Sep 12 11
by cara
at 4:59 PM
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Crockpot Whole Chicken

Today was The Littlest Apple’s third day of preschool and he’s home sick.  Already.  And if I’m being completely honest, I was disappointed because today was the first meeting of the mom’s group at my church.  The group I’ve been looking forward to all summer long, and I didn’t get to go.  I’m hoping we can get back on track tomorrow…we’ve got more firsts on the calendar tomorrow that I don’t want to miss: my first bible study meeting for the fall and The Littlest Apple’s first soccer practice (ever).

Today would be the perfect day for a big steaming bowl of homemade chicken noodle soup or a cheesy chicken casserole.  Something comforting.  And this roast chicken would be a great to use in a dish like that.  I’m a big fan of roasting my own chicken instead of buying rotisserie at the store.  In the past, I’ve usually cooked my whole chickens in the oven.  Roasting chicken in the oven gets the skin nice and crispy, but sometimes I overcooked my chicken and it was too dry.  And you have to rub butter under the skin and stuff the chicken, which can be a pain.

But did you know that you can also roast a whole chicken in the crockpot?  This method is super easy, and yields chicken that is falling-off-the-bone tender and extra juicy.  The skin won’t get crispy this way, nor will it win any photo contests, but you’ll get some delicious chicken with the ease of your crockpot.  The recipe couldn’t be simpler….put some chopped onion in your crockpot, plop the chicken on top, sprinkle with spices.**  That’s it! No extra liquid needed.  (You’ll be amazed at how much liquid is created as the onion and chicken cook!)  No rubbing butter under the chicken skin (which I know grosses some of you out).  This recipe is virtually foolproof (assuming you remember to turn on your crockpot)!

** A note about the spices: The recipe below includes a homemade spice mixture, but this would also work with practically any seasoning mix: fajita seasoning, grill seasoning, italian seasoning or any other spice mixture you can purchase.

Ready to cook!

Crockpot Whole Chicken

adapted from


  • 2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 tsp. white pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 large roasting chicken (Picky Apple note: mine was about 3.5 pounds)
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • Other optional add ins: lemon juice, garlic, potatoes, carrots and other veggies

In a small bowl, combine the spices.  Clean the chicken and remove the giblets.  Put chopped onion in bottom of crockpot.  Add the chicken.  Sprinkle the spices on top of the chicken.  (Picky Apple note:  I don’t always use all of the spice, depending on the size of the chicken.  If you’ve got some leftover, save it for next time!) Throw in potatoes and veggies, if using.  Cook on low for 4-8 hours, depending on your crockpot.  (Mine takes 5-6 hours)

**Edited 9/16/11: Many food safety sites recommend cooking raw chicken on high for the first hour in the crockpot to bring the crockpot up to a “safe” temperature.  Then you can switch it back down to low for the remainder of the cook time.  I’ve done it both ways and my chicken has been fine (but then again my crockpot is particularly hot).  Just wanted to give you a heads up.  Safe cooking everyone!

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  1. Yum!  I’ve seen CrockPot Whole Chicken mentioned a few places recently and it seems genius.  I’m really going to have to try it and I’m definitely going to try out your spice blend as it sounds yummy!  Also, I’ve seen someone else mention doing the CrockPot chicken thing and then actually sticking it under the broiler to crisp up the skin.  Their pics looked yummy so maybe something to try?  I’m not really a skin person (I know, I know…) so it doesn’t matter to me.  One more step I don’t have to worry about!  Thanks for the recipe!

  2. Katy Livingston permalink

    Oh my gosh, I just bought a whole chicken for the first time!  I was actually planning on making it tomorrow.  The other recipe someone gave me involved rubbing spices all under the skin, but if it tastes just as good with just sprinkling, I’m doing it that way!

  3. Cara permalink

    I’ve also read about following up this recipe with some time under the broiler, for crispy skin, but I haven’t personally tried it.  Because the chicken is SO fall-off-the-bone tender, you’d have to stick your crockpot dish in the oven (can you even do that?) because it would be virtually impossible to transfer to a baking dish and keep the chicken in tact.  It’s THAT tender.  But I DO love crispy skin, so I may have to try it one of these days….Thanks for your comment!

  4. Cara permalink

    The crockpot method generates pretty great flavor without rubbing it under the skin.  The flavor is even better the next day!  (And you could even rub the spices on it the night before and let it sit in the fridge overnight for extra flavor).  Good luck cooking your first whole chicken!  

  5. do you have to add any water to the crock pot?

  6. Lindsay Barnicle permalink

    Great recipe! Thanks for sharing. I will be featuring on my blog soon! Thanks :) 

  7. Cara permalink

    Nope, no water.  The juices from the chicken and the onion provide all the liquid you need.  Hope that helps!

  8. Cara permalink

    So glad you liked it, Lindsay.  Thanks!

  9. Jennifer spare permalink

    I just made this and it was amazing!! I don’t think I will ever use my oven again to roast a chicken.!!!!

  10. Sue permalink

    If your worried about the temperature of the crockpot and also the chicken getting to the right doneness just use a meat thermometer. I make chickens in the crockpot a lot

  11. Carolyn permalink

    I’m not a fan of onions, do you have to put the onion on the bottom?

  12. Cara permalink

    You can leave the onions out, and it will still taste great!

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