Herb-Roasted Whole Chicken

I would think roasting a whole chicken wouldn’t be so difficult. Just season it a bit, pop the bird in the oven, and a while later you have a crispy, browned chicken.

Nope. Gotta roast it long enough, first of all, so it’s cooked all the way through;  otherwise, you risk food poisoning (major yuck!).

Then you run the risk of over-roasting and having meat that is tough and chewy rather than tender and moist.

Of course, flavoring matters, too. I prefer a savory blend of light herbs, something aromatic and mouth-watering.

Well, I’ve tried several recipes with a variety of issues: herbs overpower the chicken; underuse of herbs produces bland chicken; too garlicky; too heavy with rosemary; too lemony…

And let’s not even talk about cutting that bird with any degree of expertise. I’m more like a hacker even though I’ve studied numerous videos and graphics of how to properly and easily cut up a chicken. Just not working for me…yet.

I think I have a whole new appreciation of my mom and how she has mastered the chicken over the years: always cooked moist and tender, seasoned with hints of lemon that tantalize the taste buds, and crispy, brown skin. Oh, and she has no problems carving.

Now it’s my turn to work toward mastery, and I’ve made a major step with this recipe. The seasonings are the one: sage, rosemary, and thyme–gotta be fresh herbs, though, for maximum impact. Also garlic, lemon, and onion shoved into the bird’s cavity provide an additional aromatic flavoring from the inside.

And that’s about all there is to this recipe. Overall, it’s a definite keeper, a 5-star winner. Simplicity turned elegance.

Herb-Roasted Whole Chicken

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  • 3-4 lb. whole chicken
  • 2-3 tbsp. canola oil
  • 1-2 tbsp. total of chopped fresh herbs: sage, rosemary, thyme
  • 1 tbsp. kosher salt (if you use table salt,
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • one small lemon
  • one small onion (I like white, but any type will suffice)
  • 3-6 cloves of garlic, depending on how much you like garlic


  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. Remove the neck and giblets from the bird’s inner cavity. Rinse the chicken inside and out under cold running water. Remove any excess fat and leftover pinfeathers. Pat chicken dry with clean cloth or paper towel to ensure a crispy skin while roasting.
  3. Pick herbs from their stems, then give them a fine chopping. Mix with salt and pepper; add canola oil and mix.
  4. Quarter the lemon and onion; peel the garlic cloves (probably would work to just smash them and leave unpeeled, too), then fill the cavity of the bird with these aromatics (remember to pull out the neck and gizzards, first, and rinse the cavity in cold water).
  5. Rub the entire outer chicken with the herb mixture. You can also gently loosen the skin over the breast and thigh on each side and rub some herb mixture in there, too.
  6. Place chicken breast side up (legs sticking up) in 450 degrees F oven and roast for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes. Chicken is done when instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of the breast registers 160 degrees F or when juices run clear when you cut between a leg and thigh (cloudy, bloody juice = not done yet).
  7. Remove from oven, cover loosely with foil, and let rest for 10-15 minutes before carving (resting chicken allows juices which have concentrated to middle of chicken during cooking to re-disperse, thereby creating juicy, tender meat)

SOURCE: adapted from The Pioneer Woman Cooks

How to carve a chicken (use an 8 or 9-inch carving knife; larger knives are harder to manipulate around the bones):

2 thoughts on “Herb-Roasted Whole Chicken

  1. Pingback: Chicken Pot Pies | Scrumptious and Sumptuous

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