This Simple Whole Roasted Chicken is flavorful, juicy, and tender. It has perfectly crisp skin, and is perfect for Sunday super.
Roasted Chicken is simple and satisfying. It is perfect for the whole family. My kids devour the juicy breast meat, and my husband and I are big fans of the plump leg-thigh pieces. Even the leftover-makeover meals are great.
Make This Recipe!
You may wonder why I am such a big fan of roasting my own chicken when there are perfectly good rotisserie chickens waiting for me at the store. I’ll never knock you for picking up the store bought version because some days we’ve gotta do what we gotta do, but when you put my simple oven roasted chicken up against a store bought rotisserie chicken it is no contest.
Store bought is fast and easy, but there are a few drawbacks.
- First is that the seasonings are often way too salty for my taste.
- The next is that sitting in the plastic container makes the skin soggy.
- Finally, those birds are tiny. They seem like a good deal, but at the end of the day there just isn’t much meat on them.
Roasting a whole bird can seem intimidating, but it takes just a few steps to have a beautifully plump, juicy chicken on the table. The prep only takes a few minutes. Most of the time is spent in the oven.
Fresh garlic, rosemary, and a bit of lemon give this dish it's beautiful, bright flavor.
A little bit of butter and high heat create perfectly crisp skin.
Making two whole roasted chickens is as easy as making one. Making two will pay dividends all week and keep you from spending money going out.
Whole Chicken- I typically buy a roasters for this recipe. They run between 5-7 lbs and make for a hearty meal. (Fryers and broilers are younger, smaller chickens and these are often what you get when you buy a rotisserie chicken.)
- Start the preparation for this simple whole roasted chicken by preheating your oven to 425°.
- Start by preparing the compound butter, onion, and lemons.
- Take softened butter and add minced garlic, rosemary, lemon juice, and a bit of salt and black pepper. Use a fork to mix the compound butter.
- Cut lemons into wedges, and slice red onions into thick rounds.
- Line the pan with thick slices of onion. You are going to rest the chicken on top of the onions. This will lift it up a bit in the pan and let the heat circulate around the whole bird to cook evenly and get a good crisp all the way around. (If you don't have a cast iron pan, use a sheet pan lined with parchment paper)
- Use a few paper towels to pat the chicken dry all around. You need a nice dry skin to get the butter and seasoning to adhere, and to get crispy skin.
- Next, place the chicken on top of the onions breast side up. Rub the compound butter over every part of it. Be sure to pull the legs and wings back to get seasoning in every nook and cranny.
- Place lemons into the body cavity. Then, pull the legs together and tie with butcher’s twine or use a barbecue skewer and thread it through the backs of the legs. (I never remember to pick up butcher’s twine. The skewer works just fine. If you have neither, you can still cook the chicken. The underside of the legs just might not get as well browned.)
- Place the pan into a preheated 425° oven. Cook at this temperature for 20 minutes. Then turn your oven down and finish cooking at 350°. This high temperature in the beginning will start to crisp the outer skin and seal moisture in to get super juicy meat.
- Once the chicken has reached and internal temperature of 165°, take it out and cover it with foil.
- Let it rest for 10 minutes.
- Carve this simple whole roasted chicken by removing the legs and thighs at the joint. They should come away from the body by simply twisting them upwards towards the breast and using a butcher knife to help separate the joint.
- Remove the wings the same way.
- Then remove the breast meat. Bring your knife in as close to one side of the breast bone as possible and cut away one whole side of the breast. Then cut the breast into thick slices. Do the same to the other side.
Poultry is fully cooked and safe to eat when it reaches 165°. A thermometer placed into the inner thigh close to the breast will give you the most accurate reading. Be sure you are not touching bone. Some people recommend checking for the color of the juices. Red juices mean the bird is still raw and clear juices signify a cooked chicken. However, I would caution you against using this method as different parts cook at different speeds. You will also lose moisture poking and cutting around before it has rested.
Start out with the oven set at 425° for 20 minutes to sear the skin and keep the juices in. Then lower the oven to 350° for the remaining time.
When shopping for a good roasting chicken you want to choose a “roaster”. A roaster is a mature chicken between 5-7 pounds. These birds are meatier and have a thicker layer of fat which keeps them from burning while they cook for a long period of time. The extra fat bastes the meat as it roasts and makes them extra juicy and flavorful.
Really take the time to dry the outside of the raw chicken before seasoning. The compound butter will not stick to wet skin and instead of browning the skin will just run off in the oven.
Putting a few lemon wedges in the body cavity will help keep retain moisture without slowing the cooking time.
Cook time is going to vary depending on the size of the bird. Once it has been in the oven for 1 hour and 40 minutes, I check the temperature. This would be about 20 minutes per pound for a 5 pound chicken.
Rest the chicken before carving. Let the chicken sit in the pan with foil over the top for at least 10 minutes.
This is a very simple whole roasted chicken recipe and the seasonings are very simple. I purposely chose a neutral flavor combination so that I can use the leftover meat for other meals. Get experimental with your compound butter, and see what kind of awesome flavors you can make with one simple technique.
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Simple Whole Roasted Chicken
- 1 Whole Chicken (Roaster 5-7lbs with giblets and neck removed)
- 1 Red Onion Thick Slices
- 6 Tablespoons Butter
- 3 Cloves Garlic
- 2 Tablespoons Fresh Rosemary Removed From Stem Dry is ok 2 tsp
- 2 Teaspoons Cracked Pepper
- 2-3 Lemons (½ for juice, the remainder for stuffing)
- 1 Tablespoon Kosher Salt
- Pre-heat oven to 425 °F. Prepare a cast iron skillet or baking sheet by layering with thick slices of red onion.
- Make a compound butter by softening (not melting) 6 Tablespoons of butter. Crush or finely chop garlic cloves. Wash rosemary, strip from the stem, roughly chop. Use a fork to mix butter, garlic, rosemary, salt, and pepper with the juice from ½ of a lemon.
- Remove chicken from package. Be sure to remove giblets or neck from the body cavity.
- Using paper towels, pat the skin dry. Be sure to get the bottom of the chicken as well. Place the chicken on top of the thick slices of onions in your pan.
- Rub down the inside of the chicken with a small amount of compound butter, then spread the remaining butter evening over the chicken. Make sure to the compound butter on the underside and all around the legs and wings.
- Cut lemons into wedges and place inside the chicken to retain moisture.
- Put chicken in the oven on a middle rack at 425 ° for 20 minutes.
- Lower the temperature to 350° and finish cooking for about an hour and twenty minutes more.
- The only way to know if a chicken is done is to get a thermometer and stick into the inner thigh near the breast. Find the meatiest part possible and measure from there. The finished temp should be 165°
- Remove from oven and let rest, covered with foil for 10 minutes.
- Carve and serve.
- Really take the time to dry the outside of the raw chicken before seasoning. The compound butter will not stick to wet skin and instead of browning the skin will just run off in the oven.
- Putting a few lemon wedges in the body cavity will help keep moisture without slowing the cooking time.
- Cook time is going to vary depending on the size of the bird. Once it has been in the oven for 1 hour and 40 minutes, I check the temperature. This would be about 20 minutes per pound for a 5 pound chicken.
- Rest the finished chicken before carving. Let the chicken sit in the pan with foil over the top for at least 10 minutes.
- This is a very simple oven roasted chicken recipe and the seasonings are very simple. I purposely chose a simple flavor combination so that I can use the leftover meat for other meals. Get experimental with your compound butter, and see what kind of awesome flavors you can make with one simple technique.