Roasted chicken used to intimidate me.  We would have it only on weekends when Joe was home and in charge of cooking.  Then I tried it with a very basic recipe, and my chicken was good!  Left us speechless!  With each attempt, I added my own twists, like butter under the skin (saw that tip on TV), a vegetable roasting base, and chicken-friendly herbs.  All easy steps that boost flavor and make the house smell yummy!  Roasting the veg in the pan takes care of sides, although I highly recommend mashed potatoes with this meal.  The pan juice after cooking makes a terrific sauce that can be thickened into gravy or used as is.  Don't be afraid of roasting a chicken, and enjoy the leftovers -- excellent burritos or enchiladas, pizza topping, chicken spaghetti, chicken salad, or chicken bites in your favorite pooch's doggy bowl.


1 roasting chicken (about 5 pounds)
1 large yellow onion, cut into 4 long, thick circular slices
2 large carrots, scrubbed and cut into long chunks
2 large parsnips, peeled and cut into long chunks
4 large sprigs of thyme, whole
2 large sprigs of rosemary, whole
1 lemon, quartered
1 whole head / bulb of garlic, cut in half on the diameter
Salt and pepper
6 Tablespoons of butter
1-2 cups low sodium chicken stock
1 medium-sized disposable roasting pan, recommended
Kitchen twine

First, prep your roasting pan.  I like to use a medium-sized aluminum (disposable) pan that fits the chicken.  Give it a good wipe and dry, and then place it on a cookie or ½ sheet tray so that you have plenty of support on the bottom.

Let the 6 Tablespoons come to room temperature so that it is very soft.

Prepare your carrots, parsnips, lemon, onion, herbs and garlic as noted above.  For the onion, think of really thick onion rings, but don’t separate the layers.  If you don’t have parsnips (though they are highly recommended), use more carrots.

Now, put your onions, carrots and parsnips on the bottom of the foil pan or baking dish.  Give them a good sprinkle of salt and pepper.  The veggies will keep the bird from sitting directly on the bottom of the pan.  They will add immense aroma and flavor, and you will have beautiful roasted vegetables to eat with your chicken dinner!

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.

Clean your chicken.  Check the cavity for the neck, heart and livers, and remove anything you find in there.  You can save it (freeze everything except the livers) for when you make homemade chicken stock.  

To rinse or not to rinse the chicken – that is the question!  One camp says wash the chicken; the other says washing spreads germs up to 3 feet.  One camp says a good rinse cuts down on germs; the other says high oven heat kills them.  Honestly, I’ve prepped chicken both ways.  Anymore, I tend not to wash my chicken, but I do wipe it dry with paper towels.  If you wash your chicken, be sure to disinfect your entire sink and prep area.  As a matter of course, whenever I cook a whole chicken, I clean the counters, sinks, faucets and handles with Clorox wipes.

Let your chicken sit for 20 minutes before buttering and stuffing.

Be prepared to wash your hands lots of times during prep, and keep extra paper towels handy.

When your chicken is rested (20 minutes), make sure it is patted dry.  Use your fingers to loosen the skin around the cavity openings, and add butter liberally to the body of the bird, under the skin, as far back as your fingers can reach.  Whatever butter doesn’t fit, rub all over the outside of the bird.  Save a tablespoon to rub inside the cavity.  Get as much butter under and on that skin that you can.  Season the whole bird with salt and pepper.

Next, stuff the cavity.  Put a tablespoon of softened butter into the cavity.  Sprinkle inside with salt and pepper (be careful not to handle your shakers with raw chicken hands).  Add the garlic, lemon, and herbs.  Stuff it in there good!

Now, tie the chicken’s legs together so they are tight and help to close the cavity.  Use kitchen twine.  Try to keep the bird as compact as you can.  It will help the chicken to cook evenly.  Place the bird breast up in your roasting tin / pan.  If you wonder which side is the breast, picture the chicken the walking.  The legs and breast would be pointed down, so they want to be pointed up for roasting.  Then tuck the little wings under the body of the bird.  I often cut off the tips so that they don’t burn.

Your chicken is buttered, seasoned, and tied, and it is sitting atop a bed of vegetables.  Pour the chicken stock into the pan.  This will keep the veg from burning.  Don’t soak the veg.  Start with 1 to 1 ½ cups, and add more during the roasting if need be.

Roast the chicken for approximately 90 minutes.  Check it after 60 minutes.  If the top is getting too brown, tent it with foil.  You want the chicken to reach 165 degrees in the thigh meat.  Use a thermometer to be sure.  When the chicken is at temperature, let it rest, tented, on the counter for 10 to 15 minutes.  Remove the twine, and carve your perfectly roasted chicken.  Congratulations!  And enjoy!

First published by Judy on July 20, 2015

This recipe has lots of words, but it also is easy and straightforward.  I added lots of detail because when I started to cook, a whole roasted chicken seemed very intimidating.  Once I made one though, I realized how easy it is, and then I played with butter and vegetables and stuff, and came up with a recipe that makes a very delicious chicken.  I hope you like this as much as our family does.  We often get two meals out of one chicken, so that's a bonus!

This delicious dinner could be yours!

Judy's Roasted Chicken