Whole Chicken in a Crock Pot

Wondering what to make for dinner? Check out my family’s favorite crock pot recipes for great dinner ideas!

Update: If you have a minute, read through the comments, my readers have added some awesome tips and ideas for cooking whole chickens. I have also posted a whole chicken in a crock pot video tutorial for those who are interested.

I am convinced that buying a whole chicken is one of the best values for your grocery budget. I regularly see whole chickens on sale at various grocery stores for under a dollar a pound.

The problem with whole chickens is that no one wants to touch them, or mess with them once they are cooked. I was once like that too, but then I realized how much money I could save by buying whole chickens and I quickly got over my “whole uncooked chickens give me the heebie jeebies” thing and got cooking.

Cooking a whole chicken in the crock pot is super easy. First unwrap the chicken, remove the bag of innards from the cavity and give the chicken a quick rinse. (Read the comments for ideas on what to do with the innards from the chicken)

After rinsing the chicken place in a crock pot that has been sprayed with non-stick.

You do not need to put any liquid in the pot, just the chicken.

Then sprinkle your favorite spices on the chicken. I usually sprinkle garlic and paprika.

Place the lid on the crock pot, set on low, and walk away for about 7 hours.

7 hours later you will have a beautiful cooked chicken ready to serve for dinner.

Remove the chicken from the crock pot, cut and serve. Do not throw away the liquid in the crock pot.

If you do not want to serve the chicken for dinner, allow the chicken to cool and then remove the meat from the bones. You can use the meat like you would any other cooked chicken, in casseroles, chicken salad, chicken pot pie, pastas, etc.

Once you have removed all the meat from the bones, put the bones back in the crock pot and add about five cups of water. I also put the skin back in the crock pot since my kids won’t eat it.

Set the crock pot on the low setting and cover. Let it cook overnight. In the morning you will have a crock pot full of bones and chicken broth, and your house will smell like Boston Market for the next day or two.

Strain out the bones and you have homemade chicken broth for free!

Not only is it free, it is free from all the preservatives, salt, and other junk you find in some of the store bought chicken broth. I store my broth in large yogurt containers.

I got about 50 ounces of broth from one chicken. After you put the broth in a container, place in the fridge to cool. When the broth has totally cooled a layer of fat will be on the top.

Scrape the fat off with a spoon and the broth is ready to be used or can be stored for up to six months in the freezer. Don’t throw away the fat, it can be used in other recipes.  Also, see How to Reheat Chicken Broth.

Whole Chicken in a Crock Pot Meal Ideas

Meal #1 (served 7): Chicken and Mashed Potatoes

  • Chicken $4.00
  • Mashed Potatoes $1.50
  • Veggies $0.79
  • Biscuits $1.00

Total cost $7.29 or about a $1 per person

Meal #2 (served 7): Chicken and Rice Casserole

  • Chicken Free from leftovers
  • Rice $0.50
  • Cream of Chicken Soup $0.75
  • Veggies (I used chopped broccoli and carrots)  Free from leftovers
  • Spices $0.25
  • Cheddar Cheese $.50

Cook rice according to the directions. Chop leftover chicken, and veggies. Mix with cream soup and add spices. (I used garlic, minced onion, and red pepper flakes). Combine the cooked rice with the chicken mixture. Spread in a 9×13 casserole dish, sprayed with nonstick. Bake covered for 15 minutes at 350 degrees, then uncover, top with cheese and bake until the cheese melts.

Tip: If you want to use brown rice for this recipe, replace half the water with your chicken broth. Even your pickiest eaters will love it.

Total cost $2.00 or $.30 per person.

By purchasing one chicken I was able to make two meals and get about $3 worth of chicken broth from a $4 chicken.

More Chicken Recipes to Try:


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Comments

  1. Kelsey says:

    My chicken turned out fabulous, but when I went in the fridge to get the broth it was like gelatin!! Aaah! What’d I do wrong?!

  2. Crystal says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this recipe and your awesome advice. I made this today and it was just awesome when I got home from school. It was so good, in fact, that my husband had already eaten half of it! We raised our own free-range birds this summer and they are delicious – we are enjoying them in so many ways. I’ve got the bones cooking for stock right now – a great smell on a cold and blowy Halloween night :)

  3. Nayoung says:

    Thanks for the great recipe! My 5 lb chicken turned out beautifully after 7 hrs on low, just like you suggested! :)

    I hate wasting anything; so, I was wondering what I could do with the chicken “sludge” I had left over after cooking the chicken and making broth. Dog treats! I love making homemade dog treats but there are very few recipes out there that aren’t mostly fillers and offer any real protein. I had great luck and wanted to share if anyone was interested in making the chicken go just a little farther. :)

    Recipe:

    1 cup Chicken Sludge*
    2 cups Brown Rice Flour if you want it to be gluten-free (I actually ran out and used 1 cup Brown Rice Flour and 1 cup Whole Wheat Flour)
    1 cup Rolled Oats
    2 eggs
    2 Tbsp Flaxseed Meal
    2 Tbsp Pumpkin puree

    Mix everything together. I recommend doing it in a stand mixer because the consistency is thick, like peanut butter cookies. But the mixture is so easy to work with while shaping. It’s not sticky at all and no extra flour required.

    Bake 375º for 15-20 minutes depending on how crunchy you want it and also the size. I baked mine, approximately 3/4″ square) for 15 minutes -crunchy edges and a slight chewy texture on the inside. But it doesn’t matter for my dogs because they usually don’t chew. :)

    Here’s a picture. http://flic.kr/p/dqF8xq

    * The remains after cooking a whole chicken in the slow cooker and making broth with the bones. I removed all the bones and most of the skin. There were lots of meat bits that had fallen off the chicken when I deboned it. Also, I cooked and added the organs and neck that were stuffed in the chicken. I just broke everything up a bit with a spoon. I had about 2 cups worth.

  4. Paul says:

    @Kelsey You didn’t do anything wrong. In fact, if you got a gelatin stock then you will have the finest most nutritious stock you can get! I always try to cook the bones long enough to produce a gelatin stock. It doesn’t always happen – I don’t know why. Gelatin stocks are perfect for making chicken soup. The soup will have a rich flavor and aroma, and will cure whatever ails you!

  5. margie says:

    when I am cooking cicken I fill up a pot of very cold water and add salt to it about 1/4 to 1/2 cup rinse off the chicken real good then rinse in cold water you will be surprised how much cleaning the chicken needs check for your self

  6. Lychelle says:

    Just wondering how long you would cook a 2 1/2 or 3lb chicken?? I’m worried 7 hours may be too long since it is smaller..

  7. TheHappyHousewife says:

    Definitely reduce the cooking time. Depending on your crock pot, it could take 4-5 hours or even less.

  8. me says:

    Second this. This is one of the best-kept secrets to a cheap/easy/tasty meal ever. Sometimes I just put a few dashes of salt and pepper on top, but you can add various other things of course. It’s just me so I can get several meals off of this….the bones aren’t a big deal, I just put them in a freezer bag before throwing away (to minimize chance of insects, mice etc – hey I live in the country). I wasn’t sure how long to cook though, which is why I looked this up – thanks!

  9. Theresa says:

    I always add the potatoes and carrots in the crockpot at about half the cooking time, adds flavor to the veggies and makes it one simple meal, and no dishes! :D

  10. Lisa says:

    Can I stuff a chicken and do it the same way, just increase the cooking time some?
    Can’t wait to try this recipe!

  11. Rachel says:

    Trying this tonight! Thanks everyone for the great ideas and tips!! Can’t wait!

  12. Misti says:

    @Kelsey: you didn’t do anything wrong. The gelatin is from the chicken bones and is very good for you. You didn’t mess up – you made really good nutritious broth. It will go back to liquid when you heat it up.

  13. Andor says:

    Kelsy, you are not doing anything wrong, just heat up your chicken gelatin and add some water and any spices you want and you are ready to go.

  14. Jess says:

    I’m new to crock potting and haven’t had a lot of luck so far but I keep trying. Does it matter if my chicken is about 3 lbs and my crock pot is 7 qt? I feel like that’s way to much empty space!?

  15. Mark Robinson says:

    The breast meat was a little dry. I think next time I’m going to make sure to cook it breast side down. Maybe that will help. I also had to cook it for 8 hours, rather than 7 because 8 and 10 hours are the only settings on my crock pot.

  16. Tina says:

    Just wondering if you defrost the chicken first??? Or can you cook in the crock pot frozen??? If so, how much longer would you need to cook the chicken???

  17. April says:

    Kelsey, your chicken broth was normal. This kind of chicken broth is supposed to be that way. When you heat it up, it gets runny/liquid again. :)

  18. devon says:

    how long should I cook 2 4lb chickens in the same crockpot?

  19. Toni Anderson says:

    It should be fine.

  20. Americ0621 says:

    I seasoned with 1 onion, 4 cloves garlic, 1 lemon + juice, thyme and salt and pepper. I put olive oil over it too, like someone suggested. Also took the other suggestion to put chicken under broiler for 5 min or so after it was done. Great flavor! I like yr website’

  21. Lori says:

    Thanks! Putting one in tonight for tostadas for dinner tomorrow. Going to try the dog treat recipe too. Caution…..don’t make dog treats if you cooked your chicken with onions. Onions are toxic to dogs.

  22. Ann says:

    I have a whole chicken that I am planing to cook in the crock pot and googled it. I was set with the recipe that I was cooking it with and I have now changed my mind. This sounds awesome. I can’t wait to try it for dinner tonight. Thank you. I am also psyched about all the other recipes for the planned overs.

  23. Anne says:

    Thanks for this recipe! I love how this recipe was very straightforward and easy to follow. I’ve decided to start cooking a whole chicken more regularly not just for the cost but it also makes me feel better about the number of chickens we are “killing”. Normally I would buy about 5 chicken breasts a week which means 3 chickens. But by cooking a whole chicken we get about the same amount of meat but from only one chicken! Plus now I don’t have to touch icky raw chicken breasts every night, just once a week. Then we eat the meat in different recipes throughout the week.

    @Mark – I cooked my 4lb chicken breast-side down (for 7 hours) the second time and it worked out perfectly. So it’s worth a try to see if that fixes for your 8 hour problem. You could also try buying a slightly larger chicken (5+lbs) that would take a bit longer to cook.

  24. carla g says:

    I made this tonight, but just sprinkled with some lemon pepper seasoning. It literally fell off the bone and was so good. I have the bones and skin going right now for the stock! Thanks so much!

  25. Lisa says:

    This is the best!!! Chicken falls off the bones! I have about 4 cups of sludge. Can anyone help me out with what i can do with it? Recipes?

  26. Matthew says:

    I’ve seen the question posted a couple of times, but no replies to it. Does the bird have to be defrosted before cooking, or can i put the frozen bird in the crock pot and adjust time? I’d really like to make this, but i have a problem with a whole chicken defrosting in my fridge or on my counter :/

  27. Joanne says:

    This sounds great, I roast whole chickens quite regularly (there is a great instructable on quick roasting that I use from instructables.com) but am new to crock pot cooking. I work outside the home all day, is 7-8 hours a maximum as I would have to either leave for 12 hours or at least 9 hours and then turn it off when I got home and let it sit until we were ready to eat assuming it would keep at a safe temp for another few hours. Any suggestions as to how I can fit this in to our schedule would be gratefully received thank you .

  28. Toni Anderson says:

    You can put a frozen chicken in the crock pot as well. Just adjust the cooking time, it will probably take an hour or two longer depending on your crock pot and size of the bird.

  29. Meg says:

    Thanks for a simple recipe!! Since it’s now Fall my crockpot has been used more and more (obviously.) I’ve never done a whole chicken in the crockpot and came across your site. I’m going to do garlic, rosemary and thyme. I’ll add a little S&P too. Everyone in the comments has some mouth-watering suggestions too!! Can’t wait for the bone broth. If you cook your bone broth for 3 days straight (I know it’s a long time and some may not be able to do that) the bones will literally breakdown and “melt” into the broth. It’s an old family thing we’ve done and will kick a cold or flu in the bootay. ( :

  30. Kristin says:

    This is for Michael who posted Aug 28: Yes, the chicken needs to be defrosted before cooking in the crockpot. You can usually find chickens in stores other than Walmart (theirs are always frozen rock hard) that have chickens never frozen or chickens (i.e. Tyson’s) that are pretty much thawed already for you in the meat section. Other than that, on Friday place your frozen chicken placed in SEVERAL store plastic grocery bags and tie shut. By Monday it should be thawed and ready for your slow cooker. Good luck!

  31. mandy says:

    Thank you so much! We enjoyed the whole chicken, just placed my stock in the freezer and my casserole just came out of the oven. Not bad for a chicken that cost just a little over 5 bucks!

  32. Nicole says:

    I LOVE this recipe!!! I make it at least every 2 weeks and tell everyone I know about it!! Easy, cheap, and delicious!!

  33. Kim says:

    I have a7.5 lb oven roaster chicken. How long would I cook that In my crockpot (I am new to crockpot cooking)? Thx!!

  34. That is probably too large to cook in a crock pot. I would roast it in the oven and look for something around 4-5 pounds to cook in your crock pot.

  35. maggie krostag says:

    I tried cooking an unthawed chicken in my crockpot, put in when I went to work, turned out mushy. Talked to my sister says she puts the meat in frozen. I tried this, worked GREAT! She even puts potatoes wrapped in foil on top of the meat to have “baked” potatoes done when chicken is done. I start chicken out on high while I’m getting ready for work. Put no water in unless you want a soup there will be an amazing amount of liquid when done. I like onions & garlic put in at this time, I turn heat down to low when I leave . This would be a good time to put carrots, celery etc around chicken so those veggies will also be done when you get home. If you want a mexi flavor put chili, cumin, peppers, onions, garlic.
    Great for taco fixins.

    I go to work so the chicken will be in the crockpot several hours. If you have unthawed chicken and fewer hours cooking time unthawed chicken would be fine.

    Gelatin from the chicken bones is what jells the liquid when cooled. Super healing food. Get sick – eat chicken soup! Right? USE IT! Drink it, cook rice in it, make soup.

  36. Professional Food Service Person says:

    To all of those asking about frozen meats and thawing:
    DO NOT THAW ANYTHING ON THE COUNTER. Always thaw frozen food overnight in the fridge. Temperature range between 41F and 120F is considered the food “danger zone”. Any food in that temp range has only FOUR hours of life before the bacteria reaches levels dangerous enough to cause food borne illness. Remember, that time is cumulative. Bad example: 1. Thanksgiving turkey was left out for 1.5 hours to “finish” thawing and start prep (remove giblets, season, stuff). 2. After cooking, it rested for 30 minutes to hold the juices in before carving. 3. It was on the table for 2 hours during dinner and cleanup. ***The turkey has now been in the “danger zone” temp for 4 hours. Even if you were to make other meals with the meat, this turkey has already spent too long outside of the fridge or the oven. The moral is — thaw in the fridge OR use the defrost setting on the microwave, which doesn’t always work with bone-in meats. Be safe, not sick.

  37. Thanks for the tips. My husband and I just cooked a chicken in the oven and the meat is not tender at all. I suggested that we cook it in the crock pot to get the meat tender. Thanks for the tips. I will try it tomorrow.

  38. Beth says:

    One way that I like to store my broth/stock, is to freeze it in ice cube trays then put the broth cubes in freezer bags! Works great! You can also use cupcake pans or silicone cupcake liners!

  39. Christina says:

    Hi there, just wanted to tell you that your stock will not be free of preservatives and salt. That chicken you put in the pot, full of salt and trypolyphospate ( yep preservative). The only way to ensure no salt and preservatives is to raise and kill that chicken yourself. Sorry to burst the bubble. :)

  40. Johnny says:

    Just wanted to say thanks for the recipe.I’m a relatively new cook and by reading through your recipe and the comments I’ve came up with so many ideas.Once again thank you.

  41. Jim says:

    I’m new to cooking and bought the chicken before I saw your recipe. The chicken is almost 6 pounds. How long should I cook that in the crockpot on high?

  42. Ah, I LOVE crock pot whole chicken. I, too, never wanted to touch a whole chicken. It’s intimidating and gross! But, oh so tasty and simple to prepare! Here’s how I do my chicken and stock: http://mrscrislip.wordpress.com/2014/04/14/beat-the-clock-crock-pot-chicken-stock/

Trackbacks

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