November 2, 2021

The Best Whole Roasted Chicken

This Whole Roasted Chicken recipe is simple, comforting, and so delicious. All you need are a few ingredients and a little time to make perfectly juicy, tender, and flavorful herb roasted chicken every single time.

I am so excited to bring you another post in our All the Healthy Things “Just the Basics” series. These posts are focused on helping you master basics in the kitchen and, hopefully, inspiring you with a few new ideas along the way.

If you are new to cooking, or just need a refresher on the basics, these posts are designed to help you feel more confident in the kitchen. Once you have a handle on a few basic concepts and techniques, you can easily build upon them to create new and exciting recipes dishes without a second thought.

Watch How to Make This Recipe

If you have ever wondered how some people just seem to know how to cook without a recipe or can quickly throw together a meal in a moment’s notice, it’s likely because they have a good grasp of the basics. I want that for you! It’s my hope that every just the basics post helps you feel more comfortable so that you can enjoy your time spent in the kitchen even more!

If you haven’t already be sure to check out the other how-to guides in the series.

Here are a few of our most popular posts:

How to Roast Butternut Squash

How to Make Homemade Pumpkin Puree

How to Bake Sweet Sweet Potatoes

How to Make Oat Flour

How to Brown Butter

The Best Whole Roasted Chicken

A whole roasted chicken is one of my very favorite things. There’s something so cozy and comforting about roasting a whole chicken and, when it’s done right, it produces some of the most juicy and flavorful meat.

This simple whole roasted chicken recipe is my go-to method and it really could not be any easier. All you need are a few simple ingredients and a little time to make a delicious roasted chicken, with perfect crispy skin, every single time.

roasted chicken ingredients

All the Ingredients You’ll Need for the the Best Roasted Chicken

Whole Chicken: for this recipe we’ll be using a two to four pound whole chicken. Don’t forget to remove the giblets from inside the cavity before you get started.

Veggies: large chunks of carrot and celery are laid down as a base for the chicken and yellow onion is stuffed inside the cavity of the bird to give it some extra flavor while roasting. The carrots and celery also soak up some of the delicious roasting juices and are perfect served right alongside the bird.

Aromatics and Herbs: For this simple recipe you’ll use a combination of fresh garlic and fresh thyme.

Butter: any good roasted chicken includes a little bit of butter. It helps to add delicious flavor and for this recipe we’ll combine butter with other aromatics to create a juicy bird. I recommend using a high quality unsalted butter for the best results.

Olive Oil: to ensure the chicken browns without burning, we’ll use a little olive oil on the skin of the chicken.

Lemon: chicken and lemon go together like a match made in heaven and for this recipe we’ll use a combination of fresh lemon juice and lemon zest.

butter mixture in small bowl

Ingredient Swaps and Additions

Butter – if you need to keep this recipe dairy free you can swap the butter for olive oil or if you tolerate it you can use ghee instead.

Veggies – feel free to use only carrots or celery as a base for the bird if you only have one of these veggies on hand. You can also add a few more root veggies to the skillet if you like. Parsnips or potatoes are always great options.

Lemon – fresh lemon juice and zest is the way to go in this recipe for the best flavor.

Helpful Kitchen Tools

Large Cast Iron Skillet

Sharp Knife

Kitchen Twine

Baster or Large Spoon

Instant Read Thermometer

whole chicken on vegetables in skillet

How to Make a Whole Roasted Chicken in the Oven

Step One: Start by preheating the oven to 400 degrees.

Step Two: Next, make the herb butter mixture. Add the melted butter, garlic, lemon zest, fresh thyme, a generous pinch of salt, and freshly cracked pepper to a small mixing bowl. Stir everything together until well combined.

Step Three: Next, add the celery and carrots to a large cast iron skillet. Use a paper towel to pat the chicken dry on both the inside and outside and then place the chicken on top of the veggies, breast side up.

Step Four: Use your hands to rub the melted butter mixture under the skin of the chicken as well as inside the cavity, being sure to use all of the butter and cover every nook and cranny.

Step Five: Next, stuff the chicken cavity with the garlic, yellow onion, lemon, and fresh thyme. If you like, you can use a bit of kitchen twine to tie the drumsticks together and keep everything inside.

Step Six: Drizzle the olive oil over the skin of the chicken and then use a basting brush to ensure that the skin is well coated with oil. Then, liberally season the chicken with salt and fresh cracked black pepper.

Step Seven: Place the chicken in the oven, on the middle rack, and roast for an hour, at the thickest part, reaches 165 degrees. Use a large spoon or baster to baste the chicken with the drippings every 30 minutes.

Step Eight: Remove the chicken from the oven and let it rest for ten to fifteen minutes in the skillet before carving. Serve the chicken with the pan drippings or reserve them to make a homemade chicken gravy.

chicken roasting in pan and basted

How Long to Roast a Chicken?

The amount of time it takes to fully roast your chicken will depend on the size and your oven! I typically roast a four pound bird and find that it takes me anywhere between an hour and fifteen minute to an hour and a half. For smaller birds it may take only an hour.

I like to start to check the doneness of my chicken at around 45 minutes. The most accurate way to check for doneness is to use a thermometer, inserted at the thickest part of the chicken but not hitting the bone. When the chicken is fully cooked, the temperature will read 165 degrees Fahrenheit and the juices will run clear and not pink.

Should You Roast a Chicken Covered or Uncovered?

For that golden brown crispy skin, you’ll need to roast your chicken uncovered instead of covered. If you roast a much larger chicken, that needs more oven time, you may find that the skin on the chicken starts to become too brown. If that happens, you can lightly tent a piece of foil overtop of the chicken to prevent it from burning.

How to Store

You can store your roasted chicken in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to three to four days.

sliced chicken with gravy

Serving Suggestions

One of my favorite things about roasted chicken is that it can be paired with so many different things! Whether you go with creamy mashed potatoes or a hearty salad, it all works. Here are a few of my favorite things to pair with a roasted chicken:

Tips and Tricks for the Best Roasted Chicken

  • To ensure the chicken cooks evenly, I like to take it out of the fridge around 10-15 minutes before I begin to prep it.
  • For ultimate crispy skin, every time, be sure to thoroughly pat both the outside and inside of the chicken dry with a paper towel.
  • Chicken needs salt to really be flavorful so don’t skimp on it when you’re roasting a chicken. There’s no need to be heavy handed but feel free to liberally season both the inside and the outside of the bird.
  • Let chicken rest before carving! This step makes all the difference between perfectly juicy chicken and dry sad chicken. Letting the chicken rest before carving allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat for the most tender and flavorful chicken every time.

salad in bowl

What to Do With Leftover Chicken

Leftover roasted chicken is one of my very favorite things. In fact, I’ll often roast a whole chicken just so I can have plenty of leftovers to use in other recipes.

Here are a few reader favorite ways to use leftover chicken:

Chopped Thai-Inspired Chicken Salad

Green Chicken Enchilada Casserole

Healthy Chicken Pot Pie Soup

Chicken Enchilada Skillet

Creamy Chicken Gnocchi Soup

More Thanksgiving Recipes to Serve

Serving this for Thanksgiving dinner? Here are few more of our reader favorite Thanksgiving recipes to add your menu this holiday season:

I hope you give this Roasted Whole Chicken a try! It’s so simple to make and absolutely delicious.

If you do give this recipe a try, I want to know! Leave a comment with a star rating below. You can also snap a photo & tag @allthehealthythings on INSTAGRAM. Your reviews help support All the Healthy Things and make it possible for me to continue to create the recipes you know and love.


The Best Roasted Chicken

  • Author: Ashlea Carver
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 75 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Gluten Free
  • Author: Ashlea Carver
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 75 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Gluten Free


  • 1 large carrot, halved lengthwise and cut into thirds
  • 1 stalk celery, cut into large thirds
  • 12-4 pound whole chicken, giblets removed and patted dry
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt
  • freshly cracked black pepper

For the Cavity

  • 1 head garlic, top sliced off
  • 1/2 yellow onion, cut into 2 large pieces
  • 1 lemon, cut in half
  • 46 sprigs fresh thyme


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. To a small mixing bowl add the melted butter, garlic, lemon zest, 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme, and a generous pinch of salt and freshly cracked pepper.
  3. Place the celery and carrots in a cast iron and skillet. Use a paper towel to pat the chicken dry and then place the chicken on top of the veggies, breast side up.
  4. Rub the melted butter mixture under the skin of the chicken as well as inside the cavity of the chicken, being sure to use all of the butter.
  5. Stuff the chicken cavity with the head of garlic, pieces of yellow onion, lemon, and fresh thyme. If you like, use a bit of kitchen twine to tie the drumsticks.
  6. Drizzle the olive oil over the skin of the chicken and then use a basting brush to ensure that the skin is well coated with oil. Liberally season the chicken with salt and fresh cracked black pepper.
  7. Place the chicken in the oven, on the middle rack, and roast for 1 hour and 15-30 minutes, basting every 30 minutes, or until the internal temperature, at the thickest part, reaches 165 degrees.
  8. Remove the chicken from the oven and let rest for 10-15 minutes in the skillet.
  9. Carve the chicken and serve with the pan drippings or reserve the pan drippings to make homemade chicken gravy.

Keywords: Whole roasted chicken, oven roasted chicken, how to make a whole roasted chicken in the oven, how long to roast a chicken, whole roasted chicken recipe, crispy roast chicken, herb roasted chicken, roasted chicken, roasted chicken recipe, whole chicken recipes

Recipe by: Ashlea Carver / All the Healthy Things | Photography by: THE MINDFUL HAPA

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  1. This is how I’ve made my chicken for the past year and my family always devours it, I basically know this recipe by heart now ♡

  2. So very delicious! I cook all the time and usually do my whole Chicken in the air fryer. This is over the top good! The only thing I changed was to add potatoes and extra veggies. We eat all of it! Also, added some fresh rosemary….. fantastic!!

  3. Followed the recipe exactly and it was fantastic! I did have to add some chicken broth to the pan during cooking, but it made for an awesome gravy/sauce. It came out as beautiful as yours! I’ll be following this recipe for my turkey from now on also! Forgot to take a picture. Also made homemade garlic brown butter and parm mashed potatoes. Delightful meal. 😁

  4. Wow! I just made this and it was fabulous. I didn’t have any Thyme, but followed the receipe and added a bir of Hungarian Paprika to the butter mis and used more vegetables to include a couple of yellow potatoes. Will definitely make it again. Thanks!


    My wife had two back to back trips with only one day back home so I wanted to make sure that I made her a good ole homecooked meal and this hit the spot! It was pretty easy to cook and was nothing short of delicious! I will be doing this again for sure.

    The only thing I did differently from this was give it a dry brine 48 hours before. Thank you!!

    • I’m so glad you could make this work for you and your family, Tom! Glad y’all enjoyed it! Thanks for sharing!

  6. I’ve deleted all other whole chicken recipes because this one is IT! I made a few substitutes based upon what I had on hand (3 medium sized Yukon gold potatoes & sweet yellow onions versus carrots & celery).

    Due to the layering of the potatoes & onions I did add a bit of Lawry’s lemon pepper marinade over top of them to ensure that they would cook through.

    Lastly, I didn’t baste because I did want my skin to be crispy – it was a hit with the family!

  7. This turned out so good and was so easy! I’ve never done anything like this before and it really was simple to follow the directions, and delicious. Thank you!!

  8. Amazing recipe!! Did potatoes on the bottom instead of veggies. Everything tasted wonderful. Such a great recipe and so easy to follow! Thank you!!

  9. Had never made a roast chicken but needed something different to make for our Sunday meal. We were kinda sick of our typical steak/salmon sitch. This was SO good. I was surprised just how juicy it was and how much the lemon comes through. Very delicious. Thank you for this recipe!!

  10. This recipe looks quite lovely, I’ll be cooking it tonight! FYI. Ghee is clarified butter, while using it in place of regular butter might help with lactose intolerance one would need to sub in something like olive oil to be dairy free.

    • Hi, Alex I hope you love the recipe. Ghee is actually a specific time of clarified butter so they are not exactly the same thing. I hope that helps! and there should have been a note about olive oil in that substitution suggestion so thanks for the feedback.

  11. Wow, this turned out so well! I had never done a whole roasted chicken before and it was amazing. Added in extra carrots and potatoes and might even add more veggies next time. My chicken was almost 4 lbs and 1hr 15min cook time was perfect.

    I also added in your homemade gravy and that was what brought it all together. Thank you for the lovely recipe!

  12. I made this chicken this afternoon for the first time and it was a success! Followed recipe exactly. Because my chicken was slightly larger than the recipe called for I left it in the oven longer and turned oven on 260 degrees to finish it off. Very flavorful and tender! Thank you for a simple recipe that’s easy to follow. Hope to check out more.

  13. Made this chicken for Thanksgiving instead of turkey and it was PERFECTION!!! My family didn’t miss the traditional turkey one bit and I made your gravy with it and that too was the easiest and best gravey EVER!!!

    Thank you, Ashlea! <3

  14. So happy I found this recipe. No one in my family cares for turkey so I made it instead for thanksgiving and it was a hit. I followed the recipe exactly. I had a 6 lb chicken and I overcooked it a bit but it was still delicious. I made soup from the carcass and the garlic, onion and thyme (didn’t use the lemon) still in the cavity made the broth taste really good. Will make this again. Does anyone think it would okay to NOT baste during the cooking process? I usually don’t baste baked chicken and enjoy the crispy skin. Because of the basting, the skin wasn’t crispy at all.

    • I’m so glad you loved the recipe, Allison! and YES you can absolutely skip the basting! I do that sometimes when I’m wanting that crispy skin and it turns out great. Thanks for taking the time to leave a review!

  15. This was the most delicious and flavorful roasted chicken I have ever made. I used the pan drippings to make gravy, and it was so good there was not a drop left. It will be my go-to recipe from now on!

  16. I have struggled my entire adult life to successfully roast a whole chicken. I have tried EVERY foolproof method I have found. It is either not cooked all the way thru or super dry. Using your recipe & technique is the first time it has gone right! The flavor was amazing! It was cooked perfectly in 75 min! Thank you so much!!! Will 100% make again. Thank you!! (sorry for the over use of exclamation marks but this is a very exciting day)

  17. This roasted chicken recipe is absolutely delicious. It’s tasty, moist and the skin is crunchy. I will be adding this to my recipe keepers!

  18. Hands down the best roast chicken ever. It was so flavorful, juicy and tender! I had a spatchcock chicken so the cook time was less. Can’t wait to make it again!

  19. This is a fabulous, simple dinner! The chicken turns out so incredibly tender! I’m dairy-free, so I used ghee. I did add a few potatoes, and next time would add a few more carrots. I didn’t have fresh thyme, so used some dried. Next time I’d throw the onions from the cavity under the broiler for a minute or two while carving the chicken to crisp them up. Thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe!

  20. Such an amazing recipe! Ashlea, you never cease to impress. I have always been intimidated by roasts but this was so easy and absolutely delicious, especially the skin. My husband loved it! Will be making this again for sure.

  21. WOW, WOW, WOW!!! This was truly the most amazing chicken I have ever cooked! I had never roasted a whole chicken because I thought it would be too complicated. I was wrong. This was SO easy and it came out amazingly moist, perfectly cooked and flavorful. Honestly, who needs to roast a turkey next week when I could make this again? This is definitely going to be a meal staple from now on. Thank you Ashlea for this easy, flavorful recipe!

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