2 Whole Chickens in the Crockpot

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2 Whole Chickens in the Crockpot | You're going to think I'm horribly simple when I tell you what I do to cook chickens. This is definitely not gourmet. This method is so simple and handy -- it requires almost no effort but yields tender, juicy, fall-off-the-bone chicken for sandwiches, soups, casseroles, and skillet dishes. It results in a good amount of chicken (because I cook 2 at a time) to put away for future meals. | GNOWFGLINS.com

You’re going to think I’m horribly simple when I tell you what I do to cook chickens. This is definitely not gourmet. This method is so simple and handy — it requires almost no effort but yields tender, juicy, fall-off-the-bone chicken for sandwiches, soups, casseroles, and skillet dishes. It results in a good amount of chicken (because I cook 2 at a time) to put away for future meals.

How to Cook 2 Whole Chickens in the Crockpot

This method is shared in more detail in our online class Fundamentals — both through a video demonstration and a detailed print tutorial.

Start with 2 pastured organic chickens. Rinse and put in a large crockpot. (You can also put them upside down so the breasts self-baste in their own dripppings.) I can get 2 to fit in a 6 to 6-1/2 quart crockpot. Both birds fit, really!

Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper and garlic, too. However, you don’t need to season at all, because usually this chicken gets incorporated into other dishes that give the flavoring.

No need to add liquid; as the chicken cooks, its own liquids will fill up the crock about halfway and it will simmer away, staying tender.

Turn the crockpot on to high for an hour or so to get good and hot. Then I turn down to low for the rest of the day. (For a total of 8 to 10 hours.) If you’re a bit behind, keep the crockpot on high from late morning until dinner time, for a total of 6 to 8 hours or so.

The chicken is done when it is falling apart.

2 Whole Chickens in the Crockpot | You're going to think I'm horribly simple when I tell you what I do to cook chickens. This is definitely not gourmet. This method is so simple and handy -- it requires almost no effort but yields tender, juicy, fall-off-the-bone chicken for sandwiches, soups, casseroles, and skillet dishes. It results in a good amount of chicken (because I cook 2 at a time) to put away for future meals. | GNOWFGLINS.com

Take out of the crockpot. Let it cool. Then take all the meat off the bones. Freeze or refrigerate what you’re not using for that night’s dinner. Use the drippings for the sauce of your meal or another meal (it will gel right up in the fridge if the bones contained lots of gelatin), or leave them in the crockpot to start stock right away with the bones.

To Start Stock

Put the bones right back in the crockpot, with or without the dripppings, and add water and a splash of vinegar, then cover and turn on low for 12 to 24 hours. You can also add onions, garlic, and herbs. Here’s more info: Perpetual Stock or Broth in the Crockpot.

Check out our online class Fundamentals for more details video and print instructions for both cooking the chickens and making the stock.

What’s your favorite way to cook chicken?

This post may contain affiliate links. We only recommend products and services we wholeheartedly endorse. Thank you for supporting Traditional Cooking School by GNOWFGLINS with your purchases. Our family thanks you!

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Comments

  1. says

    My mom just gave me a crockpot, and since I don’t know how to use one (really, I know I’m backward…) this will give me something to try. It will be so useful. I’m usually doing things that take lots of time in the kitchen, and I want to do simpler things at least every once in a while. Do you get a lot of stock? I would probably put the carcass back in with some water, onions, etc. and make a stock.

    Oh, you will love having a crockpot! It really makes life simpler. Beans are a breeze in the crockpot. When you do the chicken this way, you don’t get stock, just drippings. I use the drippings for gravy or I save them to add to stock-making later — with the bones and veggies, just like you suggested. You’re a pro already!

  2. says

    Definately not simple and boring! These are the types of things people need to know who may not have the experience you have had with cooking. Perfectly done! I’ve only cooked two whole chickens before, both about two years ago when I was reading Maker’s Diet. I think making it in the crockpot sounds better to me than how I did it in a stock pot. Out of the way, leaving the stove area free for other cooking, plus doesn’t heat up the kitchen as much.

    Off topic, but I was wondering if you have heard of the Betsy-Tacy books for girls? Written in 1940 and beyond? We just discovered these and are ordering one at a time from amazon.com. Emma is just devouring the first one. I’m going to blog about them, I think.

    Your croutons look *awesome*, too. I have some hemp bread that I bet I could make some from. We love love dill – one of my favorite herbs.

    Enjoy the rest of your weekend with your lovely family! :D Love & hugs, Robin

    Robin, I have heard of the Betsy-Tacy books. We have one of them. It was included in our Sonlight curriculum, for perhaps 2nd grade. A. has read it, but I have not. It is “Betsy and Tacy Go Over the Big Hill”. I hope you’re having a good weekend — we are!

  3. says

    Are the chickens more expensive Wardee? Up here they would be sooo expensive to buy.

    I am anxious to see what you do with that chicken, you are so organized, I just am in awe of you hon, warm hugs

    They are more expensive, yes. I pay about $2.19 per pound for organic chicken. How does that compare for your area? And I am not that organized! This chicken “trick” really keeps things easy.

  4. says

    We all love our roaster chicken here!! We love them for chicken and gravy over rice or potato, chicken soups, chicken pie. Sometimes I supplement my own stock with organic stock from the store. We find the organic more expensive than non organic but not more expensive than other organic meats. But I can get more meals out of one chicken, so it is still pretty economical. I can’t always get organic, but definitely choose it when I can.

    Thanks for sharing!! Love, Karen

    Hi, Karen! Aren’t those chickens versatile! Thanks for sharing how you use a whole chicken. :D They are much more economical. We are still eating off the chickens I cooked on Saturday, and will do so for another day yet.

  5. says

    So, explain to me the use of the bones.

    I think that means I didn’t make sense. ;) I take the bones and put them in a pot with a whole onion, sea salt, herbs, ginger, whatever I have on hand that I want to throw in, and lots of water. Bring to a boil and then cover and simmer for several hours. Cool, then strain and refrigerate the broth. The broth can also be frozen. I hope that answers your question! – Wardee

  6. Sangeeta says

    Thanks for the great tip! I currently bake 2 chickens (got the idea from your article last year!). Had a quick question. Is there a more affordable way to buy organic free-range chickens?

    Hi, Sangeeta. The only advice I have for you is to shop around. The best price I have locally is $1.99 per pound. That would be either at Trader Joe’s or a grocery store that has alot of more natural food choices. You could also see if there are any local natural chicken farms. There is one by us that is free-range, but not organic, and their chickens are around $1.89 per pound. If we wanted to buy there, we could actually go there and choose which chickens we’d want to take home with us! From field to table. ;)

  7. says

    Hey, thanks for posting this!
    I think we have the same crockpot!
    I have never cooked two chickens before- actually I have never cooked ANY whole chicken before. Kind of scary for me to do. But you make it sounds easy. Think I’ll try!

  8. Kelli says

    Wardee,
    I think this is the most exciting recipe I’ve seen of yours! I have been wondering what to pack in lunches when we are not home for lunch and this would be an excellent alternative to lunch meat! I am currently printing out my Such Treasures cookbook. I am trying the coconut chicken tonight, I’ll let you know how it goes.
    Kelli

  9. Julieanne says

    Wardee, What type of crockpot do you own, that fits two whole chickens? I thought mine was always a “large” crockpot, but it would only fit one chicken. Would you mind sharing your make/model (!!!) of your crockpot? Thanks!

    Julieanne

    Julieanne, it is a Rival 6.5 quart, and it is oval shaped. It is a newer crockpot without any timers or anything, just pretty basic. It is the stainless steel outside and black removal crock. I got it about 2 or 3 years ago. When I went to buy one as a gift the Christmas before last, it wasn’t being made anymore. Maybe it is back in production now? Hope this helps!

  10. Kelli says

    I made this yesterday and it turned out great. I was surprised that the skin could come out crispy in a crockpot! Thanks once again.
    Kelli

  11. says

    Wardee, What is so brilliant about this idea is that you can cook whole chickens during the summer without your oven heating up the whole house. We don’t do much roasted chicken for months at a time because it gets so hot here and I don’t like using the oven. But tomorrow, I’m crockpotting a chicken! Thanks again!

  12. says

    Did you know you can cook a frozen chicken in a crockpot, too?

    One day I realized at lunch time I forgot to take out the chicken to thaw, and it was already halfway through the day. It would NEVER cook on time! Or so I thought. I figured I’d try it, see what happened. I put one whole frozen chicken into the crockpot (I have a very large, round crockpot, and the chicken was a large one).

    There were three problems. One, the giblet bag was still in the bird. Two, the chicken had been packaged with a plastic-covered card as a label placed inside the plastic bag that encased the chicken…I got the plastic off, but the corners of the card were embedded in frozen chicken. Three, the lid ALMOST went down over the chicken, but the edge stuck up just a bit. These were easy to solve. I positioned the chicken the best I could, and pressed gently down on the lid–once the chicken softened, the lid closed fully. Then, when the chicken had softened enough, I removed the label and pulled out the giblets, added any spices, and continued to cook as usual.

    I don’t remember exactly how long it cooked, but I think I had in on high for a round five hours. Could have been longer. Anyway, it came out great! My husband has tried it again since then, and it worked for him, too.

    As long as you can get the bird into the crockpot while frozen, and have the lid mostly closed, you’ll be fine. Maybe if the lid won’t close enough, you could cover the crockpot with a tin foil tent until you can fit the lid on? Worth a try. But you’d want to make it so that the steam ran down the foil into the pot, not onto the counter, where the wire is laying. Not safe, lol.

    • says

      Thanks for sharing your experiences with frozen chickens. I actually have done this myself. Similarly to you, with all the same problems and even the same solutions. :D

  13. Susan Collins says

    I am DEFinitely going to try this two-bird crockpot thing. Yayyyyyyy – more time for other things. I just wanted to share something I read from The Blaylock Wellness Report for those of similar thoughts. He was talking about how expensive nitrate/nitrite free bacon was and how the expensive stuff doesn’t keep well once the vacuum seal is broken. He bought the less expensive kind and soaked it for 10 minutes, drained it, resalted it, and then cooked it. Apparently, this gets rid of the nitrates/nitrites. He went on to say that…”Other meats should be soaked in distilled water to remove toxins and contaminants. This is especially true for commercial poultry, which is often soaked in bleach. Do not use meat tenderizers or other enzymes, since they release the glutamate and expose you to excitotoxicity.” Whoa, I know–I know. Dr. Blaylock’s a neurologist. I know this post isn’t about bacon but it is the lead-in for the soaking poultry idea. Lots of us do not eat meat and especially not fatty meat but for an occasional treat, this could be a healthier idea for the ones who still do.

    • says

      Susan, thank you for sharing that. While it wouldn’t be necessary for local, free-range birds, and perhaps not industrial organic birds, this is a helpful idea to suggest for those people that don’t have access to or can’t afford the more naturally raised chickens (or other meats).

      Regarding the glutamate and excitotoxicity… this has to do with MSG. Meat tenderizers are notorious for containing MSG or one of its forms.

  14. says

    I cooked one of my chickens in the crockpot yesterday. It was 4 1/2 lbs and it bearly fit in my crockpot. How big are the ones in your pic? I forgot to pat the skin dry before cooking it but read that it will help the skin brown if you do. Doesn’t matter if you are removing the meat from the bone but nice if you are serving it as a roast chicken for dinner.

    I love how you use every bit of it, cook the bones and save the juices. A woman after my own heart. :D I usually call it “the carcass” but I know that term is less appealing. lol
    .-= Marg´s last blog post… Turkey freedom! =-.

    • says

      Marg – I believe my chickens are usually around 4 pounds. How big is your crockpot? Mine is one of the largest – at 6.5 quart. If the birds are defrosted, two will fit. If frozen, only one. ;)

      That’s a good tip to pat the skin dry – thanks!

  15. maggie craig says

    Thank you so much everyone for all your tips. I now have 3 sizes of crock pots and can’t wait to try one out. I love chicken and dressing and this would be easy with my crock pot to fix the chicken and have the broth needed.

  16. says

    Can I ask you what you do with the drippings from your cooked chicken? I’m planning to make some homemade broth tonight and every other recipe I’ve found doesn’t mention the drippings, but it seems like there must be a lot of good nourishing thing in it so I hate to waste it.

    So far I have my bones and other leftover parts of the chicken back in my crockpot with cold filtered water and some vinegar, and I’m planning to add in lots of veggies (and garlic, and maybe a bay leaf?) later tonight before bed, but not sure when or how much to put any of the drippings in. Any thoughts? I figure you might not get this till tomorrow or later, but at least it’ll help for next time! Thanks!!

    • says

      Carrie – I either use the drippings for sauces, sauteeing, or cooking grains. Or I combine the drippings with the finished stock. Either way it gets used – and you’re right it is really good for you! Sometimes it has more gelatin than the stock.

  17. Miro says

    Hi Wardee! I really love this technique of cooking chicken, thanks for sharing it. I got my chicken in a little late today (10AM) and I was wondering what the total cooking time is for you if you get it started early.

    Thanks!

    • says

      If your crockpot runs hot and you use high, it could be done in 4 to 6 hours. Look for whether the thighs are falling apart from the body and you’ll know it is done. :) Enjoy!

  18. says

    Wardee, recommendation…keep the fat from the stock! Let it harden in the freezer, scrape off and store and use just as you would bacon grease. Great way to get more animal fat! When you look at the many ways to save with cooking chickens this way, it adds to the savings big time!

    • says

      Nikki — Oh, totally! I haven’t been discarding it for ages. Thanks for letting me know this was a post that needed updating! I’m embarassed about everyone who’s read this thinking I throw that good stuff out. :(

  19. Barb says

    I usually do this with one chicken (there are only two of us), but season it up with salt, pepper, garlic, ancho and chipolte peppers, throw in an onion and a bottle of my favorite beer, then cook on low (because it’s only one chicken) for 6-8 hrs. It’s my version of “beer butt chicken” in the crockpot.

  20. Dani says

    I see lots of “I’ve never cooked a whole chicken before” type of comments. Sigh, I remember when I thought that white meat was the only way to go. Now, I only cook whole chickens, and once they’ve cooled a bit, it really isn’t much to debone. We love using the meat for… Everything! Throw some in a container and take it to lunch, stick it in the fridge to make sandwiches, wraps, snacks; use in myriad of recipes, including quick shredded chicken with sauce of choice on hamburger buns (buffalo sauce is hubby’s fave; mine is BBQ), throw in with some beans… the opportunities are endless! Now, I have a boneless chicken breast in the freezer, and I don’t even know what to do with it anymore… Still not sure why I got it, but I guess I’ll throw it in the crockpot the next time I cook a whole chicken (ooh, that’ll be tomorrow!). The drippings are amazing, and after picking the meat off the bones, it’s so simple to just throw the bones and skins back in the crock pot to make more stock; I always save the drippings back to be added to the 3rd or 4th batch of stock for more flavor (by then, it’s time to cook another chicken, anyway!). I’m going to have to see if we can fit two birds in our crockpot… Our supplier has mutant large chickens. Of course, at that rate, I’d have to freeze some of the cooked meat; oh, the time savings, and power savings!!!
    Love me some crock pot chicken! Gourmet? I actually think it IS!

  21. Patti L says

    I buy bone in chicken breasts when they are on sale for 1.48 a lb and stick them in the crock just like this. You can cook them a little less being breasts (6 hrs or so) and there are hardly any bones to throw out. The chicken stock is to die for and the skin even gets a bit crispy. YUM!! Glad I am not the only one!

  22. Faithe says

    Newbie question…is it the same difference if I do this in a slow cooker vs a crock pot? I’m unclear as to the differences.

  23. Lorie says

    The link on “skillet dishes” doesn’t work..
    I did this yesterday but didn’t have time to shred them last night so I had to refrigerate them, I’m sure it won’t be as easy to shred them cold ;P

    • says

      Hi Lorie,

      Thanks for letting us know about the link. I’ve done that too, definitely not as easy when cold. :)

      Millie
      GNOWFGLINS Support Team

  24. Joy says

    I am so with you!! This is how I’ve been doing chickens for several years and we love them. They’re tasty, never dried out and so easy to get off the bones . When I put the bones back into the crockpot I tend to break any that are easy enough – If I’m really determined I may take a nut cracker and crack the heavier leg bones.

    Another nice thing about using the crockpot in the summer is I plug it in out in the garage and keep just as much heat as possible out of the house.

  25. Dawn Kearns says

    I may have missed this but what do you do with the parts stuffed inside the whole chicken? Should I put them in the crock pot for flavor or should they be discarded? Thanks.

    • Janice says

      Hope you see this, Dawn. The parts that come with the chicken are usually the heart, gizzard, liver, and sometimes the neck. Collectively, they are known as ‘giblets’. Adding them to the crock pot when you make the broth is a very good way to use them, as they will be adding vitamins, minerals, and flavor. Some people (like me) save the liver separately in the freezer until there’s enough to make pate. My mother never made broth from the carcass (I don’t know why – she was so frugal with everything else!), but she chopped up everything except the neck when she made chicken soup.

  26. Susan E says

    I can only fit one chicken in crockpot and I put water, carrots, celery, onion, parsley, sakt, pepper & AC vinegar. Or I roast chicken in oven & eat that for dinner then throw the roasted bones in crockpot with water & same ingredients above to make broth from it.

  27. Ramsey says

    No real cook would ever use the phrase “you don’t need to season at all” when referring to something you are about cook. Regardless of what happens to the protein after cooking.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] 9. When roasting chicken, roast two whole organic, free-range chickens. I use a roaster pan or a large crockpot, which will easily accommodate two chickens. When the chickens are cooled, I debone them and store the meat separately from the bones, either in the refrigerator or freezer, depending on when we will be eating the chicken. My family is able to eat varied meals from two roasted chickens for up to four days, including all dinners and lunches. See Cooking Whole Chickens in a Crockpot. [...]

  2. [...] crackers, clabber cheese, kefir cheese, soft cheese, crispy almonds, sourdough tortillas, cooking 2 chickens in the crock pot (for sandwiches), baked oatmeal, Spice Cake, Impossible Brownies, and several other miscellaneous [...]

  3. [...] Fresh, mature beans cook up in about half an hour. No soaking required (I don’t think). They’re fast, easy and delicious. Just add to soup or stew, let simmer and eat up. Our soup that night was delicious and included garden tomatoes, potatoes and zucchini, and crockpot chicken. [...]

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