Thursday, August 6, 2020

Slow Cooker Lemon Pepper Chicken & Potatoes

Craving some simple yet healthy comfort food? Prep this easy lemon pepper chicken with fresh lemons, potatoes, onions, garlic, carrots & dry spices in only 20 minutes, pop it in your slow cooker or crock-pot, then come back in 3-4 hours to enjoy a warm, homecooked meal the whole family will enjoy. (gluten-free, grain-free & whole30 friendly)

Bonus: Shred any leftover meat to use for recipes like chicken hummus wraps, chicken pot pie & leafy chicken salad + save the bones and scraps for homemade broth

Slow Cooker Lemon Pepper Chicken & Potatoes (Easy & Healthy Comfort Food Recipe)

Love cooking a whole chicken in the oven? I definitely do! The extra crispy skin + savory drippings combo is heavenly. 

But there are plenty of times when I don't want to heat up the house or I have errands to run & would love to prep a cozy dinner beforehand. 

If you feel the same way, take a break from roasting and let your crock-pot work its magic instead! 

I love my slow cooker for cooking tough cuts like pork shoulder and pot roast so they turn into fork-tender & shreddable meat with hardly any work.

But you can also do the same with a whole chicken (which costs less per pound than individual cuts thus saving you money), it just requires less time.

Then you can use the leftover shredded chicken as a quick protein in a variety of recipes, which will speed up prep & cook time for future meals. 

Slow Cooker Lemon Pepper Chicken & Potatoes

Best Method For Cooking a Whole Chicken

This slow cooker technique has truly blown me away! It is such an easy and frugal method for cooking a whole chicken. In about 4 hours on high (give or take depending on the size of your bird), your crock-pot will yield the most tender, fall-off-the-bone chicken you've ever eaten. 

And the root veggies underneath? (Chopped potato, carrot & onion in this case.) Tender and flavorful from cooking in the chicken drippings + lemon juice.

The best part is you can make double duty of the whole chicken all in the same pot! Save the succulent chicken meat (and juices) for a variety of recipes, then place the bones back in the slow cooker with some vegetable scraps, apple cider vinegar, dried bay leaves, and purified water to make your own healthy and nutrient-dense homemade chicken broth.

If you fix this once a week, shred every last bit, then portion it out into separate containers for freezing, you'll have plenty of chicken on hand for meal planning or quick meals on the fly.

Want a second side to round-out this meal (other than the potatoes, carrots & onions)? Try my balsamic roasted green beans, roasted green beans with bacon & onion, or sauteed asparagus with garlic, butter & parmesan.

Easy Crockpot Lemon Pepper Chicken, Potatoes & Carrots (Whole30 Recipe)

Why Lemon Pepper Chicken?

Because...deliciousness! The lemon peel provides a bright, fresh flavor combined with a spicy bite from the cracked black pepper, all mixed with the savory and fragrant addition of garlic powder, onion powder & dried herbs. Simple enough.

Also, lemon pepper works well in leftovers, which I factor into my recipe-making decisions when I'm cooking a larger piece of meat (like this 4-5 lb. chicken). I don't want seasonings that'll overpower the flavors of other dishes when it comes to repurposing it.

And since I can't get enough of lemon these days, I added freshly squeezed lemon juice and threw the rinds in with the chicken while it cooked. Best decision ever! The liquid that forms as the chicken slowly cooks (which is actually the super nutritious gelatin) tastes divine with lemon!

And the veggies underneath (chopped potatoes, carrots, onion & garlic) absorb the lemony chicken drippings as they cook, which makes them taste extra good! I always serve lots of the liquid over the veggies and chicken because it's free liquid gold!

Easy Crockpot Lemon Pepper Chicken & Potatoes (Simple & Healthy Comfort Food Recipe)

A Note on the Chicken Skin When Using the Slow Cooker

In my rush to season every little bit of meat with lemon pepper seasoning, I manhandled the skin. I tried channeling my inner Julia Child and got all up in there (to put it delicately) with oily seasoned hands (no extra wine for help), which resulted in a well seasoned and uber delicious chicken, but this left the skin all ripped around the breast area.

Hence why my pictures are not Martha Stewart Thanksgiving Special perfect. I also didn't bother to stick the chicken in the oven to crisp up the skin, which would make it look better. Oh well! Whole chickens with the skin on are kinda hard to photograph (especially the slow cooker variety), so I think you'll forgive me.

The ripped skin didn't bother me in the slightest because I'm not a big fan of chicken skin in the first place unless it is SUPER crispy. I only tolerate chicken skin on fried chicken or extra crispy wings. That's it!

However, if you're a fan of crispy chicken skin, you're going to want to pop this under the broiler for 3-5 minutes at the very end, taking care not to overcook the chicken. For the rest of us, just make a point of seasoning underneath the skin (like I did) and take it off after it's done cooking. 

Slow Cooker Lemon Pepper Chicken, Potatoes, Carrots & Onion

slow cooker lemon pepper chicken, crockpot, recipe, easy, whole, healthy
Main Dish
Yield: 6
Author: Elaina - The Rising Spoon
Slow Cooker Lemon Pepper Chicken & Potatoes

Slow Cooker Lemon Pepper Chicken & Potatoes

Prep time: 20 MCook time: 4 hourTotal time: 4 H & 20 M
Craving some simple yet healthy comfort food? Prep this easy lemon pepper chicken in only 20 minutes, pop it in your slow cooker or crock-pot, then come back in 3-4 hours to enjoy a warm, homecooked meal the whole family will enjoy. (gluten-free, grain-free & whole30 friendly)


For The Chicken:
  • 1 (4-5 lb.) whole chicken (gizzards & neck removed)
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil or melted butter
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon pepper seasoning*
  • 2 teaspoons of granulated garlic
  • 2 teaspoons of onion powder or onion flakes
  • 1 teaspoon of dried rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon of dried summer savory (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon of dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon of cracked black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of sea salt (adjust up or down depending on how much salt's in your lemon pepper seasoning)
  • 2 lemons, quartered
  • 1/2 an onion, peeled & quartered
For The Veggies on the Bottom (To Serve with Dinner):
  • 1 1/2 lbs. (24 oz) of red or gold potatoes (sub sweet potatoes for whole30)
  • 1/2 an onion, peeled & thinly sliced
  • 4 carrots, peeled & cut into chunks
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon of dried rosemary
  • 1/8 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes (optional)


  1. Pull the chicken out of the fridge so it warms up while you prep the veggies. It's easier to rub oil & seasonings under the skin when your hands aren't freezing & this will help the chicken heat up faster.
  2. Peel and quarter the potatoes, then cut them into 1-inch cubes. Place the chopped potatoes, carrots, sliced onion, garlic, olive oil, rosemary, salt & crushed red pepper in the slow cooker. Stir to combine so it's all covered in seasonings, then spread in an even layer across the bottom of the crock-pot.
  3. Quarter the two lemons and the other onion half and set aside for now.
  4. Measure the olive oil (or melted butter), lemon pepper seasoning, granulated garlic, onion powder, rosemary, summer savory, thyme, black pepper, and sea salt in a small bowl and mix to combine.
  5. Since the skin won't get crispy in the slow cooker, it's very important to season the meat and not just on top of the skin. Gently use your hands (or the back of a spoon) to detach the skin from the meat. Then use your hands to rub the seasoning & oil mixture all over the meat and then any remaining over the skin. 
  6. Place the whole chicken on top of the vegetables in the slow cooker, then squeeze the lemon quarters over the chicken. Stick 4 of the lemon quarters along with the remaining 1/2 onion into the cavity, and place the other 4 quarters around the chicken in the slow cooker.
  7. Cover with the lid and cook on HIGH for 3-4 hours or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 when tested with a digital thermometer. OPTIONAL: Remove the chicken to baking sheet and (if desired) crisp the skin under the broiler for 3-5 minutes.
  8. To serve, plate the chicken, potatoes, carrots & onions (along with whatever other sides you like) and drizzle generously with liquid from the bottom of the slow cooker (it's full of delicious lemon & chicken flavor)!


COOK TIME: If your chicken is on the smaller side (3 to 3 1/2 lbs.) or your crock-pot gets hotter faster, check on the chicken at the 2 1/2 to 3-hour mark and then every 30 minutes after until it's cooked through. If you over-cook it a bit, don't fret! The bottom is full of delicious juices you can pour over the meat or turn into a gravy! *SEASONINGS: If your lemon pepper seasoning is a blend that has a lot of other herbs & spices mixed in (other than lemon peel & black pepper) then you can omit the other seasonings I used (rosemary, thyme, summer savory, garlic, onion) and increase the lemon pepper to 3 tablespoons instead. The blend I used was super simple & had no salt added, which is why I added a lot more spices for extra flavor here.
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UPDATE (August 2020): This recipe was originally published in July 2015, but I've recently updated the post with all-new photographs and the recipe card to include more dried herbs + potatoes & garlic in the bottom of the crock-pot.
Click Here To Save This To Your Crock-Pot Recipes Board on Pinterest!

Craving some simple yet healthy comfort food? Prep this easy lemon pepper chicken with fresh lemons, potatoes, onions, garlic, carrots & dry spices in only 20 minutes, pop it in your slow cooker or crock-pot, then come back in 3-4 hours to enjoy a warm, homecooked meal the whole family will enjoy. (gluten-free, grain-free & whole30 friendly)

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MEDICAL DISCLOSURE: The information included on this website is intended for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. None of the opinions expressed here are meant to diagnose or treat any disease or illness. You should always consult your healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for your own situation or if you have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan.

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