Perfectly Roasted Chicken

This is my favorite oven roasted whole chicken recipe. We use a few simple tricks to guarantee our roast chicken is tender and juicy inside with beautiful golden brown skin.

Easy Whole Roasted Chicken Recipe Video

This roasted chicken recipe comes from my Mom. It’s super easy and results in the most delicious, tender chicken.

My family usually serves this chicken with mashed potatoes, homemade gravy, and roasted carrots, but I’ve shared more serving suggestions below.

Whole roasted chicken with golden brown skin

Key Ingredients

  • Whole chicken: I like roasting chickens that are around 5 pounds. No worries if your chicken is smaller. Your roasting time will be less.
  • Salt and pepper: I’m generous with the salt and pepper. For the best roast chicken, season inside the cavity and the outside of the chicken.
  • Onion: For the juiciest meat, roast your chicken on a bed of sliced onion and a bit of liquid (water is fine, or use chicken broth). We can also turn the juices left at the bottom of the baking into a delicious gravy.
  • Optional aromatics: For even more flavor, stuff the cavity of your chicken with lemon wedges, a head of garlic cut in half, and fresh herbs like thyme or rosemary.

How to Roast Chicken

Roasting a whole chicken is easy. You can use any oven-safe pan for this roast chicken recipe. I’ve used a large baking dish in the photos, but a roasting pan (with or without a rack), large cast iron pan, or even a rimmed baking sheet work.

To roast chicken, pat it dry all over and generously season it with salt and pepper. Sprinkle salt inside the cavity and all over the skin. I don’t use butter or oil for this recipe. I roast my chicken dry and spoon some of the fat that renders over the chicken throughout the cooking process.

Seasoning whole chicken and trussing the legs in preparation for roast chicken

If you’re using them, stuff a few aromatics into the chicken cavity. I love lemon, garlic, and herbs. As the chicken roasts, the aromatics steam inside, helping to keep the meat juicy and flavoring it. I also use a little butcher’s twine to tie the legs together (not required, but makes things a bit more tidy).

Place the chicken, breast-side facing up, on a bed of sliced onions. Pour a little water into the pan, and then roast (see tips below for the best oven temperature to use).

The Best Oven Temperature for Roast Chicken

The best temperature for roasting chicken depends on what you are looking for. Higher oven temperatures help with more crispy, golden-brown skin, while lower oven temperatures result in softer, fall-off-the-bone meat. We roasted the chicken in our photos in a baking dish at 425°F and love the golden brown skin.

  • For tender, fall-off-the-bone meat and soft skin, roast whole chicken at 325°F (162°C) for 1 ½ to 2 hours, depending on the weight.
  • For firm, juicy meat and crisp, golden-brown skin, roast whole chicken 425°F (218°C) oven for 45 minutes to 1 ½ hours, depending on size.

How to Serve Roasted Chicken

Roast chicken makes such a wonderful dinner. Here are some of my favorite sides to serve it with:

You can also use the chicken for salads. Shred it and serve it on top of your favorite salads. Or turn it into a salad, like this herb chicken salad. I also add leftover roasted chicken to soup. Try our chicken noodle soup, chicken and vegetable soup, or this creamy chicken soup.

Simple Whole Roasted Chicken

Perfectly Roasted Chicken

  • PREP
  • COOK
  • TOTAL

Our recipe for roasting a whole chicken is easy and adaptable to what you love. We use a preheated 425°F oven to guarantee crispy, golden-brown skin and firm, juicy meat. If you prefer roasted chicken with softer, fall-off-the-bone meat, roast at 325°F.

Makes approximately 4 servings

Watch Us Make the Recipe

You Will Need

1 whole chicken, 5 to 6 pounds, patted dry

Salt and fresh ground pepper

1 onion, sliced

1/2 cup (120ml) water or chicken broth

1 lemon, quartered, optional

1 whole head garlic, halved crosswise, optional

Small bunch fresh herbs, such as thyme, rosemary and sage, optional

Directions

    1Generously season the chicken inside and out with salt and pepper.

    2Preheat the oven to 425°F (218°C), or for softer meat use 325°F (165°C).

    3Scatter the sliced onions over the bottom of a baking dish or oven-safe skillet. Pour in the water (or broth).

    4Place the chicken, breast-side up, on top of the onions.

    5If using them, stuff the cavity with lemon wedges, halved garlic, and herbs. Use kitchen twine to tie the legs together. If you don’t have twine, leave the legs as they are.

    6Roast the chicken for 1 hour. Then, roast for another 20 to 30 minutes, occasionally opening the oven to spoon rendered fat at the bottom of the pan over the chicken (watch me do this in the video). If roasting at the lower oven temperature, expect the chicken to take 1 ½ to 2 hours.

    7Roast chicken is done when an internal thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reads 165°F or when the chicken juices run clear when you cut between a leg and a thigh.

Adam and Joanne's Tips

  • Storing roasted chicken: Leftover roasted chicken lasts in airtight containers in the fridge for up to 5 days. You can also freeze the chicken, chopped or carved into pieces (breast, legs). Freeze them in freezer-friendly containers for up to 3 months.
  • Make gravy: The pan juices left in the bottom of the dish after roasting are delicious when used to make gravy. Here’s our easy gravy recipe to walk you through it.
  • Roasted chicken with crispy skin: Before roasting in the oven, refrigerate the seasoned chicken, uncovered, overnight in the fridge. The night in the fridge dries out the skin and helps it to crisp in the oven the next day.
  • The nutrition facts provided below are estimates.
Nutrition Per Serving Calories 336 / Protein 46 g / Carbohydrate 5 g / Dietary Fiber 1 g / Total Sugars 1 g / Total Fat 14 g / Saturated Fat 4 g / Cholesterol 170 mg
AUTHOR:  Adam and Joanne Gallagher
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41 comments… Leave a Review
  • Gaga Kelly May 6, 2024, 6:22 pm

    Really good receipe! super easy to prepare.The chicken was moist and so yummy! The gravy I made with the drippings was amazing!

    Reply
  • Johannah April 22, 2024, 12:22 pm

    I like to know how to cook chicken

    Reply
  • Melanie April 1, 2024, 12:15 am

    Oh my gosh, thanks for this recipe and the helpful directions and tips!! It was my first time cooking a whole chicken. I like the option to cook at 2 different temperatures and you mentioning why. I especially enjoyed the onions and thyme I placed at the bottom of the pan. Next time I think more onions plus vegis would be great.

    Reply
    • Joanne April 10, 2024, 7:01 pm

      I’m so happy we helped out! Thanks so much for coming back and letting us know how well the recipe worked for you!

      Reply
  • JimmyB January 21, 2024, 2:50 pm

    I am writing to compliment you on your suggested roasting technique. I have always used 400° to roast a chicken. This time I used 325° and it was wonderful. I cook my chickens upside down on a vertical roasting rack in a cast iron skillet. When done I just lift the chicken out and I have a pan for making the gravy. Your 325° method yielded a lot more chicken fat and juice than the hotter temperature. Another added benefit is that after we had our two pieces of chicken for dinner this was more “falling off the bone” which made it easier to strip the carcass for other chicken recipes. P.S. If the chicken has giblets I simmer them and use that as broth for the gravy. Thank you for posting!

    Reply
  • Mike T December 10, 2023, 7:23 pm

    I have started spatchcocking my chickens. Even did my turkey like that once. It’s a great method that causes the bird to cook faster. I don’t think it’s better than roasting though as there’s a of “hands on” with a cold chicken to get it cut in half and so on. So I’m pretty much sticking with YOUR method and better for me as your chicken came out simply wonderful. I cook suppers in our house and my wife loved this chicken. Thanks ! Mike

    Reply
  • JLPea November 24, 2023, 3:13 pm

    I made a chicken using this recipe, and against my better judgement I did not butter/oil the outside the bird. I followed the recipe exactly. I don’t know why or how, but this chicken was by far the best I’ve ever made in my 70 years. I’ll be using this recipe from now on. Thank you!

    Reply
  • Melissa odle October 6, 2023, 11:16 am

    Could you roast carrots and potatoes with chicken

    Reply
    • Joanne October 6, 2023, 12:11 pm

      Hi Melissa, You can!

      Reply
  • Earl Williams August 8, 2023, 5:47 pm

    I never leave comments but I just felt like I had to for this recipe. It was absolutely delicious.

    Reply
    • Joanne September 18, 2023, 3:46 pm

      That’s wonderful, Earl. Thank you very much for coming back.

      Reply
  • Deborah Shott May 1, 2022, 10:24 pm

    I have tried this recipe twice and it has turned out outstanding both times. For folks who have complained that their chicken was too raw or overcooked, get yourself a meat thermometer. Cooking any meat without a meat thermometer is like trying to navigate a canoe without a paddle.

    Reply
    • Joanne September 18, 2023, 3:46 pm

      We couldn’t agree more. We’ve roasted chicken more times that I can count and always use a thermometer.

      Reply
  • Denee Dow March 6, 2022, 9:05 pm

    Hello you two, my husband and I just finished eating our roast chicken using your recipe. It was delicious! Thank you so much! I roasted it in my Dutch oven which has a pretty high side. So basting was a challenge but doable. I promised myself that if this was a good recipe I would buy a shallow roasting pan big enough for a 5-6 pound chicken! Now I get to buy one! Thanks again!

    Reply
  • Alexandra Shand April 5, 2021, 8:00 pm

    I’ve never seen a roast chicken recipe that didn’t have you cover the bird with oil or butter, but as this recipe demonstrates, you really don’t need to! I did it with lemon, garlic, rosemary, oregano and parsley. It was moist, flavorful and perfect. I will always make this.

    Reply
    • Joanne September 18, 2023, 3:47 pm

      We are so happy we were able to help! You can always add some oil or butter (I’d do butter over oil for browning), but you are right, it isn’t required.

      Reply
  • Matt Matt January 28, 2021, 6:18 pm

    Okay I had never made a whole chicken before so I wanted easy instructions. Well I followed everything I could but I didn’t use onions or garlic and I used broth for the bottom of the pan. I cooked a 5lb chicken and in 1 hour and 20 minutes it was done. The meat came out tender and juicy not going to lie. The skin was very tasty and crispy, and the pan drippings tasted delicious. I just want to learn how to flavor the inside of the meat a bit more but aside from that the instructions worked and this chicken was a success.

    Reply
    • Joanne September 18, 2023, 3:48 pm

      So happy to hear it, Matt! Thanks for coming back!

      Reply

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