How to Slow Cook a Whole Chicken in the Oven

Slow Cook Step by Step Guide Plus Making Bone Broth

by From Scratch Farmstead
whole chicken slow cooked in the oven

When it comes to getting the best bang for your buck, cooking a whole chicken over the individual parts gives you the most meat, best taste, and greatest nutrients. Our favorite method to do this is by slow cooking it in the oven. Here we will show you a step-by-step guide on exactly how to slow cook a whole chicken in the oven.

Why A Whole Chicken?

When I was a kid, I remember dousing dry and flavorless boneless, skinless chicken breasts in so much ketchup to cover up all that the chicken was lacking. Now, our kids happily gobble up chicken always asking for “more skin, please.”

placing whole chicken in dutch oven

Honestly, I can’t remember the last time we purchased chicken any other way than as the whole animal. There are many benefits to purchasing chicken in its whole form:

  1. It’s cheaper. Quite often the per pound price of a whole chicken is significantly less than buying the individual cuts. You can usually walk away with more chicken for less money this way.
  2. More nutritious. When you cook a whole chicken, you get a significantly greater nutrient profile than when you have only selected cuts. Gelatin and collagen present in the bones and joints, the skin, and unique make up of both the light and dark meat give you a more complete and nutritious food than just eating individual cuts would.
  3. All the broth. Broth is all the rage, and for good reason! There are so many health benefits of regularly adding broth into your diet. I’ll go into more detail of these below.
  4. No waste. When you cook a whole chicken, you can consume everything including the meat, skin, and turn the bones into gelatin rich broth, maximizing everything that chicken has to offer.
  5. It tastes better. I think we can all agree that a boneless, skinless, chicken breast leaves something to be desired. But, when you cook a whole chicken, it is so much more moist and more flavorful.
slow cooked whole chicken and bone broth

The Benefits of Making Bone Broth When Cooking a Whole Chicken

Originally, when I began to learn about the benefits of adding “bone broth” to my diet, I was always told to cook the meat first, then make broth with the bones afterward. The result was OK. But it was really not that flavorful and usually was a thin liquid instead of the thick, gelatinous broth that I was after.

Instead of cooking a whole chicken and then later using the bones to make broth, at some point, I started making the broth right along with our slow cooked chicken. The result was completely different than the previous flavorless and thin broth. It was jiggly, thick, and tasted rich and flavorful.

cook whole chicken and make bone broth

The difference is because of more than just the meat. The connective tissues remain on the bones with all of the collagen and gelatin rich parts still attached that are often removed if only using bare bones.

There are so many benefits to including bone broth in your regular diet:

  • Amino acids help heal and build the lining of the digestive tract, are anti-inflammatory, and can calm the nervous system (glycine).
  • A great source of gelatin and collagen helpful for healthy hair, skin, and nails.
  • Contains vitamins A and K2
  • A great source of minerals including calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, iron, selenium, boron, and manganese.

Why Slow Cook a Whole Chicken?

After much experimentation, we have determined that slow cooking is by far our favorite method for cooking a whole chicken. Most recipes call for cooking it in the oven at a higher heat for a shorter amount of time. We have found that this often leaves the chicken much more dried out. Slow cooking leaves the chicken extremely moist and tender.

opening whole chicken to place in slow cooker

You can either slow cook a whole chicken in your oven or in a slow cooker. When we purchased our AGA oven a few years ago, we switched to slow cooking chicken in the oven instead of the slow cooker. You can easily use the directions below to cook a whole chicken in your crock pot instead of an oven. Just place it on low in your slow cooker and follow the rest of the directions as is.

What To Do with All That Chicken?

Our favorite way to eat chicken after we slow cook a whole chicken in the oven is to immediately eat it for a meal right after it has been cooked. Then I debone the chicken, removing all of the meat to have on hand for quick and easy meals.

shredded chicken on cheesy egg pizza

Extra shredded chicken is great for adding to tacos, pizzas, quesadillas, soups, casseroles, stir fry, or on a salad. It can really just be a ready-to-go protein to accompany any quick meal. We love having shredded chicken on hand to make easy meals on busy days! 

How to Slow Cook a Whole Chicken in the Oven and Make Bone Broth

  1. Begin by placing your whole chicken, breast side down, in the base of a large baking dish or Dutch oven. We have a couple of Le Creuset Dutch Oven’s for this and love them!
  2. Dry off your chicken with a towel until dry.
  3. Cover your chicken with whatever spices you desire. We usually just cover the whole chicken down with sea salt.
  4. Fill your pot around half full of water.
  5. Add a splash of apple cider vinegar.
  6. If using a stove safe baking dish, heat pot on medium-high heat until the water begins to lightly boil.
  7. Place the lid on dish and place in a 220-degree oven for at least 8 hours. We like to put the chicken in the oven before bed and eat it for lunch the next day.
  8. An hour or so before you want to eat, remove from oven.
  9. Before eating, remove the chicken from the bone broth and broil for 5-10 minutes, checking regularly, until the skin is crispy and lightly browned.
  10. Serve the chicken and enjoy!
  11. Strain the bone broth from the pot, pour into mason jars and store in refrigerator for later use.
whole chicken cooked in dutch oven

Looking for a great way to use that shredded chicken? Check out our butternut squash enchilada casserole.

slow cooking whole chicken

How to Slow Cook a Whole Chicken in the Oven

Yield: Whole Chicken + ~4 Quarts Bone Broth
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 8 hours
Total Time: 8 hours 5 minutes

When it comes to getting the best bang for your buck, cooking a whole chicken over the individual parts gives you the most meat, best taste, and greatest nutrients. Our favorite method to do this is by slow cooking it in the oven. Here we will show you a step-by-step guide on exactly how to slow cook a whole chicken in the oven.

Ingredients

  • Whole Chicken
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Salt
  • Water

Instructions

    1. Begin by placing your whole chicken, breast side down, in the base of a large baking dish or Dutch oven. We have a couple of Le Creuset Dutch Oven’s for this and love them!
    2. Dry off your chicken with a towel until dry.
    3. Cover your chicken with whatever spices you desire. We usually just cover the whole chicken down with sea salt.
    4. Fill your pot around half full of water.
    5. Add a splash of apple cider vinegar.
    6. If using a stove safe baking dish, heat pot on medium-high heat until the water begins to lightly boil.
    7. Place the lid on dish and place in a 220-degree oven for at least 8 hours. We like to put the chicken in the oven before bed and eat it for lunch the next day.
    8. An hour or so before you want to eat, remove from oven.
    9. Before eating, remove the chicken from the bone broth and broil for 5-10 minutes, checking regularly, until the skin is crispy and lightly browned.
    10. Serve the chicken and enjoy!
    11. Strain the bone broth from the pot, pour into mason jars and store in refrigerator for later use.

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