Easy Whole Roasted Chicken Recipe

A delicious herby whole roasted chicken recipe made with an entire head of garlic and lemon is the perfect weeknight meal you’ll be so happy you made.

whole roasted chicken with garlic in pan

I’ve made this recipe dozens of times, and it always turns out perfectly. The chicken is always moist and flavorful, and the skin is crispy and delicious. If you’re looking for an easy and delicious way to cook a whole chicken, this recipe is perfect for you.

We love roasting whole chicken at the beginning of the week because not only is it delicious to eat the day of, but it’s so delicious as leftovers, too. This recipe is a great high-protein main (21g protein/serving) that’s made in a single pot, and serves a crowd!

A quick rundown on roasting a whole chicken: Start by flavoring the chicken with butter and spices under the skin. Then, add onion and herbs to the cavity and lemon and garlic underneath. Add some white wine and chicken broth and roast for 30 minutes. Baste and roast for 30 more minutes.

What You Need to Make a Whole Roasted Chicken

  • Chicken: we used a 2-3 lb. bird and found that was the perfect size for our Dutch oven.
  • Butter: butter will help infuse the chicken with yummy flavors.
  • Seasonings/Herbs: seasonings and herbs will help perfectly flavor your chicken.
  • Onion + Garlic: don’t forget the onion and garlic. 2 staple flavors in every roasted chicken recipe!
  • Fresh Lemon: you can’t go wrong with fresh lemon on the bottom of your roasting dish.
  • Wine + Chicken Broth: these liquids will help moisten the chicken and be used for basting.
butter and spices in bowl

Roasted Whole Chicken Variations

  • Fat: instead of butter, try using olive oil in stead.
  • Seasonings: we kept things pretty basic, but you could also use a premade spice mix like chicken seasoning.
  • Liquid for basting: of you don’t have white wine, feel free to use all chicken broth.
  • Fresh herbs: any kind of herbs you have on hand will work. Try thyme, parsley, or sage.
raw whole chicken in pan

How long to roast a whole chicken?

A 2-3 lb. whole chicken will take around 75 minutes (plus or minus) at 400ºF. The key is measuring the thickest part with a meat thermometer. It should read anywhere from 160ºF to 165ºF.

Have a bigger chicken?

If you have a whole chicken 4 lbs. or greater, start with 10 extra minutes. The goal is to reach 165ºF at the thickest part of the chicken. So continue cooking in increments of 10 minutes until it reaches that temperature.

brush basting chicken

The Perfect (smaller) Alternative to a Thanksgiving Turkey

If you’re looking to make a smaller Thanksgiving turkey recipe this whole roasted chicken is a great idea! A 2-3 lb. bird will feed around 4-6. Here are more recipe pairing suggestions to complete your meal:

whole roasted chicken in pan

How to Serve Your Whole Roasted Chicken

While I love slicing and eating roasted chicken as-is (bigggg fan of both the breast and chicken legs!), there are so many different ways to serve it! Check out some ideas below:

Shred & Flavor: Once your roasted chicken has cooled completely, remove as much meat from the carcass as possible. Then, use 2 forks to shred the chicken. Season it with your favorite sauce and voila! Here are some sauce ideas:

Nachos: When in doubt, top your nachos with shredded roasted chicken and all the nacho fixings. Here is some good chicken nachos inspiration.

Soup: Either shred/chop your roasted chicken and add it to a soup or chili for some extra protein and flavor. Try making our ultimate chicken soup.

Got leftover roasted chicken? Save the carcass!

Once you’ve removed as much meat as possible from the carcass, save it so you can make homemade chicken broth! Check out our Chicken Broth recipe HERE.

whole roasted chicken in pan

Herby Whole Roasted Chicken

A perfect roasted whole chicken recipe that’s buttery, herby, and oh-so-tender. Here is a tutorial for how to roast a whole chicken.

Prep:20 minutes

Cook:1 hour 15 minutes

Total:1 hour 35 minutes

Fat 33

Carbs 3

Protein 28


  • 2-3 lb. whole chicken innards removed
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter softened
  • 3 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1 medium white onion chopped
  • 4 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 medium lemon sliced into three pieces
  • 1 whole head of garlic one end sliced off
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth


  • First, preheat the oven to 400ºF and oil a large dutch oven with olive oil or cooking spray. Set aside. 

  • Remove moisture from the chicken by patting the chicken down with a paper towel. Set the chicken aside.

  • Next, place the softened butter, minced garlic, chili powder, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper into a bowl. Use a spoon to mix the butter and seasonings together. 

  • Place the chicken in the oiled casserole dish and carefully slather the seasoned butter under the skin and all over the chicken. It is ok if some of the butter falls into the bottom of the dutch oven. Then, place the onion, fresh rosemary, and fresh thyme into the cavity of the chicken. 

  • Add the lemon and head of garlic (sliced end down) into the bottom of the dutch oven. 

  • Finally, pour the white wine and chicken broth over the chicken and place the Dutch oven into the oven on the center rack, uncovered. Roast the whole chicken for around 90 minutes, basting every 30 minutes. Make sure to check the internal temperature of the thickest part of the chicken every so often. Cook until the temperature is 160ºF to 165ºF.

  • Remove from the oven and let the chicken rest for 10 minutes. 

  • Carve the chicken and enjoy. 

Tips & Notes

  • Nutrition is for a 2 lb. bird.
  • This recipe was updated on November 1, 2020.
  • Middle of oven: Make sure to place your pan on the center rack of your oven so that it cooks evenly.
  • Basting is key: Make sure to base your roast chicken recipe every 30 minutes. Suck the juices from the bottom of the pan and pour it over your bird. This will add flavor and tenderness to the chicken.
  • Don’t skimp on salt: Salt is an important part of cooking poultry. It helps break down the meat to make it ultra-tender, but also adds flavor!
  • 165ºF: In order to safely eat your chicken, make sure that the thickest part of the bird reaches 165ºF. 

Nutrition facts

Calories: 434kcal Carbohydrates: 3g Protein: 28g Fat: 33g Fiber: 1g Sugar: 1g

Photography: photos taken in this post are by Erin from The Wooden Skillet.

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