This post was generously sponsored by Sprouts Farmers Market but all opinions are my own.
This slow cooker garlic butter whole chicken with gravy is the easiest, most delicious ever way to cook a whole chicken! A fancy garlic butter stuffed under the skin gives this recipe flavor and keeps the chicken moist, and the Crockpot or slow cooker lets you set it and forget it. It’s all finished with a gravy you’ll want to bathe in!
Meet your new slow cooker bff.
This slow cooker garlic butter whole chicken is one of those recipes that makes your mouth water just reading the title, isn’t it? I mean, slow cooker = easy and foolproof. Garlic butter = no explanation necessary. Whole chicken = gorgeous and oh so functional.
Are you sold yet?
Why This Slow Cooker Garlic Butter Whole Chicken Is So Good:
- The garlic butter is stuffed under the skin, making the meat super tender and loaded with flavor.
- It’s made in the slow cooker (I mean…), so it’s super easy and hands-off.
- The gravy is made in the slow cooker while the chicken rests, meaning fewer dishes!
- It’s easy to turn into a Whole30 or paleo recipe, using ghee if you don’t eat butter.
- This recipe is actually made super quickly! It’s easy to prepare the chicken, and it only needs
- Cooking the chicken with a whole head of garlic infuses the drippings beautifully, making the gravy so delish!
What about now? Sold yet? Thought so!
Variations and Tips:
- Change up the fresh herbs used in the garlic butter rub. I love, love, love this recipe with lots of fresh thyme!
- Halve a fresh lemon and include one half with each half of the garlic head. In other words, put one half in the cavity and one half in the bottom of the slow cooker.
- Make a foil “rack” for the bottom of your slow cooker to allow heat to circulate much more evenly. You have two options. Twist a long piece of foil into a “rope” then form a circle about the size of your chicken. Or ball up 3-4 pieces of foil and place them evenly in a triangle or square shape in the bottom of the Crockpot. Place the chicken on top of the foil.
- Stuffing the garlic butter under the skin is easier once you’ve loosened any tight membranes between the skin and the meat. To do this, stick (very clean) fingers in between the skin and meat, gently breaking any membranes keeping the skin on the meat.
- To place the garlic butter under the skin, grab a scoop about the size of 1-2 tablespoons and push it under the skin. From the top of the skin, press down to help spread the mixture out.
- Tying the legs together is way easier than it seems! Simply place the chicken centered over a long piece of kitchen twine. Bring the twine up and around the thighs towards the ends of the legs. Then, loop the twine under the ends of the chicken legs and tie both pieces together tightly.
- Get an Organic Air-Chilled Chicken from Sprouts Farmers Market! I shop there almost exclusively, since I know I’m getting awesome quality at a great price, too. Their organic chickens are hatched, raise and harvested in the U.S., fed a certified organic diet, and have access to the outdoors.
- Another thing I love about Sprouts’ organic chicken is that the air-chilled method keeps the “real” chicken flavor and juices with no water added. No water is absorbed, so you get the natural flavor of chicken. It is more flavorful, tender and has crispier skin when cooked. And it’s always fresh, never frozen!
If you have a chicken that’s much smaller or larger than about 4 pounds, you’ll want to alter the cooking times.
Cooking Times on Low Heat
2-3 lbs. = about 3-4 hours
3-4 lbs. = about 4-5 hours
4-5 lbs. = about 5-6 hours
Pressed for time? If you’re wondering “How long does chicken take in a slow cooker on high heat?,” use this chart for reference!
Cooking Times on High Heat
2-3 lbs. = about 2 hours
3-4 lbs. = about 2 1/2 – 3 hours
4-5 lbs. = about 3 1/2
How to Make this Slow Cooker Garlic Butter Whole Chicken
Make your garlic butter: in a food processor, process the garlic and parsley until minced. Add in the softened butter and salt and pulse until well combined. Scrape into a small bowl.
Remove giblets from your chicken and pat dry. Now, stuff the garlic butter under the skin. Start by loosening the skin from the meat by sticking your finger in between the two and breaking any small membranes.
Then, take a small scoop of butter with your fingers and shove it underneath the skin, starting towards the back of the breast (Near the head), and slowly working to cover the entire breast. Slather the meat over the leg, too! It’s a little harder to get in there, but breaking the membranes holding the skin to the meat helps.
Now, “truss” your chicken. We’re doing a quick and dirty truss here, so don’t stress! Take a long piece of kitchen twine, about 3 feet long, and place the chicken on it, centered, where the top of the leg hits. Bring the string down along the seam between the leg and breast then under and over the ends of the legs.
Tie the string on top of the legs, pulling tight so one leg crosses on top of the other. Next, twist the wings up and around then secure them by sticking the wing tip underneath the back of the chicken. Season with a bit of salt. You can also check out this post on How to Truss a Chicken for a little more direction if you’re unsure about anything!
Create a makeshift foil rack by making a rope out of a long piece of foil and forming it into a circle. Alternately, ball up 3-4 pieces of foil and place in the bottom of the slow cooker in a triangle or square formation. Place chicken, breast down, on top of the rack and cover. Cook on low heat for 4-5 hours or until internal temperature reaches 160º F.
Preheat broiler. Carefully flip your chicken and place slow cooker ceramic cooking bowl about 10″ from broiling element until skin is golden and crispy. Carefully remove the chicken and let rest on a cutting board.
Return ceramic cooker to slow cooker over high heat. Sprinkle flour over and whisk well, then add in chicken broth or stock. Cook about 15 minutes or until a bit thickened. If it’s taking too long, simply transfer the mixture to a medium saucepan and whisk over medium heat for a few minutes. Carve the chicken and serve with gravy.
How to Make Sure Your Chicken Is Done
Estimating times based on your chicken’s size is great, but having a probe meat thermometer with an alarm is even better and prevents overcooking your meat!
Mine lets me set a specific temperature and, when the internal temperature reaches that threshold, it will beep like crazy until I get off my bum (Invariably watching Netflix whilst catching up on Instagram messages) to take care of my bird.
This is the type I have. You’ll want to make sure the internal temperature of the chicken, with the probe inserted at a thick part like the middle of the breast or thigh, is 160º before resting. I set my timer to 160º F.
Can I Make This in the Instant Pot?
You can! Follow the directions to prepare the chicken, stuffing the garlic butter under the skin and tying the legs together. Instead of using foil, simply place the prepared chicken on the Instant Pot rack.
Pour in about 1/4 cup chicken broth to stainless steel cooker.
Secure lid with valve in Sealing position and cook on Manual High Pressure for 24 minutes. The natural release 10-15 minutes. Continue on with the recipe as written.
Can I Make this Whole30 /Paleo?
Absolutely! Simply substitute ghee for the butter and continue with the recipe as written. Of course, make sure you use cassava flour instead of all-purpose!
Hey – you’ve made it this far, and now we’re best friends! If you make this recipe, I’d love for you to give it a star rating ★ below. Make sure you follow me on Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook, too!
Slow Cooker Garlic Butter Whole Chicken with Gravy
Slow Cooker Garlic Butter Chicken
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley
- 3 garlic cloves peeled
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter softened
- 1 teaspoon salt plus more
- 1 head garlic sliced in half crosswise
- 1 3-4 pound whole chicken giblets removed
- 1 tablespoon avocado or olive oil
- aluminum foil
- kitchen twine
- pastry brush
- 3 tbsp cassava flour or all-purpose flour see Note 1
- 1/2 cup chicken stock
- In a food processor, combine parsley and garlic. Pulse until chopped. Add softened butter and salt and pulse until well combined. Scrape out of food processor into a bowl.
- Place chicken on a cutting board and pat dry. Remove giblets if necessary. Loosen skin by inserting fingers between the skin and meat, breaking any membranes connecting the skin to the meat.
- Stuff garlic butter mixture evenly under skin. Working with 1-2 tablespoons at a time, stick a little mixture under the skin then spread out by pressing on top of the butter with your fingers under the skin or another hand on top of the skin. Repeat until all mixture is evenly used under skin over breast and legs.
- Cut 1 head of garlic crosswise down the middle. Place one half of the garlic inside the chicken cavity.
- Tie chicken legs together. Place a long piece of kitchen twine, about 3 feet long, on a surface. Place chicken in the center of the twine right at the top of the thigh. Take both pieces of twine in your hands and bring them down along the seam between the leg and breast. Loop twine inside the end of the leg and around, bringing both ends together and tying very tightly. See photos for examples.
- Sprinkle chicken with a bit more salt.
- Create a foil rack and place in the bottom of the slow cooker. Twist a long piece of foil into a “rope” then shape into a circle, or ball up 3-4 pieces of foil and place in a triangle or square shape in the bottom of the slow cooker. Place remaining half of garlic head in bottom of slow cooker.
- Place chicken breast down on top of foil rack and cover.
- Cook on low heat 4-5 hours or until internal temperature registers 160º F. See Note 2 for other cooking times.
- Remove ceramic cooker from heating element. See Note 3 if your cooker does not come out. Carefully flip the chicken from breast down to breast up. Brush the 1 tablespoon oil all over chicken skin and preheat broiler. Place ceramic cooker in oven about 10″ from heating element. Watching carefully, broil until skin is evenly browned, then remove from oven.
- Remove chicken from cooker and place on a cutting board. Loosely tent with foil to rest. Replace cooker in slow cooker heating element and turn heat to high.
- Make the gravy: Remove the garlic head. Sprinkle drippings with cassava flour and whisk well until smooth. Add in 1/2 cup stock and cook 10-15 minutes. If the mixture does not thicken to your liking, transfer to a saucepan and cook a couple minutes over medium heat, whisking constantly.
- Carve chicken and serve with plenty of gravy.
You can use arrowroot starch if you do not have cassava flour on hand. Use 2 tablespoons arrowroot starch instead of 3 tablespoons cassava flour. Note 2 Cooking Times on Low Heat
2-3 lbs. = about 3-4 hours
3-4 lbs. = about 4-5 hours
4-5 lbs. = about 5-6 hours Cooking Times on High Heat
2-3 lbs. = about 2 hours
3-4 lbs. = about 2 1/2 – 3 hours
4-5 lbs. = about 3 1/2 Note 3
If your ceramic cooker does not easily remove from the slow cooker, carefully transfer your chicken to a baking or roasting dish to broil the skin until crispy. Note 4
If you’re on a Whole30, make sure you use ghee instead of butter, cassava flour or arrowroot starch instead of all-purpose flour, and ensure your chicken broth is Whole30 compliant.
Cheryl Malik is the recipe developer, writer, and photographer behind the healthy, flavorful, family friendly recipes at 40 Aprons. She’s been a blogger for 10+ years and is known for her delicious recipes and detailed recipe instructions. Cheryl is a mom of three who lives in Memphis, TN.