Picking up a rotisserie chicken at the store is simple and can be a good dinner option, depending on the quality of the chicken and the pace of your day.
But making a whole chicken at home in a Crock-Pot is super simple—and all it takes is trying it just once to get it right. Even better, it is as simple to make homemade bone broth from the same chicken with very little extra prep time or cost.
The first recipe below is for a whole chicken in a slow cooker/Crock-Pot; it turns out great every time, and you can make it in the morning or at night.
The second recipe is for homemade bone broth to drink, cook with, or freeze for later. You can sip it like hot tea—or use it in place of water to cook rice, quinoa or soup for added flavor.
Usually, I get three quarts from this recipe. In restaurants, the fat is often skimmed away to create a more neutral stock flavor that can be used in a wide variety of preparations. I personally do not skim the fat because I like to keep as much flavor and nutrition as possible, which is a whole lot in this homemade broth!
Finally, a quick note on the nutrient profile. Bone broth typically has eight to 10 grams of protein per serving, compared to one to two grams of protein in regular chicken stock or broth.
Whole Roasted Chicken
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: four to five hours
1 teaspoon salt
1⁄4 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1⁄2 teaspoon garlic powder
1⁄4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 whole chicken (about three to four pounds)
• Combine the dried spices in a small bowl.
• Loosely chop the onion, and place it in the bottom of the Crock-Pot.
• Remove giblets from the chicken, and save them in the fridge for the bone broth.
• Rub the spice mixture all over the chicken. Put some inside the cavity and under the skin, covering the breasts.
• Place the chicken on top of the onions in the slow cooker, breast side down, cover, and then turn cooker on to high. There is no need to add any liquid.
• Cook for four to five hours on high (for a three- or four-pound chicken), or until the chicken is falling off the bone. If you will be gone all day, cook the first hour on high and then turn to low for eight to nine hours.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 12 to 24 hours
Everything but the meat is used—including carcass, bones, juices, and the giblets you pulled out before cooking the chicken.
1 onion, peeled and loosely chopped
1 rib celery, roughly chopped
1 carrot, roughly chopped (no need to peel)
1 bay leaf (you can skip or replace any seasonings you don’t have)
1 sprig parsley
1 sprig thyme
Salt to taste
• After making the roasted chicken, leave every single thing that’s left over (except the meat) in the Crock-Pot, including the original onion and spices you used when making the chicken.
• Add the onion, celery, carrot and spices, and fill the Crock-Pot almost to the top with water, leaving about half an inch at the top.
• Turn the slow cooker onto low and cook for anywhere from 12 to 24 hours. The longer you cook the broth, the more concentrated it will become and the more likely you will need to add more water.
• After the stock is done cooking, turn offﬀ the heat. Using a soup ladle, pass the stock through a fine sieve to remove all the herbs and bones as you transfer the broth to a larger pot or containers.
• Once the broth is done, sip it like tea, refrigerate or freeze or future use. I usually freeze some in both one- and two-cup portions. I also sometimes freeze stock in ice-cube trays, just in case I just need a little when making sauce or rice. This stock is great in soups such as chicken noodle and also in rice like risotto.