Crock Pot Whole Baked Chicken

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I have a confession – I used to be afraid of whole chickens…..whole dead chickens. Well, I guess I might be afraid of a live chicken too if it was to run after me, trying to peck me to death. I mean, in the packaging it looks so…..chickenish. It really looks like a chicken. I mean, there are legs and wings and body parts. When I open a pack of steak, it doesn’t look like a cow. With the chicken, I feel like I need to apologize while I’m fixing it. Sorry bird, but you are quite tasty. Not to mention I have this weirdness about meat on the bone that I’m trying to overcome. So, I set out to teach myself to cook a whole chicken in the crock pot. I read tons of recipes, and this method suited me the best. And guess what? It’s EASY! I love it! The meat is so tender and it just falls off the bone. This is my method for cooking chicken forever! This particular chicken is from Earth Fare. After watching Food, Inc I can’t buy any more Tyson chicken. This chicken was $10, but let me tell you… was GOOD. Totally worth the $10 and knowing it came from an okay source – and plus, I got 3+ meals out of this 3 pound bird. It did not die in vain… died somewhere, but not in vain.

Okay, take that bird out of the packaging and give it a bath in your clean sink. Try not to look directly at the bird…..or just think about how nice it will look on your plate with some mashed potatoes or rice.

Dry him off. Isn’t that weird to say? *Shiver* I used to tell people I kept paper towels only for cleaning up grease and dog puke…..but now I’ll have to add that I also keep it to dry my chicken off after its bath.

Now, freak out because you just washed a chicken in your clean sink. Get the heebie jeebies, and then break out your peroxide to disinfect everything.

Time to make a rub mixture! I love rubs. I once saw an advertisement that said “Everything’s better with a little butt rub.” Don’t wig out, it was an ad for spicy rub for roasts. You need onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, black pepper, and sea salt. Or not. You can use a rub you already have, or make your own. I’m not particular…..okay, so I am particular.

Rub the mixture all over the chicken. Don’t take the skin off. It helps hold in the yumminess. If you don’t want to eat the skin later, you can just peel it off when the chicken is done. Coat the bottom too. Leave no breast behind! Ha, ha! Okay, that was funny. Breast? Behind? Okay, this post is really going to the dogs.

Break out some foil/parchment paper and make two small balls out of it for the chicken to sit on top of in the crock pot. Sorta flatten the balls out a bit. Pour some water down in the bottom of the crock pot for steam….don’t cover the foil balls. I think I had about ½ inch of water in total.

Pick your chicken up and let it rest on top of the foil balls. Now, wash your hands and counter like a maniac.

Put on the lid and cook on high for 2 hours. Set a timer. I’m always setting timers and making notes.

After two hours, turn it to low and cook for another 5 hours. AHHH!!! The wing is starting to separate! And your kitchen is starting to smell delicious….sorta makes up for the whole chicken weirdness.

Get your thermometer and test to make sure it’s done. It should read 160 degrees….mine was WAY hotter than that. You have a thermometer right? If not, stop right now and go get one. Thank you.

Ta da! I baked a whole chicken! I am woman, hear me ROAR! Or cluck maybe – cluck seems to fit better in this situation.

Slice it up and serve it for dinner. I had breast and Barry had legs…..again, that sounds SO WEIRD. Annie just had little bits of chicken that I chopped up. So, we ate this meal and I had 4 cups of chicken left (that will make two meals) and bones for stock. Come back tomorrow and we’ll use the chopped chicken in a recipe. Then after that I’ll show you how to make chicken stock. Make sure you don’t throw ANY of your chicken away…..even the innards that were in the middle.

*This post is also linked at Kitchen Tip Tuesdayon Tammy’s Recipes.

Comment Policy: I love hearing your thoughts and input on what I write. Since I write about what works at my house, what pleases my handsome hubby and darling children; I'm sure we'll disagree sometimes. In those cases, do what's right for you and yours. As with any form of communication, please only post comments that move the discussion in a positive direction.

About Stacy

Stacy is the author of Crock On: A Semi-Whole Foods Slow Cooker Cookbook and Keep Crockin': A Poorganic Slow Cooker Cookbook, and a stay-at-home and homeschooling mom to her two children, Annie (June 2009) and Andy (August 2012). After an “awakening” in March 2011, her family switched to a more natural, whole foods diet. She likes to blog about how to live on less than you make and how to eat good food while doing it. Her passion is teaching others how to save money and she tag teams with her husband in this endeavor. At Stacy Makes Cents you’ll find information on how to save money in the kitchen, how to have fun with your kids, and how to be thrifty in all areas of life. Her passion is teaching others how to live debt free. Make sure to follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and more to keep up with her daily antics.

Speak Your Mind



  1. Ha I may have to try this… I too find whole chickens completely terrifying. I’m honestly not even sure where to find them in the store.

  2. I love how your cooked chicken looks! I have never done the foil balls, but I am going to have to try that now. =D What a great tip!

    • Thanks! :-) I think your Tuesday Tips are great too! Your tip for separating treats is great. I usually recycle the bags out of cereal boxes for that. They work great.

  3. I love chicken this way. I’ve never got the skin very crispy but the meat is tasty and moist. Taste just as good as the rotisserie chickens from the store (that they charge $5 or more for them). Cooking them yourself you know what ingredients are used and you can adjust the seasonings to your own and your family’s taste. Which reminds me, I have a bird in the freezer yelling out to me… “Cook me, cook me!!” LOL.

  4. Instead of the foil balls, you can throw some veggies down there to keep the meat off the bottom. They get really tasty when cooked in the meat juices. Carrots and celery are my favorite for this, and I always eat them while taking the chicken out, rather than saving them to go with dinner. They do get kind of mushy, but I like them that way.

  5. I know this post is a little older, but I seem to have missed it.

    I have one question, what about the inards? This is the one thing that keeps me from cooking whole chickens. There is no way that I will stick my hand up a chicken’s butt to find it’s “sweet meat.”


    • Yeah….it grosses me out too – the whole naked chicken thing. Anyway, I just cook it with those in there. They’re easier to deal with when they’re not raw. Then I just throw them into my pot to simmer with my bones to make stock. :-) No eating required.

  6. I just did this last night, and the chicken turned out great! One concern, though: As I was drifting off to sleep, while the chicken cooked overnight, I thought about the foil, and the likelihood that aluminum was leaching into the water. The plan was to do the follow-up making of stock with the bones and such, and while I’m still going to do that, I don’t feel comfortable using the liquid from the bottom of the crockpot – the stuff that marinated in the aluminum all night. I’ll be discarding it, sadly, and just using the bones and skin that wasn’t right in the water.

    Anyway, LOVE the recipe, and will be doing this again, for sure! Next time, I’ll use a rack, instead of foil balls, and would humbly suggest that others consider something similar, or just using vegetables to raise the chicken, like Jenny suggests.

    Thank you!
    Darby :)

    • Good tip on the vegetables. :-) We’re trying to cut down on our aluminum foil usage too, but I still do use it now and then.

      • I used a sweet potato. Sliced it about 1 to 1 1/2 inches thick 4 slices out of 1 potato. It cooked along with the chicken and my hubby ate those slices ASAP. Just another idea for the people who don’t want to use the aluminum balls.

  7. I can’t believe I never tried this until I read your post today. The Cornish game hens in the freezer needed cooking and I needed an idea for a dinner that would cook itself while I take care of my sick kids and hubby. As always, the bird was frozen solid when I started. Normally, I’d stick the whole thing in the oven and wait 3 hours, but heating the oven and entire kitchen all day for dinner is far from frugal. The crock pot worked wonders! There were three minor changes I made to cook from frozen–first I did wash the little bird and melt the outer ice off before powdering with various spices; second, I heated the crock pot prior to putting anything in; and third, I started with boiling water in the heated pot to get the steam going right away. Great stuff! Thanks for being there.

  8. Nice but there’s no need to add water. The chicken has enough internal moisture to cook.

    Also, I agree about the bed of vegetables, instead of foil. Carrots, celery and onion plus some garlic.

    Next time, try chicken legs (or just thighs or drumsticks). Dark meat does better in crock pots than breast meat.


    • I fix this a lot and we just love it! I don’t care for chicken legs, so I have to fix the whole chicken or I feed the family and stay hungry. LOL I love the added extra moisture that the water in the bottom adds….I hate tough chicken. :-)
      I need to try the vegetables, but haven’t yet.

  9. I love this recipe! I like to add carrots, mushrooms, garlic and onions underneath the chicken. Last time I used Cajun seasoning and that was lovely on the chicken. Love your description too – I always think whole chickens look like little babies (eek) and I hate the freaky flap thing at the neck and the way the skin kind of moves over the bones. Lol.

  10. I have a chicken in the freezer who has volunteered for this recipe.

    I really like chicken, always been a breast man myself …..

    Thank you for your ideas.

    • I love chicken volunteers!

      • Well it turned out I had a spice rack that was uncooperative.

        Mrs Dash (not too much)
        Garlic Salt (You are only as Italian as you wanna be)

        and …

        wait for it….

        Pure Cane Sugar (a little less than not much)

        It is like Popcorn and Junior Mints at the movies. A tangy taste with a hint of sweet.

        I have another volunteer and some BBQ sauce …

        Thank you again for the idea to use the Crock Pot.

  11. Looks good, Stacy! :) I’ve been doing something similar for a while and it’s my “go to” for a whole chicken. I want SIMPLE and the least amount of mess possible! I don’t bother with any water in the pot, foil balls or cooking for 7 hrs. ;) My chicken always turns out moist and fall off the bone tender (sometimes almost too tender) even without the water!

    I large chop some carrots, onions and celery into the dry pot(pretty much whatever I’d normally put into my stock). I make up my rub ahead of time and put it into a small bowl next to the crock pot so I don’t have to touch anything else once I start handling the chicken. I use whatever spices sound good (I love sage, marjoram, garlic, paprika and sea salt). Then I rinse out the chicken, empty out the giblets and toss them into the crock pot (I don’t really have an issue with handling the chicken;)), drip-drain the bird into the sink, then transfer it into the pot. The crock pot now becomes my work space.

    Using my bowl of spices, I rub the bird down all over, inside (I always use a defrosted and empty chicken), and sometimes under the breast skin. I then turn the bird BREAST SIDE DOWN on top of the veggies, turn the crock pot on “high” for 3 hrs (for a 3-4 lb bird), cover and let it cook. It always turns out wonderfully moist and tender, with lots of concentrated stock in the bottom of the crock (I use pastured/organic chicken so I know there’s no artificial moisture added). I’ve learned that I can tell when the bird’s done by whether there’s any broth in the bottom of the pot, as well as seeing if the leg moves in the socket. (I don’t bother with a thermometer). I have to add: I live at over 6000 ft altitude, so this may make a difference in the cook time.

    An added note: absolutely no reason to use a separate pot to make stock (or waste what’s in there already). When the chicken’s done, I pull it and any of the veggies I’m going to eat out of the pot. I de-bone the chicken right then, keeping the large pieces like breasts, thighs, legs, etc. intact (without their bones and connective tissue), picking the rest of the carcass clean, and put everything I’m not going to eat back into the crock pot. Any meat I don’t use for that meal I refrig for later use. Then I fill the crock pot with water, turn the thing on low and just let it go for another 12-24 hrs. Voila! wonderful chicken stock, only one dirty pot. :)

    • Thanks for sharing! I’ve never made my stock in the crock pot…for some reason, I just like making it in my stock pot. I have several friends who make it that way though. :-)

      • i have always made my stock in my crock pot. I love that i can prep it in the afternoon and then turn it on when we go to bed. It drives my husband crazy though when he gets up in the morning to smell chicken stock. He wants dinner now instead if breakfast. When it cools down a bit, i can put the whole insert into the fridge to finish cooling and get it out of my way. I also keep all my bones from when i get a cooked chicken at costco in a container in the freezer so i have a good amount for stock. i also keep all my washed vegtable trimmings in the freezer so i dont have to buy veggies for stock. mushroom stems, carrots, celery, just not cauliflower and broccali.

  12. Sounds delicious!! I’m not a fan of messing with whole chickens either. My grandmas would be highly disappointed in me as a farm girl. And I am kind of a white meat snob…I just like it better, but my hubby prefers dark meat, so that works out nicely. :) Your posts crack me up and keep my laughing, all while educating me. You are one smart gal. :)

  13. Does cooking with the foil on the bottom prevent it from getting greasy? I slowcooked a whole chicken a month ago and it was so greasy it was almost gross. I didn’t add any water, just let it cook in its own juices, but the skin just made it so greasy.

  14. The chickens innards are not “sweet meat”. Sweet meat is the fat from the animal. I know this b’c I learnt at a very young age to LOVE the “Sweet meat”. My Grandpa DeWITT taught me. :) The innards are just that, the gizzard, liver and heart. You can cook a bird with the innards still in there. When it is done and you clean up you can discard them IF YOU MUST. I WILL NOT LOOK! OMG, Did she throw out that GOOD MEAT? lol

  15. Thanks for the recipe! My husband loved it!

  16. This is what we’re having for dinner tonight! First time I’ve ever cooked a whole chicken (besides boiling for casseroles). Can’t wait to taste! Thanks for the recipe!

    • Cooking it in the crock is SO easy! :-) It’s how I first started cooking whole chickens, as you read….but they still sorta freak me out. Ha!

  17. Ill try this, I do this a lot but I throw the skin away afterwards because its gooey and chewy, yuck, but Ive never tried to cook it on high at first as suggested here. I use potatoes to hold the chicken up out of the drippin’s, take them out and dry them and you have roast chicken and roasted potatos, yum. I adore your blog.

  18. Butt Rub is actually an amazing mixture! We use it to season hamburgers and steaks for the grill. I’d never heard of or seen it until I moved to Texas, but I’m sure it’s out there!

  19. This is EXACTLY what I needed! I have been wanting to cook a whole chicken, but I was more afraid of wasting a whole chicken by screwing up or giving my family samonella poisoning…I LOVE your step by step instructions!

  20. Oh wow! This sounds so good! I’ve never thought of putting the chicken on top of foil like that inside the crockpot! How ingenious! Usually whenever I put a chicken in the crock it sits in the juices all day and just falls apart, its still crazy delicious but it just never looks like that! Love the color on that chicken…. I’m going to try this over the weekend!!!!

  21. LOL This made me laugh…because we don’t use foil any more. I just never updated the post to say we use parchment paper now. :-) I’ll do that now. Thanks!

  22. I read on another blog that they did an experiment with whole chicken, bone-in pieces of chicken, and boneless/skinless chicken and found that you get the same amount of meat for the price without all the work if you use the boneless/skinless pieces. I’d love to see you do this experiment too, and see how the results come out.

  23. I hope this recipe works great for ya! It’s my favorite way to cook them. :-)

  24. I just ran across this post while searching for a way to cook a whole chicken. I’m so glad to find someone else that gets a bit squeamish with this! (I ordered a whole pasture-raised chicken from a local farmer, which I feel better about. However, it’s still an animal and I have a hard time with the idea of dismantling it.) I love your writing style and humor, along with the great tutorial. I look forward to perusing more of your posts. Thanks for this!