Learn how to make the perfect whole roasted chicken with a few classic ingredients. This recipe is super flavorful on it's own, or can be customized with your favorite dry spice rub, marinade or roasted veggies.
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Once you've mastered the art of roasting a whole chicken, it's a dish that never disappoints.
With classic ingredients like butter, garlic, lemon and herbs, it's a 100% fool-proof recipe, that's guaranteed to be delicious, every time.
Here's what you need for this recipe:
- whole chicken
- olive oil
- butter, softened to room temperature
- lemon, sliced into quarters
- herbs (rosemary, sage, cilantro, oregano, etc.)
- garlic, cut in half
See recipe card for quantities.
Prep the chicken. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Place in a dutch oven and rub generously with salt before coating well with butter and then olive oil.
Hint: Make sure to cover the chicken completely with both salt and oil, including under the skin above the breast area and inside the cavity.
Stuff & bake. Season with pepper and squeeze one of the lemon quarters over the chicken. Stuff the cavity with lemon quarters, herbs and garlic before wrapping the legs with twine to help them cook evenly. Bake in the center of a dutch oven or cast iron pan for 60-90 minutes or until the chicken reaches 165 degrees F / 74 degrees C.
Rest. Let the chicken rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing and serving with lemon wedges, fresh herbs and lots of flaky salt.
Cooking Times & Temperatures
Cook time - this will depend on the weight and size of your chicken, but it will fall somewhere between 60-90 minutes.
Temperature - cooking the chicken at 400 degrees F / 204 degrees C is the best temperature to get nice crispy skin and super juicy meat. It's time to pull your bird out of the oven when it reads 165 degrees F / 74 degrees C or until the juices run clear.
Here are my top tips for making the perfect whole roasted chicken:
- Pat the chicken dry with paper towels before marinating for super crispy skin.
- Season with salt, butter & oil all over the bird, inside the carcass, and under the skin above the breasts.
- Stuff inside the carcass with herbs, garlic, and lemon for super flavorful meat, all around.
- Tie the drumsticks together to help the meat cook evenly throughout the bird.
One of the best parts about this recipe is you can easily add your favorite veggies under the chicken before roasting to make it a meal.
These are the most popular vegetables to nestle under your chicken before roasting:
- Baby or fingerling potatoes
- Roughly chopped celery and carrots
- Pearl onions with root veggies
Marinades & Dry Rubs
Here are some of my favorite marinades and dry rubs you can use if you're wanting to take your chicken to the next level:
- Harissa - a few teaspoons of this spicy Moroccan hot sauce makes a delicious entree.
- Chermoula - this classic Moroccan marinade is perfect for chicken.
- Ras el Hanout - try a few teaspoons of this North African dry rub in addition to the salt and pepper for some added spice.
- Sazon Seasoning - this popular Puerto Rican spice mix sings when used with chicken.
- Adobo Seasoning - check out this more neutral but delicious spice blend of alliums and peppers for a tasty addition to your whole roasted chicken.
Some notes on the equipment used in this recipe:
- Paper towels - patting the bird dry with paper towels really helps in achieving that crispy skin we all know and love.
- Twine - this helps to hold the drumsticks together and keep the meat cooking evenly.
- Meat thermometer - essential in making sure the chicken is cooked through.
Storage & Ideas for Leftovers
One of the best parts about roasting a whole chicken is the leftovers! The meat itself makes excellent sandwiches, works as a topping for pizza, filling in empanadillas, or even as a snack.
As for the carcass and bones, add 4-5 cups of water to a stock pot with it and simmer for 4+ hours with a splash of apple cider vinegar for the most flavorful chicken broth you've ever had.
What to Serve with Roasted Chicken
These are some of my favorite sides and salads to enjoy with a roasted chicken:
- Lemon Pepper Fries
- Tomato Salad
- Pan de Agua
- Cucumber Salad
- Lentil Salad
- Plantain Fries
- Eggplant Salad
- Arroz con Gandules (Puerto Rican Rice & Beans)