How Long to Cook Whole Chicken Recipe Perfect & Juicy

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How Long to Cook Whole Chicken Recipe Perfect & Juicy– this step-by-step recipe always delivers perfect results! Tender meat with perfectly crispy skin and minimal effort. Easy, reliable, and juicy chicken everyone loves! Impress your family and guests with this simple roasted chicken recipe.

Side dishes for your oven-roasted chicken- glazed carrots and red potatoes.

How Long to Cook Whole Chicken Recipe Perfect & Juicy- cooked roast chicken in a large roasting pan with lemons and garlic on the side.
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Perfect Roast Chicken Recipe

This is a well-loved recipe for the perfect roast chicken! Whether it’s your first time roasting a whole bird or looking for a better recipe- you’ve come to the right place. This tried and tested method provides the best roast chicken recipe every single time.

My favorite part- it’s easy! Once you slather the chicken with a delicious herb and oil and butter rub (so much flavor!), sit back and wait for it to roast in the oven. It’s the best way to prepare Sunday dinner. No need to buy store-bought rotisserie chicken again.

Make Pastina Soup in Homemade Chicken Stock with leftover chicken. You can also try making a chicken version of these Tacos with the leftovers. Try these- Best Chicken Breast Recipe, Chicken Thighs with Creamy Sauce, and Baked Italian Chicken Thighs.

whole chicken recipe perfect and juicy. finished chicken cut and on a pretty platter with herbs and lemons as decoration.

Simple Ingredients

This simple roast chicken recipe is made with simple and fresh ingredients.

ingredient shot
  • Whole Chicken: A whole chicken is the star of this recipe. It mixes white and dark meat, offering different flavors and textures. Roasting a whole chicken allows the meat to remain juicy and tender while the skin crisps up beautifully.
  • Salt and Pepper: Salt and pepper are essential for seasoning the chicken both inside and outside.
  • Butter is brushed over the chicken skin to add richness and moisture. It also contributes to achieving crisp and golden-brown skin during roasting.
  • Olive oil is used alongside melted butter in the roasted chicken recipe to enhance flavor, retain moisture, and contribute to achieving a crispy golden-brown skin during roasting. The combination of both fats adds richness and a subtle fruity note, elevating the overall taste and texture of the dish.
  • Fresh Thyme: Fresh thyme is an aromatic herb that infuses the chicken with a lovely earthy and slightly floral flavor. It’s added to the cavity of the chicken to release its essence as the bird roasts.
  • Garlic Cloves: Garlic cloves, when roasted, become soft and sweet, imparting a subtle garlic flavor to the chicken. Placing peeled garlic cloves in the cavity adds depth to the overall taste.
  • Celery Stalks: Celery adds moisture to the chicken as it roasts. It also contributes a mild, vegetal flavor that complements the other aromatics.
  • Onion: Quartered onion is another aromatic that adds flavor and moisture to the chicken. As it roasts, the onion imparts the meat a sweet and savory essence.
  • Lemon: Adding lemon adds a bright and tangy flavor to the chicken. Lemon quarters placed in the cavity infuse their citrusy notes, refreshingly contrasting the meat’s richness.

See the recipe card for quantities.

How to Roast a Whole Chicken Step-by-Step Photos

How Long to Cook Whole Chicken Recipe Perfect & Juicy (step-by-step instructions)- rubbing with olive oil.

Preheat Oven and Prepare the Chicken: Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Season the inside of the cavity with salt and pepper.

Stuff the cavity with fresh thyme sprigs, garlic cloves, celery stalks, and lemon.

How Long to Cook Whole Chicken Recipe Perfect & Juicy (step-by-step instructions)- stuffing the cavity with aromatics.
How Long to Cook Whole Chicken Recipe Perfect & Juicy (step-by-step instructions)- seasoning the outside of the bird.

Season the Outside: First, rub the outside of the chicken all over with olive oil, then rub the softened butter on the top and massage it into the skin. Generously season with salt and pepper all over the chicken skin. 

How Long to Cook Whole Chicken Recipe Perfect & Juicy (step-by-step instructions)- placing the chicken in baking dish ready to bake.

Truss the Chicken (Optional): Trussing involves tying the legs together using kitchen twine. This helps the chicken cook more evenly.

How Long to Cook Whole Chicken Recipe Perfect & Juicy (step-by-step instructions)- tying the legs together.

High-Temperature Roasting: Place the chicken on a roasting rack in a roasting pan, breast side up. If you don’t have a rack, just place the chicken in a roasting or baking pan or on a rimmed baking sheet. Put the roasting pan with the chicken into the preheated oven. Roast at 450°F (230°C) for about 20-25 minutes (adjust cooking time depending on weight).

How Long to Cook Whole Chicken Recipe Perfect & Juicy (step-by-step instructions)- adding whole garlic and lemon to the outside of the baking dish before baking.

This initial high-temperature blast helps to crisp up the skin. Lower the Temperature: After the initial high-temperature roasting, reduce the oven temperature to 350°F (190°C). Continue Roasting: Roast the chicken at a lower temperature for about 15-20 minutes per pound. For an 8-pound chicken, you’ll roast it for about 2 hours to 2 hours 40 minutes (adjust cooking time based on weight).

How Long to Cook Whole Chicken Recipe Perfect & Juicy (step-by-step instructions)- after it is done roasting with golden brown and crispy skin.

Check for Doneness: To ensure the chicken is cooked thoroughly, use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature. Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh without touching the bone. The chicken is safe to eat when the internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C)*.

How Long to Cook Whole Chicken Recipe Perfect & Juicy- cooked roast chicken in a large roasting pan with lemons and garlic on the side.

Resting: Remove the chicken from the oven once it reaches the desired temperature. Tent the chicken with aluminum foil and let it rest for about 15-20 minutes. This allows the juices to redistribute (called carryover cooking), resulting in juicy and tender chicken meat.
Carving: Carve the chicken by removing the legs, wings, and breast meat. Use a sharp knife and cutting board. Serve with your favorite sides.

carving the chicken on a cutting board after it is cooked.

Variations

Here are some delicious variations for the next time you make this recipe:

  • Herb Variations: Instead of using only thyme, you can experiment with different herbs and flavor profiles. Consider using rosemary, sage, or a combination of herbs like Herbes de Provence for a unique and aromatic twist.
  • Citrus Infusion: Besides lemon, you can use other citrus fruits to infuse flavor into the chicken. Try using orange, lime, or even a combination of different citrus fruits to add a refreshing and tangy element.
  • Spice Rub: Create a flavorful spice rub by mixing your favorite spices such as paprika, cumin, coriander, or smoked paprika. Rub the mixture all over the chicken before roasting for an extra kick of flavor.
  • Glazing: During the last 20-30 minutes of roasting, you can brush the chicken with a glaze for added sweetness and caramelization. A glaze made from honey, maple syrup, soy sauce, and a touch of mustard can be a fantastic addition.
  • Vegetable Bed: Instead of using a roasting rack, create a bed of chopped vegetables in the roasting pan before placing the chicken on top. This elevates the flavor and makes a delicious side dish as the vegetables roast in the chicken juices.
  • Mediterranean Flavors: For a Mediterranean twist, stuff the chicken with garlic, onion, lemon slices, and fresh oregano. Drizzle the chicken with olive oil and sprinkle with a blend of Mediterranean spices like oregano, thyme, and rosemary.
whole chicken recipe perfect and juicy. finished chicken cut and on a pretty platter with herbs and lemons as decoration.
whole chicken recipe perfect and juicy. finished chicken cut and on a pretty platter with herbs and lemons as decoration. Close up of the cut chicken pieces. beautiful presentation.

How to Store Leftovers

To store leftover roasted chicken, ensure it has cooled to room temperature before refrigerating. Separate the meat from the bones, storing them in airtight containers or resealable bags.

In the refrigerator, you can keep shredded or diced chicken for up to 3-4 days. To extend storage, freeze the chicken in portion-sized containers or bags, ensuring to remove as much air as possible.

Frozen chicken is good for up to 2-3 months. When reheating, make sure the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F.

You can also use the leftovers to make this Chicken Pot Pie Recipe!

whole chicken recipe perfect and juicy. finished chicken cut and on a pretty platter with herbs and lemons as decoration.

How to Carve a Whole Roasted Chicken

Carving a roasted chicken is easier than it may seem. Follow these steps for the best way to carve a roasted chicken:

  1. Rest the Chicken: Allow the roasted chicken to rest, covered with aluminum foil, for about 15 minutes. This allows the juices to redistribute and results in juicier meat.
  2. Remove Legs and Thighs: Hold the chicken steady with a carving fork, and use a sharp carving knife to cut through the skin between the leg and the breast. Pull the leg away from the body to expose the joint, then cut through the joint to detach the leg and thigh from the body. Repeat for the other side.
  3. Separate the Drumstick and Thigh: Bend the leg at the joint to expose the joint between the drumstick and thigh. Cut through this joint to separate the drumstick from the thigh. Repeat for the other leg.
  4. Slice the Breast Meat: Locate the breastbone in the center of the chicken. Insert the knife along one side of the breastbone, parallel to the bone, and cut through the meat until you reach the rib cage. Gently slice downward to release a portion of the breast meat in one piece. Repeat on the other side of the breastbone.
  5. Serve: Arrange the sliced breast meat, drumsticks, and thighs on a serving platter. You can also serve any remaining pieces of meat, such as wings, if desired.

Remember to carve with smooth, confident strokes, and use a sharp carving knife for clean cuts. The goal is to produce neat slices while preserving the juiciness of the meat.

Large piece of chicken thigh from the perfect roast chicken recipe on a plate with green salad, gravy, and mashed potatoes. Platter with remaining cut chicken in background.

Top Tips for Perfect Roast Chicken

Here are some of the best top tips for roasting a chicken in the oven:

  • Pat Dry: Before seasoning or roasting, ensure the chicken is thoroughly patted dry with paper towels. Dry skin helps to achieve a crispy texture.
  • Season Generously: Season the chicken inside and outside with salt, pepper, and other desired herbs or spices. Don’t be afraid to be generous; seasoning enhances the flavor.
  • Room Temperature: Allow the chicken to come to room temperature for about 30 minutes before roasting. This promotes even cooking.
  • Trussing: While optional, trussing (tying the legs together) can help the chicken cook evenly and maintain a neater appearance.
  • High-Temperature Start: Begin roasting at a high temperature (around 450°F / 230°C) for about 15-25 minutes to help crisp up the skin.
  • Lower Temperature: After the initial high-temperature roast, reduce the oven temperature to 350-375°F (190°C) for the remainder of the cooking time.
  • Use a Rack: Roast the chicken on a roasting rack in a pan. This elevates the chicken, allowing hot air to circulate and promote even cooking.
  • Stuffing: Stuff the chicken cavity with aromatics like herbs, garlic, onion, and lemon for added flavor and moisture.
  • Meat Thermometer: Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature. The chicken is safe to eat when the thickest part of the thigh reads 165°F (74°C).
  • Resting Period: Allow the roasted chicken to rest, tented with foil, for about 15-20 minutes. This helps the juices redistribute and results in juicier meat.
  • Carving Technique: When carving, start by removing the legs and wings, then separate the breast meat from the bone. This preserves juiciness.
  • Pan Drippings: Use the pan drippings to make a delicious gravy by deglazing the pan with broth or wine and thickening it with a roux.
  • Rest Before Seasoning: If possible, season the chicken a few hours before roasting, allowing the flavors to penetrate the meat.
Large piece of chicken thigh from the perfect roast chicken recipe on a plate with green salad, gravy, and mashed potatoes.

FAQs

How long does it take to cook an 8 lb chicken? The best time and temperature for roasting a chicken.

Here is a good rule of thumb when roasting a whole chicken- heat your oven to 400 to 425 degrees F and bake the chicken for 15-20 minutes to get a nice golden brown color on the outside of the chicken. Reduce the temperature to 350-375 degrees F, and cook until an instant-read thermometer registers 165 to 175 degrees F. The juices will also run clear when the chicken is cooked. Baking at a high temperature at the beginning gives it a once browning, and then turning it down gives an extra juicy and tender meat.

How long should I cook a whole chicken per pound?

The general guideline for roasting a whole chicken is about 15-20 minutes per pound at a temperature of 375°F (190°C) after the initial high-temperature roasting. For example, an 8-pound chicken would take approximately 2 to 2.5 hours to cook.

How long should I let the chicken rest before carving?

Let the chicken rest tented with aluminum foil for about 15-20 minutes after removing it from the oven. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, resulting in a juicier bird.

How to tell if a whole chicken is fully cooked?

To check the doneness of a whole chicken, you will want to check the temperature in the deepest portion of the thigh without touching the bone. The temperature should be between 165 and 175 degrees Fahrenheit. The best way is to use a good instant-read thermometer.

Can I roast chicken with vegetables?

Yes, you can roast the chicken with vegetables. Placing vegetables around the chicken in the roasting pan adds flavor and creates a complete meal in one dish.

How long does it take to roast a chicken at 375 degrees?

If you are only cooking the chicken at one temperature, 375 degrees F is best. Roast your chicken for 15-20 minutes per pound. A normal-sized 5-pound chicken will take about 1 hour and 40 minutes.

Looking for other recipes like this? Try these:

What to Serve with Whole-Roasted Chicken Recipe

These are my favorite dishes to serve with Simple Roasted Chicken Recipe:

You will also love the Fall Harvest Salad with Apples, Butternut Squash Casserole, Roasted Hasselback Sweet Potatoes, and Green Bean Casserole.

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How Long to Cook Whole Chicken Recipe Perfect & Juicy- cooked roast chicken in a large roasting pan with lemons and garlic on the side.

How Long to Cook Whole Chicken Recipe Perfect & Juicy

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5 from 3 reviews

How Long to Cook Whole Chicken Recipe Perfect & Juicy– this step-by-step recipe always gives perfect results! Tender meat with perfectly crispy skin and minimal effort. Easy, reliable, and juicy chicken everyone loves! Impress your family and guest with this simple roasted chicken recipe.

  • Total Time: 2 + hours
  • Yield: 46 servings 1x

Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 whole chicken (about 8 pounds) you can make with smaller 4-5 lb chicken*
  • Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon butter softened
  • 810 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1 medium head of garlic, cut in half lengthwise
  • 2 celery stalks, cut into 4 large pieces
  • 1 lemon, cut into quarters

Equipment 

Instructions

  1. Preheat Oven and Prepare the Chicken: Preheat your oven to 450°F (230°C); adjust your oven rack so the chicken will sit in the center of the oven. Remove the giblets and excess fat from the chicken cavity. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Season the inside of the cavity with salt and pepper. Stuff the cavity with fresh thyme sprigs, garlic cloves, celery stalks, and lemon.
  2. Season the Outside: First, rub the outside of the chicken all over with olive oil, then rub the softened butter on the top and massage it into the skin. Generously season with salt and pepper all over the chicken skin. 
  3. Truss the Chicken (Optional): Trussing involves tying the legs together using kitchen twine. This helps the chicken cook more evenly.
  4. High-Temperature Roasting: Place the chicken on a roasting rack in a roasting pan, breast side up. If you don’t have a rack, just place the chicken in a roasting or baking pan or on a rimmed baking sheet. Put the roasting pan with the chicken into the preheated oven. Roast at 450°F (230°C) for about 20-25 minutes (adjust cooking time depending on weight)*. This initial high-temperature blast helps to crisp up the skin.
  5. Lower the Temperature: After the initial high-temperature roasting, reduce the oven temperature to 350°F (190°C).
  6. Continue Roasting: Roast the chicken at a lower temperature for about 15-20 minutes per pound. For an 8-pound chicken, you’ll roast it for about 2 hours to 2 hours 40 minutes (adjust cooking time based on weight)*.
  7. Check for Doneness: To ensure the chicken is cooked thoroughly, use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature. Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh without touching the bone. The chicken is safe to eat when the internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C)*.
  8. Resting: Remove the chicken from the oven once it reaches the desired temperature. Tent the chicken with aluminum foil and let it rest for about 15-20 minutes. This allows the juices to redistribute (called carryover cooking), resulting in juicy and tender chicken meat.
  9. Carving: Carve the chicken by removing the legs, wings, and breast meat. Use a sharp knife and cutting board. Serve with your favorite sides.

*Remember, cooking times can vary, so it’s essential to use a meat thermometer to confirm the chicken’s doneness. This method should produce a flavorful, succulent roasted chicken with beautifully crisp skin!

Notes

* if making roasting a smaller chicken, use half of the rub ingredients and aromatics to stuff the cavity. Adjust the cooking time: 15-20 minutes per pound. 

TOP TIPS

Pat Dry: Before seasoning or roasting, ensure the chicken is thoroughly patted dry with paper towels. Dry skin helps to achieve a crispy texture.

Season Generously: Season the chicken both inside and outside with salt, pepper, and any other desired herbs or spices. Don’t be afraid to be generous; seasoning enhances the flavor.

Room Temperature: Allow the chicken to come to room temperature for about 30 minutes before roasting. This promotes even cooking.

Trussing: While optional, trussing (tying the legs together) can help the chicken cook evenly and maintain a neater appearance.

High-Temperature Start: Begin roasting at a high temperature (around 450°F / 230°C) for about 15-25 minutes to help crisp up the skin.

Lower Temperature: After the initial high-temperature roast, reduce the oven temperature to 350-375°F (190°C) for the remainder of the cooking time.

Use a Rack: Roast the chicken on a roasting rack in a pan. This elevates the chicken, allowing hot air to circulate and promote even cooking.

Stuffing: Stuff the chicken cavity with aromatics like herbs, garlic, onion, and lemon for added flavor and moisture.

Meat Thermometer: Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature. The chicken is safe to eat when the thickest part of the thigh reads 165°F (74°C).

Resting Period: Allow the roasted chicken to rest, tented with foil, for about 15-20 minutes. This helps the juices redistribute and results in juicier meat.

Carving Technique: When carving, start by removing the legs and wings, then separate the breast meat from the bone. This preserves juiciness.

Pan Drippings: Use the pan drippings to make a delicious gravy by deglazing the pan with broth or wine and thickening it with a roux.

Rest Before Seasoning: If possible, season the chicken a few hours before roasting, allowing the flavors to penetrate the meat.

 

  • Author: Elena
  • Prep Time: 10 min
  • Cook Time: 1-2 hours depending on size
  • Category: Savory
  • Method: American
  • Cuisine: American

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About Elena

My dream is to share delicious wholesome recipes that you will share around the table with all your loved ones. The memories surrounded by food are the heart and soul of CucinaByElena.

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5 Comments

  1. The most flavorful and juiciest chicken I’ve ever had, and I can’t believe I made it; I’m usually not good at roasting poultry!!