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. If you don’t have a cast iron skillet, you should seriously consider getting one. I got mine forunder $40 on Amazon and it is great for so many things!!
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.
Did you make this recipe?
Please leave a comment or review below! I’d also love to see what you’ve been making on Instagram or Facebook.
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Sunday 20th of November 2022
I learned a wonderful way to roast chicken (and turkey). Mix equal amounts of butter and Worchester sauce - about 1 stick butter and equal amount W. sauce - melt. Put chicken/turkey in a paper bag big enough to staple the end closed. Pour butter/W. sauce all over bird. Cook in oven at 350F until done. It bastes itself, skin is crispy and VERY moist and flavorful meat (doesn't taste like W. sauce. You can use the drippings for gravy.
Sunday 30th of October 2022
So glad I discovered this recipe. I have made it at least six times In the past few months. It is my absolute favorite recipe for whole baked chicken and it is my go-to when I have company for sure. I make it exactly how you have outlined. I even stick a whole garlic pod in the cavity because after it has baked and has all the juices and spices all over it, it tastes amazing. I just pop a garlic clove out of its pod and eat it plain. The clove is no longer hot or spicy since it has been cooked. Thank you so much for this recipe and certainly for sharing it. I get more compliments on this than anything. I share w my friends and family when they ask for the recipe. I refer them to your site.
Wednesday 11th of May 2022
Amy, I had a Chick. in the frig. and I was going to smoke it but, i lack the energy right now. Believe it or not , your site and recipe popped up and I'm cooking it right now. I had everything I needed already. (almost everything) On the issue of rinsing/washing vs patting the fryer dry; I live in the south and for as long as I can remember I've heard, read and even seen my grandmother and mom and even my Dad 'WASH' (MY G-mother even washed the bird/fowl with lye soap). I don't do that I just rinse and dry it off. I guess it's a SOUTHERN thing. LOL THANK YOU FOR YOUR CONTRIBUTION OF EDUCATING THE NON-CHEF POPULATION. Regards, Drew
Tuesday 1st of February 2022
i like your recipe except for 1 thing. you NEVER rinse a whole chicken. bacteria and worse things can fly all over. you only pat it dry. so many top chefs of the world would pat dry but not rinse. think about it.
Monday 21st of March 2022
@scott sproat, you can definitely rinse a whole chicken, making sure your not splatting everywhere, especially if you have a clean sink area or better yet a deep sink with water not on high blast to create splattering! My Sicilian grandma used to soak a whole chicken in salt for an hour before baking. She’d remove from the bowl of salt water and yes, then pat dry. This would be a great alternative if you’re worried about batteries splattering. :)
Wednesday 22nd of December 2021
Is a baking hen OK to cook?