Have you ever asked anyone how long to cook a whole chicken in a crockpot? If so, were you even more baffled afterward? Did you walk away and start looking through recipes? I’ll be the answer got further and further away. Now you are even more confused, right?
The answer varies depending on a great many things. That’s the reason for the muddled answers. If you choose a recipe and try to turn it into a whole chicken recipe, you may get even more baffled. Normally, trying to adapt a recipe you pick will have you wondering where to start. So, let’s start with figuring out the variables you have to look at when choosing to cook a whole chicken in your slowcooker:
The Term Whole – This is not as strange as it seems. When one person refers to a whole chicken they could mean a chicken that is left whole, uncut. However, another person may mean an entire chicken – the “whole” chicken – even though it’s in half, or even in pieces. You might say you are cooking a whole chicken when you cut the chicken in quarters but cook the “whole” thing. Confusing, right? Determine what term a person is using before you figure cooking time.
The Recipe – Cooking a whole chicken could have you envisioning a rotisserie style chicken. However, if you’re thinking of a roast chicken with vegetables, you’ll need to adjust your cooking time. A whole chicken in a crockpot rotisserie style, sans vegetables, will cook differently than a whole chicken with bulky vegetables.
The Chicken Preparation – In order to provide a little color and extra flavor, many people like to brown the chicken in oil before putting it in the crockpot. If you do, your chicken has begun to cook, so it won’t have as long to cook in the crockpot. And, what about those times you put stuffing in your bird? That will always add more time in order to get the inside cooked all the way through.
The Bird – Then there’s the size of the bird to consider. Your chicken could be anywhere from three pounds to six or seven pounds. You’ve got to allow extra time for a big bird. Also, if you’re stuffing a six pound bird into a small crockpot, there won’t be a lot of air space around it which will slow down the cooking.
The Crockpot Design – Do you have a brand new crockpot with extra insulation wrapped around to keep the heat in the pot where it belongs? Or are you still using the old metal pot that sits on top of the burner plate. Can you start your meal on high, then turn it to low to finish cooking? Is your cover one of the new ones that fits tight and even locks in place?
If you’re still not sure how long to cook a whole chicken in a crockpot, don’t worry. It may be puzzling, but with a little experimentation you should be just fine. Just take your favorite recipes and give them a try. Add an hour to a dish that calls for chicken breasts, and even a little more time if it calls for diced chicken. Get yourself a meat thermometer if you’re not sure. The main thing is to just have fun! Give it a try and soon you’ll be turning your old recipes into new family favorites!
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