Simple and delicious, this basic whole chicken in the slow cooker is a must-have back-pocket recipe for home cooks and busy families!
- 1 whole chicken (~4–6 pounds)
- 2 teaspoons sea salt (Celtic, Himalayan, etc.)
- Optional: additional spices and seasonings like black pepper, smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, etc., as well as softened butter or ghee to rub on the meat underneath the skin, lemon juice, etc.
- First, with clean hands, prepare your seasonings. I like to use about 2 teaspoons of sea salt, but all other seasonings change depending on my mood. You can use traditional flavors like thyme or rosemary with garlic, and black pepper, or change it up a bit with cumin, cayenne, and smoked paprika. Measure out your seasonings and combine them in a small bowl.
- Next, remove any packaging or organs / giblets. If your chicken comes with a neck or heart, you can just cook them in the slow cooker with the whole chicken, but set them aside for now. Place the chicken in the slow cooker.
- Sprinkle the seasoning blend all over the chicken, flipping the chicken over with one hand to get both sides. Feel free to pull the skin away from the bird to rub the seasoning underneath. Place it breast-side up in the slow cooker and nestle any organs or giblets around the sides.
- Cook the chicken for about 1-2 hours on high or 4-8 hours on low. At a minimum, the chicken should be cooked to 165ºF. If you cook it too long, it might get a bit dry or tough, but I’ve cooked mine as long as 10 hours! If it gets dry, simply remove the chicken from the bones and store it with the juices that remain in the slow cooker – it will “rehydrate” so to speak.
- Optional: broil the skin. Once the chicken is done, using a large spatula and tongs, transfer it to an oven-proof pan or skillet and broil it in the oven for a couple of minutes to make the skin nice and crispy.
- You can also sear it on a skillet. Heat up the skillet. Carefully flip the chicken so that the top skin is now on the skillet (this usually works best if it cooks for less than 6 hours, otherwise it might be falling apart too much). Sear until crispy. Consider flipping it and searing both sides if your chicken can handle it!
- Eat! See additional links above for other great recipes using your leftover shredded chicken!
Optional add-ins include: smashed garlic cloves, half a lemon or lemon juice and zest, springs of hearty herbs like rosemary or thyme, butter or ghee. You can squish softened butter or ghee under the skin for extra flavor, or even coat the chicken in olive oil before you add the seasonings – your choice!
*A 4.25 pound whole chicken will yield 2.4 pounds of chicken meat.
- Category: Meat
- Method: Slow Cooker
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: whole chicken, slow cooker chicken, whole slow cooker chicken