Depending on how much you like garlic, you might not want to come anywhere near me today. Yesterday, I made Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic in the slow cooker. It was so good. My 11-year-old called it the most awesome chicken he had ever eaten. It’s the most flavorful, moist, whole chicken I’ve ever cooked in a slow cooker. You would think the garlic flavor would be overpowering, but it’s not. The garlic turns sweet and mellow when it's cooked that long.

The traditional recipe for Chicken with 40 Cloves Garlic isn’t done in the slow cooker with a whole chicken. It’s done with chicken pieces in the oven, but I had seen several slow cooker versions and thought I’d give it a try. I’m planning on trying the oven version sometime soon, and I’ll let you know how the two compare.

In addition to the chicken being really good, I was able to make great gravy (no easy feat for me) from the juice left behind in the slow cooker. After I removed the chicken, celery and garlic from the juices, I smashed five pieces of the garlic into a paste and added it to the juices before adding some cornstarch that had been dissolved in cold water. You know how you usually need to add salt to gravy to get the right flavor? I didn’t need to add any additional salt to this gravy. In fact, the entire recipe only calls for one teaspoon of salt.

I got the basics for this recipe from the free Crock Pot app for my iPhone, but I’ve seen the same version on several websites. I only had fresh parsley on hand, so I used dried thyme, rosemary and sage. The house smelled so good the last couple of hours of cooking, and this chicken was perfect on a cold winter night.


  • One whole chicken (I used a 7 1/2 pound chicken) — and no need to rinse it
  • 2 stalks of celery, chopped into large pieces
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme (or 3/4 teaspoon dried, divided)
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary (or 3/4 teaspoon dried, divided)
  • 2 sprigs fresh sage (or 3/4 teaspoon dried, divided)
  • 2 springs fresh Italian parsley (or 3/4 teaspoon dried, divided)
  • 40 cloves garlic (various versions say to use peeled or unpeeled garlic — I used peeled garlic from a jar)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 loaf of French bread (optional)


  1. Place 1 sprig of each of the herbs and 10 garlic cloves inside the cavity of the chicken (or, if using dried herbs, place 1/4 teaspoon of each inside the cavity).
  2. Put celery on the bottom of slow cooker. Place chicken on top.
  3. Add remaining garlic around the chicken and chop the remaining herbs and sprinkle on top of the chicken.
  4. Cover and cook on high 4-6 hours (it took my 7 1/2 pound chicken just about 6 hours to cook completely; smaller chickens will take less time) or on low 8-10 hours.
  5. When done, use garlic to flavor gravy and/or spread on slices of French bread with a knife.

My notes

  • The garlic spread on the bread is so good. I had to limit myself to two thin slices with garlic spread on them, but I could have eaten an entire loaf of bread like that. (In fact, I think my 11-year-old ate half the loaf.)
  • I’ve got a ton of leftovers. I think they’ll be perfect in a pot pie and even in chicken salad.
  • I purposely did not make mashed potatoes with this because I'm trying to lose weight and mashed potatoes with gravy are a particular weakness, but mashed potatoes would have been perfect with this chicken.

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

Recipe: Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic in the slow cooker
A whole chicken cooks all day with more garlic than you think should be allowed, but it’s so worth it.