Best Recipe: Whole Chicken in the Slow Cooker

Whole chicken in slow cooker

Cook’s notes: I was shocked to find out how much sodium and “chemical enhancement” methods can be packed into carryout rotisserie chickens. (Read the list of nutritional negatives on the livestrong site.) Luckily, I found this recipe by Lisa Leake, who called it “The Best Whole Chicken in a Crock Pot.” I totally agree. Lisa also notes that “after you pick off the good chicken meat, you can leave the bones in the crock pot to make some stock.” See her original post for these stock instructions.

This recipe is a winner — It’s so easy, it only has three ingredients (spice mix, onion, and chicken), it doesn’t heat up the house, and you don’t need to add any extra liquid or butter. Any spice rub combination will work as well. The chicken is just delicious. I’d like to try putting the chicken on a bed of cut-up yams or Yukon gold potatoes, instead of onions. (Lisa notes that if you use carrots, add them during the last hour. Otherwise, they are too mushy.) This recipe is already in heavy rotation at our house; we make it about every two weeks. It’s a great dish for the weekend or to bring to a potluck.



1 sweet onion, peeled and cut into large chunks
1 large chicken
6 teaspoons Dry Rub for Chicken


Lightly coat the slow cooker with cooking spray. Place onion pieces in the bottom of the slow cooker.

Remove any giblets or string from the chicken, and then rub the spice mixture all over. You can even put some of the spices inside the cavity.

Put prepared chicken on top of the onions in the slow cooker, cover it, and turn it on to High. There is no need to add any liquid.

Cook for 4 to 5 hours (for a 3 or 4 pound chicken) or until the chicken is falling off the bone.

Easy to shred

(Note: we cooked it for 4.5 hours, and made sure the chicken was cooked to a USDA specs: a “safe minimum internal temperature of 165 F/75 C as measured using a food thermometer.” At 5 hours, you can shred the meat with a spoon, the onions are melted, and you have to be very careful with removing the bones.)

Be careful when you take the chicken from the slow cooker: It did indeed fall off the bones and easily pull into many small pieces. You won’t remove it in one piece.

Source: Adapted from Lisa Leake’s blog, 100 days of real food