How to perfectly roast a whole chicken with aromatic lemon and garlic. With our easy recipe, the chicken stays juicy and becomes ultra-flavorful. Jump to the Whole Roasted Chicken Recipe
How to Roast a Whole Chicken
The moment I smell chicken roasting away in the oven, it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. It makes me think of home and my Mom. Here’s how we make it in our kitchen. Making whole roasted chicken at home is simple and something you should know how to do. We’re sharing a basic method for how to do it. Find our best tips for making it below.
Depending on where you buy your chicken, the weight will vary. For our recipe, we call for a 5 to 6-pound chicken, which is quite large. That said, the recipe will still work for smaller chickens (3 1/2 pounds). The bake time will be slightly less.
That’s why we love having our instant-read thermometer handy. This way, we can accurately check the doneness of the chicken — you want it to read 165 degrees F when inserted into the thickest part of the thigh. If you do not have a thermometer, don’t worry, another good test is to slice between the leg and thigh. If the juices run clear, you should be good.
You can roast a chicken at almost any temperature. It all depends on what you are looking for.
For extremely tender, fall off the bone meat and soft skin, roast between 300 and 350 degrees for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, depending on the weight.
For firmer meat and crisp skin, roast the chicken around 425 degrees F for 45 minutes to 1 1/2 hours, depending on the weight. In our recipe below, we roast a 5 to 6-pound chicken at 425 degrees for about 1 1/2 hours.
You will need a pan to roast the chicken in — a roasting pan with a rack, large baking dish, rimmed baking sheet or an oven-safe pan will all work.
When it comes to seasoning, we like to keep things simple. We season the whole chicken plus the cavity with salt and fresh ground pepper. By the way, if you have the time, refrigerate the seasoned chicken, uncovered, for an hour, or overnight. This is basically dry brining which will help the skin become extra crisp and the meat extra juicy.
Then we stuff the cavity with a whole garlic head cut in half as well as a lemon cut into quarters. You can stick with our method or try adding a spice rub or fresh herbs to the cavity as well. Finally, you can roast the chicken on top of vegetables — in our photos, we roasted ours on top of onions.
What To Serve With Roasted Chicken
Our Favorite Oven Roasted Vegetables — See how to roast vegetables in the oven, so they are tender on the inside and caramelized on the outside. Easy, no-fuss and adaptable recipe based on what you have in your kitchen.
Quick and Easy Gravy — Serve this silky smooth gravy next to the chicken. The gravy takes less than 10 minutes and works wonders with the pan drippings in this recipe!
Seriously Good Mushroom Stuffing — The stuffing is savory and soft in the middle, and perfectly crisp on top. It is naturally vegan and you can make it in advance.
Coconut Oil Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Pecans — Sweet potatoes are a staple in our kitchen and can be found roasted or baked and on our plates many days of the week. Coconut oil works so well with the caramelized sweet potatoes. Pure maple syrup adds a little sweetness, and a little cinnamon adds spice.
Our Favorite Potato Salad Recipe — Such an easy potato salad recipe. We love this stuff! We would be happy to hover over a bowl of it any day. It has few extras thrown in, too.
More Chicken Recipes
- Rosemary Roasted and Butterflied Chicken — Quick and easy whole chicken recipe with roasted root vegetables and a roasted lemon vinaigrette.
- Easy Pan Roasted Chicken Breasts with Thyme — How to perfectly pan roast chicken breasts with butter and thyme. Quick and simple!
- Easy Lemon Chicken Thighs with Herbs — The chicken is juicy, ultra flavorful, and easy to make. Add this one to your rotation; you won’t regret it!
Recipe updated, originally posted September 2009. Since posting this in 2009, we have tweaked the recipe to be more clear. – Adam and Joanne
Simple Whole Roasted Chicken with Lemon
You can roast a chicken at almost any temperature. It all depends on what you are looking for. For extremely tender, fall off the bone meat and soft skin, roast between 300 and 350 degrees. For firmer meat and crisp skin, roast the chicken around 425 degrees F. In our recipe below, we roast a 5 to 6 pound chicken at 425 degrees for about 1 1/2 hours.
If you have the time, refrigerate the seasoned chicken, uncovered, for an hour, or overnight. This is basically dry brining which will help the skin become extra crisp and the meat extra juicy.
Watch Us Make the Recipe
You Will Need
1 (5 to 6 pound) whole chicken, patted dry
Salt and fresh ground pepper
1 onion, sliced (optional)
1/2 cup chicken stock or water
1 lemon, quartered
1 whole head garlic, halved crosswise
Small bunch fresh herbs, such as thyme, rosemary and sage, optional
1Generously season the chicken inside and out with salt and pepper. If you have time, refrigerate the chicken, uncovered, for an hour, or overnight.
2Heat oven to 425 degrees F. Scatter onions in the bottom of a roasting pan and cover them with the stock (or water). Place chicken breast-side up on top of the onions. Stuff the cavity with halved garlic, lemon wedges, and herbs. Use kitchen twine to tie the legs together. (If you don’t have twine, leave the legs as they are.)
3Roast the chicken for 1 hour, then spoon pan juices over the chicken several times and cook another 20 to 30 minutes longer. You will know the chicken is done when an internal thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reads 165 degrees F or when the chicken juices run clear when when you cut between a leg and a thigh. Depending on the size of your chicken, the total roasting time may vary.
Adam and Joanne's Tips
- Depending on where you buy your chicken, the weight will vary. For our recipe, we call for a 5 to 6 pound chicken, which is quite large. That said, the recipe will still work for smaller chickens (3 1/2 pounds). The bake time will just be slightly less.
- Nutrition Facts: The nutrition facts provided below are estimates. We have used the USDA Supertracker recipe calculator to calculate approximate values.
If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #inspiredtaste — We love to see your creations on Instagram and Facebook! Find us: @inspiredtaste
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.
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!
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.
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.