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I am sharing the secret to cooking a juicy whole chicken using your crock pot. There are two reasons your chicken will turn out moist and juicy using my recipe.

First, stuffing your chicken with apples, onions, and fresh herbs penetrates flavor and moisture from the inside out. Then, adding a slow, gentle cooking technique to your crockpot ensures that your chicken turns out moist and tender every time.

A whole roasted chicken in a crock pot

Using your crock pot for a whole roasted chicken not only gives you a delicious and tender meal but also offers convenience, saves time, and allows you to create a flavor-packed masterpiece your family will love. 

If you are looking for more ways to cook chicken, be sure to try my Juicy Instant Pot Shredded Chicken Breast Recipe, Crispy Skin Air Fryer Chicken Legs Recipe (Extra Juicy), and 5-Minute Prep, Slow Cooker Chicken Shredded

Ingredients Needed To Cook A Whole Chicken In The Crock Pot

There are a few key ingredients to infuse moisture and great flavor when cooking a whole chicken in your slow cooker.

One whole chicken seasoning rub Apple onion and a bundle of fresh herbs
  • Chicken: When choosing a whole chicken for roasting, consider opting for a roasting-specific chicken, such as a “roaster” or “roasting chicken.” These chickens are typically larger and have a balance of meat and fat, making them ideal for achieving juicy and flavorful results. Additionally, look for chickens labeled as “free-range” or “organic” for enhanced flavor and quality. It’s also essential to check for a plump, well-shaped bird with skin that is pale and not overly bruised or torn.
  • Onion: You can use a white, red, or yellow onion.
  • Apple: I used a granny smith but any variety will work great.
  • Herbs: Rosemary and parsley.
  • Rub Seasoning: For this recipe I used my homemade Authentic Style Texas BBQ Rub Recipe (Bold & Smoky) However, feel free to use your favorite rub.

What size Crock Pot and chicken is best?

I use my 6-quart crock pot when cooking a whole chicken. However, choosing the right size chicken is important to ensure it fits properly. Here are some tips to help you with the selection:

  • Consider the capacity: A 6-quart crock pot can typically accommodate a whole chicken that weighs around 4 to 5 pounds. It’s important to ensure that the chicken fits comfortably inside the crock pot without being too crowded.
  • Number of serving portions: Think about the number of people you want to serve. A 4- to 5-pound chicken usually provides around 4 to 6 servings, depending on your guests’ appetites.

Why Use A Trivet When Cooking A Whole Chicken

Using a trivet in the bottom of a slow cooker when cooking a whole chicken is wise because it elevates the chicken, allowing heat to circulate more evenly for thorough cooking. Additionally, the trivet helps prevent the chicken from sitting in its juices, promoting a crispier skin and avoiding a soggy texture.

I use my instant pot steamer rack or the silicone roasting rack.

Two types of one wire and one rubber

How To Prep Whole Chicken for Crock Pot Roasting

Safety Tip: I use kitchen disposable gloves when prepping raw meat for easy cleanup and to avoid bacteria transferring to surfaces. Also, be sure to use a designated cutting board for raw meat and to clean surfaces with bleach afterward. 

  1. Before you start, set up your crockpot and preheat it on high. Place the trivet into the bottom of the cooker liner.
A trivet in the bottom of a crock pot
  1.  Take the whole chicken out of its packaging and discard any wrapping. Rinse the chicken under cold running water to remove residual fluids from the packaging.
  2. Locate the cavities of the chicken, which is the opening at the larger end and the neck. Cut around the cavity using kitchen shears or a sharp knife to discard any excess fat or skin. 
A whole raw chicken on a cutting board that has the fat trimmed off paper towel drying it

Tip: Excess fat can contribute to a greasy texture and affect the overall taste of the chicken and cooking juices. It’s best to remove it before cooking. 

  1. Reach inside the cavity and remove giblets, including the liver, heart, and gizzard. Note that not all brands of chickens include these. Rinse one more time. 

Optional gravy tip: The giblets, liver, heart, and gizzards can be placed in the bottom of the slow cooker to make a rich stock or gravy if desired 

  1.  Place the rinsed chicken on a clean cutting board. Gently pat the chicken dry with paper towels. This helps the dry rub adhere to the skin. 
  2. Sprinkle rub seasoning generously over the whole chicken on the surface and inside the cavity. Using your hands, massage it into the skin of the chicken. Let it set at room temperature for 15 minutes. This helps the rub’s flavors to penetrate the meat.
  3. Quarter a medium-sized onion and your favorite variety of apple.
Apples and onions that have been cut into Quarters on a cutting board with a knife
  1. Stuff the apple and onion into the chicken. If you can not get it all in, place the extra pieces on the bottom of the crock pot.
  2. Tie a bundle of fresh herbs and place them in the chicken also.
Raw whole chicken that has been stuffed with apples onions and fresh herbs and has a rub on it
  1. Place the chicken into the crock pot. Add 1 cup of water to the bottom of the slow cooker. Cover with the lid. Set the crockpot to high and cook for 4 hours. Do not lift the lid. 
A whole raw chicken with seasoning rub and apple stuffed in it inside a Crock-Pot liner

Saftey Tip: Use a digital meat thermometer to check the thickest part of the chicken has an internal temperature of 165 F.

How To Thicken The Cooking Broth

When the chicken is finished cooking you can thicken the cooking broth using a slurry of cold chicken broth and cornstarch. Follow these steps:

  1. Carefully pour or spoon out the chicken broth into an OXO fat separator to remove excess grease. Allow it to sit and separate for about five minutes.
  2. Combine cornstarch with cold chicken broth (or cold milk) in an OXO salad dressing mixing jar or any other small jar with a tight-fitting lid. The ratio of cornstarch to broth depends on the desired thickness. Usually, 1 tablespoon of cornstarch per half cup of broth works well. Shake the mixture until the cornstarch is fully dissolved.
  1. Pour the strained chicken broth into a pan and bring to a low boil over medium-high heat.
  2. Once the chicken broth is to a low boil, gradually pour the slurry into the pan while stirring continuously. Adding it slowly prevents lumps from forming.
  1. Continue stirring with a whisk until the broth reaches a low boil. The cornstarch will thicken the broth gradually. Make sure to stir consistently to avoid any clumps or uneven thickening.

Variation Ideas

Seasoning Rub: I used my Authentic Style Texas BBQ Rub Recipe (Bold & Smoky) rub for this recipe. However, you might also like to try my The Perfect Turkey Dry Rub Recipe, Award Winning Dry Rub For Ribs (it’s great on poultry too), or Best BBQ Coffee Dry Rub Recipe. You could also use your favorite store-bought rub.

There are various options for stuffing a chicken to infuse flavor and maintain moisture in the meat while cooking.

  •  Fruits: Lemons, oranges, or limes can be sliced and stuffed into the chicken cavity. They impart a refreshing flavor and release natural juices that keep the chicken moist.
  • Vegetables: Carrots are known for their high water content. Adding sliced carrots to the chicken cavity will contribute to keeping the meat moist during cooking. Celery is a hydrating vegetable that can help retain moisture in the chicken. Use celery stalks, leaves, or both to stuff the chicken. Garlic adds moisture and flavor to the chicken. Place a few garlic cloves inside the chicken to infuse it with an earthy flavor. 
  • Fresh Herbs: You could also use fresh herbs like thyme, sage, or cilantro to enhance the chicken’s taste and provide moisture. Stuff a handful of these herbs into the chicken cavity before cooking to add flavor and help keep the meat succulent.

What To Do With Leftover Crock Pot Roasted Chicken

One of my favorite parts about a slow cooker whole chicken recipe is its easy use of the leftovers for another meal. Here are some ideas for using your slow-cooker chicken leftovers.

Use it in soups like my Creamy Crock Pot Chicken Corn Soup, Cheesy Tortilla Mexican Chicken Soup Recipe (Slow Cooker), or Super Easy Recipe For Slow Cooker Taco Soup.

Also, for appetizers, try this great Creamy Crock Pot Buffalo Chicken Dip Recipe.

Leftover Roast Chicken Storage

  • To refrigerate leftovers safely, promptly place cooked chicken in airtight containers or wrap it tightly in aluminum foil or plastic wrap. Store it in the coldest part of the refrigerator and consume it within 3-4 days.
  • Cool the chicken before transferring it to freezer-safe containers or bags for freezing leftovers. Label them with the date and contents and store them in the coldest part of the freezer. Consume within 2-3 months for best quality.
  • To thaw frozen leftovers, use the refrigerator, cold water, or microwave. Thawed chicken should be cooked immediately.

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A whole chicken that has been cooked in the crock pot on a platter with roasted onions
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Juicy and Tender Crock Pot Whole Chicken Recipe

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 4 hours 20 minutes
Servings: 6
This juicy, tender, crock pot whole chicken recipe is sure to become a favorite go-to recipe. Not only is it delicious, but the cost savings of making it at home compared to store-bought options is a great bonus. Your homemade crock pot whole chicken will also help you create multiple meals using the leftovers.

Note: Be sure to read through the recipe’s post for tips and details about this recipe.

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Ingredients
 

  • 4 pound chicken, 4 to 5 pound chicken will fit nicely into a 6 quart slow cooker.
  • 1 apple, medium size, any variety – quartered
  • 1 onion, yellow or white – quartered
  • 2 stems rosemary
  • 4 stems parsley
  • 1/3 cup Texas BBQ Dry Rub, or any favorite rub

Thickener (optional)

  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth, The liquid must be cold. You could also use cold milk or half & half.

Instructions
 

  • Before you start, set up your crockpot and preheat it on high. Place the trivet into the bottom of the cooker liner.
  • Take the whole chicken out of its packaging and discard any wrapping. Rinse the chicken under cold running water to remove residual fluids from the packaging.
  • Locate the cavities of the chicken, which is the opening at the larger end and the neck. Cut around the cavity using kitchen shears or a sharp knife to discard any excess fat or skin.
  • Reach inside the cavity and remove giblets, including the liver, heart, and gizzard. Note that not all brands of chickens include these. Rinse one more time.
  • Place the rinsed chicken on a clean cutting board. Gently pat the chicken dry with paper towels. This helps the dry rub adhere to the skin.
  • Sprinkle rub seasoning generously over the whole chicken on the surface and inside the cavity. Using your hands, massage it into the skin of the chicken. Let it set at room temperature for 15 minutes. This helps the rub’s flavors to penetrate the meat.
  • Quarter a medium-sized onion and your favorite variety of apple.
  • Stuff the apple and onion into the chicken. If you can not get it all in, place the extra pieces on the bottom of the crock pot.
  • Tie a bundle of fresh herbs using butchers twine and place them in the chicken also.
  • Place the chicken into the crock pot. Add 1 cup of water to the bottom of the slow cooker. Cover with the lid.
  • Be sure the crockpot is set on high and cook for 4 hours. Do not lift the lid. Note* the thickest part of the chicken should reach 165 degrees F when done.

Thickener (optional)

  • Carefully pour or spoon out the chicken broth into an OXO fat separator to remove excess grease. Allow it to sit and separate for about five minutes.
  • Pour the strained chicken broth into a pan and bring to a low boil over medium-high heat.
  • Combine cornstarch with cold chicken broth (or cold milk) in an OXO salad dressing mixing jar or any other small jar with a tight-fitting lid. The ratio of cornstarch to broth depends on the desired thickness. Usually, 2 tablespoons of cornstarch per half cup of broth works well. Shake the mixture until the cornstarch is fully dissolved.
  • Once the chicken broth is to a low boil, gradually pour the slurry into the pan while stirring continuously with a whisk. Adding it slowly prevents lumps from forming.
  • Continue stirring with a whisk until the broth reaches a low boil. The cornstarch will thicken the broth gradually. Make sure to stir constantly to avoid any clumps or uneven thickening.

Equipment

Crock Pot 6-quart

Notes

I use my 6-quart crock pot when cooking a whole chicken. However, choosing the right size chicken is important to ensure it fits properly. Here are some tips to help you with the selection:
  • Consider the capacity: A 6-quart crock pot can typically accommodate a whole chicken that weighs around 4 to 5 pounds. It’s important to ensure that the chicken fits comfortably inside the crock pot without being too crowded.
  • Number of serving portions: Think about the number of people you want to serve. A 4- to 5-pound chicken usually provides around 4 to 6 servings, depending on your guests’ appetites.
Course: Main Dish
Author: Gina Dickson

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