The Best Easy Roast Chicken

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Delicious, juicy roasted whole chicken with crispy skin and perfectly tender meat, loaded with garlic, butter, and herbs. This is one simple home-cooked meal that everyone loves, and is full of comforting flavor!

picture of sliced roast chicken on a platter
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Whole Roasted Chicken

The one recipe every home cook needs to have in their back pocket is a whole roasted chicken – they are incredibly versatile, super simple, go with everything, great for a crowd or dinner party, and look impressive – without much work.

Whole roast chicken is a delicious, simple, and low carb dinner that everyone loves – and goes with just about any side dish. It’s also perfect for a dinner party where you will be making other main dishes like pork tenderloin or ribeye roast, with a down-home classic flavor everyone knows and loves. It’s great on it’s own, or with some Carrot Top Chimichurri or Roasted Tomato Marinara Sauce spooned over the top.

We’re sharing our top tips for roasting a whole chicken so you can truly make this dish your own – and customize it to your tastes and preferences. This is intentionally a super-simple recipe – we hope you will take the time to walk through our tips and FAQ’s to find out more about this simple recipe, so you feel empowered to re-create this dinner time and again, with your own twist, for your family. Making you a more confident home cook is always our goal!

Finally… if you’ve had bland chickens in the past, we’re going to try to help combat that. There are a lot of ways to improve the flavor of your chicken – using a flavor injector (click here for my favorite flavor injector), or by selecting a heritage breed chicken (look for smaller birds, organic chickens, or reach out to a local farmer near you for a better tasting bird!). You can also use the techniques we’re outlining below, like trussing the chicken, using plenty of butter (be sure to get plenty under the skin!), filling the cavity with aromatics, and cooking the chicken to 160 degrees and letting it carryover cook to 165 so it doesn’t dry out.

picture of sliced roast chicken on a platter with roasted carrots and onions

How to Roast a Whole Chicken

To roast a whole chicken, you will need the following ingredients:

  • Whole Chicken – When looking for a whole roasting chicken, you’re looking for a “broiler” or a “young fryer.” These terms are refer to chickens raise specifically for eating, rather than for their eggs. I used a young fryer for this recipe, as they’re smaller and often more tender. A young fryer is typically around 4-4.5 pounds. 
  • Butter – Butter literally makes everything better. I used butter in this recipe to add extra flavor and to help keep the chicken breasts moist. Additionally, the butter solids brown to a beautiful chestnut hue on the chicken skin and makes it deliciously crisp. 
  • Italian Seasoning herb blend – This blend of oregano, basil, thyme, rosemary, and marjoram is a staple of Italian cooking and flavors that complement chicken and beans well. 
  • Salt and Pepper – Every savory dish is accented, and improved by, fine salt and freshly cracked black pepper. I used French sea salt in this recpie, but any high quality salt will do.
  • Lemon – Lemon brings acid and a bright, fresh flavor to the rich butter and chicken flavoring. Tangy flavor greatly enhances the flavor of the chicken, and the acid helps to keep it tender and moist.
  • Garlic – Garlic brings aromatic and earthy flavors to this chicken. Roasting the chicken with the garlic helps infuse more flavor into the roasting bird.
  • Onion – Similar to the garlic, onion brings hearty sweet flavor to the to roasting process, and aromatics that flavor the chicken as it roasts. 
  • Carrots – The carrots in the roasting pan bring a sweet and savory flavors to the roasting pan. As the chicken cooks it will baste the carrots and onions in the pan with rendered fat and cooking jucies and creates a delicious sauce over the carrots. 

Once you’ve gathered your ingredients, you will use the following method:

  • Clean your chicken. Remove your chicken from the packaging and wash thoroughly with cold water. Remove the giblets from your chicken. Trim and excess fat and pat the chicken dry with paper towels. 
  • Prepare and season the chicken.  Place one quartered onion, half the garlic, and the lemon slices in the cavity of the chicken. Take your softened butter and combine with the Italian Herb Seasoning, then rub the mixture liberally under the skin of the chicken on the breasts. Liberally season the outside of the chicken with salt and pepper. Truss chicken with bakers twine (tie legs together), if desired.
  • Roast the chicken. In a roasting pan, add the remaining garlic and onions and the chopped carrots, seasoning with salt and pepper. Place the seasoned chicken on top of the vegetables in the roasting pan and place in a 400oF oven. Roast for and hour and a half, or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165oF and the skin is crispy and golden brown.
  • Rest the chicken and enjoy. When your chicken is golden brown and has reached an internal temperature of 165oF. Remove the vegetables and the chicken to a platter and lightly tent with foil. All the chicken to rest for 20-30 minutes before slicing.
picture of sliced roast chicken on a platter

Tips and Tricks to Perfect Roast Chicken

Brine before roasting. Brining poultry always adds more flavor and helps to keep chicken from drying out when roasting. To brine the chicken, use a brine like you would a turkey, for up to one day before cooking. Be sure to pat dry before adding butter.

Season well. Add lots of herbs and spices to your chicken – more than you’d think, as you’re counting on the flavor to largely infuse through the chicken skin, unless you’re injecting flavor into your chicken.

Inject. Use a flavor injector to inject melted butter with herbs and spices to keep your chicken extra moist, juicy, and bursting with flavor. Click here for my favorite flavor injector.

Baste. As your chicken cooks, it is optional (but in my mind, important), to baste your chicken for even more flavor. Basting pulls up the rendered fat from your chicken, as well as the melted butter, herbs, and liquid from the onions, carrots, lemon, and garlic in your pan, and coats your chicken in them – making sure you get even more of that amazing flavor in every bite. Basting also helps give your chicken a beautiful, rich amber color and shiny glow.

Opt for organic or local farmers. Pick chicken that is organic, without antibiotics and saline injected before sale for the freshest, most delicious and flavorful chicken. We often opt for smaller birds from local farms nearby instead of large factory-bred chickens when possible for a more intense flavor. If you think chicken all has a bland flavor, you might need to find a different source for your chicken!

Butter under chicken skin. Always lift up chicken skin and generously butter under it for the most delicious crispy chicken skin that is crunchy and crackles! This step only takes a few moments and makes a huge impact to your chicken’s flavor.

Check for giblets. Always check the chickens cavity for the giblet packet and remove before roasting, as it is almost always packed in plastic.

Stuff the cavity. While the chicken’s cavity is not edible, it does provide a great way to add extra flavor by loading it up with aromatics – stuff with sliced lemons, onions, garlic, fresh herbs, and let them infuse your chicken with even more flavor as it cooks.

Try different herbs. This recipe is meant to be a jumping off point – you can customize it all you want! Try our Easy Whole Roasted Montreal Chicken and Dutch Oven Grecian Chicken for different takes on this knockout recipe.

picture of whole roast chicken on a platter with carrots and onions

FAQs

What is trussing a chicken?

Trussing a chicken means making sure the chicken’s legs and wings are secured to the chicken as it cooks, usually meaning tying the chicken’s legs together during cooking to keep the chicken’s shape while cooking and to keep it compact.

Do I have to truss the chicken?

While trussing a chicken does help to keep the chicken compact during cooking, which can help promote even cooking and a better appearance, this is considered an optional step and isn’t strictly necessary. If you don’t have baker’s twine, or another way to tie the chickens legs together, don’t worry about it.

I don’t have bakers twine – what can I use to truss a chicken?

If you’re out of bakers twine and desperate to truss your chicken, don’t use any old string (did Bridget Jones’ blue soup teach us nothing?) – only food-safe items should be used when cooking. Instead, grab a long branch of rosemary or thyme and loop it around the chicken legs, making a figure 8, then tuck the ends into themselves to secure.

When is a whole roasted chicken done?

Using a rapid-read digital meat thermometer (I love the thermoworks thermometers), probe the thickest part of both the chicken’s breast and thigh. When both have reached 160 degrees Fahrenheit, the chicken can be removed from the oven to carryover cook the final 5 degrees to 165F.

What temperature should I cook roast chicken to?

Chicken is safe to eat at 165 degrees F.
Chicken will carryover cook 5 degrees after removal from the oven, so you want to get your chicken to 160 degrees in the oven, and then let it rest for at least 20 minutes before carving to fully cook.

What temperature do I roast chicken at?

Roast chicken should be cooked at 400 degrees F. Roast chicken should be cooked quickly so the meat doesn’t dry out and the skin crisps up beautifully, so we will use a higher heat.

My chicken skin is getting really dark, should I cover it?

If your chicken skin is getting very brown, but the meat is not done cooking, cover it with foil.

Should I baste roast chicken?

Basting chicken adds more flavor, color, and shine to your chicken – giving it a knockout appearance and irresistible taste.

Should I wash my chicken?

picture of sliced roast chicken on a platter with carrots and onions

What to Serve With Roast Chicken

Roast chicken is a great dish that goes with just about anything – it is the perfect meal for so many beautiful side dishes!

We love serving roast chicken with a Red Pepper Zucchini Farro Salad, our deliciously impressive Pesto Stuffed Burrata, some simple Garlic Butter Roasted Potatoes that can share the oven alongside your chicken – or a German Potato Salad!

For more of our favorite side dishes, check out our recent favorites:

The Best Easy Roast Chicken Recipe

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The Best Easy Roast Chicken

Delicious moist roast chicken is covered in herb infused butter on a delicious bed of roast vegetables.
Course Chicken
Cuisine American
Keyword chicken, keto, main dish, meat, poultry, roast chicken, roasting, whole chicken
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 171kcal
Author Courtney O’Dell

Ingredients

  • 1 roaster chicken
  • ½ cup butter softened
  • 2 tablespoons Italian Seasoning herb blend
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 lemon sliced
  • 1 head garlic
  • 1 onion
  • 3 carrots

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Remove your chicken from the packaging and wash thoroughly with cold water. 
  • Optional: brine chicken at this point for a day ahead of time for the best flavor.
  • Remove the giblets from your chicken. Trim and excess fat and pat the chicken dry with paper towels. 
  • Place one quartered onion, half the garlic, and the lemon slices in the cavity of the chicken. 
  • Take softened butter and combine with the Italian Herb Seasoning, then rub the mixture liberally under the skin of the chicken on the breasts.
  • Liberally season the outside of the chicken with salt and pepper. Truss chicken with bakers twine (tie legs together), if desired.
  • In a roasting pan, add the remaining garlic and onions and the chopped carrots, seasoning with salt and pepper.
  • Place the seasoned chicken on top of the vegetables in the roasting pan and place in a 400oF oven.
  • Roast for and hour and a half, or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165oF and the skin is crispy and golden brown. Baste frequently as it cooks (optional, for more flavor and golden skin) if desired.

Notes

If chicken skin is getting too brown in one spot, you can cover that part with foil. Skin will look dark brown – that does not indicate burning unless it is black and smells acrid – it is just a dark caramel color!

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 171kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 54mg | Sodium: 183mg | Fiber: 1g

About Courtney

Courtney loves to share great wine, good food, and loves to explore far flung places- all while masting an everyday elegant and easy style at lifestyle blog Sweet C’s Designs. Sweet C's devoted to finding the best food and drinks you'll want to make or find, around the world!

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