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This low-prep, budget-friendly Crock Pot Whole Chicken (with gravy!) turns out moist and flavorful every single time. The fresh herbs, garlic, and onion hidden inside the bird bring big flavor as they slowly marry with the chicken juices. The drippings at the end are used to create a delicious gravy to serve on top.
Only a few fresh, whole foods ingredients are needed for this healthy and flavorful chicken meal.
For the Chicken
- 1 (4-5 lb) whole chicken (we get our chicken here)
- Butter (or olive oil)
- Salt and pepper
- Fresh thyme sprigs
- Fresh rosemary sprigs
- Fresh parsley
- Fresh garlic head
For the Gravy
- Unbleached, all-purpose flour
- Salt and pepper
Step-by-Step: How to Cook a Whole Chicken in a Crock Pot
Prep the Bird
Season the outside and inside generously with salt and pepper and stuff the bird with onion, garlic, and fresh herbs. Tie the legs together with kitchen twine to help with even cooking.
Place the chicken breast-side down in the slow cooker. Cover and cook on Low for 4 to 6 hours, until the chicken is cooked through. (The chicken is done when it registers 165°F near the inner thigh, between the leg and breast.)
Broil Until Crispy on Outside
Transfer the chicken to a baking dish, breast-side up. Broil for 5-10 minutes, until crispy and golden brown, keeping a close eye on the chicken so it doesn’t burn. Tent with foil and let rest for about 20 minutes.
Make the Gravy
While the chicken rests, make the gravy in a sauce pan on the stove using the leftover juices, flour, and butter. Season to taste with salt and pepper. This just takes a few minutes!
Slice and Serve with Gravy on Top
Carve the chicken and serve with gravy. We love it on top of mashed potatoes.
Make It a Freezer Meal
Freezer meal prep is our specialty! (Did you know we’ve published two popular cookbooks with our best freezable recipes in them?)
The beauty of this particular recipe is that you can prep two chickens at the same time, make one for dinner, and freeze the other for another day.
Here’s how to make Crock Pot Whole Chicken into a freezer meal:
Freeze For Later: Follow Step 1 in the recipe below. Place the seasoned/stuffed chicken in a gallon-size or two gallon freezer bag (have someone help you by holding the bag open), or wrap it tightly in a few layers of plastic wrap and then a few layers of foil. Freeze.
Prepare From Frozen:Note: You will need to have butter, flour, salt, and pepper on hand to complete this meal. Thaw the chicken fully in the refrigerator for about 48 hours. Follow Steps 2-6.
How Long to Cook Whole Chicken in the Crock Pot
I can assure you, we’ve done our homework on this question! For two years we researched, tested recipes, and wrote From Freezer to Cooker, our second cookbook filled with Crock Pot and Instant Pot recipes. During that time, we honed in on the perfect slow cooker cook times for whole chicken.
Here’s what we found through our tests:
- A (4-5 pound) whole chicken takes 4-6 hours in the slow cooker on LOW. (The chicken is done when it registers 165°F near the inner thigh, between the leg and breast.)
- Do not cook the chicken on high, as it will dry out the meat.
- Make sure the chicken is fully thawed. According to the USDA, placing frozen food (especially a dense one like a whole chicken) can take too long to come up to the safe temperature, allowing bacteria to proliferate quickly. Here’s how to safely thaw chicken.
- To get a crispy exterior, place the bird under the broiler at the end for a few minutes and rotate, as needed.
Be sure to grab our free Crock Pot Cooking Times Chart to hang up in a cabinet!
Can I Make Whole Chicken in the Instant Pot?
Absolutely! We’ve rigorously tested the Instant Pot version of this recipe, too. You can find that recipe here…
Did you make this? Snap a photo and tag us on Instagram at @thrivinghome so we can see your creations and cheer you on!
For the Chicken:
- 1 (4-5 pound) whole chicken (here’s where we get our chicken)
- 1 tablespoon butter, at room temperature (sub: olive oil)
- Salt and pepper
- 5 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- Handful of fresh parsley
- 1/2 head of garlic, halved crosswise
- 1/2 onion, cut into 2-inch pieces
For the Gravy:
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour (sub: 1:1 gluten-free baking flour)
- Salt and pepper
Before You Begin! If you make this, please leave a review and rating letting us know how you liked this recipe! This helps our business thrive & continue providing free recipes.
Make It Now:
- For the chicken: If necessary, remove the neck and giblets from the cavity of the chicken (save them to make chicken stock, if you’d like). Pat the chicken dry and rub the butter all over the outside. Season the chicken generously inside and out with salt and pepper. Stuff the thyme, rosemary, parsley, garlic, and onion into the cavity. (Freezing instructions begin here.)
- Place the chicken breast-side down in the slow cooker. Cover and cook on Low for 4 to 6 hours, until the chicken is cooked through. (The chicken is done when it registers 165°F near the inner thigh, between the leg and breast.)
- Position the top oven rack about 8 inches below the broiler. Preheat the broiler.
- Transfer the chicken to a baking dish, breast-side up. Broil for 5-10 minutes, until crispy and golden brown, keeping a close eye on the chicken so it doesn’t burn. Tent with foil and let rest for about 20 minutes.
- For the gravy: While the chicken rests, in a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until the mixture becomes a smooth paste. Increase the heat to medium-high. While whisking, use a ladle or a dry measuring cup to slowly add the juices left in the slow cooker. Whisk continuously until the gravy is smooth and thickened, 3 to 5 minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
- Carve the chicken. Serve warm, drizzled with the gravy. (Tip: To get super-smooth gravy, you may want to strain the juices before adding them to the pot.)
Freeze For Later: Follow step 1. Place the chicken in a gallon-size freezer bag, if it will fit (have someone help you by holding the bag open), or wrap it tightly in a few layers of plastic wrap and then a few layers of foil. Freeze.
Prepare From Frozen: Note: You will need to have butter, flour, salt, and pepper on hand to complete this meal. Thaw the chicken fully in the refrigerator for about 48 hours. Follow Steps 2-6.
Instant Pot Method: Try our Instant Pot Whole Chicken recipe.
Oven Method: Try our Roasted Whole Chicken and Vegetables recipe.
Gluten-Free Version: Use 1:1 Gluten-Free Baking Flour (like Bob’s Red Mill brand) in place of the all-purpose flour.
Where We Get Our Chicken: We get our meat from ButcherBox. The chicken is organic and curated from small, trusted farms. We highly recommend this service to source healthy meat–like uncured bacon, wild salmon, and grass-fed beef–and have used it for years ourselves. Read my full ButcherBox review here.