A simple roast chicken recipe, especially a herb roasted chicken, is all you need for a tasty Sunday supper or low carb meal prep for the week.
Every cook should learn how to roast a chicken. A simple roast chicken is one of life’s pleasures. I live in Southern California where we grill almost year round, but nothing beats roasting a whole chicken in the oven for a Sunday supper or a start on the week’s meal prep. And since my family is small, we often roast a large chicken instead of turkey for Thanksgiving. This means less leftovers and less cleanup.
How To Roast Chicken In The Oven
You can roast a chicken in almost anything. I often use a sheet pan, choosing a smaller pan (quarter sheet-pan) for one chicken or a larger pan (half sheet-pan) for two. Lining the pan with a piece of aluminum foil makes for an easy clean-up. But, it’s just as easy to roast a chicken in a large cast iron skillet, a Dutch oven, a small roaster, or a glass baking dish.
I roasted my chicken in a beautiful Doveware covered casserole sent to me by Aroma Housewares. Not only is it gorgeous, but it can be used on the stove as well as the oven, making it versatile. It’s much lighter than a cast iron piece of similar size and the cover makes it the perfect dish for braising larger cuts of meat. Aroma also sent me a ceramic Dutch oven and Tagine that I can’t wait to share. I LOVE them.
Many cooks don’t know how to roast a chicken or at what temperature to roast a chicken. Fortunately, there are many techniques from which to choose. Honestly, I rarely cook a chicken in the oven the same way and they always turn out great. Sometimes, I opt to roast half chickens, which is also convenient.
How to Prepare a Whole Chicken for the Oven (4 ways)
Here are a few different ways I prepare a simple roast chicken for the oven. (Remove the innards from the cavity and rinse and dry the bird with paper towels before beginning.)
- Rub oil on the entire surface of the chicken, then liberally apply salt and pepper, inside and out.
- Massage the chicken with lemon juice. Liberally season the chicken, inside and out, with salt and pepper. Cut the lemon into quarters and place a few in the cavity with a piece of celery that has been cut in half.
- Rub oil on the entire surface of the chicken and season liberally with your favorite spice blend like: lemon pepper, Sweet Mesquite Seasoning (Costco), beer-can chicken seasoning, Emeril Essence or my garlic herb seasoning blend.
- Make a seasoned compound butter and place it between the skin and the meat. Then, oil the skin and season liberally with salt and pepper.
You can truss the chicken or not. I trussed this chicken to be fancy. Here is the video I used to learn a new way to truss a chicken.
Chicken Roasting Times
If you need to know how long to cook a whole chicken, here’s a handy chart showing Meat and Chicken cooking times from Food Safety.gov.
How Do You Know When Chicken is Done?
- Cook the chicken until the thick part of the thigh reaches 165 degrees F. An instant read thermometer comes in handy for this. The chicken will continue to cook until it reaches an internal temperature of 170 degrees F.
- Insert a digital thermometer into the thickest part of one of the thighs and set it for 165. degrees F. Remove the chicken from the oven and the residual heat will continue to cook the chicken for several minutes until it reaches 170 degrees F.
- Roast the chicken until the skin on the legs is taught, the leg wiggles freely and the juices run clear when the thigh is pierced with a fork.
What is the yield on a whole chicken?
According to Kim from House to Homestead, who calculated the useable meat on a chicken carcass, a chicken yields 62% meat. The rest is skin and carcass. So plan for 8 oz (or 1/2 a pound) raw weight per person when buying your chicken. And, don’t throw away that carcass. Freeze it to make bone broth at a later time.
Comment with your favorite leftover roast chicken ideas.
This Simple Roast Chicken Recipe is 2 net carbs per serving when served with its natural juices.
Simple Roast Chicken Recipe (Herb Roasted Chicken)
- 1 whole chicken *** (mine was 8 pounds)
- salt and pepper
- 1 tbsp neutral oil (I use avocado oil or a good olive oil)
- 4 tbsp salted butter, softened
- 2 tsp fresh parsley, minced and squeezed dry
- 1 tsp grated lemon zest
Ingredients for Chicken Cavity and Pan
- 1 small onion, quartered
- 1 whole lemon (multiple use)
- 2 large garlic cloves, gently crushed
- fresh parsley sprigs
- 1/2 cup water
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and position rack to the middle of the oven.
- Remove the giblets, neck, gizzards and any other goodies from the cavity of the chicken. Rinse under a slow stream of water (to minimize splashing) and dry the chicken well, inside and out, with paper towels.
- Place the softened butter in a small bowl. Roll the lemon firmly on the counter and zest, adding the zest to the bowl with the butter. Finely mince the parsley, squeeze dry in a paper towel, and add it to the butter. Mix the lemon zest and parsley into the butter.
- Cut the lemon in half horizontally, the onion into quarters, and peel and gently crush the garlic cloves (I use the flat of my knife).
- Loosen the skin over the chicken breast and thighs by working your hand between the skin and the meat (at the cavity end). Apply the compound butter under the skin, covering the chicken breasts and thighs. It won't spread nicely because the chicken is cold and moist and the butter will want to clump. It's okay.
- Rub the lemon halves all over the surface of the chicken, then cut them in half again, into quarters. Rub oil over all surfaces of the chicken. Season the chicken well, inside and out, with salt and pepper - protein loves salt. Any leftover compound butter can be added to the pan or roaster.
- Place two lemon quarters, an onion quarter, a clove of garlic and several sprigs of parsley into the cavity of the chicken. Arrange the rest of the lemon, onion, garlic and several sprigs of parsley in the pan around the chicken.
- Follow the roasting times linked to in the article to determine the correct cooking time for your bird. (My 8 pound chicken roasted for almost 2 hours. It was done when the legs wiggled easily, the thigh juices ran clear when pricked with a fork and the internal temperature was 165 degrees F.)
- Check the pan during roasting. If it becomes dry, add some water. This will help make a tasty natural juice to serve over the carved chicken. Place under the broiler if more browning is desired.
- Tent the chicken loosely with a piece of foil and let rest for 30 minutes up to an hour. Remove the chicken from the pan and scrape up any browned bits into the accumulated pan juices. Sometimes heating the pan helps the process. Strain the juices, skim the fat, adjust seasoning, and serve with the chicken.
- Serving size is approximately 6 ounces per person.