Slow Cooker Chicken

$9.04 per Chicken / $1.69 per Pound

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Slow Cooker Chicken cooked and served whole or made into shredded chicken, is one of the easiest weeknight meals and the best way to cook a chicken! Serve the whole chicken that night, shred for leftovers, and follow up with homemade chicken stock. That’s how to get the most out of your food!

how to cook a whole chicken in the crock pot
slow cooker shredded chicken

Today’s Freezer Essential: Whole Chicken

Did you know that you can often get whole chickens cheaper by the pound than you can their individual parts? Better still, you can find a local farm to you and buy in bulk. This gets you the best quality and the best price!

Reasons to Love Slow Cooker Chicken

Slow cooker chicken is a budget-friendly culinary staple. It transforms whole chicken or affordable cuts of chicken into a delicious and versatile meal option. This not only saves you money but also reduces food waste!

This recipe is also very nutritious. It allows you to control the ingredients, minimizing the use of unhealthy fats or excessive sodium. It’s a protein-packed option that can be customized with various seasonings and vegetables to suit your preferences, making it a wholesome choice for your family.

shredded slow cooker chicken

Slow cooker shredded chicken is one of the best step 1 recipes to any meal prep or batch prepared food. You can use it as a base for various dishes, from tacos and sandwiches to salads and soups. This adaptability keeps your meals exciting and ensures that you can make the most of your ingredients, reducing the need for multiple protein sources in your weekly meal planning.

Just like slow cooker ground beef, this recipe is quick and easy to throw together making it beginner-friendly for kids learning to cook and college cooks.

Ingredients Needed

ingredients for a whole chicken

Exact measurements can be found in the printable recipe card below.

  • Whole Chicken: You could use this same method for bulk chicken breasts, chicken thighs, wings, etc. Any raw chicken you have on hand can be cooked in this method to provide fall-off-the-bone, tender chicken.
  • Vegetables: While not a must-have, vegetables do provide flavor and moisture to the chicken as it cooks. You can serve the vegetables or leave them in the crockpot after shredding all the chicken, return the chicken bones and use as the base to your Crock Pot Chicken Stock. I typically use celery, carrots, and onions. Vegetables also create a bed for the chicken to cook on, preventing any potential burning to the bottom of the slow cooker.
  • Spices: Use salt and pepper at the very least to flavor your chicken. If you would like to create large batches of Mexican chicken for tacos etc, you can add the spices you prefer.
  • Liquid: Add a cup of water or chicken stock to the bottom of the slow cooker if using a frozen chicken. This will help to create steam and thaw the chicken more evenly as it cooks. If using a thawed chicken add a 1/2 cup of water or omit. The vegetables and chicken will create their own liquid as they cook.

Tool Variations

I love cooking chicken in a slow cooker because it is so hands off, but there are several other methods you could use.

Why get a slow cooker

A slow cooker is a time-saving, versatile cooking appliance. It tenderizes inexpensive tough cuts of meat and it’s ideal for busy lifestyles or beginner cooks. A slow cooker also uses less energy than other kitchen appliances and reduces food waste.


This is an overview of the instructions. For complete directions, scroll down to the bottom.

  1. Add the chopped vegetables to the bottom of the slow cooker. This is a great option for vegetables going soft in your fridge.
  2. Rest the chicken on the vegetables and season liberally with your ideal spice blend.
  3. Add 1/2 cup of liquid to the slow cooker and cover. Cook on low for 6 hours or High for 4 hours, depending on the size of your whole chicken.
How to Cook a whole chicken in the slow cooker

How to store and love your leftovers

  • Refrigerate: Let the cooked chicken cool completely. Place in an airtight container. Refrigerate for up to 4 days.
  • Freeze: Shredded chicken can be stored in the freezer for up to 2 months. Be sure to get as much air out of the freezer bag as possible before freezing!
  • Canning: To can cooked chicken pack in hot pint jars with 1 teaspoon of salt and fill to base of rim with boiling water. Process boneless chicken for 1 hour 15 minutes at 10 pounds pressure. Please see here for your specific time and pressure.
  • Reheat: Thaw in the refrigerator overnight if possible. Shredded chicken can be reheated on the stovetop over medium-low heat with a few Tablespoons of water or broth. It can also be microwaved gently until hot.

Use leftovers from this recipe as a base for tacos, wraps, chicken salad, and more!

Katie’s Tips

  • Use an instant-read thermometer in the thickest part of the chicken to ensure it is cooked through. The temperature should be 165F.
  • To get crispy skin, use pot holders to remove the slow cooker insert. Spray the top of the chicken with cooking spray. Transfer to the oven and broil to create a crispy outer layer on the tender chicken.


Can I use this crock pot chicken as a substitute for rotisserie chicken in a recipe?

Not only can you, but you should! This method is much more economical and it allows you to control the sodium and seasonings.

Can you slow cook just breasts or thighs instead of a whole chicken?

Sure! A whole chicken will be cheaper than separated parts, but if you have a certain part of the chicken on hand, you can use this same method for cooking it.

Can I make this recipe with frozen chicken?

Sure! It will take a bit longer, but this same method will work if you chicken is frozen. See the instructions steps above for more specific tips on using a frozen chicken.

How can I make dry shredded chicken moist?

If you overcook your chicken and it’s dry, try gently warming it on the stove with chicken broth to moisten it up.

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Slow Cooker Chicken

Slow Cooker Chicken cooked and served whole or made into shredded chicken, is one of the easiest weeknight meals and the best way to cook a chicken!
Katie Chase
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 10 minutes
Recipe Cost $9.04


  • 6 quart slow cooker
  • meat tongs
  • knife
  • cutting board


  • 4 pound whole chicken (6.68)
  • 2 carrots (0.32) diced
  • 3 celery stocks (0.57) diced
  • 1 yellow onion (0.78) wedged
  • 1 cup water (0.00)
  • 2 Tablespoons seasoning (0.29) such as Italian Herbs
  • 2 teaspoons salt (0.08)
  • 1 teaspoon pepper (0.32)


  • Add the rough chopped vegetables to the bottom of the slow cooker.
  • Rest the chicken on the vegetables and season liberally with ideal spice blend, using at least the salt and pepper.
  • Add 1/2 cup of liquid if using thawed chicken to the slow cooker, 1 cup if using a frozen chicken, and cover. Cook on low for 6 hours or High for 4 hours, depending on the size of your whole chicken.
  • Use an instant-read thermometer to ensure the chicken is cooked to 165F internally.
  • Optional: spray the top of the chicken with oil. Remove the crock pot insert and broil in an oven until skin is crispy, about 5 minutes.


Note that the nutrition information provided is based on the entire recipe. 
Disclaimer: Please note all serving sizes, pricing, and nutrition is an estimate based on 2023-2024 pricing and nutrition guides. For accuracy please do your own calculations.

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