How To Roast a Whole Chicken in the Oven – Easy Recipe

Roasting a whole chicken is one of the most versatile meats to have on hand. Have you ever brought home a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store and used it for multiple recipes throughout the week?

I have and although this is not cooked on a rotisserie, the results are very similar.

The best part is that when you make it at home, you have control over the ingredients that are used and you avoid eating a chicken that has been cooked and then placed directly into a plastic bag/container hot!

I love cooking this roast chicken at the beginning of the week and using it for easy weeknight dinners and honestly, it’s so easy to do!

This whole roast chicken comes out perfect every time and can be used with a convection oven or a conventional oven.

We start with a high heat that will help us get a perfect roast chicken with crispy skin then lower the temperature to get juicy meat and delicious pan juices that can be used to make homemade chicken stock.

Easy Roast Chicken Recipe

To start you will need a whole raw chicken. You can find whole chickens at most grocery stores and butcher shops. I always recommend free-range, antibiotic-free meats. Yes, it costs a bit more, but isn’t it worth it in the long run?

If your chicken is frozen, thaw it in the fridge for a day or two. Once thawed, leave it on the counter for about an hour before cooking. You can cook cold meat, but room temperature chicken will cook more evenly which is what we want since we’re cooking the whole bird.

Remove any giblets from the cavity of the chicken. There will typically be a liver and sometimes a heart or kidneys. These are delicious and super healthy so don’t throw them out!

If you don’t want to eat them, save them to use for bone broth as they’ll give extra nutrients or give them to your dogs.

Preheat the oven to 450°F

Pat the chicken dry with some paper towels and using your hands or a spoon, separate the skin from the breast taking care not to tear the skin.

Melt 3 tbsp of unsalted butter in a small bowl and add kosher salt, black pepper, minced garlic cloves, and fresh thyme leaves to the butter. You can also use fresh rosemary or any other fresh herbs you love. You could also add some onion powder to your mix.

Spread the herb butter under the skin of the chicken and on the outside as well.

We’re not using a dry rub for this chicken because we want our chicken to get golden brown. The butter will help achieve the beautiful golden skin we all love. 

Roast a whole chicken

Place the chicken in a dutch oven or roasting pan. You can also use a cast iron skillet that has high sides.  

Tie the legs together with butcher’s twine, this will help the meat cook evenly and keep the leg meat from drying out. No one likes dry chicken!

Cut your favorite veggies to add around the chicken. I love using carrots, onion, and whole garlic.

Place the onion and the garlic in the cavity of the chicken and around the chicken. You can add some potatoes or any other root vegetables to this. They will roast well with the chicken.

Cut a lemon in half and squeeze lemon juice over the chicken and the veggies. Place the lemon in the cavity as well.

Top off the chicken with additional salt and pepper and a drizzle of olive oil. 

Place the chicken uncovered in the oven to bake for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes lower the oven temperature to 350°F and let the chicken cook for an hour and a half to two hours.

The cooking time will vary depending on the size of your chicken.  

The general rule of thumb is the internal temperature of the chicken needs to be 165°F.

The best way to check the internal temperature is to use an instant-read thermometer. Place the thermometer in the thickest part of the chicken which is usually the thickest part of the breast.

I also like to check the thickest part of the thigh but keep in mind that dark meat can take more heat than white meat like chicken breasts. 

If the skin is getting too brown, cover the chicken so the skin doesn’t burn. I recommend using a lid that fits your dutch oven or roasting pan.  I stay away from aluminum foil because it’s only “safe” to use up to 400°F.  

Once the chicken is done, remove it from the oven and let the chicken rest for 10 minutes.

Carefully place the chicken on a cutting board, cut, and serve. Remember to save the juice at the bottom of the pan! Use this to make gravy!

Store leftovers in an airtight container and use within a week. 

How to use leftover roasted chicken

You will be so happy you have leftover roast chicken on a busy day when you don’t have time to cook! 

Simply warm some chicken on a pan over medium heat with some broth and serve with leftover mashed potatoes or use it in sandwiches.

You can also use leftover chicken in casseroles, soups, tacos, enchiladas, nachos, or anything you can dream up!

Make sure to save the bones to make bone broth! Simply place the bones, skin, fat, etc. in a stock pot. Cover with water and bring to a boil. When the water boils, reduce heat and let simmer for a minimum of 6 hours. I usually start this first thing in the morning and let it simmer for 8+ hours.

You can add whole black peppercorns, salt, garlic cloves, onion, whole ginger, onion skins, and garlic skins to the broth to add more flavor, but you don’t have to.

When it’s done, strain the liquid and store in glass jars. If you aren’t going to use the broth within a week, place the broth into ice trays and freeze.

Bone broth becomes very gelatinous once cooled. This is a sign that you have made a very nutritious broth that is full of collagen! It will liquify again once heated.

You will also notice a layer of fat that has formed at the top of the jar. This is healthy and can be used to make gravy or use it in place of oil for frying.

Easy Roast Chicken Recipe

Recipe by Whitney – Willowbottom
Prep time

10

minutes
Cooking time

1

hour 

30

minutes

Ingredients

  • Whole Chicken (5lbs)

  • Half an onion (roughly chopped)

  • 1 large carrot (roughly chopped)

  • 1 lemon

  • 4 cloves garlic

  • 3 Tbsp butter (melted)

  • Fresh thyme

  • Salt & Pepper

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 450°F
  • Pat the chicken dry and using your hands, separate the skin from the breast
  • Roughly chop the vegetables and melt the butter.
  • Add salt, pepper, 2 cloves of minced garlic, and thyme to the butter and spread the butter over the chicken, making sure to get it up under the skin.
  • Place garlic and onions inside the chicken and squeeze the lemon over the chicken. Place the lemon inside the chicken as well.
  • Place the chicken into a dutch oven or a roasting pan and tie the legs together using kitchen twine. Add additional vegetables around the chicken and sprinkle with salt and pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.
  • Place the chicken in the oven uncovered, and bake for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, lower the oven to 350°F and cook for an hour and a half to two hours or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F
  • Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes out of the oven, then transfer to a cutting board.
  • Serve with mashed potatoes, pan gravy, and homemade bread!

Recipe Video

Notes

  • Don’t throw out the skin and bones! Place them into a stock pot with enough water to cover and simmer on low for 4 – 6 hours to make a nutritious bone broth! Strain and enjoy!

Whitney Stokes

Whitney is a naturalist who started Willowbottom.com in 2018 to encourage natural and sustainable living.

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