Fauxtisserie Chicken

The public has spoken–faux rotisserie chicken it is! Don’t worry, my little pretties, we’ll have Texas Sheet Cake soon.

So I’ll admit that one of my greatest fears in life is raw poultry; it all stems back to my mom telling me not to put my toothbrush on the bathroom counter when I was little because I’d get salmonella from the pet goldfish and that raw poultry also carried salmonella, yada yada yada. I always live in fear of undercooking poultry, especially whole birds, and usually end up overcooking them, even when I use my trusty meat thermometers. Yes, I have three. Add in the fact that the more I handle dead animals when they still resemble their live animal selves, the less I like whatever it is I’m cooking.

Suffice it to say that me + a whole chicken = culinary disaster. I actually once had a real, true panic attack while skinning a whole raw chicken.
So this recipe is for me and people like me. It’s easy. You barely touch the dang thing. And after 8 hours or so in the slow cooker, it’s guaranteed to be done. Even better? It tastes just like the rotisserie chicken you get fully-cooked and fully-priced from the grocery store!
Now, you may wonder (as I have) what one does with a whole cooked chicken. Sometimes we just slice it up like you would a turkey and eat it with potatoes and a salad. Or you could make a big chef salad and toss the chicken on it. You could throw it in fried rice, chow mein, chicken noodle soup, on top of BBQ chicken pizza, or use it in any number of recipes that call for pre-cooked chicken like enchiladas, pot pie, or casseroles. Dip it in BBQ sauce, shred it for cold chicken sandwiches, or make chicken salad with it. It’s super versatile and a great thing to know how to do! And it’s way better than boiling it. Waaaaaaaaaaay better.

Fauxtisserie Chicken
Our Best Bites
1 whole chicken, small enough to fit in your slow cooker
Salt-based seasoning (Seasoning salt, Cajun seasoning, lemon pepper with salt in it, etc. Just make sure salt is one of the first ingredients on the label.)
OPTIONAL:
Whole garlic cloves, peeled

Make 3 balls of aluminum foil and place them in the bottom of your slow cooker. These hold the chicken off the bottom so the hot air can circulate all around the chicken and so it’s not stewing in its own juices.

Rinse chicken, including the cavity, and pat dry with paper towels. Place the chicken on its back so the breast is facing up and the legs are on the plate. If you want (and I actually strongly recommend that you do UNLESS you’re looking for a neutral flavor), pull the skin up all around the chicken. This does involve sticking your hand between the skin and the breast. Oooh, sounds dirty. Slice a few garlic cloves in half lengthwise and stick them under the skin. You can also arrange a couple sprigs of fresh herbs like rosemary, thyme, and/or sage under the skin. This makes a very pretty chicken when it’s all cooked and adds a lot of flavor.

Rub salt-based seasoning VERY liberally onto the skin of the chicken. Place chicken breast-up on the foil in the slow cooker, cover, turn heat to low, and leave it alone for 7-8 hours.

(And by breast side up I mean, completely opposite of the pictures shown in this post. Hey, you try photographing every step of your dinner and see if you make it all the way through without an upside-down chicken every once and a while…!)

This poor guy has no idea what’s coming…

I actually didn’t take it out of the slow cooker for the last picture because it’s so tender that the legs and wings will literally fall off when you pull it out. But that makes for some yummy chicken! Try it with steak fries or Sara’s Stuffed Bleu Cheese Potatoes.

woman in denim shirt holding a salad bowl
Meet The Author

Sara Wells

Sara Wells co-founded Our Best Bites in 2008. She is the author of three Bestselling Cook Books, Best Bites: 150 Family Favorite RecipesSavoring the Seasons with Our Best Bites, and 400 Calories or Less from Our Best Bites. Sara’s work has been featured in many local and national news outlets and publications such as Parenting MagazineBetter Homes & GardensFine CookingThe Rachel Ray Show and the New York Times.

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Questions & Reviews

  1. April, you know how the skin is kind of loose around the opening? You kind of have to work your hand in there between the skin and the breast and it'll loosen right up. It's pretty gross, I won't lie, but it's the only way… 🙂

  2. In order to get the garlic and herbs between the breast and skin, do you have to slice the skin with a knife? Or is there some secret opening between the two that makes it easier to just slip things in there?

  3. any tips on what to do w/ the leftover cooking liquid? gravy, or could it be a sort of chicken stock?

  4. Emily–My guess is that it probably got cooked a bit too long. It's SO hard to gauge the time because every bird and every slow cooker is a little different, so probably the best way to make sure it's super moist is to find a reliable meat thermometer and insert it into the thickest part of the breast. When it's 160, it's done. Now…the challenge is finding a reliable meat thermometer, lol! 🙂

  5. Thanks for the recipe! It was really good. Mine was a little dry, though– Any tips on making it moist? It did turn out really tender.

  6. I'm so glad to find this. I was just thinking of the recipes I have requiring rotisserie chicken and wishing it were possible to not have to drive to the store to get one. I'm off to buy some whole birds to keep in my freezer!

  7. I read with interest your instructions on how to cook a whole chicken using a slow cooker. Since I just purchased a new Hamilton Beach 6 qt slow cooker with probe, I am anxious to try it out. Any idea on how large a chicken I should try?

  8. Vanessa,

    Do you just not like the taste of dark meat? A good solution is to use that part in something like our Baked Creamy Chicken Taquitos, where people won't even notice a difference.

    As for your question, if you use large chicken breasts on the bone and with skin, it would probably work nicely, and it won't take as long either. But I wouldn't use boneless, skinless chicken for this, that would not get the same results.

    Boiling chicken breasts usually results in rubbery, tasteless meat (probably why you don't like it!) So for recipes that call for cooked chicken, try roasting it in the oven instead. It will turn out flavorful and juicy. Use bone-in, or boneless, skinless chicken and place on a foil-lined baking sheet (for easy clean up!) sprinkle the chicken with salt, pepper, and any other desired seasonings. I usually add garlic and onion as well. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven until juices run clear. Boneless, skinless breasts will take less than 30 minutes usually. Let it sit for at least 5 minutes before cutting into it to keep it juicy. SO much better than boiling! Hope that helps!

  9. Our family doesn't eat the dark meat, so do you think you could do this with just chicken breasts, using the aluminum foil balls and all? Right now I boil my chicken for recipes calling for cooked, shredded chicken and I just really hate the results, but am not sure what else to do. Have you ever tried it with anything other than a whole chicken?

  10. I have used this recipe over and over since reading it. Thanks so much! I get the bagged flavored whole fryers from our meat counter so I don't even have to season them too much. I just use some Season All on the top and it comes out so great! I tell everyone about it when recipes come up. I usually call it Fauxtisserie Chicken. I love crock pot recipes! Please share more of them.

  11. I just want to say thanks for your blog. I've always been a terrible cook, but everything I've made off of your blog has turned out perfectly (because you give such clear directions) and everyone who eats it always loves it! You two are teaching me how to cook…I've never been able to work with yeast until I tried your breadsticks, pastries until I tried your apple streusel bars, and the list goes on and on. I've always been intimidated by whole chickens, so this will be the next thing I try and I'm sure it will be a raving hit. Thanks again.

    Jenn…from Iowa.

  12. Sounds wonderful and easy! I will definitely try this. I just discovered your blog and I love it already!

  13. Oh, and I added this recipe to my blog too, crediting you of course! Hope that's okay. I just HAD to pass it along!!

  14. This recipe has changed my life. Or at least the way I cook chicken. I, too, have a chicken complex. After tasting this, I will never boil or poach a chicken breast again…

    I used it for Chicken Pot Pie and Chicken Salad. Both were awesome!!

  15. Oh I made this yesterday and was simply amazed at how delicious and simple it was. I think you have changed my life. I made Hawaiian Haystacks with it last night, I'm making chicken salad tonight and chicken and dumplings tomorrow. This is great. I got it on a little late and cooked it on high for 5 hours. Amazing.

  16. This idea is great. The great thing is that you can change it up every time and play with different herbs and spices.

    When I make this for my hubby and two boys, I usually shred it and get 3 meals out of it. Shredded chicken goes a long way. It’s aa great way to stretch a food budget!

  17. I tried it and it was amazing both for dinner and the next day when I used it in a salad for our play-group. Thanks for the recipe.

  18. Oh, look at you, Jen, clever girl! If I were a copycat, I’d totally change this to “Faux-tisserie Chicken”!

  19. Glad I’m not the only cook who is freaked out by poultry–I can never get it right. It’s such a fine line between underdone and overdone. I usually stick with the Crockpot. Thanks for this recipe! I hope my Crockpot is big enough.

    1. You are soooo NOT alone on this…

      How come chickens don’t come with the lil pop up temp thingy? 😛

  20. Looks yummy AND I love me a slow cooker recipe. Don’t worry Kate, you’re not the only one that’s afraid of salmonella. My daughter Kate actually got it from a babysitter when she was 10 months old. Scary! Needless to say I’m a little freaky too when it comes to poultry!

  21. Yum, this looks good and easy! Works for me! I’m going to try this tomorrow I think.