5 Ways (Recipes) Cook Chicken in a Pot

Making a perfectly cooked whole chicken in a slow cooker is actually much easier than it sounds. We started by blooming a simple mixture of oil and aromatics in the microwave because we found it was the perfect way to give the chicken layers of flavor. Once the mixture was cool enough to handle, we then rubbed a portion of it under the skin to give it direct contact with the meat while it cooked, and massaged the remaining mixture directly onto the skin, coating the entire bird. Placing the chicken in the slow cooker upside down was key: As the meat rendered its juices and fat, they traveled over and through the breast (which can be notoriously dry), helping to maintain moistness. Additionally, as the juices pooled in the bottom of the cooker, they submerged the breast, enabling it to retain more moisture. Check the chicken’s temperature after 4 hours of cooking and continue to monitor until the breast registers 160 degrees and the thighs register 175 degrees. You will need an oval slow cooker for these recipes.

COOKING TIME 4 TO 5 HOURS ON LOW
SLOW COOKER SIZE 4 TO 7 QUARTS
1. LEMON-HERB CHICKEN IN A POT
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 shallot, minced
5 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest, plus lemon wedges for serving
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon
1(4-pound) whole chicken, giblets discarded
1. Microwave oil, shallot, garlic, thyme, lemon zest, 1½ teaspoons salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper in bowl until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Let oil mixture cool slightly, then stir in 1 tablespoon tarragon.
2. Using your fingers, gently loosen skin covering breast and thighs of chicken. Place half of oil mixture under skin, directly on meat in center of each side of breast and on thighs. Gently press on skin to distribute oil mixture over meat. Rub entire exterior surface of chicken with remaining oil mixture. Place chicken, breast side down, into slow cooker. Cover and cook until breast registers 160 degrees and thighs register 175 degrees, 4 to 5 hours on low.
3. Transfer chicken to carving board, tent loosely with aluminum foil, and let rest for 20 minutes. Carve chicken, discarding skin if desired. Sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon tarragon. Serve with lemon wedges.

2. BARBECUE-RUBBED CHICKEN IN A POT
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon dry mustard
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
Salt and pepper
1(4-pound) whole chicken, giblets discarded
1. Microwave oil, chili powder, paprika, cumin, garlic powder, mustard, and cayenne in bowl until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Let oil mixture cool slightly, then stir in sugar, 1½ teaspoons salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper.
2. Using your fingers, gently loosen skin covering breast and thighs of chicken. Place half of oil mixture under skin, directly on meat in center of each side of breast and on thighs. Gently press on skin to distribute oil mixture over meat. Rub entire exterior surface of chicken with remaining oil mixture. Place chicken, breast side down, into slow cooker. Cover and cook until breast registers 160 degrees and thighs register 175 degrees, 4 to 5 hours on low.
3. Transfer chicken to carving board, tent loosely with aluminum foil, and let rest for 20 minutes. Carve chicken, discarding skin if desired. Serve.
3. THAI-SPICED CHICKEN IN A POT
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 shallot, minced
2 tablespoons red curry paste
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon grated lime zest, plus lime wedges for serving
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
4 teaspoons fish sauce
Salt and pepper
1(4-pound) whole chicken, giblets discarded
1. Microwave oil, shallot, curry paste, ginger, garlic, and lime zest in bowl until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Let oil mixture cool slightly, then stir in sugar, 1 tablespoon cilantro, fish sauce, 1½ teaspoons salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper.
2. Using your fingers, gently loosen skin covering breast and thighs of chicken. Place half of oil mixture under skin, directly on meat in center of each side of breast and on thighs. Gently press on skin to distribute oil mixture over meat. Rub entire exterior surface of chicken with remaining oil mixture. Place chicken, breast side down, into slow cooker. Cover and cook until breast registers 160 degrees and thighs register 175 degrees, 4 to 5 hours on low.
3. Transfer chicken to carving board, tent loosely with aluminum foil, and let rest for 20 minutes. Carve chicken, discarding skin if desired. Sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon cilantro. Serve with lime wedges.
4. HARISSA-SPICED CHICKEN IN A POT
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
4 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons ground coriander
Salt and pepper
¾ teaspoon red pepper flakes
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon caraway seeds
1(4-pound) whole chicken, giblets discarded
1tablespoon chopped fresh mint
1. Microwave oil, garlic, paprika, coriander, 1½ teaspoons salt, ½ teaspoon pepper, pepper flakes, cumin, and caraway in bowl until fragrant, about 30 seconds; let cool slightly.
2. Using your fingers, gently loosen skin covering breast and thighs of chicken. Place half of oil mixture under skin, directly on meat in center of each side of breast and on thighs. Gently press on skin to distribute oil mixture over meat. Rub entire exterior surface of chicken with remaining oil mixture. Place chicken, breast side down, into slow cooker. Cover and cook until breast registers 160 degrees and thighs register 175 degrees, 4 to 5 hours on low.
3. Transfer chicken to carving board, tent loosely with aluminum foil, and let rest for 20 minutes. Carve chicken, discarding skin if desired. Sprinkle with mint and serve.
5. PESTO CHICKEN IN A POT
2 cups fresh basil leaves, lightly bruised
3 garlic cloves, minced
Salt and pepper
⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1(4-pound) whole chicken, giblets discarded
1. Process basil, garlic, 1½ teaspoons salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper in food processor until finely ground, about 30 seconds, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. With processor running, slowly add oil and process until smooth, about 30 seconds.
2. Using your fingers, gently loosen skin covering breast and thighs of chicken. Place half of pesto under skin, directly on meat in center of each side of breast and on thighs. Gently press on skin to distribute pesto over meat. Rub entire exterior surface of chicken with remaining pesto. Place chicken, breast side down, into slow cooker. Cover and cook until breast registers 160 degrees and thighs register 175 degrees, 4 to 5 hours on low.
3. Transfer chicken to carving board, tent loosely with aluminum foil, and let rest 20 minutes. Carve chicken, discarding skin in desired. Serve.

Separate skin from breast and thighs using your fingers.

Apply half of rub under skin; press on skin to distribute. Apply remaining rub on exterior of chicken.

Poultry Safety and Handling
It’s important to follow some basic safety procedures when storing, handling, and cooking chicken, turkey, and other poultry.
REFRIGERATING Keep poultry refrigerated until just before cooking. Bacteria thrive at temperatures between 40 and 140 degrees. This means leftovers should also be promptly refrigerated.
FREEZING AND THAWING Poultry can be frozen in its original packaging or after repackaging. If you are freezing it for longer than two months, rewrap (or wrap over packaging) with foil or plastic wrap, or place inside a zipper-lock bag. You can keep poultry frozen for several months, but after two months the texture and flavor will suffer. Don’t thaw frozen poultry on the counter; this puts it at risk of growing bacteria. Thaw it in its packaging in the refrigerator (in a container to catch its juices), or in the sink under cold running water. Count on one day of defrosting in the refrigerator for every 4 pounds of bird.
HANDLING RAW POULTRY When handling raw poultry, make sure to wash hands, knives, cutting boards, and counters (and anything else that has come into contact with the raw bird, its juices, or your hands) with hot, soapy water. Be careful not to let the poultry, its juices, or your unwashed hands touch foods that will be eaten raw. When seasoning raw poultry, touching the saltshaker or pepper mill can lead to cross-contamination. To avoid this, set aside the necessary salt and pepper before handling the poultry.
RINSING The U.S. Department of Agriculture advises against washing poultry. Rinsing poultry will not remove or kill much bacteria, and the splashing of water around the sink can spread the bacteria found in raw poultry.
COOKING AND LEFTOVERS Poultry should be cooked to an internal temperature of 160 degrees to ensure any bacteria have been killed (however, we prefer the flavor and texture of thigh meat cooked to at least 175 degrees). Leftover cooked poultry should be refrigerated and consumed within three days.