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A whole roasted chicken is one of my favorite family meals, and my go to recipe results in the most perfect, crispy oven-roasted chicken every single time. Seasoned with garlic and herbs, it’s full of flavor, wonderfully juicy and easier to make than you’d think!
The great thing about roasting a whole chicken lies in its simplicity and the little touches that make it special. Stuffing the chicken with garlic, onion, and thyme infuses it with flavors from the inside out. As the chicken roasts, these aromatics gently flavor the meat, making each bite juicier and more delicious. The process of patting the chicken dry, rubbing it with a buttery herb mixture, and tucking in the wings is more than just preparation; it transforms a simple bird into a centerpiece-worthy meal. When you pull your roast chicken from the oven with its golden brown skin and the aroma fills your kitchen, you’ll be so glad you made it!
“This turned out excellent! And I didn’t have all the ingredients as listed (no lemon, no fresh thyme). With a bird thawed out and no idea how to cook, I found this; followed the instructions with what I did have on hand, and it turned out wonderful! Even my texture sensitive six year old snarfed it all down! Thank you so much!” – Kayla
Table of Contents
Recipe at a glance
Cuisine Inspiration: American
Primary Cooking Method: Roasting
Dietary Info: Gluten-Free
Key Flavor: Herbaceous with a buttery richness
Skill Level: Easy
- Simple Ingredients: Utilizes basic ingredients like butter, thyme, garlic, and onion to enhance the natural flavor of the chicken.
- Effortless and Perfect Centerpiece: Despite the simplicity of the recipe, the final dish is impressive enough for special occasions.
- Versatile Side Pairing: The chicken’s classic flavor profile pairs well with a wide variety of side dishes.
- Leftover Potential: Perfect for meal prepping as the leftovers can be used in sandwiches, salads, soups, and more.
- Kitchen Basics: Great opportunity to practice fundamental cooking skills like roasting, carving, and basting.
Ingredients for Whole Roasted Chicken
- Whole Young Chicken: Go for a whole chicken around 3 ½ to 4 pounds.
- Butter: Melted and used for basting, it adds a rich, savory flavor and helps to crisp up the skin.
- Salt: Essential for seasoning, it enhances the natural flavors of the chicken.
- Black Pepper: Adds a subtle heat and complements the butter and thyme.
- Fresh Thyme: A bunch for roasting and a tablespoon for the butter mixture, lending an aromatic, herbaceous flavor.
- Garlic: Sliced in half and stuffed inside the chicken for a mild, sweet, and earthy flavor infusion.
- Onion: Adds a slight sweetness and depth of flavor to the chicken as it roasts.
- Lemon Slices: Used for serving, they provide a fresh, citrusy contrast to the rich flavors of the chicken.
How to make roasted whole chicken
- Pat the chicken dry, remove the giblets and tie the legs together. I used a young chicken here.
- Rub the softened herb butter all over the chicken using your hands, making sure to get underneath the skin too.
- Place the garlic, onion and thyme in the cavity.
- Roast until golden brown.
- Spoon the juices over the chicken and let rest before carving.
Absolutely amazing! I usually prefer rosemary over thyme for my baked chicken but WOW! This recipe is a game changer! Thank you! – Stephanee
Tips for making the best oven roasted chicken
- Make sure to use kitchen twine to truss the chicken. This helps the chicken to cook more evenly all over and the meat stays nice and juicy. Place the chicken breast side up and criss cross the twine around the legs. Pull tight an tie. You can find step by step photos on how to twine on that article.
- Pat the skin of the chicken dry with paper towel. This helps it crisp up the during cooking as the chicken is less likely to steam. If you like your skin to be extra crispy, once the chicken is cooked, you can place it under the broiler for a few minutes.
- Be mindful of how much herbs you add to the outside of the chicken. The herbs will likely brown faster than the skin, so keep it minimal for best presentation so it doesn’t look like a burnt bird! I like to tuck them under the skin to add flavor without risking the burnt look.
- Let the chicken rest before carving it. This helps the juices to redistribute so you won’t have dry breast meat. Take the chicken out of the oven, cover it loosely with foil and let it sit for 15 minutes to half an hour.
Popular Substitutions & Additions
- Swap the Butter: For a dairy-free option, use olive oil or a plant-based butter alternative. Olive oil will give a slightly different flavor but will still help crisp the skin.
- Herb Varieties: If thyme isn’t your favorite, rosemary or sage are great alternatives that also pair well with chicken.
- Add Citrus: Stuff the chicken cavity with lemon or orange slices for a zesty flavor.
- Spice it Up: Add paprika or a mix of your favorite dried herbs to the butter mixture for an extra layer of flavor.
- Cheesy Twist: Sprinkle-grated Parmesan cheese over the chicken in the last 20 minutes of roasting for a crispy, cheesy crust.
- Garlic Variation: Roasted whole garlic cloves can be used instead of sliced garlic for a milder, sweeter taste.
- Vegetable Stuffing: Along with onions and garlic, stuff the cavity with carrots or celery for added moisture and flavor.
- Heat Element: For a spicy kick, add crushed red pepper flakes to the butter mixture.
How To Store Leftovers
Leftovers, in my opinion, are the best thing about cooking an oven roasted whole chicken! Remove the meat from the bones and keep it covered in the fridge for up to 3 days. It’s great for sandwiches and salads and add it in to weeknight meals like white chicken chili and tacos.
Be sure not to throw the carcass away, as you can use that to make your own chicken stock!
Frequently asked questions
Yes, you can easily get ahead of things by prepping the chicken the night before. In fact, this can actually result in crispier skin as the salt will help to draw out any extra moisture. Rub the butter all over, stuff the cavity and let it sit in the fridge, uncovered for up to 12 hours.
A good rule of thumb, is to allow a pound of whole chicken per person, so a 4lb chicken is perfect for four. I always like to roast a chicken larger than I need so that I can enjoy the leftovers later in the week.
The chicken is done when a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reads 165°F. Make sure the thermometer doesn’t touch the bone for an accurate reading.
Yes, you can. Tying the legs helps the chicken cook more evenly and maintains its shape, but it’s not mandatory. The chicken will still cook well if you skip this step.
A perfect whole roasted chicken is so much easier to make than you think! It’s pretty effortless! It makes for a great centerpiece for any family meal and is great to serve if you are a having a smaller Christmas. Just a few simple ingredients and you will have one tasty bird on your hands!
More chicken recipes to try:
- Spatchcock Chicken
- Pickle Brined Chicken Tenders
- Rosemary Roasted Whole Chicken
- Honey and Browned Butter Chicken
- Broccoli Cheese Stuffed Chicken
- Oven Chicken Tenders
- Chicken Noodle Soup
- Chicken Casserole
If you’ve tried this healthy-ish feel good Roasted Chicken with Garlic & Herbs recipe or any other recipe on FeelGoodFoodie, then don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave me a comment below! I would love to hear about your experience making it. And if you snapped some shots of it, share it with me on Instagram so I can repost on my stories!
Roasted Chicken with Garlic & Herbs
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Pat the chicken dry with paper towel, remove the giblets, tuck the chicken wings underneath the breast and tie the legs together with kitchen twine.
- In a small bowl, combine the melted butter, salt, pepper and thyme. Use your hands to rub the butter mixture all over the chicken, making sure to get underneath the skin as well.
- Stuff the garlic, onion and thyme sprigs inside the chicken cavity.
- Place the chicken on a large baking dish and roast in the oven breast side up until the skin is golden brown and a thermometer inserted in the chicken reads 165°F, about 60-75 minutes.
- Spoon the juices from the bottom of the baking dish over the chicken and allow the chicken to rest for 15 minutes before carving.
Nutrition information provided is an estimate. It will vary based on cooking method and specific ingredients used.