Slow Cooker Chicken

Slow Cooker Chicken - easy and delicious!


One of my favorite ways to make a whole chicken is in my slow cooker. Slow Cooker Chicken is so easy to throw together,  and at dinner time you have a lovely whole chicken to eat or shred and use in another recipe. BBQ Chicken Tacos and Chicken Pot Pie Soup are two of  my favorites!


Slow Cooker Chicken - easy and delicious!


Start by placing foil balls in the bottom of the slow cooker. This step is not absolutely neccassary. I have thrown the chicken in many times without. The benefit is that it is easier to remove from the slow cooker in one piece if the bottom of the chicken hasn’t been simmering away in the juices all day. It’s really delicious either way, but creating a foil ball rack in the slow cooker makes it more like a traditional roasted chicken you can carve.


Slow Cooker Chicken - easy and delicious!


Remove any insides and place chicken on foil balls and pat dry with paper towels. Season the entire chicken, inside and out. I use salt, pepper, paprika and all-purpose steak seasoning.

Slow Cooker Chicken - easy and delicious!


Cook chicken on high for 3 to 4 hours depending on size of chicken and strength of your slow cooker. Times will vary, so use a food thermometer to ensure the chicken has reached 165 degrees. Let your chicken rest on a cutting board for about 20 minutes before carving.

Here is a quick video so you can see how easy it is to make a whole chicken in the slow cooker!


Slow Cooker Chicken


1 whole chicken around 5 pounds, insides removed and washed and patted dry

1 tablespoon of paprika – more or less to taste

3 Tablespoons of steak seasoning – more or less to taste

Salt and Pepper


Season chicken, inside and out. Cook in slow cooker lined with foil balls on high for 3 to 4 hours. Chicken should be cooked to 165 degrees.


Recipe notes:

I like to use the juices at the bottom of the slow cooker to baste the chicken while it is resting, just to add even more flavor.

Though the skin is flavorful, it doesn’t really get crispy with this cooking method.

I use a 5 quart slow cooker, and my chicken fits perfectly.

Resist opening the lid to check progress, slow cookers take a long time to come back up to temperature and cooking time will need to be extended.

Slow Cooker Chicken - easy and delicious!


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  1. I make whole chicken in my crock pot all of the time. I will try the foil ball tip! I hope to meet you at Snap!
    DeDe@DesignedDecor recently posted…Talkin About Thursday Link Party #11My Profile

    • I love to make boneless skinless chicken breasts with stuffing thrown right in, in my crockpot! A friend gave me this recipe: 1 cup of chicken broth, then add about 4 to 5 breasts, layer swiss cheese slices on top, pour cream of chicken soup over that (do not prepare the soup, just pour), next add 1 to 1/12 bags of stovetop stuffing mix over that, next drizzle 2 tablespoons of butter. This will be your new favorite.

    • Charlotte martin says:

      I wrap sweet potatoes and put on bottom , with chicken on top, the potatoes are awesome.

      • Christie says:

        This would be perfect! I love sweet potatoes and believe they would make a PERFECT side dish to the chicken. Definitely going to try this tonight.

  2. This sounds delcious; I am always looking for new crockpot recipes! Thanks!
    Mackenzie 🙂

  3. I have a beautiful new crockpot and have yet to try a chicken in it..I think I seen Friday night dinner!
    Holly Lefevre recently posted…Spicy Carrot Hummus (recipe)My Profile

    • Making this tonight, smells wonderful. Roast chicken is my husbands favorite but the timing is so tricky late in the day. I love the idea of sweet potatoes or potatoes in the foil will try that next time. I read that you can broil the skin for crispiness, but that means another dirty pan.

  4. Can you cook it on low?

    • Hi Sarah,

      I have tried it on low and had the entire chicken fall apart, tiny bones and all, when I tried to take it out of the slow cooker. It was a disaster. Let us know if you try it and it works out. I’m sure a lot of people have the same question. Thank you!

      • You may have to adjust your cooking time. I have 2 crockpots and 1 cooks faster than the other. and make sure the chicken is not sitting in a lot of the juice.

  5. Please, PLEASE remember to use the meat thermometer to check temperature correctly. I work in a hospital and we had an entire family come in with food poisoning from a crockpot turkey. There are a lot of variables when cooking bone-in poultry like this. Stay safe!

    • Michelle R. says:

      Thank you for this. People don’t always see the thermometer information, and it helps to remind them. You are a good healthworker and I appreciate you!

  6. This looks delicious! I love the feeling of accomplishment that comes with cooking a whole chicken… it makes me feel like super mom!
    Alicia recently posted…homemade jammie dodgersMy Profile

  7. Do you add any liquid to the bottom, or does it create its own juices?

  8. Dzenita says:

    I’m making this for dinner tonight! I have a couple of questions though.. I’m young and inexperienced with cooking 😉 so I just need some advice.
    1. I am using a smaller chicken, about 3.5 pounds. How long should I expect to keep it in my crockpot?
    2. My small chicken is frozen, so should I wait for it to thaw our completely or..? My husband suggested defrosting in the microwave but that worries me a bit..any suggestions?


    • Melissa says:

      Hi there!

      This is a great beginner recipe!

      1. You can check the temperature after 3.5 hours. It’s really important to use a meat thermometer, and they are very inexpensive to buy. The chicken should be cooked to 165 degrees.

      2. Yes, definitely wait for it to thaw. I would not use the microwave. If you need to speed thawing, keep the chicken in it’s original packaging and thaw in fresh cold water. I usually fill one side of the sink and change the water out every thirty minutes or so. Make sure to clean your sink after as well!

      • I frequently put a still partially frozen chicken in my slow cooker.
        I set it up at 06:00 a.m. before I leave for work , but we only get home & have dinner around 7:30p.m., so I put my slow cooker on a timer to start cooking around 2:00 p.m.
        I figure it mostly defrosts while waiting to start cooking, I don’t want a raw chicken counter-top waiting to cook for 8 hours so I deliberately use frozen.
        So long as you are careful to use a thermometer, & make sure it is cooked through, I have never had a problem.
        Also, I like to rest my chicken on root vegetable chunks, like carrot, parsnip, onion, celery – they get a great flavor from the chicken without absorbing too much of the fat, like (unwrapped) potatoes do.

    • do yourself a favor and use only fresh poultry and meats. frozen never seems to taste as good. you can do it!

      • Not always true the only way to buy organic, local, hormone free meat in my area is frozen. And it’s a million times better than fresh grocery store meat.

        Also Melissa, the USDA recommends NOT rinsing poultry as it doesn’t kill any bacteria and in fact spreads it around your kitchen.

  9. I made this for dinner today.. and it was soo good. My chicken was slightly less than 5lbs, thoroughly defrosted in the fridge and it cooked to a good 165F in 4 hours.. I served it comfort style with mashed potatoes and veggies.. It was delicious.. the meat was flaking off the chicken.. I wish I had a huge crock for my Thanksgiving turkey to try this on.. Yum yum.. not much leftover, just enough for a sandwich. Thanks, recommended for ease and taste! Thank you.

  10. I have a 3 x 1.5qt Crock pot. I cut the whole chicken in half, placed the foil balls in the bottom, and cooked it 6 hours on high, skin side up. It turned out perfectly. Thanks for the inspiration! I love being able to cook 2 sides and roast half a chicken simultaneously!

  11. That was a super-delish recipe! I will use that again and again. Has anyone ever tried to do multiple chickies, like in a roaster using this method. If so, what temp do you think???? I do a lot of charity cooking and love to save time, too!

  12. Ok..crazy do you baste with the juices? Do you just pour it over the top?

  13. Trying this tonight! I have a chicken that needs to be cooked an a craving for chicken salad. Today’s chicken is going to be portioned and frozen for future meals.

    I have a roasting rack for my slow cooker, so no need for the foil!

    • Rita Spies says:

      What type of crock pot do you have that came with a roasting rack? By the way, I would have never thought of the aluminum balls. Great idea!

  14. I found your blog on Pinterest and I can not wait to try this. It has been added to my dinner plan for May. I am now following so I can read more of what you post in the future.

  15. Can you cook it on low for 6-8 hours instead?

    • I have not had good success with it on low, but you could try it. I would test the temp at 6 hours and see if it works with your slow cooker. They really vary!

  16. Regina Fitzgerald says:

    When I roast chicken, I use to fill the with mashed potatoes, olives, hard eggs and green onions, closing the openings. Do you think I can to the same with this recipe?

    • Hi Regina,

      I wouldn’t fill it with anything you plan to eat, like stuffing. I don’t think it would get to the proper temp to make it safe to eat.

  17. Saw where someone popped in the oven for 30 mins…to roast…after cooking in crock…might give skin a crisper skin…

    • Love that idea! Thanks for sharing!

      • Hmm. It usually only takes about an hour to roast a chicken in the oven. If I’m going to heat up the kitchen by having the oven on for half an hour to get it crispy, I’m thinking I might as well just let it spend the whole time in there anyway.

        • That’s fine if you have the time to be at home for several hours to do it in the oven. The beauty of using a crock pot is that you don’t have to be at home. If you want it crisp, then put in in the oven while you are preparing the sides and getting the table ready.

          • jacqueline says:

            Several hours? I’m afraid I simply must disagree. If you prep your chicken properly it really does only take about an hour to do. That aside, it takes an oven an hour to preheat properly…and less than 15 minutes for from fresh mashed potatoes and a veg side.

    • What temperature did they set the oven on?

  18. Lynda King says:

    My family only like breasts. I don’t see any reason why chicken pieces couldn’t be used instead of a whole chicken. Do you?

  19. I use my slow cooker a lot. I’m thinking the chicken skin probably isn’t crispy like when roasted so I probably would not try. Using the crock then having to brown in the oven seems like double work and clean up. I would just use the oven and skip the slow cooker on this one.

  20. Can you make this with boneless chicken?

  21. this looks great – I love being able to use my slow cooker, especially as it uses less electricity than the oven. I am a rabid environmentalist, and was just wondering if I could use something other than foil as a prop – like a ramekin or something. Will have to look into it.

    • You could definitely use onions or garlic. In my slow cooker lemon garlic chicken recipe, I use lemons and garlic heads. Let me know what you come up with, I would love to hear!

  22. Think you could pop it in the broiler afterward to crisp the skin up a bit? Just a thought. I’ve never done it, so no idea if it would work. Anyone else know?

    • Shelia Holcomb says:

      I read on my new crock pot instructions not to put the crock pot in the oven. You could take the chicken out and place it on a broiler pan though, after cooking it in the crock pot.

  23. Chrissi Colquitt says:

    When I take my chicken or turkey out of the crock pot, I put it on my broiler pan and put it under just long enough to get some pretty color. It also crisps up the skin for those in my bunch who still eat that stuff. 🙂

  24. I set my chicken on large potato pieces and onions.

  25. Saw this recipe on Monday night, made for Tuesday dinner..a big hit. I didn’t season it as suggested had a mesquite dry rub I wanted to try and the family declared it was a “keeper” so easy to make added some California sweet cob corn and cal-rose rice , easiest dinner so far. Love crock pot cooking. The suggestion to take juices to pour over the chicken was perfect. The only thing on would do differently is place my chicken on its breast for extra moisture. Thank you for a great idea and the idea for the foil balls really works too!

  26. I tried this chicken last night for dinner. I didn’t have any steak seasoning on hand so I just used some Lawry’s seaming with salt and pepper and it was amazing! Thanks for all of your wonderful recipes!?

  27. Think I can use whole lemons in place of the aluminum balls and stuff the cavity with one as well? I am also going to add a small bag of the red inspiration potatoes.

  28. SallyJoJo says:

    I have done whole chicken successfully many times in the crockpot. This is a GREAT one to try:

    I will trying your recipe tomorrow, 4 – 6 hours on low.

  29. I do not cook a lot in a slow cooker, do I need to put water into it with the chicken?

  30. Glenda Trey says:

    Anyone know the calories on this recipe?

  31. This is, by far, my favorite way to “roast a chicken”. I’ve used this method for years and it never fails. Gotta cook it on High, though. I have used the foil balls in the bottom but now just use my small oval roasting rack. Fits perfectly and keeps the chicken off the hot bottom of the slow cooker and partially out of all the juices. Use the same method for a pork tenderloin, too. Just cut the time down according to the tenderloin size. You’re recipe is a lifetime keeper ♥Ü♥

  32. dorkorpington says:

    So glad I’m not the only one to do this lol. After I cook it and right before it’s done, I put it under my broiler to get a crispy skin. So there’s an easy fix to the skin issue.

  33. dorkorpington says:

    Oh and by using the broiler you don’t have to wait for the oven to preheat and it takes 5 minutes or less.

  34. Very good recipe! I cooked mine on low for 7 hours and it turned out perfectly. When it was done, I took the chicken out of my crock pot and placed it in a baking dish so I could broil the skin nice and crispy for about 5 minutes. Thanks for sharing!

  35. Can I take the skin off before I cook?

  36. I brown the entire chicken before I put it in the crock pot. Takes about 8-9 minutes and makes a lot of difference in the flavor of the meat and the juices. I just put it in my dutch oven with a bit of oil and turn it over a few times so that all sides are browned. That way I am sure all the seasoning stays on the chicken!

  37. Harvestland says:

    Nice touch using the balls of foil to lift the chicken off the floor of the cooker, a great meal is all in the details!

  38. Whomever said it takes an hour to preheat an oven is misinformed. My oven beeps when it is up to the temperature I set it at and it is no more than 10 minutes. Saves energy to know this.

  39. try brining a chicken or the chicken pieces before cooking. It makes a huge difference.

  40. Ridiculously easy, I’ve made your recipe a few times. When are done eating I strip of the rest of the meat and then use the bones to make homemade stock (also on my Pinterest board). So much better than store bought and simple once you have the bones.

  41. I’ve made roast chicken in the crock-pot a couple of times, and the trickiest part of the whole process was getting it out in one piece. I’ve found this technique useful. Put the balls (or potatoes) in the bottom. Cut a long piece of cheese cloth, and lay it on top of the balls. Insert the bird. Put the top on, letting the ends of the cheese cloth flop over the sides of the crock-pot, or fold them over the top. Cook as instructed. When done, take the top off, tie the ends of the cheese cloth into a knot and lift the bird out onto a platter. Works like a charm.

  42. I love this! It’s a great way to not only feed my family dinner but to also use all the left-over chicken for salads threw the week. I used this seasoning and I’ve tried lemon pepper both have turned out GREAT!

  43. Made this and family loved it. I did use my own dry rub and turned the chicken upside down so the breast would be juicy, no

  44. Instead of foil balls put potatoes or other veggies under roast chicken. I have just started doing the chicken in the crock pot and my husband loves potatoes that I put in with it. So easy.

    • Amanda West says:

      Ginny, are you putting whole potatoes under there or quartering them? I’m curious the size of the potatoes or what kind that you use underneath. Thanks!

  45. I’ll have to try the steak spice. I put all my vegetables, potatoes, onion, carrots, and turnip, under my chicken. Just like I would in the oven so it’s a one pot meal!

  46. Cheryl Kelley says:

    made this tonight, very tasty

  47. I made this tonight for the family and it was a hit!! Paired it with mashed potatoes and broccoli with cheese sauce. This recipe is a definite keeper. Thank you for sharing 🙂

  48. I did the whole chicken in the crock pot for the first time and have been hook every since and pass it along to family and friends.

  49. This was absolutely amazing!!!! Tha flavor was all the way to the bone…Thank you for this great recipe!

  50. The “insides” is merely a bag that your remove. Inside the bag are the neck, giblets, and what not of the chicken that can be used if you want although I think most of us just throw the bag in the trash. Not complicated so don’t be intimidated or disgusted.

  51. when using a store bought chicken, “the insides” are only the giblets & neck & they are in a paper type bag ‘inside’ the chicken, (I promise no guts & gore are in there) & all you do is pull out the bag & toss it or empty into a pan to boil to flavor noodles, dressing or whatever. Hope this helps & you do make the chicken, as it is a delicious way to make it!

  52. Vera Jackson says:

    Tried this recipe today, super good!!!!!


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