Roasting a whole chicken is definitely not as difficult as it may seem, and doing it in the slow cooker makes the whole process even easier. You come away with lots of meat, and you can even use the leftover bones to make bone broth. You really use every part of the chicken so that no part goes to waste, and it’s a great solution for both the dark and white meat lovers in your family.
This particular slow cooker whole chicken recipe is exceptionally simple, and also makes side dishes (roasted onions and carrots) for you in the process. "This recipe was inspired for a classic roasted chicken without the stress of cooking it in an oven," says recipe developer Christina Musgrave of Tasting with Tina. "The slow cooker does all the work for you!"
Roasting a chicken on Sunday night is a great tool for meal prep, especially since, according to Musgrave, "This will keep for five days refrigerated after cooking."
Gather the ingredients to prepare this slow cooker whole chicken
The ingredients list to prepare this slow cooker whole chicken isn’t very long, but make sure you round up everything you need before you begin cooking.
For this recipe, you’ll need a 4 to 5-pound small, whole chicken with the neck and giblets removed. You will also need two white onions, three carrots, olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, paprika, a lemon, and a few fresh sprigs of rosemary.
The best part is, there’s only a small amount of prep work you need to do with these ingredients. The onions should be peeled and quartered, and the carrots should be washed, peeled, and cut in half. Slice the lemon into ¼-inch rounds, and make sure you wash the rosemary prior to using it. Also, you’ll have to mince the two cloves of garlic. Then, it’s time to move on to the next step.
Add the onions, carrots, and chicken to the slow cooker
The onions and carrots will serve as a base for the chicken in the slow cooker. Rest the chicken on top of the onions and carrots, with the breast side facing up.
Layering these items in the slow cooker correctly is really important. The bottom of the slow cooker is where the heating element is, so items covering the bottom tend to heat up quicker. Because of this, it’s ideal to place the items that need a longer cooking time, such as root vegetables like carrots, on the bottom. This also creates a barrier between the chicken and the enamel of the slow cooker, preventing any possible burning or sticking-to-the-pan issues.
Cover the chicken with lemon and rosemary
Once the chicken is comfortably nestled atop the carrots and onions in the slow cooker, combine the olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic, and paprika in a small bowl. Rub the olive oil, garlic, and spice mixture all over the surface of the chicken so that it’s fully coated.
Next, place the lemon slices on the chicken, then put the fresh rosemary sprigs on and around the chicken. Just make sure that when you’re stacking these items on the chicken that you can still put the lid on the slow cooker properly and keep it fully sealed.
Cook the chicken on low for eight hours
Now comes the no-work part of this slow cooker whole chicken recipe. Once all of the ingredients are in the slow cooker as described above, put the lid on, and cook the chicken on the low setting for eight hours. When the eight hours are up, or when the thickest part of the chicken temperature reaches 165 F, remove the chicken from the slow cooker, and serve. Also, Musgrave confirms that you can "definitely serve the carrots and onions with the chicken, they are delicious."
As far as the rosemary and lemon goes, you can serve the chicken with or without these cooked items. "This is definitely a personal preference," says Musgrave. "Usually the rosemary in the slow cooker is very cooked, so I like serving with fresh rosemary for presentation."