Slow Cooker Whole Chicken & Gravy


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Slow Cooker Whole Chicken & Gravy!  A complete Sunday meal made easy in the crockpot. While it takes only minutes of prep, this  tender, juicy crock pot chicken & gravy tastes like you’ve been in the kitchen all day.

This makes the perfect easy weeknight meal served alongside Garlic Ranch Mashed Potatoes and our favorite Cheesy Broccoli Cauliflower Casserole! Your whole family is going to love this easy slow cooker whole chicken & gravy!

whole chicken in the crockpot ready to be slow cooked   ©SpendWithPennies.com

If you’ve never cooked a whole chicken in the slow cooker before, you are going to LOVE this recipe!  I wish I could tell you in words how amazing this chicken is! It’s literally minutes of prep for a meal that tastes like you’ve been slaving in the kitchen all day long!

Chicken is my dinner time go-to… we love it grilled, baked and stuffed with cheese or even shredded for tacos but I have to admit, this whole chicken in the crockpot is one of my Sunday supper favorites! It is a perfect family dinner served with mashed potatoes and veggies but it’s also a great way to effortlessly cook a chicken in place of rotisserie chicken!

Close up photo of chicken cooked in the crockpot

How to Cook a Whole Chicken a Slow Cooker

A quick homemade rub is added to a chicken which then cooks up tender and juicy in the slow cooker.

I prepare this in a 4QT slow cooker and I add balled up foil to slightly lift the chicken off the bottom of the pan but if you have a little rack that fits in your slow cooker you can certainly use that too! Adding a few onions and some celery to the bottom of the crockpot along with the foil makes the most flavorful and fabulous gravy!

If you like a crispy skin, broil it about 6″ from the broiler for a few minutes before serving.

chicken and gravy on a plate

Most of the time the chicken produces plenty of drippings for gravy but if you want extra, just add in some chicken broth.  Mixing together a quick slurry of cornstarch and adding it to the slow cooker while the chicken rests creates a rich flavorful gravy.  I sometimes add a can of mushrooms to the gravy (or add fresh mushrooms to the slow cooker before cooking).

You may be wondering if it is safe to cook a whole chicken in your crock pot and the answer is yes, it’s safe as the crockpot is intended to cook meat low and slow.  Ensure your lid is on well to keep the heat in. I would definitely NOT recommend using frozen chicken in the slow cooker, if using whole chicken you’ll want to make sure it’s thawed.

As with all slow cookers, cooking times can vary slightly, you’ll want to make sure your chicken reaches 165 degrees in the thigh.

4.73 from 18 votes
Review Recipe

Slow Cooker Whole Chicken & Gravy

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 5 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Author Holly N.
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Slow Cooker Whole Chicken & Gravy! A complete Sunday meal in one pot. While it takes only minutes of prep, this tender, juicy chicken & gravy tastes like you’ve been in the kitchen all day.

Ingredients

  • 1 small chicken , about 4lbs
  • 2 slices onion
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • cornstarch
  • chicken broth (optional)
Seasoning Mix
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon seasoning salt (or to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme

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Instructions

  1. Combine all seasoning mix ingredients in a small bowl.
  2. Brush chicken with olive oil and rub seasoning into chicken.

  3. Roll up balls of foil and place in the bottom of the slow cooker with 2 thick slices of onion. Place chicken on foil, breast side up so it is slightly lifted off the bottom of the slow cooker. (You can use onion and carrot chunks instead if you prefer).

  4. Cover and cook on low 7-8 hours or high 4-5 hours. (165 degrees)
  5. Remove chicken and place on a small pan. Broil 3-4 minutes to crisp skin (optional). Rest 10 minutes before slicing.
Gravy
  1. Remove foil and onion from slow cooker and turn onto high. If required, add broth to create about 2 cups of liquid.
  2. In a small bowl, combine 4 tablespoons cornstarch with 4 tablespoons water to create a slurry.
  3. Whisk about 2/3 of the cornstarch into the drippings/broth and let cook on high. Depending on the amount of liquid you may need to add more of the cornstarch slurry to reach desired consistency. Let cook at least 5 minutes before serving.
  4. Taste and season with salt & pepper.

Recipe Notes

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.
Nutritional information calculated without chicken broth
Nutrition Information
Calories: 479, Fat: 35g, Saturated Fat: 9g, Cholesterol: 142mg, Sodium: 716mg, Potassium: 392mg, Carbohydrates: 1g, Protein: 35g, Vitamin A: 15.2%, Vitamin C: 4.8%, Calcium: 2.1%, Iron: 10.7%

(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.)

Keyword crock pot chicken, crockpot chicken, rotisserie chicken, slow cooker Whole Chicken
 
Rub Adapted from Food.com

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Slow Cooker Whole Chicken & Gravy! A complete Sunday meal in one pot. While it takes only minutes of prep, this tender, juicy chicken & gravy tastes like you've been in the kitchen all day.
Slow Cooker Whole Chicken & Gravy! A complete Sunday meal in one pot. While it takes only minutes of prep, this tender, juicy chicken & gravy tastes like you've been in the kitchen all day.

More Recipes You'll Love

About the author

Holly

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Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!

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Comments

    1. I haven’t tried it and I can’t say for certain that the stuffing would reach a safe temperature. If you do try it you’ll need to ensure the stuffing reaches 165°F.

  1. Chicken was moist and tender. Spice blend was delicious, I added some brown sugar into the mix as well. Under the tinfoil ring I put onion, mushrooms, carrots and whole cloves of garlic. Made for a delicious “au jous”.

    That being said… I followed the directions for the gravy and it turned out TERRIBLE. Was way too watery and when I added the slurry as directed it tasted like cornstarch. Make your own gravy with flour and another recipe or from a mix.

    Will be making the chicken again (not so much the gravy).

    1. So glad the chicken worked out well for you. Sorry about the gravy not working out, I didn’t have a problem with a starchy flavor. You can most certainly sub in your own gravy or use the drippings to prepare it on the stove as well.

  2. One step left out is to dry your chicken inside and out with paper towels, then brush with olive oil and rub. We have made this many times and it always comes out moist and delicious. This is a wonderful recipe.

  3. If I use an 8lb. Chicken, do I have to change any of the cooking times. I have a huge family, so my chickens are also huge…..LOL!

    1. I would suspect it would take longer to cook but to be honest I can’t say for sure how much longer (maybe an hour?). I would suggest using a meat thermometer and check it at the suggested time in the recipe to gauge how much longer you’ll need.

      I personally use a thermometer that can read the temperature and stay in the meat (in the oven or slow cooker) so I don’t have to open the lid, they’re about $20 and most places have them or you can get them online at Amazon for a great price. You’ll want to make sure the breast is 165°F or the thickest part of the thigh is 175°F-180°F.

      Please let us know how it goes!

  4. This is incredibly bland. I’m amazed at all the rave reviews. I must be the minority in wanting my actual meat to have the flavor and gravy be an optional addition. Not a necessity.
    I will definitely be seasoning my chicken much better if I make this again.

    1. Sorry you didn’t enjoy this, we find it delicious and flavorful! You can most certainly change the seasonings if you prefer!

  5. Just tried this slow cooker chicken and was delighted how how it turned it; just delicious. I tweaked a little and didn’t use foil balls, but balanced the chicken on a small quartered onion, otherwise everything else was the same. It was lovely to place the chicken in the slow cooker, go to work and come back to delicious succulent meat and a base for gravy…no basting and burning my wrists whilst trying to cover the chicken either…win win! Thank you :)

  6. every thing turned out great, must warn  you that aluimin foil can cause cancer when heated with food, so i don’t use, works great with just thick onion and celery layer on the bottom

  7. Super recipe but no need to cook aluminum with your food. Some carrots or thick sliced potatoes along with the sliced onions are perfect for keeping the chicken from cooking in its juices. I threw in some celery too with just a bit of chicken stock.

    Easy and fantastic!

  8. Didn’t have smoked paprika but it was delicious and so tender. Next time I will add the smoked paprika and see if we like it better.

  9. I would recommend not skipping the broiling part if you want to get a real rotisserie-style chicken texture with the crispy skin. The spice rub works well – great recipe! Will definitely make this simple no-fuss recipe again.

  10. This was just as easy and delicious as it claimed . I cooked mine on high for 4 hours and finished in the broiler. Its definitely a keeper!!

  11. I made this for the very first time, my husband and kids loved it! I used potatoes and carrots on the bottom instead of foil. I did not use paprika or thyme. My husband doesn’t like those seasonings. I also used onion powder instead of an onion and mixed it with other dry seasonings. I didn’t have olive oil so I used vegetable oil. Also didn’t have chicken broth so I made my own with chicken bouillon cubes. My dinner was awesome. Thanks!

    1. I’m sure they’ll add great flavor to the gravy! You may need to remove them from the slow cooker before mixing.

  12. Quite possibly the best slow cooker chicken recipe I have tried. The gravy is the bomb!! I substituted Emeril’s Essence for the smoked paprika as I did not have any, and it was perfect!

  13. My 1st time doing this. I made it really simple. Use the rub and if you don’t have these specific ingredients, ….. make it up.
    No aluminum foil or water is needed. Put at bottom, a layer of veggies. I used a bag (14 to 16 oz) of mixed frozen veggies of any kind. Next time around use veggies of your choice. I like carrots, celery and onions cut up large. Put in chicken breast and legs side up. Cook as directed. Make sure chicken is 164 degrees at the thick part of the thigh. E-Z peasy. Enjoy.

  14. Made this for NYE dinner last night using a 3.5lb whole chicken. As a vegetarian, I’ve not made a whole chicken before, but my husband said it was amazing. Followed the recipe exactly and cooked on high for 4 hours. Used onion instead of foil to prop up in the slow cooker.

  15. I am going to try this this Christmas looks amazing…can I use traditional sage and onion stuffing in the cavity of the bird?

    1. I haven’t tried cooking this stuffed in the slow cooker, if you do try it you will need to ensure the stuffing reaches 165 degrees. Another option would be to bake the stuffing in the oven while the chicken cooks. :)

  16. I love this simple,easy recipe.I put stalks of celery on the bottom of the slow cooker and then place the chicken (or roast) on top top of the celery. No burn, adds flavor and good circulation of water anand juices.
    Do i add any water to the pot or slow cooker when i put the chicken in?

  17. I have a large whole bone-in chicken breast in the frig. Would like to cook it in the crockpot using the recipe you have shown. Could you give me some advice as to how long to cook just a chicken breast, not whole chicken? Want to try this tonight.

  18. I only have a 3.5 quart crock pot but it is an oval shape and not round or rectangle.  What size checken would fit?  Would it have to be a smaller size than used in this recipe?

  19. Hi, Holly!

    Wonderful recipe! I’m a mushroom fanatic, so I added chopped mushrooms to my gravy. Fresh or canned, I like them both but drying the mushrooms out ahead of time and then adding them into the gravy so they can soften up–superb!

    I’m writing a piece on Autumn crockpot meals and would like to include this recipe. Would you mind? Full credit to you and your website, of course.

    Thanks! :)

    1. We generally cook a whole chicken uncovered using the following method.
      15 minutes at 450 degrees F and reduce heat to 350 degrees and roast an additional 18-20 minutes 20 minutes per pound or until the inner thigh reaches 165 degrees.

  20. This was delicious!! Super easy and the kids loved it! I didn’t have smoked paprika but we didn’t miss it. I made the gravy on the stove top in a small saucepan instead of in the crockpot as I find I can do it quicker that way. Served the chicken and gravy over egg noodles. Definitely a keeper! Thanks!

  21. When I make a whole chicken in the crockpot, I end up having to carefully pick through and get out the bones. In your photo it shows string, does this help keep it together?

  22. I have a 6 qt and a 3 qt slow cooker. I seem to really have hit and miss results with my crock pot cooking. Do you think a chicken this size would do okay in a 6qt? This looks delicious and I would love to try it!

  23. Going to make this tomorrow. I’m a nurse and this year,Thanksgiving is my holiday to work. So we are going to have a mini Thanksgiving tomorrow. The turkey is for the family feast on Thanksgiving. Pair this with my favorite crockpot stuffing…mmm! Drooling already!

  24. I just bought a whole chicken yesterday & was thinking I would just roast it the same old way, but WOW this is soooo much better!!! Thanks Holly for the awesome site.

  25. Cooked this chicken tonight. I cooked 4.5 lb. chicken on low. I checked it at 6 hours and the legs were falling off. I removed it from the crockpot and it completely fell apart. The dark and white meat were so dry not even the gravy could help. I won’t be making this again!!! My husband doesn’t complain about anything I serve but he had to agree, this was terrible.

    1. I’m sorry this didn’t work out for you Lisa. I’ve made it countless times with great results.

      What size was your slow cooker? Did you prop the chicken up off of the bottom?

      1. I had the same problem. Need to cut the cooking time by 2 hrs or more on low setting. I would sugggest using a thermometer: set for 165F. 

    2. If you have the time, you could brine your chicken the night before you’re going to put it in the slow cooker. Brining helps not have dried-out meats.

  26. Love the easy recipes you show on Facebook. I am always looking for quick easy recipes. Can’t wait to try this one. I like the suggestions offered here for an alternative to the foil.

  27. I appreciate the simple recipes as I am a widower and love to cook in a crock pot I also like to cook a whole pork butt in my crock pot salt pepper garlic powder cut up onions baby carrots cut up red potatoes cook on low 8-10 hours

    1. Bill, how.much of each of the following did you use? Salt, pepper, onion powder, onions, baby carrots and red potatoes. I live by myself and this would work for me. Thank you.

  28. Since I found several recipes roasting a chicken in the slow cooker I’ve been making mine this way. But I never added all these spices as a rub. I’ve just used pepper and paprika. Will try this recipe next.

  29. Omg I didn’t know that you could cook a whole joint of meat in a slow cooker what a great idea but I need to get a bigger slow cooker tho lol

  30. I made this yesterday for my family, it was a huge hit! I used more onions in place of foil and added chicken bouillon to the gravy. It was amazing.

      1. Iv tried cooking whole chicken in my slow cooker but there was so much fat off the skin it made other veggies very greasy

  31. I’ve never thought of cooking a whole chicken in the slow cooker! Now I gotta try it, your photos look so good, they convinced me to try it!

  32. I love making a roast chicken on Sundays, but have never made one on the slow cooker. I cannot wait to try it

    1. I have put frozen chickens in my crockpot for 20 years, works beautifully, never, ever a problem, on low for about 6-8 hours, depending on your chicken size. Always use organic chickens

  33. Instead of foil do what I do. I put stalks of celery on the bottom of the slow cooker and then place the chicken (or roast) on top top of the celery. No burn, adds flavor and good circulation of water anand juices.

    1. Thats a wonderful idea with the celery instead of the foil. You could also use little bundles of asparagus or larger sized Brussel sprouts.

      1. The Brussel Sprouts or even potatoes and carrots would be delish. *I have not made this yet, but thanks for the recipe. I will be going shopping for a Chicken and the veggies needed to make this for our Sunday dinner. Dinner will be ready to put on the table, once we are home from Church.