Learn how to make the most incredible roast chicken at home! It’s perfectly juicy and tender, roasted with sage, rosemary, and butter. Caramelized vegetables at the bottom of the pan help create a flavorful sauce to drizzle over the chicken! It’s absolute perfection. This tried and true recipe is surprisingly easy to make yet tastes like a restaurant-quality meal!
A whole roasted chicken is one of the most comforting meals made at home! And it’s truly one of my favorite ways to make chicken – ever. It’s seriously incredible.
What I love most is it’s weeknight-friendly for a family meal but also is elevated enough to make for a fancy date night at home or add to a holiday meal. From the aromatic herbs infused into the most tender and juicy chicken to a luscious sauce served over the top! It’s an outstanding meal that everyone raves about.
To ensure this recipe is perfect every time, It underwent a rigorous amount of testing (I made it seven times to be exact!). I wanted the chicken to be intensely flavored, juicy – not dry, and accurately seasoned, so no guessing or eyeball measuring is needed to attain the perfect flavor.
It’s a recipe created with both beginner and advanced home cooks in mind because everyone needs an easy-to-attain roast chicken dish in their recipe repertoire!
Here are some things we know this recipe will be for you…
EFFORTLESS PREPARATION. If you’ve never made a roast chicken or you are a beginner cook, this roast chicken may seem daunting, but it is surprisingly simple to make. Very little preparation is needed; the oven does most of the work!
JUICY & TENDER. After roasting and resting, the chicken is incredibly juicy and tender. Avoid a dry chicken by lathering the bird with butter, and make sure it’s cooking at the proper temperature so it doesn’t dry out.
SERVED WITH A LUSCIOUS SAUCE. While the chicken cooks, it releases rich juices that caramelize the vegetables roasting underneath. Once the dish is complete, the sauce is drizzled over everything, and the flavors are simply outstanding.
The ingredients for roast chicken are straightforward (which is why I love it!). And each component has its purpose. Some ingredients are used for seasoning and adding flavor, while a few others are for stuffing the inside of the chicken, and then the rest are for caramelizing on the bottom of the pan for the sauce. Let’s go over the details below!
See the recipe card below for the complete list of ingredients and measurements.
Seasoning for the chicken – The ingredients I use for adding punchy flavor to the outside of the chicken are fresh sage & rosemary, salt (a generous amount is needed) and pepper, and melted butter and olive oil for a perfect golden color.
For the inside of the chicken – We don’t let any space on this chicken go to waste. We flavor it all. The inside of the chicken is stuffed with a lemon, a whole head of garlic, and more herbs. These flavors infuse the chicken with flavor and flavor the juices of the chicken even more while it roasts!
Vegetables – Not all roasted chickens involve vegetables. But I think they are the missing piece for a richly flavored sauce, not to mention they are a beautiful compliment to the finished chicken. We use yellow onion (the biggest you can find or a few smaller ones), celery, and carrots!
How to Make Roast Chicken
Prepare the ingredients
Make the herb butter sauce. In a small bowl, mix together the melted butter, olive oil, 1 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and chopped rosemary and sage.
Prepare the vegetables. Then cut the carrots and celery into quarters, and slice the onion.
Season the chicken
Dry and stuff the chicken. Remove the chicken from the packet, and pat it dry with paper towels. Remove the innards from the center cavity, and stuff with quartered lemon, the halved head of garlic, and whole sprig of fresh sage and rosemary.
Season with the herb sauce. Then pour most of the sauce (reserving about a 1/3 of it for later) over the top and bottom of the chicken and use your hands to spread it evenly on every part of the chicken.
Rub the sauce under the skin. Then use the remaining herb sauce to pour and rub underneath the chicken skin on the breast side. Be careful not to tear the skin when accessing this area.
Truss the chicken
Truss the legs. Next, grab your cooking twine and make a figure eight with the strings around the ends of the legs. Pull together and tie it firmly so they hold in place.
How to tuck the wings. Instead of doing a complicated trussing of the whole chicken, you can tuck the wings. First, pull the top of the wings completely out and up (reaching toward the top of the chicken).
Tucking the wings continued. Then pull the top of the wings up and over the breast and then tuck them under the upper part of the chicken. It should be quite effortless, and they stay in place. If you struggle with this, you can truss the upper part of the chicken with string so the wings stay in place.
Roast it, then rest it
Roast the bird. Finally, roast the bird at 425F for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Depending on how large or small your chicken is, time may vary. Check the internal temperature when time is up.
Rest the chicken. When the chicken fully cooked, pick it up by the legs (let the juices flow out into the pan) then transfer it to a cutting board and cover with foil. Let it rest for 20 minutes. If the vegetables need more color, pop them back into the oven at 425F to caramelize while the chicken rests. Or if they’re already quite browned, keep the vegetables warm by placing them back in the warm oven (shut off). When ready to serve, add a splash of broth or white wine to the pan. Deglaze all the bits on the bottom of the pan with the vegetables, stir together to form the sauce. Serve the roasted vegetables with the carved chicken and spoon the sauce over top!
Tips for Mastering A Roast Chicken
Drying the chicken helps it crisp – Before you do anything, pat the chicken dry with paper towels. This helps the chicken skin brown and crispy in the oven and allows all the herbs and seasonings to absorb nicely.
Always truss the chicken – for the chicken to cook properly, it’s essential to truss the legs and the wings. If the bird is placed in the oven without being tied together, the wings and the legs will stick far out and finish long before the chicken is done. So they are prone to burn without trussing. Tie them so they are close to the chicken for everything to cook evenly!
Fresh herbs will result in brighter flavor – as always with many of my recipes, I recommend using fresh rosemary and sage for seasoning a roast chicken. Dried herbs lack a lot of savory flavor that gives this dish the aromatic taste it has!
Butter is best for a golden chicken – to cover the whole chicken, I use salted butter with only a little olive oil. The butter has milk solids that brown perfectly in the oven, making it ideal for a golden roast chicken!
Resting the chicken is essential – whenever roasting any meat, it’s always important to rest the meat after it roasts. This allows the juices to absorb back into the meat and creates the juiciest results! Keep it covered so it stays warm.
How to carve the chicken – if you do not know how to carve/cut a whole chicken, you will most likely not get all the chicken off that you could, resulting in some waste. Carving is easier than you think! Learn from the best, Jacques Pépin, on how to carve a chicken in this video.
When you roast chicken, it releases juices from the chicken that form on the bottom. In this recipe, we show you how to use those juices to create the most delectable sauce for serving! Here are our top tips.
Vegetables add flavor and more juice for the sauce – a lot of roast chicken recipes don’t require vegetables, but I think veggies roasted with the chicken are essential for a luscious sauce for the end. They add depth and flavor and release more juices!
Carmelization darkens the sauce – when the vegetables become very caramelized, this richens and darkens the color of the sauce. It’s not burnt, just very rich in color! If the vegetables aren’t as caramelized but just roasted, the sauce will be a lot lighter in color and less intense in flavor.
Deglaze the pan when it’s done to richen the sauce – my mom always taught me to deglaze any roasting pan. This recipe is no exception. Use a splash of chicken broth or white wine to deglaze the bottom of the roasting pan and enrich the sauce! Use a spoon to scrape up all the bits from the chicken and caramelized vegetables to add incredible flavor.
How to Know the Chicken is Cooked
Internal temperature is 165F or more. For the most accurate way to tell if the chicken is done, use a digital meat thermometer and insert it into the thickest part of the meat. The internal temperature should be 165F or more in both the breast and the thigh.
The juices run clear. Without a meat thermometer, you can tell the chicken is fully cooked by cutting into the leg/thigh area. If the juices run clear from the chicken, it’s fully cooked. If there’s red in the juices, it still needs more time!
Roast chicken is so versatile and is easy to make your own! If you want more ways to add flavors and ingredients, here are other recommendations.
Different herbs. Fresh thyme also works beautifully with roast chicken!
Citrus flavors. Instead of lemon, you could also use an orange! It’s less acidic and adds a sweet flavor.
Add more vegetables. Along with the vegetables in the pan, you could add baby potatoes, parsnips, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, baby onions, or whole shallots.
Make it dairy-free. Instead of butter, you can make this recipe dairy-free using olive oil.
Brine the chicken. A fantastic way to add tenderness to the chicken is to brine it for several hours or overnight! It’s easy and instantly elevates this recipe.
Cooking Twine – you’ll need cooking twine to “truss” or tie the legs and wings together.
A meat thermometer – A digital meat thermometer is the most accurate way to tell if a chicken is done. It’s a must-have kitchen tool if you cook a lot of roasts and meats!
Carving knife and meat fork – It’s best to have a sharp knife and a meat fork to hold the chicken while you cut. These aren’t necessary, but they make carving the chicken much easier!
What to Serve it With
Roasted vegetables. We serve this chicken with the roasted vegetables cooked with it, or additional vegetables like butternut squash, brussels sprouts, or cauliflower.
Potatoes. A roast chicken with hearty potatoes is my favorite pairing! We love to serve them with roasted baby potatoes, sweet potatoes, cheesy scalloped potatoes, or mashed potatoes!
Sauce. A homemade apple sauce would also be delicious on the side, or our cranberry orange sauce!
What to do with Leftovers
Leftovers should be kept for about five days refrigerated. Here are some things we love to do with the leftovers!
Reheat it – this chicken reheats beautifully in the oven. Add any leftover roasted vegetables and sauce to a roasting pan, cover it, and heat it at 400F until the chicken pieces are hot (about 20 minutes).
Make soup – the bones and the meat can be made into a delicious chicken soup! From chicken noodle soup to our chicken and wild rice soup recipe.
Chicken salad or pot pie – we also love to make the leftover chicken into a delicious chicken salad or homemade chicken pot pie!
My Favorite Whole Roast Chicken
- 1 whole chicken
- 1 large yellow onion or two medium/small onions
- 2 celery stalks
- 3-4 medium to large carrots
Stuffing the Chicken
- 1 sprig (each) of fresh rosemary and sage
- 1/2 lemon, quartered
- 1 garlic head, halved
- Preheat oven to 425F.
- Make the herb butter sauce: In a small bowl, mix the melted butter, olive oil, 1 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 2 Tablespoons each of chopped rosemary and sage.
- Prepare the vegetables: Cut the carrots and celery into quarters and slice the onion.
- Dry and stuff the chicken: Remove the chicken from the packet and pat it dry with paper towels. Remove the innards from the center cavity (dicard or roast with the chicken), and stuff the inside with the quartered lemon, the halved head of garlic, and a whole sprig of fresh sage and rosemary.
- Season with the herb sauce: Then pour most of the sauce (reserving about a 1/3 of it) over the top and bottom of the chicken and use your hands to spread it evenly on every part of the chicken. Then, lift the chicken skin with your fingers, be careful not to tear it, and spread the remaining herb sauce under the breast skin.
- Truss the legs: Next, grab your cooking twine and make a figure eight with the strings around the ends of the legs. Pull them together and tie it firmly so the legs hold in place.
- How to tuck the wings: Instead of doing a complicated trussing of the whole chicken, you can tuck the wings. First, pull the top of the wings completely out and up (reaching toward the top of the chicken). Then pull the top of the wings up and over the breast and tuck them under the upper part of the chicken. It should be pretty effortless, and they should stay in place. Note: If you struggle with this, you can truss the upper part of the chicken with string so the wings stay in place.
- Roast it: Finally, roast the chicken for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Depending on how large or small your chicken is, time may vary. Check the internal temperature when the time is up. it should be 165F or higher in the thickest part of the meat (I like to check both the thighs and breast).
- Rest the chicken: When it's fully cooked, pick it up by the legs (let the juices flow out into the pan), then transfer it to a cutting board and cover with foil. Let it rest for 20 minutes.
- Finishing touches: If the vegetables need more color/caramelization, place them back in the oven while the chicken rests. If they are perfectly colored, keep them warm in the oven while it's shut off. When you're ready to serve the chicken, stir the bottom of the bits on the pan into the sauce with the vegetables. Add a splash of chicken broth or white wine to make it more of a sauce. Then, cut the twine from the legs, carve the chicken (see the notes for how to do this), and serve with the roasted vegetables and the sauce drizzled over the top! Enjoy.