whole chicken in a slow cooker crock pot.

owning chickens has made me so much more appreciative and picky about the meat i eat. no longer are there the days of eating “just chicken.” years ago i wouldn’t eat chicken if it was attached to the bone. only boneless chicken. subconsciously, i think that it was easy to disconnect from realizing i was actually eating an animal. now, eating meat is a thoughtful decision from where i buy, how often we eat meat and how much there is wasted.

whole foods has one item specials on fridays and occasionally they will have whole chickens for sale.  i mean, cheap. not cheap piggly wiggly, but cheap whole foods.  after all, you get what you pay for. these chickens are organic, have free ranged their entire lives, and have no hormones or antibiotics. i have transitioned to buying the whole chicken, instead of the breast, because i can use so much of the chicken for other purposes. i feel like i am doing my part to make sure there is no waste.

when it is hot out i have a hard time finding crock pot meals that seem appealing.  i LOVE crock pot cooking. this summer i have found a way to cook a whole chicken in the crock pot.  it is beyond super easy and takes no prep time.  after you take the meat off the bones, you have a great starter for homemade chicken stock. chicken breast with veggies one night, shredded chicken for tacos another, and then homemade chicken stock for weeks ahead. talk about cost saving eating. and really, the crock pot did all the work.

here is what you need for the chicken:

2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon thyme
½ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 onion
1 large chicken

combine the dried spices in a small bowl.
loosely chop the onion and place it in the bottom of the slow cooker.
remove any giblets from the chicken and then rub the spice mixture all over.
put prepared chicken on top of the onions (breast up) in the slow cooker, cover it, and turn it on to high. there is no need to add any liquid.
cook for 4 – 5 hours on high (for a 3 or 4 pound chicken) or until the chicken is falling off the bone.

thats it. you kitchen will smell amazing. the chicken is moist and delicious. and did i mention easy.  it doesn’t get easier than this.

after you have removed the meat from the bones, time to make chicken stock.  trust me, you don’t want to forget to do this. homemade chicken stock is definitely worth the 10 minutes of prep time.

what you need:

leftover chicken bones or carcass roughly equivalent to one small or medium sized chicken
1 onion, peeled and loosely chopped
1 rib of celery, roughly chopped
1 carrot, roughly chopped (no need to peel)
1 bay leaf

stock directions:

after removing all edible meat from the chicken leave the bones, skin, cooking juices, etc. in the crock pot.
add the onion, celery, carrot and spices on top of the bones and fill the crock pot almost to the top with tap water (leaving about 1/2” at the top).
turn the slow cooker onto “low” after dinner and cook all night long or alternatively you could start it in the morning and cook on “low” for 8 – 10 hours during the day.
after the stock is done cooking turn off the heat and, using a soup ladle, pass the stock through a fine sieve to remove all herbs/bones/etc. either refrigerate or freeze the stock for future use.


I also used to have the chicken on a bone hang-up and I still can't eat shrimp I've peeled myself or crab in the shell or crab legs or... you get it.  My father in law is a surgeon and can't do the seafood either because he says it's too much like surgery!  Funny the things our minds do to us!