This is THE perfect crispy whole roasted chicken with a beautifully golden skin. It’s got the most succulent, juicy and tender meat to enjoy with your Sunday roast or as an alternative for a festive meal for those catering for fewer guests. Superb all year round!
There are plenty of recipes out there for a roasted chicken but I wanted to give you OUR (or let's be honest, my husband's, ha!) perfect crispy whole roasted chicken! It has the most epic golden crispy skin and the meat is moist and juicy. No dry chicken here! A bonus about this whole roasted chicken is you get the most delicious juices in the pan when it cooks and we will be providing you with a way to convert those juices and roasted veggies into the most savoury and satisfying gravy to serve with your chicken. Watch this space!
We go through all the tips and tricks you need to give your roast chicken the special treatment, explaining the dos and more importantly don’ts to ensure you get the perfect results - Every. Single. Time. You can’t forget the sides for this roasted chicken! Make sure you serve it with these crispy rosemary roasted potatoes and caramelized brussels sprouts or this hasselback butternut squash too! Make sure to use the links below to get to where you need on this page to get all the information you need.
I love hearing from you so please leave a comment with how you got on and how much you love this super tasty roasted chicken. Also don’t forget to rate the recipe!
What makes this the best?
Easy - this recipe is as simple as it gets. That’s the way it should be and how we can make it approachable for everyone. There's no faffing around with silly techniques and perfect results every time!
Crispy skin - one of the most savoury and flavourful parts of the chicken, it's golden, crispy with natural sweetness from the chicken and salty from the seasoning!
Juicy - the method we give you in this recipe ensures you get the most delicious, succulent and juicy chicken. So many people are afraid of undercooking chicken, understandably, but that doesn’t have to mean cooking the hell out of it and having miserable dry chicken!
Adaptable - if you want a simple yet perfect crispy whole roasted chicken, follow the recipe below. If you want to mix it up flavour wise you can use any of the customisations mentioned in the post to adapt to what you fancy in the moment.
You only need very simple ingredients that are readily available for this perfect roasted chicken. This is what you’ll need:
Chicken - the size of a whole chicken depends on the number of people you’ll serve. I would get a 3-4 pound chicken for 4-5 people adding a person per additional half pound of chicken. I highly recommend getting a free range chicken but even better would be a regeneratively farmed chicken. Do what fits within your budget.
Vegetables - you’ll use these as a trivet for the chicken; you’ll need a leek, carrots and celery. These will not be wasted, they will be turned into a tasty gravy.
Aromatics/seasonings - these are to perfume the juices for the gravy but they also permeate into the chicken; you’ll need fresh rosemary and thyme sprigs and full garlic heads.
Here are some recommendations for some rubs for the roasted chicken to mix it up flavour wise:
Thai - if you are looking for a different flavour, rub Thai green or red curry paste into the chicken skin. Or make your own Thai rub with a paste of green onions, ginger, lemon grass, chillies, turmeric, curry powder and salt. Rubbing a paste over the roasted chicken like this won’t allow the skin to be super crispy, but it will be tasty!
Moroccan - for a Moroccan flavoured roast chicken I would recommend rubbing all over a mix of 2 tablespoons of harissa paste with ½ teaspoon ras el hanout, ½ teaspoon ground cumin, ½ teaspoon ground coriander, 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper.
Lemon - lemon roasted chicken is lovely. You can follow the main recipe post below but just add in a whole zested lemon; you can also add ½ teaspoon of garlic powder.
Herb - make a herb crusted roasted chicken by mixing in 2 teaspoons of freshly chopped rosemary and 2 teaspoons of freshly chopped thyme to the oil, salt and pepper in this recipe and rub it all over.
What to serve it with
I would highly recommend serving these with these tasty side dishes:
How long to cook it
Cooking a whole roasted chicken in the oven starting at 220C/430F then reducing to 180C/350F immediately you need to stick to these cooking times.
The key rule of thumb is 20 minutes per pound/454 grams plus 20 minutes. Here are some standard weights and timings to use:
3 lb/1.36kg - 1 hour 20 minutes
4 lb/1.81kg - 1 hour 40 minutes
5 lb/2.27kg - 2 hours
If you have a different weight to the above, use the following maths to aid: 20 x (weight in pounds) + 20 = cooking time.
For example, (20 x 3.2 pounds = 64) + 20 = 84 minutes of cooking time.
How often to baste the chicken
Basting does two things, it refreshes the fat over the skin which helps keep the chicken moist underneath and aids crisping the skin further. The other reason is, meat juices have many other flavours which also add to the chicken during the basting process. How often do you need to baste the chicken? It depends on the cooking time. I would recommend basting every 30 minutes though. For a 3 pound chicken I would just stick to once half way through the cooking time.
How to cook/make it
These are the key steps to cooking your perfect roasted chicken:
- Preheat your oven to 220C/430F (convection/fan assisted). Prepare your whole chicken by drying the skin with a kitchen towel and then rubbing 2 tablespoons of olive oil all over the chicken making sure to get into all the creases of the wings and legs. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of salt and ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper and rub all over the chicken.
- Whilst you are waiting for the oven to heat, roughly chop the vegetables into large chunks and chop the garlic heads along their equator. Place all the veggies and sprigs of herbs in the base of the roasting tray and rub a little olive oil into them to prevent them from burning. Place the seasoned and oiled chicken on top of the vegetable trivet and into the oven. Reduce the temperature of the oven to 180C/350F immediately and roast for 20 minutes per pound plus 20 minutes. For a 4 pound chicken that would take 1 hour 40 minutes.
- Remove the chicken from the oven 30 minutes into cooking and baste with any fat from the bottom of the roasting pan, then do this again at 1 hour into cook time. Each time turn the tray 180C and return it to the oven so the chicken faces the other way.
- Once the chicken has completed its cooking time it will have reached 74C/165F internal temperature and it can be removed from the oven and placed on a plate or chopping board. Allow it to rest for 15-25 minutes before carving.
How to carve it
There are two ways to carve your chicken, follow the steps below and decide which is easiest for you:
- The first way is if you are confident with a knife and the shape of a poultry carcass. Slice ¼ inch thick slices from the breast directly from the chicken. Slice at a 45 degree angle and go with the shape of the carcass to gradually carve the whole breast.
- The second (easiest) way is to remove the whole breast of the chicken by slicing down the side of the breast bone in the centre of the chicken vertically, you will hit the rib cage and need to turn your knife out sideways to slice under the breast to completely remove it.
- Once removed, slice the chicken breast along its width. Carving this way will give everyone some of the golden and tasty skin.
- Carve all the breast meat off the chicken, then remove the drumsticks, thighs and wings and serve on a platter.
Recipe tips (with dos and don’ts)
Here are some tips, dos and don’ts that will make this recipe the most successful:
Room temperature - take your whole chicken out of the fridge 20-30 minutes before roasting to allow it to come up to room temperature. This helps with browning the skin when the hot air hits it as it goes into the oven, as well as cooking the flesh evenly.
Rub with oil - this is the best option to adhere the seasoning to the skin of the chicken, but also to give you the crispiest chicken skin. As chicken skin is higher in saturated fat using rapeseed oil or olive oil is a less fatty option.
Place on trivet - using vegetables as a trivet in the base of the roasting pan is a great way to add plenty of flavour to the meat juices (not that they need help) but it creates an incredible base to a gravy too! If you don’t want to use vegetables you can roast on a wire rack trivet. It allows hot air to circulate around the chicken which helps the skin to get all crispy and yummy!
Season well - seasoning the chicken well does two things. Firstly, it makes it taste even more amazing! But more importantly it draws the moisture out of the skin, which then evaporates on roasting in the oven leading to crispier skin.
High then low temp - starting the roasting process at a higher temperature (220C/430F) gets the skin crisping off to a good start whilst lowering it allows the oven to do what it does best, cooking the meat slowly through to the middle.
Rest the chicken - make sure you rest your chicken after roasting for 15-25 minutes; this is KEY to a juicy and succulent chicken. It gives the roasted chicken time to recirculate the juices around the meat and will also make it A LOT easier to carve. Carving whilst hot is often the fastest way to dry chicken but it will also fall apart.
Stuffing - we all love a good stuffing served alongside a roasted chicken, but do NOT stuff it into the cavity! Cooking with stuffing in the cavity of the chicken will prevent the hot air from circulating around the cavity leading you to overcook the meat. If you want a nice moist chicken but can’t resist stuffing it, stuff it in the neck end (the end closest to the wings).
Butter - I don’t recommend sliding butter underneath the skin of the breasts, the reason being that it doesn’t actually make the skin crispy and I actually do not believe it makes the chicken breast moist either. It just adds a lot more fat to the dish which doesn’t make the juices or gravy any better as you’ll just be removing the fat anyway. It’s also not that easy for those that are not that confident in the kitchen; the benefits are not worth the effort. Stick to these simple key tips above and you WILL have a moist chicken.
Cavity flavour - I wouldn’t recommend placing anything in the cavity of the chicken at all. Personally I don’t like a lemon flavoured gravy and that’s all that will happen with the juices running into the base of the roasting pan. If you like that, go ahead, but do NOT completely block the cavity, just put in half a lemon, some herbs and a little bit of onion. This is essential to ensure you don't over cook the chicken!
What to do with leftovers
If you have leftovers you can use them in the following recipes:
Start by preheating the oven to 220C/430F (convection/fan assisted) and then when the chicken goes in, reduce the temperature to 180C/350F immediately.
The chicken will read an internal temperature of 74C/165F with a thermometer in the thickest part of the meat.
Yes! Absolutely, I would allow them to cool completely and then strip all the meat from the carcass discarding any unwanted fat and skin. You can freeze as a whole amount if you know you will use it as such in a freezer bag, but if you don’t think you’ll use it all, freeze it in weighed portion sizes. It can then be defrosted and used in the recipes as suggested in the post above.
Yes! If reheating from frozen, defrost thoroughly in the fridge beforehand. Reheat thoroughly until piping hot throughout, 74C/165F for at least 10 minutes.
A whole roasted chicken should need at least 15 minutes to rest, but can go up to 25 minutes. Resting a roasted chicken is essential to recirculate the juices and give you the most juicy succulent results. I wouldn't recommend covering with foil, as it'll overcook the chicken.
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I hope you love this perfect crispy whole roasted chicken as much as we do. If you make it, be sure to leave a comment, rate the recipe and tag #eatloveeats on Instagram! I love to see your creations!