Lately I’ve seen a lot of recipes for whole chickens cooked in a slow cooker. This seemed like a great idea. I could get the chicken ready, pop it in the slow cooker, and forget about it for most of the day. So I decided to follow the basic instructions for Slow Cooker Whole Chicken and see for myself.
Right up front I need to tell you I was quite disappointed with the results. I admit I was skeptical about a 5 pound chicken needing 7 hours in the slow cooker and I was right. When I checked the chicken’s temperature an hour before it was supposed to be ready to take out I found the chicken was already over-cooked. I estimate that it should have been in the slow cooker no more than 5 hours and allowed to rest at that time.
While the chicken was falling off the bone it was hard to get it out without tearing the skin on the breast. My original plan was to put it in the oven to crisp up the skin but, with the already overdone temperature and the skin being ripped it was not a great idea to put it in the oven.
Some of the chicken was still somewhat juicy but most of the white meat was dry. The skin wasn’t crispy at all and Mr. C and I love crispy skin. If you don’t care or don’t eat the skin this wouldn’t be a problem for you.
I seasoned the chicken, as the recipes stated, just on the outside. I believe it would have been a much more flavorful bird if I’d put seasoning under the skin.
These are the steps I took in making the Slow Cooker Whole Chicken
I quartered the onions and put them in the bottom of the slow cooker.
I put one-quarter of the red onion and half of the lemon inside the cavity of the chicken.
I seasoned the chicken all over with Bam’s Spice Mix all over and placed, breast side down, on top of the onions in the slow cooker.
I set the temperature of my slow cooker to low and set it for 7 hours.
About 3 hours into the cooking time the skin was still incredibly pale.
At six hours I temped the chicken and found it was already overcooked. In spite of using two tools and lifting the chicken as carefully as possible the skin on the breast tore.
In the future I will simply roast whole chickens in the oven, as I have always done. It takes far less time, about the same amount of attention, and I can check the temperature more easily. And I won’t have to take an extra step to get the crispy skin we like.
If you’ve done a whole chicken in the slow cooker and had better luck, please let me know!