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The Best Roasted Chicken in the Oven [+video]

The Best Roasted Chicken in the Oven recipe is looooong overdue. It has crispy skin, juicy meat and is perfectly flavored from all the spices. 

A whole roasted chicken on a white platter with lemon wedges and fresh thyme. There is a linen napkin, salt, pepper and fresh thyme on the table next to the chicken.

Chicken recipes are a dime a dozen on the ol’ internet these days. Gosh, I want to say interwebs every time I talk about such a thing. There are things about the internet I could never live without, but then again, I kind of want it to go away so we can go back to a more simple lifestyle. 

I think I’ll buy a boat and go live on a lake. All that perfect grass with a fire pit slapped into the middle, a lake house with a wrap around porch and a creaking old dock to hang my feet off, letting them dangle in and out of the water as the sun dips low in the sky. 

I know, back to the baked chicken, Carrian. Can you tell I’m itching for a quiet vacation?

Roasted Chicken in the Oven

Our roasted chicken recipe is actually super simple. No stuffing of the cavity, no brining in a liquid pot that is awkward and heavy to stuff in the fridge and finally, no flavorless bird. 

Do you know I actually became convinced over the years that only supermarket rotisserie chickens were worth it because any whole bird at home tasted like drywall? 

A whole roasted chicken need not be that way!! I was just preparing it allllll wrong

The Secret to Baked Chicken

A roasted chicken needs only one thing to be amazing, proper seasoning. 

The secret to our roasted chicken recipe is to salt it and forget it. An entire day in the fridge is absolutely the key to success. Meat just can’t take in all of the rub in the baking time, but salt actually breaks through the meat, flavoring from the inside out and it breaks down muscle fibers to be extra juicy. 

Small containers of cubed butter, salt, and pepper, and a bowl with little mounds of brown sugar, paprika, onion powder, cayenne pepper, and ground mustard. Two cloves of garlic are also on the table.

Ingredients for Oven Roasted Chicken

Here’s what you need for this whole roasted chicken

  • Chicken
  • Salt
  • Thyme
  • Onion powder
  • Garlic
  • Brown Sugar
  • Paprika
  • Pepper
  • Ground mustard
  • Cayenne
  • Chili Powder
  • Cumin
  • Butter

 

A whole chicken that hasn't been cooked. It is resting on a piece of parchment paper and a roll of parchment paper is next to it. There is a small wooden bowl of salt in front of the chicken.

Oh, Sweet Basil Pro Tip

A dry bird is essential to getting that golden crust. The seasonings kind of melt into the bird and it doesn’t crisp up if it’s all wet. Think about boiling a chicken vs cooking in a pan. No, it’s not really boiling, but liquid acts as a barrier and softens the skin so it cannot crisp. Butter does allow crisping but we don’t want to mix it with water. Make sense? 

 

A whole chicken that has been prepped for roasting. You can see the spiced rub that has been rubbed into the chicken. The chicken is in a red Dutch Oven.

How to Prepare a Whole Chicken for Roasting

  • The day before you want to cook the chicken, rinse and pat the chicken dry. Season chicken generously with kosher salt and place on a plate in the fridge, loosely cover with plastic just to help with cross contamination if other things could touch the chicken. Otherwise you can skip the plastic. 
  • A few hours before it’s time to cook, remove the plastic wrap.
  • Take the chicken from the fridge 1 hour before you plan to cook it. Heat the oven to 425 degrees with a rack set in the center position.
  • Tightly tie together the legs with a piece of butcher’s twine.
  • Place spices in a bowl and mix to combine
  • Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of spices in the cavity of the chicken. 
  • Add butter to the remaining spices and stir to combine.
  • Lift the skin of the chicken and rub 1/2 of the spiced butter all over the meat under the skin then the remaining butter all over on top of the skin. 

 

A whole roasted chicken on a white platter. The chicken is golden brown and there are a few lemon wedges and some sprigs of fresh thyme next to the chicken. A small container of salt is next to the platter of chicken.

Should a Whole Chicken Rest on the Counter Before Cooking?

I want to hit this on the head before you ask, should a raw chicken really sit out before baking?

There’s a little debate about this as some websites have claimed they don’t see any difference in baking, but I along with many, many thousands of chefs would beg to disagree. 

A whole chicken sits out to allow the meat to reach a similar temperature throughout the whole bird thus encouraging even browning and cooking

The Analogy

Have you ever had to thaw out a turkey for Thanksgiving? I have and one of my first failed recipes was thinking that it was entirely thawed and ready to cook when in fact the center was still quite cold, even borderline icy. That bird took so dang long to get the center of it to cook and by then I was desperately trying to save the skin. It was a mess. 

A whole chicken holds onto the cold a lot longer than a chicken breast so unless you want uneven cooking, please let it sit and rest on the counter. 

A whole roasted chicken. The chicken is on a platter surrounded by lemon wedges and fresh thyme. A wooden bowl of salt, a linen napkin and a few sprigs of thyme are on the table next to the chicken.

How to Make Roasted Chicken

  • Place the chicken in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet or a shallow roasting pan. 
  • Slide the pan all the way to the back of the oven on the center rack, rotating the pan so that the legs are pointing toward the rear left corner and the breast is pointing toward the center of the oven. 
  • After about 20 minutes, when the chicken starts to brown, reduce the temperature to 400 degrees and continue roasting for 10 minutes.
  • Open the oven and turn the pan so that the chicken is facing the opposite direction to promote even browning. Continue cooking for another 30 minutes or so, until the chicken is brown all over and the juices run clear when you insert a knife down to the bone between the leg and the thigh. If the skin is getting too brown before it is cooked through, use a foil tent.
  • Remove chicken to a platter and let it rest for 10 minutes before carving.

How to Know When Chicken is Done

When you insert a knife down to the bone between the leg and the thigh the meat and bone should be easy to move back and forth and the juices should be running clear.

A whole roasted chicken with a slice from the breast. It is sitting on a white platter surrounded by fresh thyme and lemon wedges. There is a knife and fork, a linen napkin, salt, pepper and fresh thyme on the table next to the chicken.

How Long Will Roasted Chicken Last?

Chicken should be covered and placed in the refrigerator.

Properly stored, roasted chicken will keep for 3-4 days in the refrigerator.

Can You Freeze Roasted Chicken?

Yes, place the chicken in ziplock freezer bags and press out as much air as possible before sealing the bag.

You can keep roasted chicken in the freezer for up to 4 months.

How Do You Know When Roasted Chicken Is Done?

Chicken is done when it reaches 165 degrees in the thickest part of the thigh.

You can also tell if a chicken is done if the wings and legs wiggle loosely, and the juices run clear.

Can You Reheat Roasted Chicken?

To reheat roasted chicken, place it in an oven safe dish and reheat in a 350 degree oven for about 25 minutes.

You can also reheat in a microwave on medium for 2-5 minutes.  

A whole chicken roasted to a golden brown. The chicken is on a white platter and has a few slices of lemon around it and some fresh thyme sprigs next to it.

We have got you covered for all the cooking methods of a whole chicken! We have smoked whole chicken, whole chicken in the Instant Pot, and whole chicken in the slow cooker. Now it’s time for a whole roasted chicken!

 

More CHICKEN MAIN DISHES You Must Try:

If you are looking to whip up just some chicken legs, try this baked chicken legs recipe! So good!

 
A whole roasted chicken on a white platter with lemon wedges and fresh thyme. On the table next to the chicken is a pepper shaker, salt in a wooden bowl, a stack of 3 dinner plates, and fresh thryme.

The Best Roasted Chicken

0 from 0 votes
Prep Time: 1 day 1 hour
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 day 2 hours
Servings: 4
crispy skin, juicy meat and is perfectly flavored from all the spices. 

Ingredients

  • 3-4 pound Chicken whole,  giblets removed, rinsed and patted dry
  • Kosher Salt for day before
  • 2 teaspoons Thyme leaves fresh, or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 2 teaspoons Salt Kosher
  • 1 teaspoon Onion Powder
  • 2 Cloves Garlic minced
  • 1 Tablespoon Brown Sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Paprika smoked
  • 1 Pinch Black Pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon Ground Mustard
  • 1/8 teaspoon Cayenne
  • 1/8 teaspoon Chili Powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon Cumin
  • 6 Tablespoons Butter unsalted, softened

Instructions

  • The day before you want to cook the chicken, rinse and pat the chicken dry. Season chicken generously with kosher salt and place on a plate in the fridge, loosely cover with plastic. 
  • A few hours before it’s time to cook, remove the plastic wrap.
  • Take the chicken from the fridge 1 hour before you plan to cook it. Heat the oven to 425 degrees with a rack set in the center position.
  • Tightly tie together the legs with a piece of butcher’s twine.
  • Place spices in a bowl and mix to combine
  • Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of spices in the cavity of the chicken. 
  • Add butter to the remaining spices and stir to combine.
  • Lift the skin of the chicken and rub 1/2 of the spiced butter all over the meat under the skin then the remaining butter all over on top of the skin. 
  • Place the chicken in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet or a shallow roasting pan.
  • Slide the pan all the way to the back of the oven on the center rack, rotating the pan so that the legs are pointing toward the rear left corner and the breast is pointing toward the center of the oven. 
  • After about 20 minutes, when the chicken starts to brown, reduce the temperature to 400 degrees and continue roasting for 10 minutes.
  • Open the oven and turn the pan so the legs are facing the rear right corner of the oven. Continue cooking for another 30 minutes or so, until the chicken is brown all over and the juices run clear when you insert a knife down to the bone between the leg and the thigh. If the skin is getting too brown before it is cooked through, use a foil tent.
  • Remove chicken to a platter and let it rest for 10 minutes before carving.

Notes

Left over roasted chicken can be kept for 3-4 days in the refrigerator.  Cover well to prevent the chicken from drying out.
Nutrition Facts
The Best Roasted Chicken
Amount Per Serving (1 g)
Calories 523 Calories from Fat 378
% Daily Value*
Fat 42g65%
Saturated Fat 18g113%
Cholesterol 168mg56%
Sodium 1431mg62%
Potassium 331mg9%
Carbohydrates 5g2%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 3g3%
Protein 31g62%
Vitamin A 1338IU27%
Vitamin C 5mg6%
Calcium 30mg3%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

A whole roasted chicken on a white platter with lemon wedges and fresh thyme. There is a linen napkin, salt, pepper and fresh thyme on the table next to the chicken.

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