What to Do with a Whole Chicken

First of all, let me say this:

if you have a weak stomach, are currently ill, or have not yet eaten breakfast, you may not care to look at this post.

Why, you ask?

Well, in order to make it easiest to understand, I have taken pictures of the process. Since the chicken began it’s life in my home in a raw state, some of the pics are of him in his natural, raw state. In other words…raw chicken pics are in your future if you continue to read.

Now, for anyone who may still be reading… 😉

So, I got this chicken on sale, stuck ‘er in the freezer, and did nothing with it for about 2 weeks. Then I realized I needed chicken for a meal this week and the only chicken in the house was on that whole bird I got a couple weeks ago. I didn’t want a time intensive cooking method because this is a busy week for us I am kinda lazy in the “cooking a whole bird” area of life.

Begin with a whole chicken:

Cut off the plastic and rinse off the bird. (I left mine in the grocery bag so it wouldn’t leak all over the counter.)

If you’re lucky, your bag won’t have a hole in it.

If you’re not lucky, your bag will have a hole in it. Your method of leaving your chicken in the grocery bag will be of no use and you will have a puddle of nastiness on your counter:

Enter this:

Ahhh…clean counter again. Where was I? Oh yes, raw chicken. Now, it’s time to take out the inner nasties. See this?

That center stuff needs to come out:

And look empty like this:

I told you it was gross. :/ yeeeuuuuuccccckkkkk… stick with me, though, because the results are gorg.

Now get out your crockpot, put a cup of water in the bottom:

and put the chicken in on top of it:

Sprinkle with salt & pepper:

Add some other good items:

And nestle them around your raw bird:

Put the crockpot on low

for 8-10 hours. Or on high for 4-5 hours. Or a combination. Just make sure that thing is cooked! You don’t want any salmonella making an appearance in your life.

On a sidenote, can I just tell you that I love my crockpot? Yes, I like crockpots in general, but I love mine. And it’s because of these 3 words right here:

See that? “Stay or Go.” Know what that means? It means it has one of these thing-a-ma-bobs on both sides of the crockpot:

And do you know what THAT means? It means I can transport cauliflower soup, hungarian stew, spaghetti & meatballs, or whatever-my-heart-desires to church dinners, and IT WON’T SPILL ALL OVER MY CAR! Yippee! Trust me, I have been on the other side. Late to church because – whoops, that turn was a little faster and jerkier than I thought and now I have meatballs and sauce all over the front of my passenger seat. As I’m sure you can imagine, that was a big score with my husband. 😉 (haha – never fear, no angry words/slaps/punches were exchanged during this process. In fact, he even cleaned it up for me. :))

So now that 8-10 hours on low are up, it’s time to crack that lid and see what’s been cookin’:

I also added some italian seasoning to the top of the chicken before I cooked it. That’s what the herbs are that you see in this picture. 🙂

Pull the chicken off the bone and let it cool. After it’s completely cooled, cut or shred it for whatever recipe you are planning to make. I’m planning to use part of it in chicken and rice soup and the other part in sour cream enchiladas. yum….I’m getting hungry just typing this out…

Now, you can either throw the bones, skin & veggies out….OR you can put it all in a big pot along with 8 cups (or so) of water and let it simmer for a looooooong time. (I let mine simmer all night.)

Looks nasty, right? I know. But just think, all this time simmering is going to give you the most flavorful, preservative-free chicken stock you have ever tasted!

After you let it simmer for a while, pour it through a strainer so all you have left is pure chicken stock and no bones.

Let it cool in the fridge, skim the fat off the top, and then either freeze it up to 3 months (plastic yogurt/sour cream containers are perfect for this!) or save in the fridge if you will be cooking with it within the week.

I’m keeping mine in the fridge because I’m planning on making a boat-load of chicken & rice soup this week. I’ll probably freeze a lot of the soup, because we won’t be able to eat a boat-load in one week. 🙂

Anyway, there you have it!

So, what do you think? Anyone have any more tips up their sleeve for making amazing chicken?
Let me have ’em! 😉





  1. Christina says:

    Looks yummy! I do this same thing all the time with the split chicken breasts that are on the bone that go on sale for $0.99/lb. I take the skin off, season, add water and cook in the crockpot on high for about 3 hours. (While I am cleaning, blogging, doing laundry, my crockpot is doing all the work for me!) Then I shred all the chicken off the bone and it is all cooked and ready for me to throw together quick meals like quesadillas, soups, or Ritz chicken later in the week. 🙂

    I save $ by using this meat instead of using the $1.99 boneless, skinless chicken breasts and I think that the meat is juicier and more flavorful than just cooking the breasts. I only use the boneless breasts when I am going to make a baked chicken breasts or grill them.

    I have not done whole chickens in the crockpot but I have done them on the grill and they are really yummy on there! http://www.centsiblesavings.com/2010/08/whats-for-dinner-potatoes-and-chicken.html

  2. Christa says:

    yeah…I’m thinking about doing this more often instead of always buying boneless, skinless chicken breasts. definitely more economical. And using the crockpot is a MASSIVE timesaver!!

  3. Kelly says:

    I love cooking whole chickens in the crockpot! Saves so much time and the meat is soo tender! I got a stay n go crock pot for Christmas after many spills on the way to church 🙂

  4. Laurie says:

    DH and I were just talking about this the other day and wondering how much of a money saver it is to buy bone-in chicken since half the poundage is bone, and you still have to take the time to de-bone it? But I definitely like the idea of making my own chicken stock with it. Maybe I’ll try it next time it’s on sale. 🙂

  5. Christa says:

    hmmmm…interesting thought. I don’t know what the breakdown in price would be, but it definitely tastes a lot better than just the boneless skinless variety. Soo moist!!

  6. Mary@lookingupforhelp.blogspot says:

    Okay, so I want one of those crock pots that locks and doesn’t spill in the car. Hey, the chicken looked good (well, after he was cooked 🙂 and I liked the stuff you put in the pot, too. I usually just cover mine with Lipton Onion Soup Mix and throw in a couple of unpeeled potatoes. Yours looks better with the carrots, garlic, etc. Have to try that!

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  8. cora says:

    Hi Christa,
    I was looking at the crockpot deal on hiptosave and looked on their comments and there i found you sharing your recipe. I wished i would have known your recipe. there was a whole chicken deal at ht not too long ago and passed on it. next time i know what to do! and yeah next time if i am doubtful on something food related, i know that i need to come to your blog site. thank you for the super easy and yummy recipes. keep ’em on coming! 🙂

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