How to make succulent whole roasted chicken that’s bronzed, crispy, and full of flavor! I’m sharing my easy method for roasted chicken with butter, garlic, and herbs, perfect for weekend or weeknight dinners.
Perfect Whole Roasted Chicken Recipe
When it comes to cozy Sunday dinners, I love roasting chicken. Served with a side of veggies and mash, a Whole Roasted Chicken is like Thanksgiving Lite. If you’ve never cooked a whole chicken before, though, the prospect can be intimidating. But never fear, folks. With just a handful of ingredients, you can roast a chicken to bronzed, crisp, seasoned, and succulent perfection in the oven. My secret? Butter. Lots of it, with garlic and a few simple herbs. You’ll be blown away by your own culinary skills!
Why You’ll Love This Roasted Chicken Recipe
- Fancy without trying. Sure, we love everyday recipes like oven baked chicken breasts. But a whole baked chicken, smothered in herbs and drenched in drippings? Total comfort food. And the best part is how little effort it takes.
- Perfect for any occasion. Serve this juicy roasted chicken for your next family dinner, or carve it up as an alternative to your holiday turkey.
- Great for leftovers. A whole roast chicken is one of the most versatile recipes there is. Use leftovers in soups, salads, sandwiches, and more.
Here’s a short overview of what you’ll need to make this simple oven-roasted chicken. Be sure to scroll to the recipe card below the post for exact measurements.
- Whole Chicken – I usually go for a 3-4 pound chicken. You can opt for a larger or smaller bird, but you may need to adjust the cooking time.
- Garlic – You’ll rub freshly minced garlic over the chicken with melted butter. Save a handful of whole garlic cloves to stuff inside the chicken cavity.
- Dried Basil
- Dried Thyme
- Lemon Pepper Seasoning – I love the zesty flavor that comes with lemon pepper, but you can also use plain ol’ black pepper.
- Lemon Slices and Fresh Rosemary – For stuffing the chicken, along with peeled garlic cloves.
How to Cook a Whole Chicken
So, what’s the secret to a perfect roasted chicken? Low and slow is the way to go. Let’s walk through how to prep and roast a chicken that cooks up browned, juicy, and flavorful, with a crispy crust.
- Prep the chicken. Take the giblets out of the chicken’s cavity, and pat the outside of the chicken dry with a paper towel.
- Season the chicken. Place the chicken onto a roasting pan with a rack. Rub the bird all over with melted butter and minced garlic. Follow this up with a seasoning blend of salt, basil, thyme, and lemon pepper. Make sure that you rub the seasoning into all the nooks and crannies.
- Fill the cavity. Next, stuff the chicken cavity with lemon quarters, fresh rosemary sprigs, and garlic cloves. Don’t overfill the chicken, as this can lead to uneven cooking.
- Truss the chicken. Use kitchen twine to tie the legs of the chicken together, and tuck the chicken wings under the body. Your whole chicken is set for roasting!
- Roast. Place the prepared chicken into the oven at 450ºF. After 10 minutes, lower the temperature to 350ºF. Roast the chicken for another hour or so, until cooked through. Take the chicken out and baste in the leftover drippings before letting it rest for a bit, then carve and serve!
How Long to Roast a Chicken
The exact roasting time will depend on the size of your chicken as well as your oven. In general, a 3-4 pound chicken should roast for about 1 to 1 ½ hours at 350ºF. I recommend checking your chicken for doneness at the 1-hour mark. Chicken is done when the internal temperature reaches 165ºF on an instant-read thermometer. You’ll notice that the skin will also be crisp and golden, and the juices will run clear.
Tips for Roasting a Whole Chicken
Cooking a whole chicken isn’t hard, but a few key things can make all the difference. Here are my pro tips for a perfect roast chicken:
- Take the chicken out of the fridge ahead of time. To ensure that your chicken cooks evenly, I recommend taking the bird out of the fridge about 30 minutes ahead of roasting.
- Save the giblets. Most whole chickens that you find in stores have a small packet of giblets tucked inside the chicken’s cavity. These are the “extras”: the heart, gizzard, liver, and another organ or two. You won’t need them for this recipe, but giblets are edible. You can use them to flavor recipes like soups and homemade chicken stock.
- Get the chicken coated with butter. Fat equals flavor, people! The look we’re going for is “bronzed goddess”. So, make sure that you slather the chicken well with melted butter so that it cooks up juicy and golden. You can even get under the skin.
- If you’re pressed for time, you can skip stuffing the chicken with aromatics (lemon, rosemary, garlic). This lets the hot air circulate inside the chicken so that it roasts more quickly.
- Check the temperature. I’ve found that the best way to avoid overcooking a roast chicken is to check the internal temperature. Use a thermometer stuck into the thickest part of the meat, in this case, the breast, to check that the temperature is 165ºF.
- Let the chicken rest after roasting. Make sure to baste the chicken and leave it to rest for about 15 minutes once it’s out of the oven. This allows all the juices inside the chicken to be redistributed.
Not for this recipe. Roasting a whole chicken uncovered allows the skin to crisp up to a gorgeous golden brown. If you notice that your chicken is browning too fast, however, you can tent the pan with foil.
I like to start off with a hot, quick roast at 450ºF, and then turn the oven down to 350ºF after 10 minutes to continue cooking until the chicken is done.
The key to succulent roasted chicken is salt! After patting the chicken dry, coating the outside and inside of the chicken with a generous seasoning of salt helps to keep the meat moist and full of flavor, while crisping up the chicken skin.
What to Serve With Chicken
Name a better centerpiece for a meal than a golden whole roast chicken. So comforting! Here are some of my favorite side dishes:
- Potatoes. I’m a sucker for mashed potatoes, and they’re high on my list of side dishes! For a low-carb option, try creamy mashed cauliflower.
- Vegetables. While the oven is hot for roasting, cook up a side of oven roasted brussel sprouts or oven roasted asparagus. You can even roast vegetables in the same pan as the chicken, just keep an eye so that they don’t overcook. Or make steamed lemon butter green beans.
- Rice. Serve chicken with a side of flavorful one-pot mushroom rice or garlic butter cauliflower rice.
- Salad. Add some color to the plate with a side of heirloom tomato salad or this Brussels sprouts salad with apples and walnuts.
- Stuffing. Why wait until Thanksgiving to indulge in a side of traditional homemade stuffing? I also love chicken with the flavors of this easy apple stuffing.
- Gravy. Make a variation of my turkey gravy recipe using the pan drippings from this roasted chicken instead.
More Ways to Use Roasted Chicken
Looking for more ways to use your roast chicken? There are so many ways to include tender chicken in all sorts of recipes. Try these ideas:
- Sandwiches. We love having leftover roast chicken between whole wheat bread for healthy chicken sandwiches. You can also shred leftover chicken to make a classic chicken salad.
- Salads. Chop up roasted chicken to toss over your favorite greens. Use it in a homemade Cobb salad or add it to a lemon kale Caesar salad.
- Soup. Stir chopped or shredded chicken into chicken noodle soup or creamy crack chicken soup.
Storing and Reheating Leftovers
- Fridge. Carve the chicken and transfer the meat to an airtight container. Refrigerate leftover chicken for up to 4 days. To reheat, warm the chicken in the microwave or in the oven at 350ºF until hot throughout. Leftover chicken is wonderful in soups, salads, sandwiches, and more.
- Freezer. Roasted chicken freezes well. After the chicken is carved and completely cool, store the pieces airtight and freeze the chicken for up to 3-4 months. Defrost the chicken in the fridge overnight before reheating.
More Easy Chicken Recipes
- Roasted Spatchcock Chicken with Vegetables
- Maple Butter Whole Roasted Chicken
- Juicy Oven Baked Chicken Breasts
- Classic Baked Chicken Pieces
Roast Chicken Recipe
- 3 to 4 pound whole broiler-fryer chicken
- 3 tablespoons butter, melted
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- ¾ teaspoon salt, or to taste
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- ¼ teaspoon lemon pepper seasoning, or you can also use fresh ground black pepper
- 1 lemon, quartered
- 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled
- Preheat oven to 450˚F.
- Remove giblets from inside of the chicken’s cavity.
- Thoroughly dry the chicken with paper towels.
- Place chicken, breast side UP, on a rack set over a shallow roasting pan or jelly roll pan.
- Brush the chicken with the melted butter.
- Sprinkle or rub minced garlic all over the chicken.
- In a small bowl, combine salt, basil, thyme, and lemon pepper; rub onto the chicken.
- Add some salt to the inside of the cavity and fill the cavity with lemon slices, rosemary, and garlic cloves.
- Tie the legs together with kitchen twine, and tuck the wings under the body of the chicken.
- Roast, uncovered, for 10 minutes.
- Reduce oven temperature to 350˚F and continue to cook until done, about 1 more hour and 10 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165˚F.
- Remove from oven and baste the chicken with the juices.
- Let rest for about 15 minutes before cutting and serving.
- Cooking Temperature: You can roast a chicken at any temperature; however, in my opinion, it’s best to preheat the oven to 450˚F, roast the chicken for ten minutes at that temperature, and then reduce the oven temperature to 350˚F. In all my testing, I found this was the best method for crispy skin but tender and juicy meat.
- Instant Read Meat Thermometer: To avoid dry chicken, use this critical tool. Chicken is done cooking when the internal temperature registers at 165˚F.
Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.