Our recipe for a slow cooker whole chicken is guaranteed to make succulent and tasty chicken with minimal fuss. Dress it up with all the trimmings for your Sunday lunch, or serve with a simple salad for an easy mid-week dinner.
Slow Cooking a Roast Chicken
Whether you’re cooking your chicken in the oven or the slow cooker, the key to cooking it well (and avoiding dry tasteless meat!) is in the preparation.
Preparation for this recipe means three things:
- Seasoning. Chicken to a chef is like a blank canvas to an artist – you need to do a bit of work to add some depth of flavour. This recipe has all the ingredients for creating a simple rub which infuses a delicious flavour over the chicken.
- Liquid. Always a talking point when slow cooking. Many recipes tell you to cook big chunks of meat (like a whole chicken) with minimal liquid. We have actually experienced better results by adding a little stock to the pot. The steam generated really adds to that juicy and tender texture when it’s cooked – which is half the point of slow cooking! Ensure that the liquid reaches the top of the chicken wing for extra moist meat.
- Cooking time. We have a number of different slow cookers and there are variances in how hot they cook. Take the listed cooking time as a guide and adjusting accordingly. Use a meat thermometer for the most accurate cooking.
Get all of these aspects right and you are on to a winner!
Steps for making a Slow Cooker Whole Chicken
The ingredients list for this recipe is pretty simple, and the steps are short so it’s an easy recipe to put together!
Start by chopping the vegetables and arranging them in the bottom of the pot to form a rack for the chicken to sit on. This will ensure even cooking by making sure that the chicken isn’t touching the bottom of the slow cooker, and that the base of the chicken is also infused with lots of flavour.
Mix together the herbs and spices for the rub, and smother over the chicken with a little oil. Rubbing spices directly onto the chicken will ensure that every mouthful is packed with loads of flavour!
Add the chicken to the slow cooker pot, then pour the stock down the side of the slow cooker, taking care not to wash off the spice mix from the top of the chicken. The liquid should reach the top of the wing of the chicken.
Then turn on the slow cooker, and wait!
Once cooked transfer the whole chicken to a pan, and grill for about five minutes to create a delicious and crispy chicken skin! Let’s be honest, soggy chicken skin is not enjoyable to eat!
Rest under foil for 10 minutes before carving and serving.
Tips for slow cooking a whole chicken
The average size of a whole chicken tends to be around 1.6 kg which will feed 4 people. Our recipe caters for this size bird however, if you are going bigger or smaller simply adjust the recipe cook timings and liquid levels.
We use our large 6.5L oval slow cooker for cooking a 1.6kg roast chicken, it fits comfortably on the rack of vegetables in the base of the pot. Saying that, any cooker will work providing you can fit the chicken into it. You just need to take care when testing that your meat is cooked through.
How do I test the roast chicken is cooked?
The usual methods to check that your slow cooker chicken is cooked through are:
- If the juices run clear from both the leg and breast.
- The breast meat is white, the leg and wing meat is a white/grey colour when cooked.
- Or, the most accurate way is to use a meat thermometer – a great investment if you regularly cook joints of meat. Insert the probe into the section between the leg and the breast, ensuring you’re not touching bone. The temperature should be 75C (165F) when the chicken is cooked through.
More Brilliant Slow Cooker Roast Dinners
If you liked this recipe take a look at some of our other slow cooked joints of meat:
Can I keep leftovers?
Absolutely! Strip the chicken of the meat and use it for a tasty sandwich or risotto.
You can even put the carcass back into the slow cooker and make some flavourful slow cooker chicken stock for future soups and sauces.
Slow Cooker Whole Chicken
- 1.6 kg (3.5 lb) chicken
- 1 litre (4.5 cups) chicken stock
- 4 tbsp oil
- 2 tbsp cider vinegar
- 1 large carrot
- 1 large onion
- 3 garlic cloves – peeled
- 1 tsp thyme
- 2 tsp oregano
- 2 tsp paprika
- 2 tsp salt
- ½ tsp ground black pepper
- Cut the carrots into large batons and halve the onion. Cut one half into large slices, then arrange the sliced onion and carrot batons on the bottom of the slow cooker to form a rack for the chicken. Stuff the other half of the onion and a clove of garlic into the cavity of the bird.
- In a separate bowl combine all of the ingredients for the rub with the oil, then smear all over the chicken. Place the chicken in the slow cooker on top of the vegetables and press the remaining two cloves of garlic in between the breast and the legs.
- Pour the chicken stock into the slow cooker, taking care not to wash the rub off of the chicken. Use enough stock to just cover the chicken wings (see the picture for reference).
- Cook on low for 2 to 3 hours. The chicken is cooked when the juices run clear, and the leg pulls away easily from the body. We recommend using a meat thermometer, see the recipe notes for more info.
- Once cooked, transfer the chicken to a roasting tray and grill (broil) under a high heat for approximately 5 minutes until the skin turns golden brown. Serve immediately!
How much stock to use?The volume of stock will vary according to the size of the chicken and slow cooker model used. We used 1L (4.5 cups) of stock in a 6.5L slow cooker, with a 1.6kg (3.5lb) chicken. The liquid should come up to the wings of the chicken.
How long will it take to cook?For best results use a meat thermometer (see the equipment list for a recommendation). Insert the thermometer in between the breast and thigh, ensuring you don’t touch the bone. When the chicken is cooked the internal temperature will reach 75°C (165°F) and the juices will run clear. Once you remove the chicken from the slow cooker this may continue to increase a little – this is fine!
As a guide, if your slow cooker has a metal pot then the cooking times will likely be closer to two hours. Slow cookers with ceramic pots take longer to heat, and therefore cooking will take longer.