How to Cook Chicken So It Is Tender & Falling Off of the Bone

A skillet with chicken and vegetables.
Image Credit: minadezhda/iStock/Getty Images

Making succulent, fall-off-the-bone chicken requires neither formal cooking experience nor a lot of time in the kitchen. Two methods for such preparation include using a slow cooker or oven cooking bags. The slow cooker simmers the chicken for hours while you just walk away and do your thing. Oven cooking bags act as mini steamers that work in your conventional oven. Whichever way you end up choosing, you'll enjoy truly tender chicken with limited work and hassle.


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Slow Cooker Method

Step 1

Rinse the chicken in the sink. Cut the whole chicken into pieces with kitchen shears, but only if your slow cooker isn't large enough. If it your slow cooker is big, simply rinse the bird in the sink in preparation for cooking.


Step 2

Prepare any other ingredients such as vegetables and potatoes that you want to add by rinsing and slicing to desired size. Place harder vegetables, like potatoes and carrots, in the bottom of the cooker.

Step 3

Place the chicken in the cooker atop the vegetables.


Step 4

Add water as specified by the recipe or your slow cooker's manual. Frying chickens contain plenty of fat and juice, so keep and eye on the level of water added. Fill with just enough water to cover the vegetables at the bottom or, about a quarter of the chicken. Be sure to add liquid in the beginning because opening a slow cooker's lid releases a lot of heat. However, if you need to add liquid later its not the end of the world.


Step 5

Set the temperature. Most slow cookers have two settings; low and high. Following the recipe's instructions is usually your best bet.

Step 6

Wait for your meal to cook. Slow cookers take anywhere from 4 to 12 hours to cook a dish, depending on the recipe and the heat setting. If using a high setting, check for doneness after 4 hours. If using a low setting, check at the 8-hour mark.

Step 7

Test for doneness by gently attempting to separate a chicken leg from the breast. If the meat falls away from the bone easily, your meal is ready.

Oven Cooking Bags

Step 1

Set oven temperature to 350 F to preheat it.

Step 2

Add flour to an oven cooking bag. Slice a medium size onion and two celery stalks. Place them at the base of the bag.

Step 3

Put the chicken inside the bag so that it rests atop the vegetables and close the bag with the ties included with the purchased cooking bag.

Step 4

Take a knife and create a half dozen slits in the bag above the chicken. This allows steam to escape. Place the filled cooking bag in a roasting pan and place in the oven.

Step 5

Cook the chicken and monitor the temperature with a meat thermometer. Use the slits at the top of the bag to insert the thermometer. Chicken is done when it achieves a temp of 180 F, or when the leg meat separates from the bone with the slightest touch of the fork.

Things You'll Need

  • Knife

  • Kitchen shears (optional, if necessary)

  • Vegetables

  • Whole frying chicken

  • Slow cooker

  • Water

  • Oven cooking bag

  • Baking vessel

  • Meat thermometer


For even more tender chicken, choose to marinate for 30 minutes before adding to the slow cooker or bag.


Remember, opening the lid of a slow cooker during cooking will release much heat which will be time-consuming for the pot to recover.

In a slow cooker, the chicken will often literally fall off the bone. Pay close attention and remove the chicken before bones begin to float away to the bottom of the cooker to prevent a choking hazard.