If you have ever wondered how to cook a whole chicken in a slow cooker, you are going to love this recipe!
A slow cooker whole chicken is easy to make and tastes amazing, plus at the end, I'll show you how to turn the carcass into free chicken bone broth!
Why Cook a Whole Chicken in the Slow Cooker?
Convenience, time and taste.
Slow cooker whole chicken is my favourite way to cook a whole chicken. The meat is tender, full of flavour, and so juicy.
Your chicken will come better than any store-bought rotisserie chicken. Plus you have control of the ingredients you use. You won't have to worry about added sugar or other nasties, because you are in control.
Making a slow cooker whole chicken is easy, just season your chicken and cook it for 6-8 hours on low.
Cooking your chicken on low heat is key to a tender juicy chicken. If you are in a bit of a hurry you can use high heat for 4-5 hours, but your chicken will be dryer than if it was cooked on low heat.
I used a 5 lb (2.3kg) chicken and was perfectly cooked at 6 ½ hours.
Remember when cooking a whole chicken to always use a meat thermometer to make sure the internal temperatures reach 74 degrees Celcius/165 degrees Fahrenheit.
How To Season and Prep a Whole Chicken
Before seasoning your chicken, you will want to dry the chicken with a paper towel. This will help the skin cook to be crispy instead of soggy.
You can use any seasonings you like, but try to keep it simple since you will likely have leftover chicken. Lightly seasoned chicken is much easier to turn into a different meal the next day.
For this easy healthy recipe, I used garlic, rosemary, parsley, paprika, onion powder, and a bit of ginger on the skin. I added a little sea salt and pepper from a grinder just to taste.
The Secret to Cooking a Whole Chicken
This next tip is the key to an incredible chicken.
To make the chicken tender you will want to stuff the inside of the chicken with lemon.
You only need half a lemon to stuff the chicken, the rest can be used for garnish if desired. The citrus acid in the lemon will help tenderise the chicken as it cooks. If will also infuse your chicken will a little bit of citrus flavour. So you will have a herbed, lemon, garlic, ginger chicken. Yum!
Once you stuffed the chicken, cook as directed about. You do not need to add any liquid to the slow cooker to cook the chicken. Just cover the slow cooker with the lid and cook on low for 6-8 hours.
How To Serve a Whole Chicken
To get a perfectly golden and crispy chicken when it is done cooking transfer the chicken from the slow cooker to a baking sheet. Broil/grill/bake the chicken for 3-5 minutes until the skin crisps. Be sure to keep an eye on it, it doesn't take long to crisp your chicken.
After you remove the chicken from the broiler, you will want to let the chicken rest for about 10 minutes before carving and serving. The chicken is absolutely beautiful when served over fresh herbs and lemon slices.
The dripping from the baking sheet and the slow cooker can be turned into an easy low-carb gravy. To make a low-carb gravy pour the drippings into a saucepan and add 2-3 tablespoons of sour cream or butter. Simmer the gravy until it thickens.
How To Make Bone Broth
The carcass from the chicken is perfect for making a delicious chicken bone broth. Add the bones back to the slow cooker, add some herbs and celery, then cover the carcass with water (about 8-10 cups).
The bone broth will need to cook on low for at least 12 hours, but preferably 18-24 hours. If you want to make your bone broth in an electric pressure cooker you will want to cook it on high pressure for 2 hours with a natural pressure release. When the broth is done strain it to remove the seasoning and bones.
You will want to rapidly cool the bone broth with a cup of ice. Don't worry about the broth being diluted. At this point, the broth is very concentrated.
The bone broth can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for 4-5 days. To keep the broth longer it can be frozen in measured portions for up to 1 year. You can see how I free bone broth portions in this beef bone broth recipe.
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Now you understand how easy it is to cook a whole chicken in a slow cooker then turn it into chicken bone broth. You can easily take the concept of this recipe and customize it fit your tastes. I know you will love this recipe. Leave a comment to let us know you enjoyed your chicken.
How to Cook a Whole Chicken in a Slow Cooker - Plus Bone Broth Recipe
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- Place the chicken in the slow cooker. Pat the chicken dry with a paper towel. Rub the seasonings into the chicken then stuff it with ½ a lemon.
- Cover the slow cooker and cook on low heat for 6-8 hours or high heat for 4-5 hours.
- Transfer the chicken to a baking sheet and place under the broiler/grill to crisp the skin. Broil/grill for 3-5 minutes. Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes then carve and serve. The drippings can be used to make a low-carb gravy if desired.
Slow Cooker Chicken Bone Broth
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- Add all the ingredients to the slow cooker.
- Cover the slow cooker and cook on low heat for a minimum of 12 hours, but preferably 18-24 hours.
- Remove the bones and herbs from the broth. Strain the broth with a fine mesh strainer to make sure everything has been removed.
- Store the broth in air tight containers in the refrigerator for 3-4 days or frozen for up to 1 year. If you freeze your bone broth it is recommended to freeze the broth in measured proportions for easy use.