Chicken in a Crock Pot

Chicken in a Crock Pot recipe from Weelicious.com

Every Sunday at our local farmer's market, I buy a whole chicken from the great folks at Healthy Family Farms (we also get our eggs from them). I like to make a Simple Roast Chicken every Sunday, but several weeks ago the farmer that sells the chickens asked if I had ever tried cooking a whole chicken in a slow cooker. I had not. I listened as she told me just how easy it was to prepare, but I was still in disbelief at how simple her description was. No oil? No butter? No broth? Just a few herbs, lemon and salt? Really?! I immediately went home that afternoon and with practically no effort, prepared a chicken that was about as good as any I had ever tasted. My whole family was wide-eyed as we took our first bites -- the chicken was moist, tender and juicy and the consistency is almost like pulled pork because the meat literally falls off the bone.

Chicken in a Crock Pot recipe from Weelicious.com

This recipe is embarrassingly simple and incredibly healthy, but the best part is that it essentially cooks itself. There's almost no work involved, and I love that I can cook a whole chicken and then keep the meat in the fridge to make Mac, Chicken and Cheese BitesChicken, Bean and Cheese Quesadillas or Chicken and Rice Burritos throughout the week!

Not only did Kenya, our friends, my hubby and I fall in love, but guess who ate more then her fair share of chicken? That's right, baby Chloe. She was like a little chicken eatin' machine, putting piece after piece into her mouth.

Chicken in a Crock Pot recipe from Weelicious.com

If cooking a whole chicken has always seemed daunting to you, try this crock pot version. It's so simple, you'll have a hard time finding reasons not to. Check out this video if you want to see how we did it.

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Chicken in a Crock Pot (Serves 4)

Prep Time: 0 mins Cook Time: 4 mins

egg free

dairy free

gluten free

Ingredients

  • 1 4-pound whole chicken
  • 2-3 thyme sprigs
  • 1 lemon, cut in half
  • kosher salt

Preparation

1. Stuff the chicken with the thyme and lemon halves and sprinkle the outside with salt.

2. Cook on high for 3 hours (increase time to 4 hours for a 5 pound chicken).

3. Using a meat thermometer, make sure the chicken is cooked to 160 degrees (the times on different slow cookers may vary).

4. Allow the chicken to rest for 10 minutes before cutting it into pieces (this allows the juices to redistribute and the chicken to remain extremely juicy).

Note: The skin on the chicken won’t be golden because this is more of a steaming method, but the meat will be outrageously moist, tender and juicy.

Make N' Share!
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Hi, I’m Catherine. Mama of three. A Kentucky girl living in California. Here’s what I know: all kids can be great eaters and mealtime must be easy. My passion is creating simple, healthy recipes that can be enjoyed by the whole family.

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70 comments

  • Erica

    I'm cooking this right now :)

    leave a comment

  • Hungrysmurf

    Hi! What kind of crock pot do you use? I have been meaning to get one and this recipe is making me want to run out and buy one tomorrow!

    leave a comment

    • Catherine

      http://astore.amazon.com/weelicious-20/detail/B0007SXBUQ

      We Use All-Clad , you can buy it from our store :)

      leave a comment

  • Janine

    Hi! OK, so I made this tonight and my little guy ( 4 yrs) had thirds! Yes, thirds! Thank you so much :):) We had the Mac n Cheese in a rice cooker with it too, plus veges of course.
    I was wondering how long would you suggest to cook the chicken on low? I want to share this with my mommy friends who work out of the home.
    Thanks!
    Janine

    leave a comment

    • Catherine

      I would suggest around 3-5 hours, but I would definitely go in around 3 -4 hours and measure its temperature and with a meat thermometer and see if its temp is at 160-165. Make sure your chicken temp is between 160-165 that is when you know the chicken is fully cooked. Make sure you put the thermometer between the breast and leg or thickest area of the chicken.

      leave a comment

  • Elizabeth

    I made this tonight with great success! I was going to be gone for 4 hours, so I cooked a 5# chicken on low for 5 hours. It was perfection when I arrived home. We had some tonight for dinner and the rest will be filler during the week. thanks for the great method.

    leave a comment

  • Kerri

    I am going to make this tomorrow. We have a day trip planned to a family dairy, and this will be waiting for us when we get home! We have tons of thyme in our garden right now, so it will be great to have a recipe for it. Thanks! Already looking forward to tomorrow's dinner!

    leave a comment

  • Jenni

    i made this just this morning to take on our family picnic today. i used my nesco 3 in 1 on slow cooker mode and added some fresh rosemary(because i adore it!)to your recipe. IT CAME OUT PERFECT! thank you so much for your wonderful recipes. now im off to vote for your tv show!

    leave a comment

  • Heather

    Have you ever tried doing chicken breasts using this method in the slow cooker? I wonder if it would work... I might give it a try! Next time I have a whole chicken in the house, I'm definately going to use this recipe.

    leave a comment

    • Catherine

      I haven't used chicken breasts, but if I do, I would use the bone-in kind so that the breast are juicier :) I'm so happy you like the recipe!

      leave a comment

  • Lindey

    made this for tonights supper. it was a huge hit with the hubby & big kids (16 & 9) i pulled the meat of one breast to make your mac chicken & cheese with & OMG...the kids *loved* it! i'm on a VLCDiet so didn't have any, but it sure smelled and looked wonderful :o) you're the best!
    up tomorrow...pizza pinwheels!

    leave a comment

  • Jessica

    Was that a 1-4 pound chicken or a 14 pound chicken? I'm clearly a novice. Thanks.

    leave a comment

    • Catherine

      It is a One 4 lb Chicken :)

      leave a comment

  • Andrea

    Made this today. Maybe its my crockpot but it took WAY more than 2 hours to cook the chicken. More like 4. I looked up other chicken in a slow cooker recipes and they said 4 hours for a 3 lb chicken on high.

    Just wondering if anyone else found this with their crockpots?

    leave a comment

    • Catherine

      How many pounds was your chicken? That's a huge factor in the cooking time.

      leave a comment

  • Jaime

    Also..not sure if anyone mentioned it, but you can scrunch up some tin foil into balls underneath the chicken so it creates more of a 'crockpot baked chicken', I also do this with chicken breasts. I just find it makes still juicy but without the 'steam' feel that it sitting in the bottom gives it.

    leave a comment

  • Katie

    I have done this a few times and the kids and my grandmother loved it. My twins who don't eat meat couldn't stop! I also added a little chicken stock and tossed in some veggies, dinner was done in 1 pot

    leave a comment

  • [email protected] Mommy Brain...

    I've made this several times, but was wondering if all the juice left in the bottom of the slow cooker is good for anything? Is it like stock?

    leave a comment

  • Laurie

    Jen-

    The juice in the bottom of the slow cooker is LIQUID GOLD! I let it cool in the crock, then pour it through a strainer. Pop it in the fridge, and the next day you can easily skim the fat off of the top. What is left behind is like chicken jello, which apparently is the holy grail of chicken stock. You add about a quart of water (I \"guesstimated\") and you have wonderful, home made chicken stock. I used it in a soup I made the next day.

    I am making the chicken again today, and after I remove the chicken from the bones, I am adding the skinned carcass back into the crock with a couple of quarts of water, a stalk of celery and a couple of carrots, and cooking on low for 5 or 6 more hours. Should make a lot of delicious stock.

    Just wanted to reply because I had the same question, and did major research to find out if my \"chicken jello\" was edible... such an awesome perk of making this great recipe!

    leave a comment

    • Michelle

      I wish I would have seen this post! I just dumped all the goop out. Oh well...next time!

      leave a comment

    • Courtney

      Hi Laurie. I'm trying your 2/16 stock recipe right now -- how did yours turn out by the way? Courtney

      leave a comment

    • Ashley

      This is a great tip! I'll be trying this with the leftover liquid tonight. Love this site and appreciate all of the feedback from everyone too :)

      leave a comment

  • Zpmom

    I like to put things in the crock pot while I'm at work but I'm gone 8+ hours do you think this would turn to mush if it was cooking on low for that long?

    leave a comment

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  • Rose

    I am wondering about being gone all day too. Can I cook it on low with out somehow drying the bird out? What do you suggest?

    leave a comment

  • Michelle

    I made this last night and it was seriously so easy! It was so tender and juicy that when I tried to take the chicken out of the crockpot to let it sit for 10 minutes, it just started falling apart, which was nice since I was a little nervous about cutting the chicken. There was a good amount left over so I am deciding what to make for dinner tonight with the leftovers. Quesadillas or chicken salad sandiwiches...hmmmm....

    leave a comment

  • Laurie

    Courtney--

    the stock turned out fantastic! I made a chicken/wild rice soup with it (the March Southern Living recipe, very good). The next time I made the stock, I noticed that the flavor was slightly bitter (but just fine to use with a soup that has a hamhock or other flavor booster). I think the problem was that I let the chicken carcass go too long in the slow cooker... I am going to give it another go next week, and only cook it for an additional 3 hours and see how it turns out.

    How did your attempt go??

    leave a comment

  • Jeanne

    This may be a dumb question, but I have only tried cooking a whole chicken once... do you have to remove the inside pieces before putting in the crock pot? I think that was the worst part about cooking the whole chicken.

    thank you!

    leave a comment

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  • Jellyjello

    this is the best thing ever!! made sunday and just finished the last of it today.added it to the cheese carrot n broccoli orzo! cant wait to make another one this sunday!

    leave a comment

  • Cindy

    Couldn't tell from the video...did you cook the chicken with the skin on?

    leave a comment

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  • Michelle

    Thank you so much for this recipe! I am so clueless when it comes to cooking meat, and I love it when I can make it look like I know what I'm doing. ;) We make this at least once a week. It's wonderful!

    leave a comment

  • Personal Trainer

    I feel this is one of the so much significant information for me. And i'm satisfied reading your article. However should statement on few basic things, The web site taste is perfect, the articles is actually excellent : D. Excellent job, cheers

    leave a comment

  • M

    Do you think I could add vegetables - like carrots and potatoes to the slow cooker with the chicken?

    leave a comment

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  • Diana

    i stumbled upon this recipe a few weeks ago and i have to tell you that it has changed my life! i have made it every week for a month and its just pure genius! after i shred the chicken i put the carcass right back in the crock pot and make stock - its just been so great and easy. thanks a million for posting this. if there were a pulitzer price for recipes this one should win it!

    leave a comment

    • Catherine

      Thank you so much! I am thrilled you like it so well!

      leave a comment

  • Erinmw

    Lol I was just about to post the exact thing! I too cooked my chicken then made some yummy crock pot stock. Thank you soo much or this idea, my poor crock pot had been sitting dusty and lonley on top of the cupboard until today! Now it's not going back!

    leave a comment

  • Marta

    I didn't have Thyme so instead used fresh Rosemary and the chicken was flavorful and moist...and so easy! My family liked it a lot..

    leave a comment

  • Christine

    Do you think this would turn out with dried thyme? The store was all out of fresh.

    leave a comment

    • Catherine

      You can use dried thyme, but I would use no more than 1/2 teaspoon and just rub it all over the chicken!

      leave a comment

  • Penny

    I love this recipe!
    The first time I made it, I used the lemon and the chicken and stock was just too lemony. Now I simply stuff whatever fresh herbs I feel like inside of the chicken and cook it for 4 hrs (seems to be perfect for the average size of chicken available in store).
    The meat is so tender, and when I have too much, I freeze it in 1 or 2 cup bags for future use.

    leave a comment

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  • Jmiyasato

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! I have been so afraid of cooking a whole chicken. But I took the plunge with this recipe and it was so easy! Now I am planning my recipes for the chicken and looking forward to my next whole chicken!

    leave a comment

  • Jack

    Wow! This turned out great. I used seasoned salt on the outside of the chicken, and sprinkled half a teaspoon of kosher rock salt on top so it would slowly disolve and marinate the meat as it cooked. It's amazing how much flavor the ingredients impart.

    I used the juices left in the slow cooker to make a tasty gravy.

    If you want to make the skin on some of the individual pieces somewhat crispy and a little browned, you can place them under the broiler for a couple of minutes.


    This recipe is a keeper.

    leave a comment

  • CP

    I can't wait to try. I use my crockpot all the time. If you use a crockpot bag, clean up is simple and easy.

    leave a comment

  • Nicole

    Hi! I have a silly question...what size slow cooker would i need in order to cook a 2lb whole chicken? I have a 4 1/2 qt round slow cooker...would that work?

    leave a comment

    • Catherine

      Hmmm I have a 6 1/2 quart crock pot and usually cook a 4-pound chicken in it, so I think a 2-pound chicken would fit in yours!

      leave a comment

  • Jennifer

    Add paprika to the skin to give it that golden brown look!!

    leave a comment

  • M.T.

    Love, love, love this super easy way to cook chicken! I wish I had tried this out months ago! Thank you!

    leave a comment

  • M.T.

    Love, love, love this super easy way to cook chicken! I wish I had thought to try it out months ago!

    Is it just me or does that look like an orange in the photo?

    leave a comment

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    Just made this today and it turned out great. My 18 month old twins were shoveling it in! Thanks for reminding me how awesome the slow cooker is. Your site is fantastic.

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  • BusyBee74

    May be a dumb question but… can you cook a frozen chicken in a crock pot?

    leave a comment

    • Catherine McCord

      Yes you can! It will take a few hours longer!

      leave a comment

    • Robin H

      BusyBee74, I throw a frozen whole chicken in the crock the night before, turn on low and absolutely falls apart.. Really, put it in the crock in the morning (still frozen) and is ready by dinner time. Falls completely apart. My family gets so excited when they see me pulling out the crock pot and a whole chicken! I'm excited because I don't have to spend time shredding left over chicken for the next day's meal!

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  • Joie

    whole chicken in CROCK POT

    leave a comment

  • Stephanie

    I just made this last night for my family and I got RAVING reviews! Words like \"best chicken ever\" and \"mom, this is awesome\" were a part of our dinner conversation! I also get similar reactions to the Pulled Pork Tacos! Thanks Weelicious! Your site is quickly becoming my dinner planning go-to!

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  • Katherine

    Hi, thank you... I am kitchen challenged... Can this be done with frozen chicken pieces in crock pot? Love lemon ;) such a cute family, blessings ;)

    leave a comment

    • McCord

      Frozen chicken pieces will work in this recipe. They will cook faster than a whole chicken.

      leave a comment