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Easiest Way to Cook a Whole Chicken

The Easiest Way to Cook a Whole Chicken is the recipe that I share most frequently share with my busy friends. Not only is it so easy a child can do it, it’s totally healthy, delicious and budget friendly, too!

The reason this is so awesome, in addition to tasting super delicious, is that buying a whole chicken is the best bang for your food budget buck.

Healthy food isn’t cheap but buying a whole chicken is much more budget friendly than buying individual cuts of chicken.

Buying a Whole Chicken Saves Money

When buying chicken, I only recommend Pasture Raised, preferably soy-free & from a local farmer, if possible. It’s the healthiest for us to eat and the best living conditions for the animals. I know it’s more expensive and that’s why it’s imperative that you change the way you select the cuts of chicken you purchase, in order to save a money!

Here’s an example from a local farm for soy-free, pasture raised chicken:

  • Pasture raised boneless skinless chicken breast is $12 per pound, 1 pound yields roughly 3 adult servings at $4 per serving
  • A pasture raised whole chicken is $5 per pound, 1 whole chicken (roughly 4 pounds) is $20. On average 75% of a whole chicken weight is edible meat (4 pound chicken = 3 pound edible meat). 1-4 pound whole chicken yields 9 servings at $2.25 per serving

    PLUS as a bonus you can make 1/2 gallon of nutrient dense bone broth!

By purchasing a whole chicken you’ll save $1.75 per serving AND you get 1/2 gallon of bone broth. I think it’s a no-brainer.

Local SW Pennsylvania friends I suggest checking out our friends at Footprints Farm for high quality pasture raised meats, they offer on farm pick up in Gibbon Glade, PA as well as drop points & delivery in Morgantown, Uniontown & Pittsburgh areas. Friends who are further away, the Family Cow offers on farm pick up, convenient drop points throughout PA/MD/NJ as well as UPS delivery nationwide.

Even if your family prefers chicken breast, you can hide the dark meat in chicken salad, chicken soup, or toss it in hot sauce for a buffalo chicken lettuce wrap and they will never know!

The Best way to cook a Whole Chicken

Now that we’re all in agreement, Whole Chickens for the Win… I’m going to teach you the Easiest Way to Cook a Whole Chicken.

Easy, ya’ know… ‘Easy like Sunday Morning’, whatever that means…. When I say easy I mean, so easy that you don’t even need to thaw your chicken, easy.

I make a chicken like this several times month and you will too.

Step #1: Place a Whole FROZEN Chicken in your slow-cooker and season, liberally.

Yes. FROZEN.

No I’m not kidding. Yes it’s totally safe. Trust me.

What size chicken? Whatever size chicken will fit in your slow-cooker, I use a 8 quart oval slow cooker that accommodates a pretty big chicken. However, As long as your chicken will fit, this recipe can also be made using your instant pot using the slow cook function. 

The Easiest Way to Cook a Whole Chicken (That's Healthy & Delicious, too!)

No, no water, No don’t add anything else. To keep it simple, just use my homemade seasoned salt. Can it get any easier?

Step #2: Cook on Low for 8+ hours.

Set it and forget it! Don’t complicate things; go to work, run errands, do whatever. Let the chicken do it’s own magic while you’re busy for the day. I started my chicken at 9 am and we ate dinner at 5 pm…

The Easiest Way to Cook a Whole Chicken (That's Healthy & Delicious, too!)

No seriously, after 8 hours your chicken will be cooked through. Don’t believe me? Stick in a meat thermometer and check the temp by the bones, it will be over 160F, totally cooked through and deliciously tender!

Optional Step For Crispy Skin

Chicken with soggy skin is gross, so I carefully lift my chicken out of the crock pot and broil it in my toaster oven to get the skin all golden brown and delicious

The Easiest Way to Cook a Whole Chicken (That's Healthy & Delicious, too!)

I push these red handled chicken picker-upper-things around my kitchen, thinking that I really don’t need them, but then I use them and remember they are pretty awesome!

The Easiest Way to Cook a Whole Chicken (That's Healthy & Delicious, too!)

Crispy, golden, deliciousness.

Who’d have thought that this whole chicken was completely frozen at 9 am this morning, only cost $20 and will yield 9+ servings of chicken PLUS we’re going to make healthy bone broth too!

The Easiest Way to Cook a Whole Chicken (That's Healthy & Delicious, too!)

Serve as a whole chicken or pick the meat off the bones. Enjoy the chicken as-is or shred it to use in your family’s favorite recipes.

Looking for inspiration? Check out these 29 Shredded Chicken Recipes, 13 Best Shredded Chicken Recipes or 50 Shredded Chicken Recipes

The Easiest Way to Cook a Whole Chicken (That's Healthy & Delicious, too!)

Step 3: Don’t forget to Make Chicken Bone Broth!!!!

STOP!!! Don’t wash your crock pot, leave those beautiful juices in there and throw in all the bones and bits you don’t want to eat.

Add celery, onions, garlic, sea salt, a splash of apple cider vinegar and fill your crock pot with water. Cook on low for 3 days.

The Easiest Way to Cook a Whole Chicken (That's Healthy & Delicious, too!)

Yes you heard me correctly; 72 hours, that’s 3 days…

Cooking on low for 3 days allows all the flavor and nutrition to be fully extracted from the bones. If you notice that the liquid is evaporating, just add more water!

After 3 days strain your broth and season it with additional sea salt, to taste. If you don’t have a fine mesh strainer you MUST get one, like NOW. THIS is the strainer we have and it’s worth every penny.

Enjoy your homemade chicken bone broth enjoy it as is or use it in other dishes… like to make my 5 Minute Rice Pilaf or in for Easy Sausage Tortellini soup.

Bone Broth is one the most nutritious foods you can incorporate into your healthy diet, at a minimum have some once a week, better is every day! To learn more about Health Benefits of Bone Broth, Click HERE

Ok, so I know life happens and sometimes you can’t make broth right away, that’s ok. Just toss all those goodies in the freezer and make broth later. In fact, I keep a big bag of bones and odd bits in the freezer at all times and just keep adding to it.

This recipe was originally published in August of 2016. I’ve made minor revisions and updated the featured image & pinterest pin in January of 2021. WOW, my photography has made a major improvement!!

Love Chicken? Here’s some more Healthy Chicken Recipes you might enjoy!

whole chicken with brown crispy skin surrounded by fresh herbs on a white background

The Easiest Way to Cook a Whole Chicken

The Easiest Way to Cook a Whole Chicken is the recipe that I share most frequently share with my busy friends. Not only is it so easy a child can do it, it's totally healthy, delicious and budget friendly, too!
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Prep Time: 1 minute
Cook Time: 8 hours
for chicken bone broth: 3 days
Servings: 9 servings

Ingredients

for chicken bone broth

Instructions

  • Liberally season your FROZEN chicken and place it in your slow-cooker.
  • Cover, cook on LOW for 8+ hours.
  • Enjoy tender, juicy and delicious chicken.

For Chicken Bone Broth

  • Place cooked chicken bones and scraps back into your (dirty) slow cooker along with vegetables, sea salt and pepper, and apple cider vinegar.
  • Add water to cover all ingredients.
  • Cover and cook on low for 12-72 hours.

Notes

You can also use a fresh or thawed chicken, it will be done in roughly 6 hours instead of 8.
As long as your chicken will fit, this recipe can also be made using your instant pot using the slow cook function. 

Nutrition

Calories: 208kcal | Protein: 18g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 73mg | Sodium: 1618mg | Potassium: 183mg | Vitamin A: 135IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 12mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @hayley_inthekitchen or tag #hayley_inthekitchen!

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13 Comments

    1. Sometimes they do. Of course you would want to check and remove it if applicable. (mine do not, most local farmers do not include them or at least not in a paper pack)

    1. Cook it until it’s done — I’m only partially joking. When you stuff a bird, you always want to take an internal reading of the stuffing. It needs to reach 160F. When you are slow cooking, the timing isn’t imperative and even though your bird isn’t frozen, but is stuffed I would cook it the exact same.

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