There are millions, probably trillions of chicken dishes. Many of those recipes say to use breasts or thighs or tenderloins…but the EASIEST way to cook chicken, in my opinion, is whole! You can even cook a whole chicken and have enough to make two or three of those recipes throughout the week!
In our house, we typically cook two whole chickens per week. One we use instead of deli meat for salads, wraps and sandwiches at lunchtime and the other is used in the chicken dishes I plan to cook for supper.
The best part about cooking whole birds is that there is very little waste. When you cook it like I do, the meat falls of the bones and you get to use ALL of it! The broth cooks out of the chicken and you can keep that as is.
If you want to take it one step further, you can make bone broth (more to come on how to do this).
So we get this ALL the time….
“I’d love to buy a whole chicken, but I don’t know what to do with it.”
If that is you, get ready to have your life changed! Here is how you do it:
Crock Pot Whole Chicken (Our Favorite Way!)
What You Need:
- Pasture Raised Whole Chicken
- Onion (optional)
- Your Favorite Seasoning + Spices
What to Do:
Are you ready? Just put it in the crockpot!!
We usually just throw it in their frozen (mainly because I don’t always plan ahead), but you can put it in there thawed out if you remembered to put it in the fridge yesterday!
Frozen Chicken: Usually takes about 8 hours on high.
Thawed Chicken: About 4 hours on high.
Sometimes I cut up the onion into quarters and throw it in. I throw in some salt, pepper, cumin and paprika, or some poutlry seasoning, whatever I’m in the mood for.
#1 Question: No, you don’t need to add any liquid! The broth cooks out and when it’s done, simply pour the broth in a mason jar and put it in the fridge to use later.
And that’s it! It will be falling off the bone. I use a large spatula like this one to remove the chicken without it completely falling to pieces.
Use the meat in soup (using the broth you just made!), your favorite recipe, or make it the main meal! And like I said, stop buying expensive and lackluster deli meat from the grocery store and replace it with juicy and amazing pastured chicken.
Whole Chicken in the Oven (When You Don’t Have Much Time!)
Preheat Oven to 350 degrees F.
I reccommend using compound butter, which is simply softened butter with fresh poultry herbs (sage, rosemary and thyme). Just rub the chicken all over with this to lock in moisture and enhance flavor!
Bake uncovered for 1 hour 15 min, or until the internal temperature is at least 165 degrees. Then remove and wrap in aluminum foil, allowing it to ‘rest’ for another 30 min.
Instant Pot Whole Chicken (Another Time-Sensitive Option)
Place trivet in the instant pot and pour in 1 cup cold water into instant pot.
Add your favorite seasonings all over the chicken.
Place onion inside of chicken cavity, if desired.
Put lid on pressure cooker. Ensure that the valve is sealed.
Set on high pressure and cook for 6-7 min per pound.
Allow pressure to naturally release for 10 minutes. Remove from the cooker and let rest for 10 minutes.