whether you cook it on low or high. On the low setting, cook it for 6-8 hours, or on high for 4-6 hours. When your entire chicken is done cooking, check the internal temperature with a meat thermometer to confirm it reaches 165 degrees F at the thickest part of the thigh. That’s it! Your whole roast chicken is Martha Stewart-worthy with minimal effort.
If you’re missing that crispy skin, simply put your oven on broil which will provide a top-down heat. Roast it for roughly 5 minutes, but keep an eye on it so it doesn’t overcook.
Save the leftover chicken in an airtight container for leftover dinner time recipes that call for roasted chicken, such as chicken salad, chicken pot pies,
BONUS: Once you’ve picked off the meat from the bones, toss the bones back in the crockpot and fill with water. Let this simmer for 24 hours to make an easy chicken broth. For more info on making chicken broth, check out my post (with canning instructions).