How to cook a whole chicken… without oven roasting it

Because there's more than one way to cook a chicken

20 May 2020

So, you’ve bought a whole chicken. What do you do with it? If your first thought is: roast in in the oven – we don’t blame you. Juicy breast, crispy skin and all the trimmings? We’re on board.

But did you know that there are other ways to cook a chicken which are quicker, just as tasty and will save you a whole load of gas? Plus, you won’t have to attack a roasting tin with a scouring pad after?

All ears? Give these a try…


Pressure cooker style

If you’re after fall-off-the-bone tender chicken without the wait, pressure cooking is a useful hack. You can either use the pressure cooker setting on a multicooker or just use a standard pressure cooker.

All you have to do is add your seasoning and herbs straight to the chicken, then brown off the outside of the chicken for 5 minutes. Finally, pop it in your pressure cooker on a high setting for 25 minutes. Then allow the chicken to sit for 5-10 minutes before serving. Quick and easy!


Cooked in broth – Chinese style

Whether you’re using a pan on a hob, a multicooker or a slow cooker, the principle here is much the same. Cover your whole chicken with water. For Chinese flavour, throw in soy sauce, cinnamon, star anise, cloves and ground ginger.

Bring the contents to a boil and then allow to simmer for 30 minutes. At that point, you should turn the chicken over and simmer for another 30 minutes.

Serve with whatever takes your fancy. Chopped spring onions make a great garnish. Want a quick and easy dipping sauce? Mix some shredded ginger with two spring onions, salt and pepper and two tablespoons of peanut or groundnut oil. And that’s it!

chicken in broth

Straight into a combination microwave

Yes, it is possible to cook a whole chicken in a microwave. And no, it won’t blow up. If you’ve not tried a combi microwave, you’re missing a trick.

Just mix up your blend of herbs and spices (try Indian spices) and paint on your chicken. Then add it to a suitable dish on top of whatever veg you’d like on the side. Most combi microwaves will have a whole chicken setting – so the only thing you’ll need to know is the weight.

In an hour or less, you’ll have beautifully cooked chicken. Easy!

But even if you’re after the traditional Sunday roast classic, there’s no need to use an oven…


Slow cooker roast chicken

This is a great way to create juicy flavoursome chicken. No worries about drying out. Your chicken can go straight into the slow cooker without the constant need to baste it.

You’ll just need your bird, carrots and onion and boiling water. A bay leaf and some herbs will infuse some great flavours too. Put it on a low setting for five hours and then high for another half an hour. At the end of cooking, you’ll have a chicken ready to eat - with gravy to boot!

The great thing about this method is that it uses way less energy that an oven. Plus, you only have the slow cooker bowl to clean. And that can go straight into the dishwasher. Easy!

Tip: Once you’ve eaten all the delicious bits, you can put the bones and leftovers back into the slow cooker and make stock for other recipes.

slow cooker roast

Multicooker roast chicken

Easiest of all is the multicooker roast chicken. Season a chicken the way you like it (lemon, garlic, thyme and rosemary for us) and pressure cook then air fry to perfection. About 15 minutes each.

At the bottom of the air fryer, you should find the juices collected in a bowl. Add some water, stock, flour and seasoning and you’ve got the makings of a great gravy.

Tip: Between pressure cooking and air frying, apply some oil and salt if you like the skin crispy.


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