There is nothing simpler than a whole roasted chicken. Cooking a whole chicken in a slow cooker is one of our favorite methods because it is easy and creates a moist, tender bird. Often, there will be leftovers that can be used in various future meals, and we’ll have ideas for leftovers later this week.
Mix up your rub mixture before prepping your chicken. Making the rub first speeds up the preparation process. This also helps with food safety (you don’t want to be opening spice containers with poultry juices on your hands). Sprinkle the spice mixture around the whole chicken and rub it into the skin. This will give nice flavor and color to your chicken.
Elevating the chicken lets the juices flow to the bottom of the crock during cooking, so the lower half of the chicken won’t be soaking in its juices and getting soggy. Tip: place four pieces of a large, peeled onion in the crock and then set your chicken on top. The onions raise the chicken off the bed of the crock, but also impart some flavor.
You can then stuff the cavity of the bird with the remaining wedges of onion and a quartered lemon to help flavor the meat. Add sprigs of fresh herbs or dried fruits for more flavor. Once you master this method of roasting the chicken, you can play with the spices and dress up your chicken any way you want. It really couldn’t be easier.
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
- 1 large onion, cut in eighths
- 1 lemon, cut in quarters
- 1 (5 1/2 to 6 pound) whole chicken
- Stir paprika, onion powder, thyme, salt and pepper in a small bowl; set aside.
- Place 3/4 of the onion on bottom of slow cooker crock.
- Rinse chicken and pat dry. Add remaining onion and lemon to chicken cavity.
- Sprinkle all sides with paprika mixture. Place chicken on top of onions in crock.
- Cover slow cooker. Cook on HIGH for 4 hours or LOW for 6 to 8 hours.
- The USDA recommends 165°F as the Safe Minimum Cooking Temperature for chicken. The cooking time in this recipe is for well done chicken, where meat temperature registers 170°F in the breast or 180°F in the thickest part of the thigh. If you wish to follow the USDA guideline, reduce cooking time slightly and monitor with a meat thermometer. For more information on food safety, visit foodsafety.gov.