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Whole Roast Chicken In Oven

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Here’s how to make whole roast chicken in the oven perfectly every single time. This chicken is juicy on the inside with a crisp golden skin on the outside that looks perfect on the center of any festive dinner table. The best part is it uses simple and easy-to-find ingredients. Leftovers are perfect for sandwiches and wraps.

A roasted chicken on a wooden board.
Perfect Whole Roast Chicken in Oven

I like making a nice big roast chicken on the weekend. And, while it takes care of the weekend, it also takes care of sandwiches and wraps during the week. It is a perfect win-win situation for me.

Why make this roast chicken

  • This is the easiest roast chicken recipe you will ever make. There is so much to love about this roast.
  • Today, I am using a garlic butter marinade, but, no matter what marinade you use you can use the same process to roast a whole chicken in the oven successfully every single time.
  • We eat with our eyes and the paprika rub on this bird makes a pretty-looking roast chicken to place at the center of any festive table.
  • If you love crispy chicken then this one has a wonderful buttery crispy skin.
  • Most of the ingredients used are simple pantry staples plus fresh herbs to perfume the bird.
  • This chicken needs a roasting rack. If you don’t have a roasting rack make a Dutch oven roast chicken, cast-Iron roast chicken, or maple roast chicken. Or try chicken with stuffing
A carved roasted chicken in the oven.
Perfect Whole Roast Chicken in Oven

Ingredients and substitutes

  • Chicken –  You wanna choose a wholesome, not bony, chicken when roasting the whole bird. So, even if you are fewer people to eat, it’s best to choose a bigger bird and have leftovers. The small ones tend to dry out because they do not have enough meat on the bones.
  • Paprika – I love paprika with roast chicken because it not just adds a nice flavor, but also gives it a gorgeous color. I love combining sweet and hot paprika for a little extra zing. On a 4 lbs bird, 2 tbsp is not much. And you can certainly reduce or add a tad more.
  • Herbs – It’s got to be fresh. Make that trip to the supermarket if you have to, but when it comes to roast chicken – fresh herbs are the way to go. I’ve used rosemary and thyme, and yet sage is also a great option.
  • Lemon – Works great inside the cavity of the bird. It flavors the chicken from the inside and I love how soft and juicy it becomes. You can even squeeze the lemon over the chicken after it’s baked for a little extra kick of lemon.
  • Butter – I do like olive oil, and yet the butter on the breast keeps the breast nice and moist. Olive oil works too, but if possible, I highly recommend butter.
  • Garlic – Sound a lot but its not. It melts over the breast with the butter and lends its flavor to everything it touches from inside the cavity to the pan juice.
Ingredients for roasting a whole chicken in the oven.
Perfect Whole Roast Chicken in Oven

Oven Roast Chicken


  • Preheat the oven to 425°F / 220°C / Gas mark 7
  • Prep chicken – Clean and pat dry the chicken on all sides with paper towels. Remove excess fat or leftover feathers. While the chicken is dry use your finger to loosen the gap between the breast and the skin to fill the garlic butter marinade later
    Pro tip – A dry bird will give crispy skin. When possible leave the chicken uncovered in the fridge overnight. Loosening the skin under the breast now is easier than when it’s greasy with the oil.
Progress pictures marinating the whole chicken for roasting.
Perfect Whole Roast Chicken in Oven
  • Garlic butter – In the same bowl, combine the garlic, butter, salt, and pepper. Fill half the garlic butter under the skin over the breast (see video). Spread the remaining butter over the chicken.
    Pro tip – adding butter under the skin will keep the breast moist and tender.
  • Dry rub – In a bowl, combine paprika, salt, pepper, and olive oil. Rub the paprika mixture all over the chicken skin as well as in the cavity.
    Pro tip – rubbing the skin with paprika gives a deeper color which looks nice. You can use hot or sweet paprika.
  • Cavity – Fill the cavity with rosemary, thyme, and lemon halves. Then, truss or tie the chicken legs and tuck the wings under.
    Pro tip – filling the cavity with herbs will perfume the bird from the inside.
Progress pictures marinating whole chicken with garlic butter marinade.
Progress Pictures – Perfect Whole Roast Chicken in Oven
  • Cavity – Fill the cavity with rosemary, thyme, and lemon halves. Then, truss or tie the chicken legs and tuck the wings under.
    Pro tip – filling the cavity with herbs will perfume the bird from the inside.
  • Roast – Place the chicken on a roasting pan, breast side up. Roast the chicken for 15 minutes at 220°C / 425°F / Gas Mark 7 then reduce temperature to 165°C / 325°F Gas Mark 3 turning once in between.
    Pro tip – we turn the chicken so it is golden on all sides and also prevent the breast from drying out.
  • As a guide, you roast the first 15 minutes at 220°C/ 425°F/ Gas Mark 7, and reduce the temperature to 165°C / 325°F Gas Mark 3. Calculate 20 minutes for every 1 lb ( 500 grams) of chicken until juices run clear or the internal temperature reaches 165°F / 75°C.
    Pro tip – Using a meat thermometer is a great way to take the guesswork and omit any calculating time. All you do is stick the thermometer and check the internal temperature. It should be 165°F or 75°C in the thickest part of the thigh or 145 F in the breast.
  • Rest – Remove the chicken from the oven and tent it with foil – let cool for at least 15 to 20 minutes before you carve. Serve with pan juices or use any pan dripping to make gravy.
    Pro tip – letting the bird rest will help the juices settle otherwise the moment you cut all the juices will run out leaving the bird dry.
Progress pictures roasting the whole chicken in garlic butter marinade.
Progress Pictures Perfect Whole Roast Chicken in Oven

Gravy

  • Skim off any fat in the pan juices. Place the roasting rack on the stovetop or transfer the juices to a frying pan. Add the stock and deglaze the pan. Then, add the flour and continue to cook until thickened. Strain gravy through a sieve into a serving bowl. Serve hot with cut chicken.
Perfect Whole Roast Chicken in Oven

How to carve a roast chicken

  • Once roasted, always tent the chicken and let rest for at least 15 minutes otherwise all the juices will flow out leaving the chicken dry.
  • First, cut the two quarters at the hip joint. When cooked, this does not need any effort. Each quarter can then be cut into thighs and legs giving you four generous pieces.
  • For the breast, find the centerline. Place a sharp knife on one side of that line and press down firmly. This will crack the ribs. Do the same on the other side. This will make removing the center bone easy.
    Then, carve against the bone with a sharp paring knife. It is easy if you follow the rib cage giving you two perfect breast pieces.
  • While you will get 6 generous pieces, the rest of the chicken has lots of meat on it. In fact, some of the most flavorful bits are around the bones. So do not throw the chicken and bones.
  • Use the bones to make stock and use the leftover chicken for sandwiches, wraps, and chicken pot pie kinda dishes.
A cut roasted chicken on a wooden board.
Roaste.- Perfect Whole Roast Chicken in Oven

Sides to go with roast chicken


How long will this roast chicken keep?

This chicken will keep in the fridge for at least 3 to 4 days. You can even freeze for a month if stored properly.

What chicken is best for roasting?

I buy organic free-range chicken when possible. And yet, you can buy a standard roast chicken at any supermarket. Also, it’s best to buy a medium-size, not too small and not too large.
A small chicken is about 1.2 kgs or 2.5 pounds and would feed 2 to 3 people. While a medium size is 1.75 to 2 kgs (3.5 to 4 pounds) and will feed about 4 to 6 people. Also, leftovers from a roast chicken are always a good thing to have. So, a slightly bigger chicken than you need is not a bad idea.

How do you know when the roast chicken is done?

The most common method to check for doneness in roast chicken is when the chicken juices run clear with no traces of blood. The foolproof method would be to use a meat thermometer and insert it in the thickest part of the thigh. The temperature should reach 165 F or 75 C.

How do you keep a roast chicken moist?

While we blast the chicken initially for a nice color it also helps to reduce the heat and cook at a lower temperature.
Basting the chicken a few times during cooking helps keep the chicken moist (but don’t open the oven door too often as the oven temperature reduces every time you open it).
Loosely tent the chicken after roasting. This will keep the moisture in the chicken.
Do not cut the chicken for at least 15 minutes after you take it out of the oven – so the juices stay in keeping the chicken moist.

How long to cook a 3 lb / 1.4 kg chicken?

As a guide, you roast the first 15 minutes at 220°C/ 425°F/ Gas Mark 7, then, reduce the temperature to 165°C / 325°F Gas Mark 3. Calculate 20 minutes for every 1 lb ( 500 grams) of chicken until juices run clear or the internal temperature reaches 165°F / 75°C. So, for example, a 3 lbs/1.4 kg chicken would need about 75 minutes.
Using a meat thermometer is a great way to take the guesswork and omit any calculating time. All you do is stick the thermometer and check the internal temperature. It should be 165°F or 75°C in the thickest part of the thigh or 145 F in the breast.


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A roasted chicken on a wooden board.

Roast Chicken in Oven

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Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Resting Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes
Coooking Temperature: 425°F / 220°C / Gas mark 7
Calories: 810kcal
Adjust Servings Here: 6 people

Description

Here's how to make whole roast chicken in the oven perfectly every single time. This chicken is juicy on the inside with a crisp golden skin on the outside that looks perfect on the center of any festive dinner. The best part is it's using simple and easy-to-find ingredients. Leftovers are perfect for sandwiches and wraps.

Video

Ingredients 

  • 3 lbs (1.5 kg) Chicken

Paprika rub

  • 1 tbsp Smoked sweet paprika
  • 1 tbsp Hot paprika
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • ½ tsp Pepper
  • 2 tbsp Olive oil

For cavity

  • 3 sprigs Rosemary
  • 3 sprigs Thyme
  • 1 Lemon (halved)

Garlic butter marinade

  • 2 tbsp Butter (room temperature)
  • 2 tbsp Garlic (minced)
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • ½ tsp Pepper

Gravy

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Instructions

Roasting chicken

  • Preheat the oven at 425°F / 220°C / Gas mark 7
  • Prep chicken – Clean and pat dry the chicken on all sides with paper towels. Remove excess fat or leftover feathers. While the chicken is dry use your finger to loosen the gap between the breast and the skin to fill the garlic butter marinade later
    Pro tip – A dry bird will give crispy skin. When possible leave the chicken uncovered in the fridge overnight. Loosening the skin under the breast now is easier than when it's greasy with the oil.
  • Garlic butter – In the same bowl, combine the garlic, butter, salt, and pepper. Fill half the garlic butter under the skin over the breast (see video). Spread the remaining over the chicken.
    Pro tip – adding butter under the skin will keep the breast moist and tender.
  • Dry rub – In a bowl, combine paprika, salt, pepper, and olive oil. Rub the paprika mixture all over the chicken skin as well as in the cavity.
    Pro tip – rubbing the skin with paprika gives a deeper color which looks nice. You can use hot or sweet paprika.
  • Cavity – Fill the cavity with rosemary, thyme, and lemon halves. Then, truss or tie the chicken legs and tuck the wings under.
    Pro tip – filling the cavity with herbs will perfume the bird from the inside.
  • Roast – Place the chicken on a roasting pan, breast side up. Roast the chicken for 15 minutes at 220°C / 425°F / Gas Mark 7 then reduce temperature to 165°C / 325°F Gas Mark 3 turning once in between.
    Pro tip – we turn the chicken so it is golden on all sides and also prevent the breast from drying out.
  • As a guide, you roast the first 15 minutes at 220°C/ 425°F/ Gas Mark 7, and reduce the temperature to 165°C / 325°F Gas Mark 3. Calculate 20 minutes for every 1 lb ( 500 grams) of chicken until juices run clear or the internal temperature reaches 165°F / 75°C.
    Pro tip – Using a meat thermometer is a great way to take the guesswork and omit any calculating time. All you do is stick the thermometer and check the internal temperature. It should be 165°F or 75°C in the thickest part of the thigh or 145 F in the breast.
  • Rest – Remove the chicken from the oven and tent it with foil – let cool for at least 15 to 20 minutes before you carve. Serve with pan juices or use any pan dripping to make gravy.
    Pro tip – letting the bird rest will help the juices settle otherwise the moment you cut all the juices will run out leaving the bird dry.

Gravy (optional)

  • Skim off any fat in the pan juices. Place the roasting rack on the stovetop or transfer the juices to a frying pan. Add the stock and deglaze the pan. Then, add the flour and continue to cook until thickened. Strain gravy through a sieve into a serving bowl. Serve hot with cut chicken.

Recipe Notes & Tips

 
  1. Weigh the chicken so you can calculate the baking time.
  2. Pat dry the chicken before you marinate. Time permitting, leave the chicken uncovered in the fridge for 8 hours. The fridge does a great job of drying the skin.
  3. Thaw the chicken well before cooking. Chilled chicken results in uneven roasting.
  4. Leave the skin on when roasting the whole chicken even if you are not going to eat the skin. The skin prevents the meat from drying out and overcooking. Remove excess fat as much as you can.
  5. Loosen the skin of the chicken on the breast this will allow you to add as much seasoning as possible. Use butter, spices or herbs on the breast as this prevents the breast from drying out.
  6. Always season the chicken generously, perhaps a little more than you think it needs. And don’t forget to season the cavity.
  7. If you can, tie/truss the chicken or at least tie the legs and tuck the wings under this makes for a better presentation.
  8. Use a roasting pan to roast chicken. If you don’t have a roasting pan, scrunch up some foil and make a circle or prop the chicken on a few cut veggies like onions and root veggies. This helps air circulate all around the chicken.
  9. When baked, always tent the chicken and let it rest for at least 15 minutes. This lets all the juices settle in the meat. If you cut too soon the juices will flow out and the chicken will be dry.
  10. Invest in a meat thermometer, these are very inexpensive these days. A meat thermometer takes the guesswork out of any roast and is the best way to know if the chicken is cooked perfectly.

Conversions Used

1 lb = 453 grams, 1 cup = 240 ml, 1 stick = 113g, 1 tbsp= 15 ml, 1 tsp= 5 ml,

Nutrition Information

Calories: 810kcalCarbohydrates: 5gProtein: 63gFat: 59gSaturated Fat: 19gCholesterol: 270mgSodium: 810mgPotassium: 719mgFiber: 2gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 1925IUVitamin C: 17mgCalcium: 54mgIron: 4mg

The nutrition information and metric conversion are calculated automatically. I cannot guarantee its accuracy. If this data is important to you please verify with your trusted nutrition calculator. Thank you

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19 Comments

  1. Danielle Wolter says:

    5 stars
    There is something so comforting about a whole roasted chicken, I just love it. The chicken came out so delicious and juicy – it was definitely a hit!

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