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Mar 23, 2012 09:33 PM

Crock Pot Rotisserie Chicken?

I've tried to make a rotisserie style chicken in the crock pot a few times.

I want it to taste like the rotisserie chicken you get at fast food joints (like Boston Market), or grocery stores, or Costco.

I had even tried looking at the ingredients for the ones at grocery stores or Costco, but they weren't very specific.

1. The first recipe I tried was this:

It was ok. The flavor didn't taste like the rotisserie chicken I was hoping for. Also, the paprika flavor was too strong.

These were the ingredients:

--1 whole chicken, skinned (4-5 pounds
)--2 tsp kosher salt (if you'd like it as salty as the ones in the store, add another 1 tsp.)
--1 tsp paprika
--1 tsp onion powder
--1/2 tsp dried thyme
--1 tsp Italian seasoning
--1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
--1/2 tsp black pepper
--pinch of chili pepper (probably not necessary)

--4 whole garlic cloves (optional)
--1 yellow onion, quartered (optional)

I had made her lemon rosemary chicken in the crockpot successfully, so it was disappointing that this one wasn't as good.

Lemon Rosemary crockpot chicken recipe:

2. For my 2nd attempt, I looked through about 20-25 recipes online, before settling on one.

This one mentioned using smoked paprika. So I bought a special jar of smoked paprika.

This one smelled even better when it was cooking. But somehow, the flavor turned out light. And again, I think the paprika ruined it. I'm beginning to think I don't like paprika on chicken.

These were the ingredients:

2 t. salt
2 t. smoked paprika
1 t. onion salt
1 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. dried rosemary
1/2 t. dried thyme
1 T. sugar
1/8 t. pepper
1/8 t. cayenne pepper

Does anyone have a different recipe, and can they confirm if it really tastes like those other rotisserie chickens, or is it just a good crockpot chicken recipe (while having a different taste)?

And does anyone have pictures of the finished product?

I realize it might not look like the other rotisserie chickens, but I think it's possible to have the same flavor, right?

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  1. No. I love my crockpot and I love my rotis, but I never confuse the two. They are totally different and result in different food. Even with the same seasonings, and even if you use the crockpot as more of a roaster and don't use any liquid in it.

    Are you brining your chickens? All rotis chickens are brined first. That will go a long way. Taking the skin off is a huge mistake as well if you want it to taste the same as one that still has the skin. By removing the fat, the skin, the rotating self-basting cooking and the dry heat of the rotis itself, you have removed virtually everything that makes a rotis chicken taste the way it does.

    I'm not sure I understand changing everything important about a dish and then noting it doesn't taste the same as the original.

    1 Reply
    1. re: acgold7

      The starting liquid in the crockpot should be very salty. Broil the pieces afterward so the skin is crispy. Not a recipe, but tastes pretty good

    2. you will not get rotisserie chicken in a crockpot. it is impossible. as a start, the roasted chicken skin is vital in that rotisserie flavor….done in hot dry air…..

      you are using a crockpot in this case because….?

      why not just brine and roast a chicken? it is so easy. you don't even have to brine it in liquid, just do a dry rub (and stuff a lemon, some onion and some celery in the cavity for the flavor).

      1. acgold7:

        No, I'm not brining the chickens. Both times, I just put onion/garlic in the cavity, rubbed the seasoning all over, and cooked it for 10 hours on low.

        Also, no, I did not take the skin off. I used the whole chicken as-is.


        So you're saying the air in a crockpot is too moist, when compared to a rotisserie?

        I was using a crockpot in this case, because I saw a bunch of recipes that claimed you could get that same flavor. And most of the comments from people who tried them agreed.

        But after two attempts, where the flavor wasn't close to what I wanted, and based on your responses, I'm thinking you're right.

        On a side note, I also think El Pollo Loco's chicken tastes close to a rotisserie chicken. And since they don't use a rotisserie, but use flame-grilled, I also thought I could achieve the same flavor at home.

        What do you think of this roasting recipe?

        43 Replies
        1. re: nuraman00

          The basic point remains the same. "Crock Pot Rotisserie Chicken" is a contradiction in terms. Your crock pot chicken is not bathed in its own fat, combined with spices, as a rotisserie chicken is as it turns on a spit. Your crock pot chicken is closer to a roasted chicken than a rotisserie chicken. No need to frustrate yourself. Just come up with an excellent crock pot chicken recipe of your own or purchase a rotisserie. Best of both worlds.

          1. re: todao

            todao, i strongly disagree -- the crocky chicken is nowhere close to a roasted or roti chicken.. just can't happen with the crocky environment of moist heat.

            1. re: alkapal

              I'd say a roasted chicken is closer to a rotisserie chicken and neither are like a crock pot chicken, which is just...nasty, at least a whole chicken is. The skin is a good part of a rotisserie and roasted chicken. In a crock pot, it's almost inedible.

              1. re: chowser

                What do you think of the roasted recipe I posted yesterday? Or do you have a better/different one?

                I've never tried roasting a chicken before, so I'm thinking I'll try that instead.

                1. re: nuraman00

                  Have you tried beer can chicken? I think that's close to rotisserie, if you don't have one. As roast chicken goes, my favorite is the Zuni chicken--crisp skin, moist meat, lots of good flavor.

                  1. re: chowser

                    Ok, I looked up beer can chicken. It's a chicken roasting recipe that uses a half full beer can prop the chicken upright, by inserting the beer can into the chicken's cavity.

                    Can someone post a good beer can chicken recipe, that I can use to roast in the oven? The few recipes I looked online were for BBQing.

                    Also, what spice rub would you use? I don't mind if it needs a few ingredients, just whatever recipe a poster recommends. Hopefully this will bring something close to that rotisserie flavor. :)

                    Also, any recommendations on a specific beer? I have two cans of Guinness in stock.

                    And how do I know that the chicken will stay upright the whole time? Couldn't it still be leaning a little, and then eventually fall, on the roasting pan, in the oven?

                    And does it really only take about 1.5 hours? Seems quick for a 4-5 lb. bird.

                    1. re: nuraman00

                      The most important thing about beer can chicken is: Don't use any beer. It's been scientifically proven that the liquid does nothing for either flavor or moistness. It never reaches the boiling point, never makes any steam, and the tiny amount of evaporation has no effect at all on the chicken.


                      But roasting it vertically is a fine idea. There are vertical roasters you can buy that do a fantastic job, or you could just use an empty can of any kind.

                      Normal cooking time for a chicken is 15-20 minutes per pound, so no, 1.5 hours isn't short. Vertical roasting is hotter and faster than the regular way.

                      Google "Spanek Vertical Roaster" for a website that sells the best ones and has lots of specific recipes.

                      I use a rub of Seasoned Salt (I make my own blend), Seasoned Pepper (ditto), paprika, onion power, garlic powder and poultry seasoning (which is usually mostly sage and thyme).

                      My specific spice blend recipes are at:

                      Always brine first in an overnight brine of 1/2 cup Kosher Salt (or 1/4 cup Table Salt) per gallon of water. If you can let it air-dry on the vertical roaster in the fridge for a day then the skin comes out crispier.

                      1. re: acgold7

                        Why a can and not a bottle? Not even a 22 oz bottle?

                        1. re: acgold7

                          I like your seasoned salt recipe.

                          I read your Seasoned Poultry recipe, but I don't like Italian seasoning too much. It's ok, but just not something I prefer.

                          I'll probably try your seasoned salt recipe, in conjunction with some other seasoning recipe

                          1. re: acgold7

                            Hmm, you're right. Vertical roasters aren't too much, they're from $6-22 in general.

                            Do you think the Spanek brand is that much better? I see they have a chrome one for $25.


                            1. re: acgold7

                              I have a few newbie questions about brining.

                              * How do I measure a gallon of water? What's the best way?

                              * Is the chicken supposed to be partially submerged or completely submerged in the brine? A few pictures online show it completely submerged.

                              * What size container should I buy that will properly brine the chicken?

                              Ok, so the entire roasting process should be like this:

                              A. Brine chicken overnight.

                              B. Dry chicken for 24 hours in fridge.

                              C. Apply rub, use vertical roaster, then roast.

                              1. re: nuraman00

                                I'll try to get your questions in order.

                                Why a can and not a bottle -- because a bottle will likely break when exposed to heat, and metal conducts heat better anyway.

                                Seasoning -- it really is up to whatever you prefer. I think Poultry really benefits from sage and thyme, but whatever blend you like is best. Try just the seasoned salt and seasoned pepper, or even just plain salt and pepper. A great roast chicken doesn't need much else.

                                Roasters -- I have about a dozen of them, in various sizes, from Turkey all the way down to Game Hen, mostly but not exclusively from Spanek. I also have some really cheap ones that come with their own drip pans, or that you assemble each time you use them. All work fine. I put mine in the dishwasher but you'll probably have to soak it a bit and hit it with a brush to loosen the stuck on bits.

                                I have some that look like this:


                                and this:


                                and this


                                For brining, I use Cambro containers, available at Restaurant Supply stores in a variety of sizes. They have measurements on the side, so you add your salt (and sugar, optional) and fill the container up to the one-gallon line. Drop in the chicken and you're done. It should remain completely submerged. Get at least a two-gallon container. Obviously this goes onto the fridge overnight.

                                If you're in the Bay Area and a Costco member, you can go to their Hayward Business Center and they have these containers, cheap, in a variety of sizes.


                                Here's a good size for chicken:


                                Here's the size I use for Turkeys:


                                Here's a video I made about brining chicken:


                                After the brine, pull out the giblets (save them for other uses), put it right on the vertical roaster and set on a tray in the fridge so it can drain. You could do your spice rub at this time as well. You can omit the salt if you've brined it -- it will have enough already. Next day, roast at 375 for about 15 minutes per pound. Your chicken is done and safe to eat when the white meat hits 140F. The inside of the cavity, because of the vertical roaster, will be much hotter.

                                1. re: acgold7


                                  * I'll try the seasoned salt, seasoned pepper, sage, and thyme. I might be overdoing it on the seasoning, but I have to try it in order to decided whether I like that on roast chicken or not. I don't know whether I'll like it until I try it, right?

                                  Question: Your seasoned pepper recipe for the very small batch starts off with 5 Tbps of black pepper. Do you think that's too much, if I use the very small batch on one chicken?

                                  I like black pepper, but most recipes I see for seasoning in general (not just for whole chickens) don't have more than 1 Tbps of black pepper, 2-3 at most.

                                  * I ordered the Norpro vertical roaster.

                                  * I'll try to go to the Hayward Costco to pick up the brining container. I'll try to go one of the mornings this week, as I want to try and make the chicken next weekend.

                                  * Question: Do you have any tips on carving a chicken? Should I do it with the chicken upright on the roaster, after I take it out of the oven?

                                  I saw one suggestion that said to instead lay the chicken flat after removing it from oven. It said to tilt the roaster so that the chicken was sideways on a baking dish, then carve it that way.

                                  How hard is it to carve one, and how much dexterity does it take?

                                  When I eat one of those supermarket rotisserie chickens, I just use a knife to cut off the boned portion that I want to eat from the whole chicken, then I'll eat those portions from the bone.

                                  But I'm thinking since this is something I made, I want to do it differently.

                                  1. re: nuraman00

                                    It came out pretty much the way I wanted. I liked it. Don't think I'd change anything next time. Other than the composition of the seasoning (minor adjustments), there wouldn't have been anything that needed changing anyways, as everything seemed to turn out as I expected, especially the final result.

                                    I liked making the seasoning blend from scratch, instead of buying something called "poultry seasoning" or "seasoned salt", because I had more control over how it tasted. I could make some adjustments this way.

                                    I read from reviews that some people had trouble removing the chicken from the vertical roaster after it was cooked. But I didn't have much trouble. After I let it cool, it did appear to be stuck for a few seconds, but once I got it to move a little upwards, then it was fine the rest of the way.

                                    Skin had a nice thin crispy taste to it, like rotisserie chicken.

                                    Thanks to all that suggested this.

                                    1. re: nuraman00

                                      I'm so glad you've discovered beer can chicken. That's our go-to chicken recipe during grilling season because it's so delicious and easy and the chickens make us laugh. Steve Raichlen has a book "Beer-Can Chicken: And 74 Other Offbeat Recipes for the Grill" that offers different recipes for rubs and liquids you can use instead of beer if you want to experiment.

                                      Otherwise, my favorite roast chicken recipe is Thomas Keller's. It's super easy and delicious. I often two do chickens at a time using his method. I don't bother with the mustard or the butter, though it hardly seems like much bother. I just think it's delicious without.

                                      P.S. I also tried "crock pot" roast chicken because I'd heard people rave about it. Like you, I was unimpressed. It just seemed like a pale, flabby mess. My crock-pot even has a built-in meat probe.


                                    2. re: nuraman00

                                      Sorry I didn't respond earlier -- somehow I missed your lasts posts. But it seems like you have it all figured out.

                                      The batch of seasoned pepper obviously makes enough for many, many chickens or other dishes. I didn't mean to imply you'd use the while thing on one chicken. I'll edit the recipe to make this clear.

                                      On the Spanek site, I think they have carving tips, and they say you can carve directly on the roaster. But like you, I generally just slip off the chicken and carve it on the board. When I carve, the wings come off first and I usually try to make sure I get a large nugget of white meat from the breast on the end of the wing so it is a more substantial piece. Then the legs and thighs come off, and are separated. Then I go right through the ribcage, standing the chicken on end, head down, so you separate the back from the breast. The breast then gets cut lengthwise once, and then crosswise once, yielding four pieces, for a total of ten.

                                      Here's a video on how to cut up a raw chicken -- the procedure is the same for a cooked one:


                                      Save the bones and all other scraps for stock. Gnaw on the back and don't lose those "oysters"!

                                      Nice-looking chicken there.

                                      1. re: acgold7

                                        Great detailed video. You made it look easy. I'll try this method the next time I have a whole chicken.

                                2. re: acgold7

                                  Agreed, as long as you say don't use any beer *in the can*. I've made "beer can" chicken on the grill, but with an empty can-holding stand, set in a shallow pan with some onions, garlic, etc, and some beer poured into the pan. The beer then does simmer and lend some flavor, but the heat of the grill still crisps the skin nicely. the liquid in the pan, with the drippings from the chicken, make a great sauce or gravy!

                                  1. re: acgold7

                                    I find that I need to leave some beer in the can to stabilize the chicken (makes it heavier). About half full works. I always have Mexican canned beer on hand for my vineyard crew, so I use that. I agree that it doesn't actually flavor the meat, but it does make a nice stable "roost".

                                    I use a Weber kettle, indirect, with apple wood chips. Have to be careful not to get too big a bird or it will touch the kettle. No more trouble to do 2 if I can get them to fit.

                                    Have also used my (gas) smoker. Meat comes out delicious, but the skin is rubbery and has to be discarded. Can do up to 4 birds, and they can be bigger.

                                    I don't brine, but do put a dry rub both inside and outside, with some under the breast skin as well. Several hours in the fridge, or 1 hour at room temperature.

                                    1. re: dkenworthy

                                      I don't actually buy this scientific research because I've used liquids other than beer (namely lemonade) and I do think it makes a difference in flavor. I suppose I could be imagining it, but I don't think so. But, yeah, if nothing else, the liquid in the can serves as a stablizing force. If you don't want to waste your beer, then I suppose you can pour yourself a glass, then refill the can with water. But, then, you might as well get yourself one of those roasting racks and forget the can altogether.


                                  2. re: nuraman00

                                    Ordinary roast chicken mantra: 4.5lb chicken, 450 degree oven, 45 minutes. Easy place to start. A plain pan is all you need, and no turning or basting is required.

                                    Attempting to make rotisserie-style chicken in a crockpot is like trying to make popcorn by boiling the kernels.

                              2. re: chowser

                                acgold7, I made the roasted chicken again.

                                I also used your technique to carve the chicken. Thanks, it was easier than I thought. I'm including a pic of the chicken cut up.

                                1. re: nuraman00

                                  Nice! Since your last post I've made a couple of videos on roast chicken and carving. They're up on the channel if you want to take a look at them.

                                  1. re: acgold7

                                    acgold7 or others,

                                    Is it possible to also add smoke flavor to the chicken in the oven, by using wood chips, and/or liquid smoke?

                                    Based on what I've browsed on the internet, it seems possible.

                                    But I wanted to ask it here, since you're familiar with this cooking process that I've been using.

                                    When cooking in the oven, could I put a small baking dish underneath the vertical raster, and put some soaked wood chips there (in the area surrounding bottom of the vertical roaster)?

                                    If I wanted to also use liquid smoke, how would I do that? And how much would I use?

                                    1. re: nuraman00

                                      Your oven doesn't really get hot enough to generate wood smoke, and if it did you'd fill your kitchen with smoke. They make stovetop smokers you could use if you cut your chicken into pieces.

                                      Liquid smoke would work if you used a cooking liquid -- you could add a very tiny little bit to the liquid, but then it isn't really roasting.

                                      1. re: acgold7

                                        Thanks for the response.

                                        What would happen if I placed a small baking dish underneath the vertical roaster, and poured 1 can of broth (14.5 oz) and some liquid smoke?

                                        1. re: nuraman00

                                          You'll get smoky tasting broth. No effect on the chicken.

                                          1. re: acgold7

                                            Haha, thanks.

                                            Have you used a stovetop smoker before? What does it do to the overall texture, especially after cutting the chicken to pieces? I like how using the vertical roaster gives it a nice slightly crispy skin.

                                            Would it keep the current flavor, and add smokiness?

                                            So, would the overall process be like this:

                                            1. Brine the night before.

                                            2. Season, let dry for a day.

                                            3. Cut chicken to pieces.

                                            4. Use stovetop smoker? (For how long, and what setting?)

                                            I like what I have going now, I'm just trying to figure out if there's a way I can add smokiness without changing too much of the end flavor and texture.

                                            If I'm going to cut up the chicken, should I just start off by buying chicken parts? (Maybe some breasts and drumsticks)?

                                            1. re: nuraman00

                                              Ok, here's what I've been able to find.

                                              * Cameron's Stovetop smoker:


                                              I've seen some reviews or quick posts online that said they smoked a whole chicken. They said that instead of using a lid, they made an temporary aluminum tent foil.

                                              However, I'm only seeing 2-3 sentences regarding the whole process.

                                              I can't find a complete recipe, describing the process from beginning to end.

                                              * Nordic Ware Indoor/Outdoor smoker:


                                              Blog mentioning whole chicken:


                                              Again, I can't find a complete recipe.

                                              * Emson 5Qt Smoker:


                                              So, my questions are:

                                              1. Which smoker should I get?

                                              2. If I get the Camerons, how exactly do I make a tent foil? Do I start at one end, and make a circular foil around the chicken? Then make another foil layer that goes over the top?

                                              If I get the Nordic Ware, can I put the chicken on the vertical roaster, and still have it fit under the lid?

                                              The picture from Amazon has the chicken on its front.

                                              I don't think I'd get the Emsons. At $200, that's a lot to spend, especially when I'm unsure of how to do a whole chicken in it, even though it says it can be done. I'd need to see a recipe with all of the directions from someone, before I felt comfortable.

                                              3. How much wood chips should I use? Most say 1-2 tablespoons, but if I'm cooking a whole chicken, shouldn't it be more? How much can I use, to ensure they will last?

                                              4. How long should I cook it? 2-3 hours?

                                              Here's a decent recipe I found, but I'm pretty sure they were using an outdoor smoker. So I just wish I could find a recipe that uses an indoor smoker for a whole chicken, so I can understand what to do, and I can have realistic expectations.


                                              1. re: nuraman00

                                                If the height of the Nordic Ware is 13 inches, I think it can do a chicken standing up, on the vertical roaster, but not sure.

                                                1. re: nuraman00

                                                  Here's another smoker that looks the same, but is by a different brand, Amerihome, and $25-30 cheaper:


                                                  1. re: nuraman00

                                                    Ok, I got an email response from the Buffalo Tools AmeriHome Smoker customer representative. I can't put a chicken upright:

                                                    Do you think I should still get something like this? Would I get what I'm looking for, which is the flavor / texture of the chicken that I made using the vertical roaster, just with an added smoky flavor?



                                                    Thankfully I have one of those smokers in my house, AND, my wife just bought a 5 lb chicken. It DOES fit..not standing up..just flat, and with room to spare.

                                                    We have used this smoker many times and it works great! Just a handful of chips is all you need. Also, I would wrap the drip pan in aluminum foil to make it easier to clean.

                                                    Once you have the chips in there, and the chicken ready to go, heat the smoker until the thermostat gets to 200 degrees. Then turn down the heat so you can maintain that 200 degree temp. My wife said probably 2 hours would do it, but check it after one hour, and maybe every 15 minutes or so after that.

                                                    Does not come with wood chips, you can get small bags of chips at most grocery stores (that's where we got ours), or possibly even a hardware store. This roaster sits on your stove you turn the heat down as you would with anything. Its about 6 1/2" deep.

                                                    1. re: nuraman00

                                                      Sounds like you've done a lot of research. I don't have a stovetop smoker, so we'll rely on you to report back.

                                                      Good luck.

                                                      1. re: acgold7

                                                        Thanks for the response.

                                                        I'll let you know what I decide.

                                                        1. re: nuraman00

                                                          Just a minor update.

                                                          I'm researching the Emson 5QT pressure smoker more in depth now:


                                                          The 5QT is $179 + shipping, and the 7 QT is $300.

                                                          I've exchanged 3-4 emails with Emson USA, and the customer support representative thinks I could fit a whole chicken on a vertical roaster inside the smoker.

                                                          But I'm trying to find other opinions.

                                                          There just isn't much information out there, for doing a whole chicken, using this product, so I'm trying to find as much as possible.

                                                          I'm also confused as to why some sits list the brand as Emson, and others as Emsco.


                                                          1. re: nuraman00

                                                            Ok, after a week of deliberating, I decided to get this pressure smoker.


                                                            First I'm going to see if I can use the vertical roaster in there. If I can't fit a chicken like that in there (which I don't think I'll be able to), then I'll try smoking it for 50 mins, then finishing the chicken off in the oven using the vertical roaster to give it that light crispy skin.

                                                            I'll create a separate thread, and link to it from here, when I finally use it.

                                                            1. re: nuraman00

                                                              My experiences with the pressure smoker are in this thread:


                                                              acgold7, even though you don't have the device, perhaps you can read through it and offer some feedback / suggestions?

                            2. re: nuraman00

                              You need to brine the chicken to make it taste like rotis or Pollo Loco. That's a pretty major reason it doesn't taste the same, other than the whole using a completely different method thing....

                              Your first recipe notes that the chicken is skinned....

                              1. re: acgold7

                                Yeah, the first recipe said the chicken was skinned, but that was because of her preference. The times I've made crock pot whole chicken, I've never skinned it.

                                1. re: nuraman00

                                  "The times I've made crock pot whole chicken, I've never skinned it."

                                  Good. Keep in mind, skinning a chicken is heresy. Adding the skin of a second chicken and discarding the bald meat before cooking would be more 'houndish. If it were up to me, any post advocating taking the skin off of a chicken, or any part of it (or turkey, for that matter) would be instantly deleted. Good god, the meat of the bird is only there to spread out the skin to ensure proper browning.

                                  1. re: MGZ

                                    Except that chicken skin doesn't brown in a crock pot. It turns rubbery.

                                    1. re: chowser

                                      But it adds massively to any gravy you might want to make from the drippings. And protects the meat.

                                      1. re: chowser

                                        I do like the lemon crock pot chicken that I posted earlier. After 10 hours of it in the crockpot, the meat is very tender and it falls off the bone. It makes it even easier to eat than store-bought chicken, which can be a little tough to pull apart IMO.

                                        But, I also like other kinds of chicken too, as you can see what other type of chicken my intent was, when I created this thread.

                              2. The closest I've come to rotissere chicken at home without a rotissere is roasted in the oven on a vertical roaster which I've found gives a better skin than laying it down in a roasting pan. I also like crockpot chicken, especially if time to cook is a factor, but it is a bit different, especially the skin. I have friends that use a countertop rotisserie oven, but I can't speak from personal experience since I don't have one.

                                1. alot of grocery stores use Tyson Rotisserie chickens. they come preseasoned and raw in big boxes. like 10 in a box if i remember right. i would be suprised if costco and sams club didnt have them. just roast one of those uncovered in a 350 oven till done.