Crock Pot Chicken is my go to recipe for whole chicken. It’s so fast and easy to literally throw in the crockpot in the morning and it’s done by the time everyone is home that night. It’s especially good on busy nights – the ones where all the kids seem to need to be on different sides of town, all at the same time, while you are crazy busy at work. Yep, Crock Pot Chicken is my go to for those especially crazy nights. The hardest part is remembering to take a whole chicken out of the freezer a day ahead. I have done this with frozen chicken when I didn’t leave enough time for thawing, but then that takes the easy out of this recipe because you have to fight with the frozen innards of the chicken which can be quite a challenge.
To make this chicken, unwrap and remove the bag of innards from the chicken. Rinse with cool water and place the whole chicken breast side up in the crock pot. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, then add the seasonings of your choice. I usually add thyme, maybe rosemary or herbs de Provence. If you want a spicier, Mexican flavor, add some chili powder, cumin, garlic, and smoked paprika. The flavor combinations are unlimited – just add what you like. Set the crock pot on low. 8-10 hours later, your chicken is done. The meat is super tender and falls right off the bone. You can’t lift the chicken out as a whole because it will fall apart. At this point you can serve it as is or use it in many other recipes such as Enchiladas or Chicken Pot Pie. If you serve the chicken as is, be sure to save the broth for Homemade Broth that you can keep in your freezer for the next time you make soup or gravy. As far as the size of your chicken, whatever fits in your crock pot will work and should not take longer than the 10 hours. I’ve done this with a big roaster and had the same results as using a small fryer. Once, I put 2 small ones side by side in a large crockpot and that worked too.
This recipe is also on the frugal side, since whole chickens are usually cheaper per pound than cut up pieces of one particular part. If you are trying to eat all organic and struggle within a budget to do so, a whole chicken is good value. I wait for these to go on sale, which is usually under 99 cents per pound in my area ($1.99 per pound for organic). I buy several to stock the freezer until the next time they go on sale. It’s pretty economical as one of these chickens easily feeds 6 of us, with leftovers occasionally – plus we save all that great broth for another meal. Crock pot cooking is also one of the cheapest ways to heat and cook our food, using less energy than a stove top or oven. Additionally, it also won’t heat up your house on a hot summer day when you are running the AC (depending on your climate).
You might think this recipe is only good for families, and large ones at that, but really anyone can do this if you want to take advantage of the frugal benefits. Cooking this on one day will provide meals for the whole week – either lunches to pack and bring to work, or dinner, ready to be reheated at the end of a long work day. If you don’t want to eat chicken every day for the week, it can be frozen in portion sizes. It’s such a time saver and an easy way to make a quality, home cooked meal.