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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.
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
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
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!)
- 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
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