Tender and juicy classic oven roasted chicken couldn’t be more easy or economical! This is one quintessential recipe you’ll come back to time and time again.
I remember being a newlywed, a novice cook, and being completely intimidated by the idea of cooking a whole chicken. Tucking wings? Trussing legs? Carving? It was just too far outside my comfort zone.
It wasn’t until years later when I became more conscious of stretching our budget and stretching my time that I came to appreciate the ease and versatility of roasting a whole chicken.
Why you should try roasting a whole chicken if you’ve never done it before:
- It’s incredibly easy and doesn’t require any fancy tools or pans.
- Totally budget friendly!
- A roasted chicken makes a great presentation on the dinner table.
- There’s enough meat for a large meal. (I have a family of 6 and will often have leftovers)
- Or enough meat to eat one meal and have leftover chicken to use later in the week.
- You can make your own stock with the carcass. (Here’s a great crockpot recipe for homemade stock.)
- Very little food waste.
And then there’s the obvious! Tender and juicy chicken seasoned with lemon and rosemary. These flavors are so classic that this roasted chicken pairs well with just about any side dish you can think of!
How do you roast a chicken in the oven?
Step 1. Remove the giblets, neck and liver from inside the chicken. Sometimes these will be in bag, sometimes they will be loose inside, and sometimes there might not be any!
Step 2. Rinse the chicken and inspect it for any remaining pin feathers, loose extra skin and fat. Sometimes you will find there will be a feather or two that has been missed! They are easy to remove, just pull them out and discard them. Trim off any extraneous skin and fat with a pair of kitchen shears. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels.
Step 3. Place your chicken in a pan. I use my cast iron skillet to roast chicken in the oven, but you can also use a 13×9 pan or a roaster. For instructions on how to roast a chicken in the slow cooker, read this post.
Step 4. This step feels super weird the first time you do it. Loosen the skin on the chicken by sliding your hand between the skin and the meat. But…why? So you can rub seasonings under the skin, directly onto the meat. This makes for a more flavorful roast chicken.
Step 5. Mix up your seasonings and season the chicken. I prefer to use a spiced butter mixture. Rub the seasoned butter both under the skin and on top of the skin. If you are adding anything to the cavity of the chicken, now is the time to place that as well. (This recipe calls for lemons and rosemary, but garlic, onions, and even stuffing also make a great choice.)
Step 6. Truss the chicken. This is just a fancy way of saying tie the legs together. You can use kitchen twine, unflavored and unwaxed dental floss, or if you have a sewing kit on hand, you can use plain old thread! The reason for trussing the chicken is that it helps the chicken to roast more evenly and it looks nice. But this step is completely optional.
Step 7. Roast it! The butter will help your chicken to brown up and get crispy. Sometimes your chicken can get too brown though. A little over halfway through the roasting time, simply cover the chicken loosely with a sheet of aluminum foil if it is getting too browned. You’ll know when your chicken is ready to come out of the oven by checking the temperature with a meat thermometer. It should have an internal temperature of 175 degrees when the thermometer is inserted right where the thigh connects to the body.
Step 8. Let the chicken rest for 10-15 minutes, then carve and serve. I absolutely stink at the carving portion, so here’s a link that can explain it and show it better than I ever could.
And that’s it! It might seem like a long list and it might feel awkward that first time or two. But soon you will be an expert on roasting a whole chicken.
Oven Roasted Chicken
Classic oven roasted chicken seasoned with lemon and rosemary.
- 1 whole fryer
- 1 lemon
- 2 sprigs rosemary
- 1/3 cup butter softened
- 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Remove the giblets from the chicken. Rinse the chicken and pat dry. Zest the lemon.
Combine the butter with the seasonings and lemon zest. Loosen the skin on the chicken. Rub the seasoned butter under the skin of the chicken and all over the outside of the chicken.
Quarter the lemon and place the lemon and rosemary inside the cavity of the chicken. Tie the legs together, if desired.
Bake at 375 degrees for 1 hour to 1 hour 30 minutes or until the juices run clear and the internal temperature of the chicken is 175 degrees.
If the chicken is browning too quickly, loosely cover with foil.
After roasting, let the chicken rest 10-15 minutes before carving.