If you’re looking for a stress-free weeknight meal, look no further. Simple whole roasted chicken is an unbelievably juicy and tender dish with a crispy exterior that’s to die for! I guarantee that your family will love this meal and it’ll become part of your weekly rotation.
Let’s jump right in!
This post is part of our Basic Cooking Skills series. Each week we will be doing a deep-dive into one basic cooking skill and a brand new recipe to accompany it to practice that newfound skill. Check back throughout the series for updates and new posts.
how to: appropriately Salt the whole chicken
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from Samin Nosrat’s teaching and from researching roasting meat, it’s that SALT = flavor!
For a whole roasted chicken that’s tender, juicy, and will blow you away with flavor, you MUST salt it thoroughly.
Prep your chicken the day before you plan on cooking it. I know I know, that’s more planning and work on your part, but trust me, it’ll be worth it when you’re dining on that amazing chicken the next day 😉
Take the chicken out of the package and cover with salt. If you feel like you’ve added too much, it’s probably justtt right.
Feel free to tie your chicken using twine to make it easier to store and cook.
Place in 1 or 2 plastic storage bags and store in the fridge for 24 hours.
how to: prepare the ingredients
One of the best things about this classic roast chicken is that it’s SO simple! Very little extra ingredients are needed for a great roast.
Slice one whole onion and divide in half.
Cut one lemon in half.
Gather fresh thyme (ground is also fine), salt, pepper, and olive oil.
how to: prepare the chicken for roasting
About 30 minutes before cooking, take the chicken out of the fridge and bring up to room temperature. It’s good practice to set out the chicken and start preheating your oven at around the same time.
We’ll be splitting our prepped ingredients between being in the bottom of the pan and inside the chicken cavity.
Place half an onion, half a lemon, a few sprigs of thyme, and a dash of salt inside the chicken. (kinda gross, but it’s worth it)
As we learned about roasting basics in Roasting Meat, we want to elevate the chicken off of the bottom of the pan to help with air circulation.
Place the other onion half, lemon half, thyme, and any other vegetables you’d like to use into the bottom of the pan. Carrots and potatoes are amazing here as well!
Set the whole chicken in the pan with the breasts on top (I accidentally placed the chicken upside down and fixed it after 20 minutes or so lol)
Drizzle generously with olive oil and sprinkle additional salt and pepper over the whole bird.
how to: roast a whole chicken
Once the oven hits 425 degrees F (220 C) place the pan in the oven and leave it undisturbed for 30 minutes. You can start to see the brownness form (it should be a little farther along than mine, which was upside down for a good bit lol).
After 30 minutes, lower the heat to 400 degrees F (200 C). At this time, you can also baste the chicken with the juices in the bottom of the pan. Using a baster or spoon, pour oil over the entire chicken to keep it moist.
Basting breaks the roasting rule of keeping the oven door closed to maintain a consistent temperature, but this is okay here because we’re lowering the temperature anyways!
Continue cooking another 30 minutes or so until the juices run clear and the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F (75 C). If longer is needed, feel free to baste the chicken a little bit before returning to the oven.
Once cooked, let the chicken rest on the counter for about 15 minutes before serving.
Look at that beautiful crispiness and color! Your house should be filled with heavenly aromas and it’s time to dig in.
Simple Whole Roasted Chicken
- 1 whole chicken
- salt as needed
- 1 onion sliced
- 1 lemon halved
- 4-5 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 tsp pepper
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 24 hours before cooking, salt the chicken with an even layer of salt (about 1-2 tsp), cover and refrigerate.
- Preheat the oven to 425° F (220° C) and bring the chicken up to room temperature on the counter.
- Place half of the onion, lemon, and thyme in the bottom of the pan. Place the other half of the onion, lemon, and thyme in the cavity of the chicken.
- Set the chicken in the pan with the breasts up. Pour olive oil over the chicken and sprinkle pepper and a little more salt.
- Cook undisturbed for 30 minutes. Then lower the heat to 400° F (200° C) and baste the chicken. Continue cooking for 30-40 more minutes or until the juices run clear.
What’s great about simple whole roasted chicken is that it can be served with practically ANY vegetable or side dish, and there are so many ways to use the leftovers!
Do you have any favorite meals with chicken leftovers? Mine would have to be chicken and rice casseroles. YUM. Share yours in the comments below!
46 thoughts on “Simple Whole Roasted Chicken”
Great recipe. Such a simple dish but you really can’t go wrong with a roast chicken!
Right?? It’s such a great classic and SO good
It doesn’t get any easier than this….. Thanks for sharing. I will try 🙂
I know, I love it 🙂
I have always roasted chicken in the crockpot but I bet your way tastes even better. I never thought to roast it with all the ingrediants on the bottom like that. Sounds so good.
I will have to try it in the crockpot! I love the smell of the crockpot simmering all day 🙂
I’m constantly forgetting to add salt when I cook, to the point, that I’m not sure I’ve ever remembered to add salt when I cook. That’s probably why I don’t cook that often anymore, I keep forgetting the salt so the flavour always sucks
Salt can make such a big difference! I used to not use it much either but it has made all the difference in my meals lately
Great post! Thank you for sharing! This is so useful!
I’m so glad, thanks for your feedback!
I love roasted chicken with thyme, lemon and olive oil well salted and with cracked pepper. Thanks for sharing.
YUM what a great combo!! Thanks for reading 🙂
Um Yum!! That roasted chicken looks so delicious. I’ve never made a whole chicken before, I need to try this out. Thanks for sharing!
That was my first time and it turned out surprisingly well!
wow! lovely! my gosh, I love chicken recipes and this one looks a wonderful treat that you can have any time of the week!
will surely try this in my home.
thanks for sharing this awesome recipe!
Thanks so much for checking it out!
This has inspired me to step up my roast chicken game. Looks absolutely delicious!
Yay that’s what I love to hear! Thanks 🙂
This roasted chicken looks so good and seems very easy to make (what a bonus)! I love adding potatoes when I make roasted chicken, too! I’m definitely going to try this recipe and pass it along to my mom. Thank you so much for sharing & making me hungry! 😉
Much love always,
GABBY | http://www.gabbyabigaill.com
Yessss the ease of it makes it that much better! Thanks for checking it out!
Some really great tips there- thank you. I’ve never taken chicken out of the fridge early before but I’ll do this now
I’m glad it was helpful! Thanks for reading!
Yesterday we celebrated easter! I know that sounds crazy but we decided to celebrate when we could see some of our family again. We did a lot of these things as you can’t go wrong with a roast chicken. Thanks for sharing!
Aww that sounds great!A roast chicken is perfect for family meals 🙂
This makes me so hungry, the chicken looks absolutely amazing! Lovely recipe, and so easy to follow 🙂
Anika | chaptersofmay.com
Yay I love to hear that! Thanks for reading!
Nice post. Seems easy to do and looks good.
It’s SO easy and so tasty! A made another one this week!
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I love any chicken meal but I gotta say roasted chicken is one of my fave. It’s just so easy to cook yet should be filled with flavor. Will pin this for future reference! Thanks for sharing this! 💕
It’s so classic yet delicious! Thank you!
Roast chicken is such an underrated yet delicious dish. I don’t think I’ve ever cooked a whole chicken before so I’m definitely going to give this a go.
It’s so fun and I feel so accomplished when doing it!
Yummy!!!!!! Roasted chicken is so delicious not eat during lunch time. Thank you for sharing your tips on how to salt roasted chicken.
It’s so delicious!! Thank you for reading 🙂
This sounds absolutely mouth-watering. A roast chicken is such an underrated meal, but can easily be one of the most delicious if you follow a great recipe like this! Thanks for sharing!
It can be so flavorful with such little work on your part 🙂
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I was just thinking doing a roasted chicken for a specific meal, and this is amazing. I’m going to try this.
classic recipe and a staple in the house, even tho I cant eat chicken now I remember roasted chicken is a family dinner meal.
I can almost smell it! Nothing better than a roast chicken — love the idea of using the cast iron. This looks delish…pinning for later!
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I love to see how others make their roast chicken. Have come across some rather elaborate ones that don’t even hit the mark. This sounds perfectly simple to let the chicken shine! I totally appreciate your 24-hour “dry brine”. It’s how I make my turkey every Thanksgiving (but I add some baking soda to the salt — crispiest skin ever!).
I will have to try it with turkey!!