I recently had four chicken legs to cook, but my oven had failed a few days earlier.

Grilling or microwaving didn't seem like a good idea, so with some trepidation I skinned them and then crammed them into my 3.5 litre slow cooker with some chopped onions, and covered them with some chicken stock mixed with a few herbs, and cooked them for about 6 hours.

In fact, they turned out really well. Better than when I roast them. Very succulent and very tasty!

This got me wondering - why not cook a whole chicken this way? Is there some reason why I shouldn't do a whole bird in the slow cooker? And if I did, is there anything specific I should do?

  • 4
    If you google "slow cooker whole chicken" you'll see plenty of recipes. Still fair to ask about the basic things you should/shouldn't do (e.g. how much liquid) but the answer to your core question seems evident enough.
    – Cascabel
    Dec 21, 2015 at 13:59
  • 1
    Note that a whole bird and a 3.5 litre pot might be a bit tight - if necessary, chop up the birds in the usual 6-8 pieces.
    – Stephie
    Dec 21, 2015 at 14:02
  • 1
    You can get a whole chicken in a slow cooker, especially the oval models. And you can cook it with or without stock. But check the timings from a proper slow cooker book, especially if you're not adding lots of hot liquid. We quite often do this, then after eating what we want and cutting up the rest (the dark meat especially works really well for leftover-roast-chicken recipes) put the bones (+oinions etc.) back in to make stock overnight.
    – Chris H
    Dec 21, 2015 at 14:50
  • I've done a whole chicken in the pot, but I found that the white meat dries out too much if you go too long. By too long I mean not six hours, but turn it on in the morning and come back 8-10 hours later when home from work (my pot is old and does't have the delayed start feature). As for making stock: absolutely! I did that overnight and the stock turned out great, and super easy. It was one of those slap yourself on the forehead and think "why didn't I think of that" ideas.
    – Dave
    Dec 21, 2015 at 15:42
  • If you have an answer, please post it as one. Comments aren't intended as a way to post short answers.
    – Cascabel
    Dec 21, 2015 at 18:06

2 Answers 2


I poach chicken, whole or parts, In my slow cooker in stock. To get that beautiful roasted look, I put in under the broiler and watch it VERY carefully. Since the poaching keeps it moist , the broiler will not dry it out.


Yes you can (assuming you can get it in your slow cooker, or as others have said cut if up first). I seem to remember reading that from a food safety point of view whatever you put in your slow cooker should be boiling hot. So to be sure I'd stick that chicken and whatever else you are planning to cook with it in a saucepan first, boil it, then stick in slow cooker. I assume this is to ensure any bacteria on the outside of the meat are killed.

  • 2
    It's to make sure bacteria is killed fast enough. The slow cooker will take quite a while to heat up, and the interior surfaces of the chicken will take even longer. It'd all get killed eventually once everything's up to temperature, but you need to make sure it doesn't stay in the danger zone (below 140F) for too long first.
    – Cascabel
    Dec 22, 2015 at 17:38

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.