This Slow Cooker Whole Chicken is my go-to for no hassle, juicy chicken that I use all week long in various recipes. It also provides me with an ongoing stash of homemade chicken stock too. Win win!
I’m not entirely sure why I haven’t already shared this recipe with you all, as I have been cooking my ‘roast’ chicken this way for years. There are so many benefits to cooking your whole chicken slow cooker stylee. Here’s just some off the top of my head:
- It’s cheaper! If you’re only turning your oven on to roast a chicken for the week ahead. It’s much more energy efficient to use the slow cooker instead.
- A slow cooker is designed to be safely left cooking whilst you’re out at work, or even overnight.
- The chicken will never dry out. Even if you’re late home and it ends up cooking for an extra hour or two!
- As the meat is so tender, it falls off the bone easily. This means you get to strip every last scrap of meat from the bones.
- Buying chicken breasts works out 2 – 3 times more expensive per kilo then buying a whole chicken. Switch to buying a whole bird and rack up those savings!
- Shredded chicken makes the best low carb snacking tub for me to dip into throughout the day. I can also use it in sooooooo many ways that it makes my meal planning a doddle too.
- If you choose the stock recipe I share below, you’ll end up with a great stash of fresh, homemade stock to store in your freezer. This will be cheaper, and healthier, than using stock cubes.
Does a Slow Cooker Need Water in the Base?
The simple answer, is no!
Cooking your slow cooker whole chicken ‘dry’ is the easiest way to cook it, albeit not my preferred method. However, if you don’t have the time to deal with the stock, or the freezer space to store it, then this is a handy method. Want to know how? Keep reading…
How to Cook a Whole Chicken with no Water or Liquid
Remove all packaging, and pop the whole chicken into the slow cooker.
I put my chicken in breast side up, but it really doesn’t matter. Simply switch the slow cooker on, and let it run for the timings we offer in the below recipe.
When the cooking time is up, switch off the slow cooker and remove the inner bowl onto the work surface to let it cool as quickly as possible. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, shred the meat from the bones and skin. Let the meat quickly cool to room temperature, before storing in an air tight tub in the fridge. Once it it cold you can transfer to the freezer if you like. I like to freeze my cooked meats in portion sizes. Then I can defrost exactly how much I need for a meal.
The juice in the bottom of the slow cooker can be added to a gravy, frozen as a little tub of concentrated chicken stock, or simply poured over and mixed through the shredded meat. It’ll congeal once cold and keep the meat moist, juicy and flavourful.
If you’re choosing to slow cook your chicken with this dry method, feel free to season your bird first if you like. You can sprinkle it with salt & pepper, fresh or dried herbs. Or why not add some garlic cloves, a lemon cut in half, or maybe some vegetables underneath the chicken to cook and flavour the bird with.
Should I wash my Chicken Before Slow Cooking?
Here in the UK we’re now advised not to wash our raw chicken before cooking. As water can splash bacteria around your kitchen surfaces, there is a risk of causing food poisoning. Don’t worry though, the low temperatures of the slow cooker are still hot enough to kill any bad bacteria on your meat.
How to Make Fresh Chicken Stock in a Slow Cooker
This my friends, is where the magic happens!
Once your raw whole chicken is snuggled up in the depths of the slow cooker, simply pour a kettle of boiling water over. It doesn’t matter if it totally covers the chicken or not, just be sure not to overfill your slow cooker. I leave around a 2 inch gap at the top of mine, but see your slow cooker instruction manual for your specific models recommendation.
As the chicken cooks, the water will be transformed into a delicious, zero effort, chicken stock.
You can keep the stock in the fridge for a few days, or pour it into plastic food tubs and freeze as is. However, if you are short on freezer space but still want to maximise this gorgeous golden delicacy, pour it into a large pan and boil on the stove until it’s reduced by half.
What you then have is a really concentrated chicken stock that you can pour into an ice cube tray or mini silicone muffin tin and freeze. These chicken stock cubes can be added to all sorts of dishes instead of using shop bought stock cubes with questionable ingredients and hefty price tags. KERCHING!
Slow Cooker Whole Chicken with Stock
Here it is! My perfect slow cooker whole chicken recipe, that leaves you with a wonderful stash of healthy golden chicken stock!
Have a read through and give me a shout if you have any questions, or if there is any part to this process that is unclear. Once you’ve done it a couple of times, I’m pretty sure this slow cooker whole chicken recipe will be your money saving go-to for cooking a weeks worth of chicken in one go!
Snuggle the chicken inside the slow cooker. Ensure that there is enough room for the lid to close over the top of the bird.
Boil the kettle and pour the boiling water directly over the chicken. If it is a small bird you can completely cover it, but if it is very large take the water up to around 1.5-2 inches from the top of the slow cooker.
Switch the slow cooker on.
If you are leaving it all day or overnight, set it to 'Low' and leave for 6-8 hours.
If you are wanting it cooked quicker, set it to 'High' and leave it for 3-4 hours.
Be sure not to remove the lid for the first hour, or repeatedly during the cooking process as this will prolong the cooking time.
When the cooking time is finished, remove the lid and vent the steam. Carefully remove the chicken using two long handled spoons or similar, into a large bowl or plate.
Using a slotted spoon, scoop out any bits that have fallen to the bottom of the slow cooker.
Remove the breasts whole and slice, or shred along with all the brown meat and mix together (even people that claim to not like the dark meat will love it when mixed with the shredded white meat - pinky promise!).
Let the meat cool to room temperature as quickly as possible before storing in a covered tub in the fridge.