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How to Roast a Whole Chicken that turns out delicious every time. It is so simple, anyone can do it! With just 20 minutes of hands-on time (60-minutes baking time) this can be turned into other meals during the week! Video.
There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so. ~Shakespeare
Here’s a simple recipe for Whole Roast Chicken with lemon, garlic, and rosemary, baked in the oven in a skillet that turns out perfect every time. Crispy skinned, yet moist and juicy on the inside, this is one of our favorite comfort food meals! The lemon, garlic, and fragrant rosemary infuse the whole bird with deliciousness as well as all the veggies underneath! A simple tasty one-pot meal!
From start to finish it takes about 1 hour and 20 minutes, with 20 minutes of hands-on time.
If you’ve been intimidated by roasting a whole chicken, here’s your opportunity to learn something fun and new that I promise, you will use over and over again. Once you get the idea, you can use the basic recipe for your own creative flavorings!
What I love about this recipe is how the leftovers can be used for other delicious meals – or to create the most flavorful soup ever (or stock) the next day. So it’s like 2 meals in one! The meal that keeps on giving. 😉
How to Cook a Whole Chicken | 60-Sec Video
How to Roast a Whole Chicken
Step One: Preheat Oven and Prep Optional Veggies
So the recipe starts with preheating the oven to 425 F and placing the oven rack in the MIDDLE.
While the oven preheats, bring the chicken to room temp and prep any optional veggies. Feel free to skip the veggies if you like! But I love roasting a chicken over a bed of veggies that will catch all the drippings- so tasty!
Here I’ve used 3 stray carrots, a russet potato and one onion. Other root veggies would work too. You want to use veggies that can hold up to being in the hot oven for an hour. So for example, asparagus would not work here. Get it? 😉
But parsnips would, or beets, cauliflower, celery root, fennel bulb – tougher veggies! Wedges of cabbage also work great. These will cook under the chicken, catching all the flavorful drippings.
Toss the veggies with olive oil, salt, pepper, rosemary and lemon zest and create a base or platform for the chicken.
Cut a garlic head in half and lemon in half and place half of each, open side down in the pan.
Step Two: Prep the Chicken.
A NOTE ON CHICKEN: I’m using a small 4-pound organic, local free-range chicken here- and this smaller size tends to work best. Having a whole chicken is a special treat in our house- it doesn’t happen all the time, perhaps a couple of times a year, if that.
So I splurge and buy the best local organic chicken I can find. It really does make a difference. They truly do taste better, more tender, more juicy, better texture overall.
This little guy cost about $17 dollars. This may seem like a lot, but if you think about how you will get 2-3 meals out of this- for 2 people, it is actually not that bad.
Using a better quality of chicken here will truly elevate the final dish. I promise!
Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and remove any innards. Sprinkle the inside cavity with salt and pepper stuff with the other half with the lemon and head of garlic.
Add 5-7 rosemary sprigs. You can also use fresh thyme ( lemon thyme is really nice) or sage.
Most people tie the legs up together with cooking twine – and yes, of course, you can do this- this is pretty traditional. But I’ve been preferring this simpler way- letting the legs just splay open- reducing the cooking time, less fuss, and keeping the breasts from overcooking.
If you’de like to try it this way, snip the skin between hip and leg.
Or feel free to tie legs together with twine- up to you.
Season all sides of the chicken (getting all the nooks and crannies- wings, legs, neck, back) with salt and pepper and place breast side up on the veggies.
Tuck the wings under the shoulder blades or into the hip “pocket”.
Drizzle the chicken with little olive oil, brushing it over the seasoned skin.
TIP: If not using veggies, baking in a cast iron skillet will crisp up the back side- always good too!
Step Three: Bake the Chicken
Place the whole chicken in the middle of the 425F oven, rotating it halfway through if needed. A 4-pound chicken will take roughly 50-60 minutes.
If you are using a bigger chicken, then it will take longer. I usually plan on 15 mins per pound- ish (for a room temp chicken). But don’t rely on time, use a thermometer.
INTERNAL TEMPERATURE OF THIGHS AND BREASTS:
Use a kitchen thermometer, cook until chicken thighs reach 170-175 F and breasts reach 155-160 F. The nice thing about this is it will happen at roughly the same time. Meat should be opaque and juices should run clear, not pink.
Because there are veggies in the pan, it’s hard to see the juices, so I always just use a thermometer. OK? 👌
STEP FOUR: LET IT REST!
Let the chicken rest 15 minutes before cutting so the juices don’t run out of the meat. YES, This is probably the hardest part of the recipe because you will be dying to dive right into it. But letting the meat relax will help keep it juicy and moist.
STEP Five: Serve
In our house of two, this is how we like to serve it…
We’ll carve off the breasts and serve with the veggies and salad. Then while we are eating, I’ll flip the chicken over and broil it.
TIP: BROIL THE BACKSIDE!
Turn the bird over and place it back in the oven, under the broiler (still on the middle rack) to get the backsides crispy for 5-8 minutes. (Be careful not to burn!!!)
By the time Brian is ready for seconds- the legs, thigh and wings are by now, nice and crispy. To me there is nothing worse than gelatinous skin. So crisp that backside up!
And remember, even if you devour most of the chicken you can still make a good broth out of the bones and carcass. Put the whole thing in the fridge overnight.
The next day simmer it in water for a couple of hours. Let it cool, pick the meat off the bones, and save the meat if you like. Season the broth with salt and pepper and use it for soup, stock, or freeze for later. Sooooooo tasty!
Spice Variations (endless possibilities)
- Zaatar Spice
- Garam Masala
- Cajun Seasoning
- Mexican Chili Seasoning
- Ras El Hanout (Moroccan Spice)
- Berbere Spice
In addition to salt and pepper, try a spice rub. You can also make a paste- mixing spices and olive oil– and then rub this over the chicken.
How to use leftover Chicken
- Feel Better Chicken Soup
- Kale, Chickpea and Chicken Soup with Rosemary Croutons
- Tom Kha Gai (Thai Coconut Chicken Soup)
- Chicken Salad Sandwich with Tarragon
- Quinoa Chicken Salad with Chickpeas, Arugula, Tomatoes and Herbs
Let me know what you think of this different technique of not tying up the legs. I’ve come to prefer it, but curious what you think!
Hope you are having a good week.Print
Whole Roast Chicken
- Prep Time: 20
- Cook Time: 60
- Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
- Yield: 4 1x
- Category: chicken recipe,
- Method: baked, roasted
- Cuisine: northwest
- Diet: Gluten Free
A simple easy recipe for whole Roast Chicken with lemon, garlic and rosemary, baked in the oven over vegetables all in one pan. (Allow 20-mins hands-on time plus 60 minutes baking time.)
- 1 large russet potato, 1 inch cubes (no need to peel)
- 3 large carrots, 3/4 inch slices, at a diagnol (I like to peel)
- 1 large onion – cut into 1-inch wedges
- 1 lemon, zested, then cut in half
- 2–3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 whole head garlic ( or sub cloves, optional) cut in half (see photo)
- 4 lb organic chicken (whole) patted dry, innards removed.
- 10 sprigs rosemary, divided (or sub thyme, sage or lemon thyme)
- salt and pepper to taste ( 2-ish teaspoons)
Other Optional Seasonings (a little inspiration for next time!)
- Zaatar Spice
- Garam Masala
- Cajun Seasoning
- Mexican Chili Seasoning
- Ras El Hanout (Moroccan Spice)
- Berbere Spice
- Preheat oven to 425F (use the middle rack)
- Place potatoes, onions, carrots in a bowl and toss with 1 tablespoon rosemary leaves, the lemon zest, 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Place these in a large ovenproof skillet 12-15 inches wide, or braiser, shallow baking dish or rimmed sheet pan.
- Cut the garlic in half and place one half, open side down in the skillet with the veggies. Place one half of the lemon, open side down in the skillet.
- Pat the chicken dry, remove any innards. Season the insides and the backside with salt and pepper, then place breast side up on top of the veggies. Stuff the cavity (bottom) with the other garlic half, lemon half, and 6-7 rosemary sprigs. Add a sprig in the neck cavity. Cut the skin between leg and side so legs splay open. (See photo). Or feel free to tie legs up. Drizzle top of bird including legs and wings with olive oil using fingers to rub it evenly if you like. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper getting all the nooks and crannies, wings, inner and outer legs, and thighs.
- Place on the middle rack uncovered for 50-60 minutes, rotating halfway through if needed. Use a kitchen thermometer, cook until chicken thighs reach 170-175 F and breasts reach 155-160 F. The nice thing about this is it will happen at roughly the same time. Meat should be opaque and juices should run clear, not pink. If you are using a bigger chicken, then it will take longer. I usually plan 15 mins per pound- ish (for a room temp chicken). But don’t rely on time. CHECK IT!!!
- Then… LET IT REST! 15 minutes! This is probably the hardest part of the recipe because you will be dying to dive right into it. But letting the meat relax will help keep it juicy and moist.
- So in our house of two, this is how we like to serve it: We’ll carve off the breasts and serve with the veggies and salad. Then while we are eating, I’ll flip the chicken over and broil it.
- BROIL THE BACKSIDE! Turn the bird over and place it back in the oven, under the broiler (still on the middle rack) to get the backsides crispy for 4-5 minutes. (Be careful not to burn!!!)(By the time Brian is ready for seconds- the legs, thigh, and wings are by now, nice and crispy. To me, there is nothing worse than gelatinous skin. So crisp that backside up!)
TIP: You can also roast a chicken in a cast-iron skillet without veggies- the benefit of this is the backside will crisp up in the skillet. Feel free to roast veggies on the side!
OTHER SEASONINGS: If using other spices, blends or seasonings, make sure to rub chicken with a little oilve oil and salt, then rub the spices on pretty generously. The oil will help it stick. 🙂 Have fun here!
LEFTOVERS: Use any leftover meat for tacos, enchiladas, salads the next day.
***And remember, even if you devour most of the chicken you can still make a good broth out of the bones and carcass. Put the whole thing in the fridge overnight. The next day simmer it, covered in water for a couple hours. Let it cool, pick the meat off the bones, and save the meat if you like. Season the broth with salt and pepper and use it for soup, stock or freeze for later. So tasty!
- Serving Size: ¼ chicken and ¼ veggies
- Calories: 574
- Sugar: 9.2 g
- Sodium: 902.3 mg
- Fat: 15 g
- Saturated Fat: 3.3 g
- Carbohydrates: 34.7 g
- Fiber: 6 g
- Protein: 72.9 g
- Cholesterol: 270.6 mg
Keywords: roast chicken, best roast chicken, whole roast chicken, how to roast a whole chicken, roast chicken lemon, whole roasted chicken
I haven’t cooked this recipe yet. In the photo it looks like you are using a enamel covered cast iron pot like Le Creuset. I have a pot just like that but while it looks like the photo it does not quite fit your descriptors of the pot you used in the recipe. Will this recipe work with my Le Creuset dutch oven?
Hey Anita! Here I’m using what is called a braiser. Its like a dutch oven but it is shallow (3-inches tall) and wide ( 12 inches wide). A big cast iron skilled works well here too or even a roasting pan with edges. 😉
This looks delicious and surprisingly easy! I can’t wait to try it out! It’s time for me to invest in a good braiser, could you share the size of the one you used for this recipe?
I believe this one is 12 inches in diameter! You caould also use a large cast iron skillet. 🙂
I was looking for a new roasted chicken recipe and looking at the pictures, I thought it seems good so I decided to make it. It was in fact delicious ! We all loved it.
Great to hear Marie!
Delicious! My husband said this is the best roasted chicken I’ve made, and it was so simple. I had some fennel and leeks sitting in my fridge for longer than I’d like to admit. So I used those for the veggies and it was perfect. Loved the addition of the half garlic head in the pan, roasted garlic heaven! Thanks!
Great to hear Ashley! Yes a nice way to use up what you have.
This was very good and tasty. There are 3 of us and we really enjoyed it. Thank you!
This is an absolutely fabulous recipe. I have been cooking for over 40 years and have never had roasted chicken as good as this. I have been making it with various combinations of root vegetables once a week since I found it. Healthy, low FODMAP (for my daughter who has issues), and delicious. Thank you!
Awesome Kathy! That is great to hear!
Two close friends were coming to supper and all I had was a chicken. Should I do a Hyderabad curry, or barbecue with peri-peri, or Greek lemon and garlic dish? All delicious but over the years I had done them many times before. Then I hit on your recipe which elevates roast chicken into a dish fit for two valued friends. Many thanks. Oh, the veggies were particularly srcumptuous.
Great to hear Anthony!
Hi Sylvia, I’m hoping you can help me. Ever since we moved to our new house, we cannot get whole chickens to successfully cook in our oven. We have a gas oven that’s split in two — a larger compartment on bottom with a convection and a non convection setting, and a smaller top compartment that is too short to fit a chicken in. We tried this recipe today, and we had the same problem as we have had every other time — extremely uneven cooking. The outside is done, but the inside is pink. There were pooling dark red juices at the base of the bottom cavity, and when we cut into the breast, the top part was done, but the part closer to the rib cage was still pink and bloody. It finally clicked for us today that the oven is the problem, and not us, because we used to be able to successfully cook chicken most of the time in our old house. Do you have any advice for us? We really miss baked chicken, and every time we’ve tried it lately it’s just been a very frustrating experience, which is a bummer with such a homey recipe. Any advice you have would be very much appreciated!
Hi Ros, clarify, are you using convection setting? That aside, what I would try is flipping the chicken mid way through. Start with breast side down, then flip it. Now if this doesn’t work, have you ever spatchcocked a chicken? Basically cutting the backbone out and opening it like a book, turn over, flattening, then roasting skin side up. This would provide more even cooking, but more work. 🙂
Hi Sylvia, It was on the convection setting, yes. But also with this particular bird, I had thawed it in the fridge for several days, but I think the very inside was still frozen, and so that couldn’t have helped. We do seem to have the problem whether the bird is fresh or frozen, though. I’ll try both of the methods you suggest and let you know how it goes :). Thank you!
Oh- ok, that may be the issue, and makes sense that it would cook unevenly if still a bit frozen?
Yeah, unfortunately I do think that was part of the issue with this bird, but it’s happened to us every time with fresh ones too. So next time: really truly thaw the chicken, and try one of your techniques you suggest :).
If you have any thawing suggestions, I’m happy to hear them too. We seem to have trouble getting anything to thaw fully in our fridge.
Yes, it takes a really long time. In addition, you could leave it on the counter, an hour before baking? Or run cold water through the middle until thawed (obviously taking care to clean your sink after). 😉
Alright, I’m super annoyed, mostly at myself but a teensy bit at the recipe too. I’ll give 5 stars because I’ve made it before and it was truly awesome.
However, this time around I DID accidentally use baking soda instead of baking powder. Why did I do that? I’ve followed thousands of recipes in my life that used one or the other, and never made this mistake before. But none of those recipes had a little note “make sure you don’t use baking soda”, ensuring that the busy chef who’s doing a hundred other things while cooking will glance at the recipe and see the name of the ingredient they’re NOT supposed to be using. Why write a recipe this way??? 😵
Ho Sonja- so I’m guessing this intended for a different recipe (not the chicken). Please let me know which recipe and I’ll try to make it more clear. Apprecate the feedback. ❤️
This recipe always impresses. My mew go to for roasted chicken and veggies.
This made a delicious chicken. Chicken is not my favorite food, so I was going to be hard to please. I have to admit that the taste and texture of the chicken together with the “gravy” in the roasting pan from the garlic, lemon, onions, cauliflower, rosemary and carrots was a winner! I might add some white wine to the vegetables in the bottom next time. And you could vary the dish easily by choice of herbs/spices.
So easy and so delicious. I like the idea of putting it back in the oven, turned over, to brown the skin on the underside. I have always loved roasted chicken and now I can do it myself…less packaging, great flavor. thank you!
Thanks so much Mert! Glad you enjoyed!
Made this last Friday and there were happy food dances around the table. Thank you!
This was absolutely delicious!! Made it with cabbage, carrots and onions and did mashed red potatoes on the side. We only ate about half the chicken, so I made bone broth with the carcass as suggested, picked off the remaining meat and had soup the following night. Thank you for two amazing meals, Sylvia!
Came out perfect. My new go-to recipe for roasting a whole chicken. And I agree paying extra for organic here really makes a difference.
Can’t wait . I usually do a french pot , covered. Delicious as well , but like this one too.