This Slow Cooker Roast Chicken is the juiciest, most forgiving and easiest whole chicken recipe I know.
With beautiful lemon garlic flavours reminiscent of Greek food, this roast chicken recipe is slow cooked OR pressure cooked then popped under the grill/broiler for 5 minutes to crisp the skin. Plus there’s a Lemon Sauce! Quick to prepare, you can serve up a Sunday Roast Chicken dinner any day of the week!
Slow Cooker Roast Chicken – A Gold Nugget Recipe
If you’re new to making a whole chicken in a slow cooker, this is going to be life changing.
No false promises! This slow cooker roast chicken is truly one of my gold nugget recipes. That elusive combination of quick and easy, incredibly forgiving, but in no way a compromise of a great classic Roast Chicken. Here’s why:
The flesh of this chicken (even the breast) is so juicy, you’d swear it’s been brined;
Ultra forgiving – Even if you go 2 hours over the cook time, it’s still juicy. The magic of slow cookers!
It looks and tastes like a traditional oven roasted chicken – albeit (I kid you not) the breast meat is more tender and juicier;
Various cooking options with exactly the same outcome. Slow cook on low (5 hours), high (3 hours), or pressure cook for 24 minutes.
It takes less than 10 minutes to prepare to get it in the slow cooker, and you can prep ahead. Plus, the Lemon Sauce is effortless – just add cornflour/cornstarch into the slow cooker juices.
Ingredients in Lemon Garlic Slow Cooker Roast Chicken
This is all you need for this recipe:
How to Cook a Whole Chicken in a Slow Cooker
This Lemon Garlic slow cooker whole chicken starts with an olive oil paste that’s made with lemon, garlic, salt, pepper and dried herbs of choice (I use thyme, oregano and parsley).
For maximum flavour, I put most of the paste under the skin of the chicken. This is not hard to do – and doesn’t need to be “perfect”!!! Watch the video.
Just loosen the skin using a dessert spoon (hugs the curves, avoids piercing skin), spoon the paste under, then spread it roughly using your hands or the spoon from the outside. Doesn’t need to be perfect, the paste will slide and naturally spread as it cooks.
Pop the used lemon inside the chicken, then place the chicken on a rack in the slow cooker (or use balls or a ring of scrunched up foil), and slow cook for 5 hours on low.
When the chicken comes out of the slow cooker, it will smell gorgeous but will look thoroughly unappetising – pale and colourless. Just a quick 5 to 10 minute broil/grill fixes that – you will be amazed how quickly the skin goes from bland to crispy golden brown!!!
How long does a whole chicken take in the slow cooker?
A 2kg/4lb whole chicken will take 5 hours on low, or 3 hours on high. This will be a juicy and carvable, chicken like a traditional oven Roast Chicken.
If you want one where the meat is more tender and can basically be pulled off the bone with little effort, slow cook for 7 to 8 hours on low.
Pressure Cooker / Instant Pot Option!
This Lemon Garlic Roast Chicken can also be made in a pressure cooker. It comes out exactly the same – just a heck of a lot faster! Just add 1/2 cup of water and pressure cook for 24 minutes on high. Let it depressurise naturally for 10 minutes then release the valve.
I used to call this a gravy, but it somehow seemed odd to have a lemon flavoured gravy. So I reverted to just Lemon Sauce!
You’ll love how straight forward this is compared to usual gravies. No messing around with oily pans and cooking flour and straining. Just add cornstarch / cornflour then simmer until thickened. That’s it!
Oh the possibilities!!!
The beauty of recipes like this is that it’s easy to adapt this cooking method to make it your own. I’ve kept it straightforward because it’s an everyday roast chicken recipe.
Here are some ideas for variations:
- Other dried herbs – or use fresh instead;
- Add spices – or skip the herbs and use a rub instead;
- Add a quartered onion and halved head of garlic (or smashed garlic cloves) under the chicken (it will make the gravy even tastier! Strain out of sauce)
- Add fresh herbs and a halved head of garlic inside the chicken (you need lots of garlic to be able to taste it)
- Use butter instead of oil (use more!)
OK, so that’s it from me! Longer than usual post, but I have a lot to say when it comes to this Slow Cooker Roast Chicken. Hope you enjoy. And I’d really love to hear what you think if you try it – or how you make it your own! – Nagi x
Lemon Garlic Slow Cooker Roast Chicken
WATCH HOW TO MAKE IT
Lemon Garlic Slow Cooker Roast Chicken
Recipe video above. This is a quick and easy yet amazing way to make “roast chicken” in a slow cooker. It’s so moist and juicy inside, it tastes like it’s been brined or marinated. VERY forgiving recipe!
- 2 kg / 4 lb whole chicken (, patted dry (Note 1))
Rub (Note 2):
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1/2 tsp dried parsley
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 2.5 tbsp olive oil ((or melted butter), plus extra for drizzling)
- 3 garlic cloves (, minced)
- 1 large lemon (, all zest + all juice)
- 1 tbsp cornflour/cornstarch mixed with 1 tbsp water
- 1 extra lemon (, just in case)
Rub – Mix Rub ingredients. should be fairly thick and sludgy. Adjust with extra oil if too thick.
Loosen Skin: Use upside spoon to loosen skin of chicken (see video). Spoon most of the Rub under the skin, leaving about 1 tbsp mostly oil for the skin. Use hands or spoon on skin to spread the paste – doesn’t need to be perfect.
Stuff used lemon inside the chicken.
- Put rack inside slow cooker (Note 3), place chicken on top. Spread with remaining sludge.
- Slow cook 5 hours on low or 3 hours on high, or until juices run clear or internal temperature is 75C / 165F using a meat thermometer. (Note 4 for other cook methods)
Crisp skin: Remove chicken from slow cooker, drizzle with a bit of extra oil. Grill/broil on high for 5 to 10 minutes to brown the skin (~25cm /10″ from heat source). Or oven 240C/450F for 10 min.
Spoon over pan juices, then serve with Lemon Sauce! (No need to rest chicken)
- Pour all slow cooker liquid into a saucepan, add cornflour / water mixture. Mix.
Bring to simmer over medium high and cook until liquid thickens to thin syrup (depends how much liquid you have, usually 3 min or so). Adjust salt and pepper to taste, add more lemon if desired (the extra lemon). Pour into jug.
1. Chicken – Remove giblets or anything else inside. If frozen, thaw completely. See below for cook times for different weights.
2. Herbs – can sub with other dried herbs of choice OR use finely chopped fresh but double quantity. Can also stuff a bunch of herbs inside!
3. Alternative to rack – use big sheet foil, scrunch into “rope” then form ring. Or 4 balls of foil. Aim is to elevate chicken out of liquids that it produces while cooking.
4. Other Cook Methods:
Pressure cook – Add ½ cup water and pressure cook for 24 minutes on high (depressure naturally 10 min before releasing valve).
Oven – Follow directions in this juicy Roast Chicken recipe.
5. Slow Cooker Cook Times:
1-1.5kg / 2-3 lb – 4.5 hrs on low
1.75-2.25kg / 3.5-4.5 lb – 5 hrs on low
2.5kg / 5lb – 6 hrs on low
For almost “all apart” meat, add 1 to 2 hours onto the cook times. Flesh is still juicy!
Pressure Cooker: 6 minutes per 500g/1lb of chicken.
5. Prep Ahead / Storage: Prepare chicken with rub under and on skin. Refrigerate up to 48 hours then slow cook per recipe. Cooked chicken keeps for 3 to 4 days in the fridge.
6. Nutrition per serving assumes all sauce is consumed.
Originally published August 2014. Updated January 2019 – recipe improved, everything completely rewritten, new photos, new video. Most importantly, Life of Dozer section added! Just in case anyone is after the original recipe, here it is.
Life of Dozer
He was captivated by the video for this slow cooker chicken….