Buying and cooking a whole chicken is one of my favorite ways to save money on groceries and meat, and save time on Meal Planning! My experience with buying and cooking whole chickens started with buying the pre-cooked rotisserie chickens from Costco for $5, then shredding the meat and using the skin and bones to make my homemade chicken bone broth. Then it occurred to me that we might like it better if I made it myself and might save money. I think the whole, organic chickens at Costco are roughly 8 pounds a chicken- you can buy two chickens for $8-10 and that definitely beats paying $16-25 for a package of chicken breast. According to a previous post about my trip to Costco, 1 chicken makes 6 dinners plus broth!
Cooking a Whole Chicken- Start to Finish
Here is my step-by-step process of cooking an entire chicken from start to finish!
- Plastic or silicon Cutting board
- 1 large mixing bowl
- 1 small mixing bowl
- 4-5 toothpicks
- Crockpot (See notes)
- 1 whole chicken
- 3 Bay Leaves
- 1-2 TBS of ground pepper
- 2 TBS of kosher salt
- 1 or 1/2 TBS paprika
- 2 TBS basil
- 2 TBS parsley
- 1/4 cup of butter (1/2 stick)
- 1 onion, quartered
- 3-4 carrots, washed and peeled
- 2 celery sticks
- 1/2 clove of garlic
- Optional- 1 lemon
- Defrost and thoroughly wash the whole chicken with cold water. Pat dry and set on a cutting board.
- Mix salt, pepper, paprika, basil and parsley
- Add to the 1/4 cup of butter and create a paste or whipped butter (See notes)
- Breast side up, gently slice open the skin. Apply the butter mix to the inside of the chicken breast.
- Use 4-5 toothpicks to cinch the skin back together and rub the butter mix to the rest of the top of the chicken breast.
- Flip the chicken over and apply the butter mix to the rest of the chicken. Make sure to get all over- even the legs and wings. The butter mix will sorta flake off on the breast side- that is okay. That is why we did that one first. (See notes)
- Sit the whole chicken upright and stuff the carrots, celery, garlic, and onion (optional lemon) into the cavity of the bird. Apply additional butter mix throughout the chicken.
- Place the whole chicken into the Crockpot base breast side down
- Place lid on the Crockpot and put it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to marinate. (See notes)
- Remove from fridge. Cook on Low for 5-6 hours, or High for 3-4 hours. Make sure it is 165 degrees internally before serving. (See notes)
- CAREFULLY remove the whole chicken from Crockpot. Place on a plastic cutting board that has a ridge on the outer edge to catch the juices.
- Once cooled, cut and/or shred into pieces that can be eaten right away or stored (see notes)
Notes about Cooking a Whole Chicken
- Generously apply the butter mix all over the chicken. The more the better- it also saves you time from seasoning later.
- If I have the whole weekend, I let it sit overnight, cook it in the morning and am making chicken broth and chicken soup by evening!
- Alternatively, you can you a paddle and a kitchen mixer to ensure that seasoning is well blended with butter
- You could cook this in the oven. 375 degrees, I think the last time I did it, it was 5-10 minutes per pound
- The chicken only lasts int he fridge for about 5 days. We use it for soups and salads, and we freeze the rest in freezer ziplock bags and then in a Tupperware to preserve the shape the the food. It makes it really easy to just dump a serving of chicken for dinner and defrost it for pasta or soup.
Price at a Glance
- We buy our whole chickens from Costco. 2 chickens are $8-10. $4-5 for 1 chicken.
- Seasoning and vegetables are less than $2, I am sure.
- This chicken makes more than 6 meals!