This roasted chicken is easy enough for any level of cook and fancy enough for entertaining. The skin is perfectly crisp, and all you need are a few ingredients to have a perfectly juicy, tender chicken.
My family loves to have a roast chicken any time of the year; sometimes we will have one for Easter or a special occasion like Mother’s Day, or I like to make one during the week as something special and then use the leftovers the rest of the week. I like to save the carcass and put it in the freezer, and then when I want to make a bone broth soup, I have one to use. It always amazes me how much meat comes off, even when I think I’ve cleaned all the meat off of the little chicken. also enough for another meal. You can easily get another 2-3 meals out of one roasted chicken. which is always an advantage when you’re watching your budget or wanting to use every part of something before discarding it.
Table of Contents
Why you’ll love this recipe
- Easy Recipe This simple recipe requires a whole chicken, a few easy-to-find spices, and a roasting pan to make a moist and flavorful roasted chicken.
- Meal-in-one This recipe can be made with potatoes, carrots, and onions to make a complete all-in-one meal.
- Budget-friendly This is a great recipe for an inexpensive meal to feed a crowd. Then, if there are leftovers, you can even make chicken salad or save the carcass for home chicken stock.
- Meal Prep This recipe is a great healthy protein option. You can cook it ahead of time and then have it for lunches or as a quick dinner option throughout the week.
Ingredients you’ll need
- Whole chicken I usually use a 4-5 pound chicken, but any size will work. Depending on the size, you can adjust the amount of seasoning you will need.
- Butter and garlic The combination of the butter and the garlic helps to add some delicious flavor.
- Salt and pepper When you’re seasoning your chicken, you want to make sure to add enough so that it isn’t bland. If you’re using kosher salt, you want to use half as much as you would with table salt.
- Smoked paprika I prefer to use smoky paprika, which gives such great flavor to a roast chicken.
Ingredient Additions and swaps
- Butter If you want this recipe to be dairy-free, you can swap the butter for olive oil or ghee.
- Veggies If you want to turn it into a one-pot meal, you can layer potatoes and carrots on the bottom of your roasters. You can also use root vegetables like turnips or parsnips.
- Lemon This is my favorite: add fresh lemon juice or sliced lemons inside the cavity of the chicken. This is a wonderful secret ingredient for roasted chicken.
How to Roast a Chicken
This roast chicken recipe uses only a few simple ingredients, and in a few simple steps, you will have a golden and delicious roast chicken to present on your dinner table.
- Preheat your oven to 350°F so that it is up to temperature once your chicken is prepped and ready to go into the oven.
- Roasting Pan Grab a roasting pan with a roasting rack or a sheet pan and set it aside.
- Combine together butter and minced garlic, and set aside.
- Spice Rub Mix together onion powder, smoked paprika, salt, and black pepper. You want to mix them together in a small bowl before you place them on the chicken. You can add them individually, but it’s not quite the same.
- Dry the chicken by using paper towels on the inside and outside of the chicken, removing as much moisture as you can. Remove as much moisture as you possibly can; this will help you achieve that golden, crispy skin.
- Butter and spice rub Spread the butter all over the top of the chicken and then sprinkle the spice rub all over the butter mixture.
- Seasoned Now that the chicken is seasoned, you can place it on your roasting pan or baking sheet. At this time, you would add your potatoes and vegetables if you wanted to do that; for this recipe, I didn’t add them, but you certainly can make it an all-in-one meal.
- Roast the chicken Now comes the easy part: baking the chicken in the oven for 20 minutes per pound, and then for the last 20 minutes, increase the temperature to 450°F to help you crisp up the chicken skin.
- Let it rest Once your chicken is done in the oven, you want to allow it to rest for 10–20 minutes before slicing. This will ensure that all that moisture remains in the roasted chicken and that all the juices don’t run out and make it dry.
- Clay Pot You can cook your roasted chicken in a clay pot and follow the same instructions. Just place the clay pot in the oven before you preheat it, and for the last 20 minutes, remove the lid of the clay pot and increase the temperature per the instructions above.
- Slow cooker Place your chicken in the slow cooker, follow the instructions for the butter rub and spice rub, and turn your slow cooker on low for 4-6 hours. You won’t have the golden crispy skin, but it will still be delicious. If you want to achieve some kind of crispy skin, you can remove it from the slow cooker and place it under the broiler for a few minutes on a baking sheet.
- Instant Pot Place your chicken in your instant pot or pressure cooker and follow the instructions for the butter rub and spice rub. You will want to add 1 cup of chicken stock or water to the instant pot before cooking. Cook for 6 minutes per pound and allow a natural release for 15 minutes, and then you can remove it when it’s done and stick it under the broiler to get the crispy skin you’re trying to achieve.
What I really love about roasted chicken is that it can be paired with so many different things. You can have it with creamy mashed potatoes or salad. Here are a few suggestions to pair with roasted chicken:
- Mashed potatoes
- Homemade Gravy
- Brussels sprouts in the air fryer
- Carrots with a brown sugar glaze
- Broccoli salad
Pro Tips and Suggestions
- Thaw the chicken completely before using; if you bought it frozen, allow it to thaw in the fridge for 1-2 days.
- Get Messy Don’t be afraid to use your hands to get the spices into every crack and crevice of your whole chicken. I like to massage the butter mixture onto the chicken and then sprinkle the seasoning on top and tap it on so that it really adheres to the butter.
- Lift chicken skin Gently lift the skin from the meat with your hands and rub extra seasoning, butter, or whole garlic cloves underneath for an extra boost of flavor.
- Extras If you have extra fresh herbs like rosemary or thyme, you can place them inside the chicken along with a few lemon wedges or two. add a nice boost of flavor.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long do I need to roast a chicken?
The amount of time it takes to fully roast your chicken will depend on its size. I generally roast a 5- to 6-pound chicken, and that takes around 1-1/2 to 2 hours. For a smaller bird, it may only take 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes.
The most accurate way to check the doneness of your chicken is with a cooking thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chicken but not touching the bone. When your chicken is fully cooked, it should read 165°F, and the juices will run clear and not pink.
How to store leftovers
Transfer the leftovers to an airtight container and place them in the fridge for up to 4 days. You can freeze the leftovers in an airtight container, you can also freeze them in individual portions so that they will thaw out quicker and they will last up to 4 months in the freezer.
What is the difference between roasting and baking
This is a commonly asked question. Roasting and baking are pretty much the same thing; the only difference is the temperature used when cooking. Roasting is done at a much higher temperature of 400 F, whereas baking is usually done at 375 F or lower for food that is being baked, like cakes, cookies, and bread. When roasting, you are most often cooking foods that require a longer cooking time, like meats that you want crispy skin on.
The Best Whole Roasted Chicken
- 1 Roasting Pan or baking sheet
- 4-5 pound whole chicken
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1-1/4 tsp smoked paprika
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp ground pepper
- ¼ cup butter
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp fresh thyme optional
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Mix all onion powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika, salt, and pepper in a small bowl.
- Dab the chicken dry with a paper towel and season the inside and outside with salt and pepper.
- Combine butter, olive oil, and garlic in a small bowl with 1 teaspoon kosher salt and 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (or ½ teaspoon dried thyme leaves). Mix well.
- Spread the garlic butter mixture over the skin of the chicken *see note. Season with salt and black pepper to taste.
- Use your hands to press the spice mixture into the butter. Make sure to get the seasoning inside the chicken as well!
- Place the chicken in a baking dish or sheet pan. Herbs, lemons, & garlic can be added to the pan if desired as well as potatoes or any root vegetables.
- Bake in a roasting pan and on a roasting rack for 20 minutes per lb. Increase the heat to 450°F for the last 20 minutes to crisp the skin.
- Let it rest for 10-15 minutes, carve, and serve.