Slow Cooker Poached Chicken

I came across the idea to poach a whole chicken in a slow cooker on the old BBC Food Chat discussion boards a couple of years ago and since then, have used the technique regularly, as an alternative to roasting and other recipes.

Not only is the meat – breast included – wonderfully soft and moist, the cooking liquid becomes rich and delicious stock! And you can leave the slow cooker on for hours while you get on with other things.

Oh and the carcass can go back into the slow cooker to make a second portion of stock. Yes, even after long and slow poaching, there’s plenty of flavour left in the remains and no, the resulting stock is not insipid. Although it does have far less gelatin than the original poaching liquid stock, it’s still great as a soup or risotto base.

A very loose recipe…

  • Make sure you know the size of your slow cooker when you’re buying your chicken! I buy 1.5 to 2 kilo birds, in general.
  • Optional: Peel and chop some root vegetables and an onion, or use recent peelings if available
  • Place the chicken (and vegetables, if using) into the slow cooker.
  • Pour cold water to come about two thirds of the way up the chicken. (Check your slow cooker instructions for recommendations on maximum volume of liquid).
  • Cook for several hours. I start on high for the first couple of hours and then turn to auto or low for another 4 or 5 hours.

PoachedChicken-0715 PoachedChicken-0717

  • Take care removing the whole bird from the liquid. Once cooked, it will be so tender that most of the joints will fall apart very easily, and indeed my bird has broken into pieces more than once at this stage. Using two large slotted spoons works well.


  • Separate the meat from the bones, tendons and skin. I find two spoons the best tool for this job, or fingers if you wait until it’s cooled down.
  • Strain the poaching liquid through a muslin-lined sieve and divide into 2 or 3 portions. Store in the fridge or freezer, for use in soups, risottos etc.
  • Divide the meat into portions and store the extra in the fridge or freezer.
  • Put the discarded skin, bones and tendons back into the slow cooker with fresh water and leave on overnight for a second portion of stock.

This time, I served the meat plain some buttery mashed potato and the onion, carrots, swedes and leeks the chicken was poached with.


Sometimes I make a crunchy spring or summer salad instead, with ingredients such as thinly sliced raw red onion, fresh raw sugar snap peas, halved cherry tomatoes and a simple vinaigrette dressing.

This time, the left over meat from this chicken went into an absolutely delicious baked chicken dish, which also used half of the poaching liquid. Watch this space for the recipe!

Please excuse the poor quality of images, they were taken on my ancient mobile phone!

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7 Comments to "Slow Cooker Poached Chicken"

  1. Dominic

    This looks amazing. It’s very similar to my 10 hour chicken method but mine is roasted slowly. The resulting liquid is intensly chicken and like yours makes an excellent stock. I must give this a go. X

  2. Debs @ The Spanish Wok

    I have a Tupper micro pot which came with a recipe book. The chicken in a pot recipe is basically how your cook the chicken with veg in your slow cooker.

    We’ve not cooked our chicken this way for many years. The pot is part of the ‘stack cooker range’ I still have it boxed away somewhere. Will have to do this again soon as this too provides a beautiful tender bird, thanks for the reminder.

  3. Phil in the Kitchen

    I’m a big fan of slow cookers but, for some reason, I rarely cook anything as large as a chicken in it. I’ve really got to do this more often – the result looks delicious and it’s just so convenient.

  4. Jude

    This is one of my favourite ways with chicken. I tried it once with a cheap chicken and the juices left were absolutely vile. It really woke me up re happy hens being tasty hens.

  5. jim

    I have a multi cooker and use it as a slow cooker to poach chicken.

    1.5 Kilo free range chicken
    1 Lemon ends discarded
    4 to 6 smoked garlic cloves
    300 ml chicken stock
    300 ml white wine + 1 lemon and herb cube
    1/2 onion thinly sliced

    Turn on cooker to 90 c

    Season chicken cavity
    Place lemon and garlic inside cavity
    Place onion into cooker and add 600 mil of your stock/wine
    Cook for 2 hours at 90c for 2 hours
    Turn cooker down to 80c and after another 4 to 8 hours it’s done

    Use 2 large spatulas to lift the chicken out of the cooker. Drop it onto a chopping board ( it will fall apart )

    After you have finished your Sunday lunch through all the leftovers into the stock with some red lentils and you have a Monday leftover Sunday roast soup, enjoy


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