Pardon my hubris for a sec, but I gotta put this out there: I’m a bit of a whole chicken cooking expert. You name a method of cooking a bird, and I’ve rocked it (well, minus the whole rotisserie thing—Mama ain’t shelling out $150 for an appliance just to cook a dang chicken).
My absolute favorite method for cooking a whole chicken is in the oven. It just can’t be beat when it comes to juicy, flavorful meat and crispy, brown, gorrggeeeous skin. But the one hang-up with the oven method? Time. It’s very unusual that I am raring to start making dinner a whopping 90 minutes before it’s actually dinner time.
So with that in mind, that leaves two methods to help me get a chicken on the dinner table on a weeknight—the Instant Pot or the slow cooker. And, as much as I pinkfluffyheart my Instant Pot, I have to say, my slow cooker wins here, hands down.
You can’t deny the speed of an Instant Pot—you can cook a whole chicken in about 25 minutes—but I find that the high pressure of the Instant Pot just DESTROYS the chicken. Like, can’t get it out of the pot without it falling to pieces kinda destroys. I know there are other people out there who successfully produce beautiful roasted chickens from their Instant Pot, but I am not one of the blessed.
I think one of the joys of a whole roasted chicken is how it’s a totally guest-worthy dinner. You plate that golden brown bad boy, and people ooooh-and-ahhh, even though it took less effort than cooking a box of macaroni and cheese. And for me, the slow cooker chicken is the best of both worlds—only about 10 minutes of hands on time and you still get a beauty of a chicken when it’s all said and done.
One thing to keep in mind with slow cooking—it’s very moist heat—so you won’t get a nice crispy brown skin right out of the slow cooker. I like to put my slow cooker chicken under the broiler (right in the ceramic carafe from my slow cooker) for a few minutes after slow cooking. It’s a totally optional step, but you can’t beat crispy skin!
Because of the moist heat, you’ll also see a lot of juices in the slow cooker when all is said and done. Turn those drippings into gravy or use them as broth for a rockin’ chicken soup the next day! Enjoy.