This meal fills the house with incredible smells and is loved by everyone in my family! I make chicken this way about 1-2 times a month and use the bones to make a homemade stock .
Today I’m sharing a recipe for a Shawarma Whole Chicken in the Slow Cooker at the Nourishing Gourmet! Be sure to check it out. This variation is so delicious!
And here I’m sharing some general tips…
8 tips for making a perfect whole chicken in the slow cooker
1. Add fresh garlic under the skin to deeply flavor the meat. Cut 4 little slits in the skin of the chicken (2 at the breast and 2 at the thighs) and slip a peeled and lightly smashed garlic clove into each slit so that it stays between the skin and the meat. Like so…
2. Stuff with lemon. Into the cavity, place a quartered lemon and, if you have them on hand, fresh herbs of your choice (my favorites are thyme, oregano and/parsley). It tastes great without the herbs as well.
3. Rub spices on the outside of the chicken. You can choose whichever spices that you like. Mexican, BBQ, lemon pepper – go for it. Here are the 3 ways we’ve tried it.
- A dry rub with these spices:
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon dried thyme (or 1 Tbsp fresh)
1 teaspoon dried oregano (or 1 Tbsp fresh)
1 teaspoon salt & 1/2 tsp black pepper
- A tangy dry rub with: 4 teaspoons ground sumac, 1 teaspoon unrefined salt, 1 teaspoon dried or fresh thyme
- This delicious shawarma style seasoning.
4. Add some raw, chopped vegetables to the crockpot first.
- Celery and onion cook quickly and will be done in good timing with the chicken.
- Sometimes carrots are still hard if they are chopped in big chunks or whole baby carrots are used. If this happens, steam them a little and next time, chop them smaller.
- Potatoes are not recommended because they will likely be hard. If I want to serve this with potatoes, I boil or roast them separately.
5. Place the chicken breast side down. (Pictured here is a 7-quart oval slow cooker.) The fattier parts of the chicken will drip juices downward and keep the breasts moist.
6. Cook for 4-6 hours on low. You can speed cooking by occasionally bumping the heat to high or place a sheet of foil over the top of the pot (under the lid) to seal the heat in better. I sometimes do this in a pinch, but generally the long slow cooking makes the chicken taste the best. Usually mine is done perfectly without intervention in 4 hours.
7. When the chicken is done, broil for a few minutes (~2-5) in a roasting pan to let the skin crisp up and get nice and browned. I set my broiler for 450 and check on it every 30 seconds or so until it is done. If your broiler is set at 550 and you can’t control the temp, watch it closely – even leave the oven door slightly ajar to keep constant watch on its progress. Don’t ruin your chicken by burning it in the final moments!
8. Serving suggestions: I don’t know what I like more – the chicken itself or the savory juices it renders. Be sure to serve this with something that can receive these delectable drips such as rice, potatoes or quinoa. A green salad balances out the meal and this garlic-herb yogurt sauce is a quick accompaniment we’ve been enjoying lately.