simple whole roasted chicken

Simple Whole Roasted Chicken

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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.

whole roasted chicken raw salt

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.

roast chicken ingredients onion lemon thyme

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!

whole roasted chicken upside down
See my upside chicken lol. Remember breasts facing up!

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).

simple whole roasted chicken

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. 

simple whole roasted chicken

Look at that beautiful crispiness and color! Your house should be filled with heavenly aromas and it’s time to dig in.

Ingredients Needed

Materials Needed

simple whole roasted chicken

Simple Whole Roasted Chicken

An easy weeknight meal, the whole family will love simple whole roasted chicken that is juicy and oh-so tender.
5 from 9 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chicken, classic, roasted


  • 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.
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simple whole roasted chicken pin
simple whole roasted chicken pin
simple whole roasted chicken pin

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!

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46 thoughts on “Simple Whole Roasted Chicken”

  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. 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!

  4. 5 stars
    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!

  5. 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 |

  6. 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!

    Em x

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  9. 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! 💕

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  11. 5 stars
    classic recipe and a staple in the house, even tho I cant eat chicken now I remember roasted chicken is a family dinner meal.

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  14. 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!).

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