How to Roast a Chicken

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Many people are intimidated when they think about how to roast a chicken, but once you do it, you realize there is nothing difficult about it! Fresh herbs, lemon, garlic, and all purpose seasoning give your roast chicken tons of flavor and incredible texture in less than 45 minutes!

roasted chicken ready to serve

Once you learn how to roast a chicken, there is no doubt you’ll be adding this recipe to your favorites list. There is nothing quite like the classic tastes, aromas, and the look of a crispy, golden chicken. Best of all, you don’t have to be a seasoned chef to create this masterpiece: 5 ingredients and an hour of your time is all it takes!

When cooking any meat it’s a good idea to use a meat thermometer to ensure optimal (and safe) cooking temps throughout your dish. Digital thermometers give you an almost instant reading, but manual thermometers are just as accurate.

Roast chicken is a delicious main course that goes well with just about any side dish. We love it with these smashed red potatoes and blanched asparagus with mustard, but the truth is that french fries and a green salad will work perfectly, too!

closeup of roasted chicken


  • Whole Chicken – Any fresh chicken from your local market will work, organic or not. If you’re not interested in making stock with your carcass, look for a chicken that doesn’t have any contents in the cavity.
  • All Purpose Seasoning – My homemade blend includes garlic and onion powder, celery salt, dried parsley, paprika, dry mustard, black pepper, and curry powder. Feel free to use your favorite storebought version or mix up your own! 
  • Lemon – Some acidity balances out the savory flavor of the meat and adds some brightness.
  • Garlic – Cooking the chicken with garlic cloves inside distributes subtle flavor throughout the chicken.
  • Fresh Herbs – Any combination of parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme will be delicious. Tie a bundle together with kitchen twine and add it to the cavity prior to cooking.


  1. Prep The Bird. If your chicken has any contents inside the cavity, be sure to remove them prior to cooking. These contents will normally be in a small plastic bag and cooking the plastic will ruin your chicken.
  2. Dry & Season The Chicken. Use paper towels to dry off the chicken, inside and out. Don’t wash your chicken since this will increase the chance of food poisoning by spreading germs. Discard paper towels immediately after use. Season the inside and outside of the chicken with my all purpose seasoning, then insert the quartered lemon, garlic cloves, and herbs into the cavity.
  3. Tie Legs Together. Use kitchen twine to tie the legs together. If you want crispier skin, place the chicken on a platter and refrigerate uncovered overnight.
  4. Cook The Chicken. In a 450°F oven, place your chicken breast side up in a roasting pan. Your chicken should sit on an oven rack that is close to the middle of the oven as possible. When the internal temperature of the breast reaches 120°F, turn off the oven (but leave the door closed) and let the chicken continue to cook for another 25-30 minutes. Remove from the oven when the internal temperature of the breast meat reaches 160°F.
  5. Rest And Serve. Remove the ingredients from the cavity, then let your chicken rest for 15-20 minutes before slicing.
overhead shot of chicken in a skillet

Is Trussing a Chicken Necessary?

When most people learn how to roast a chicken, it often includes trussing. While this step is not necessary, we still want to achieve the same purpose of getting the chicken to bake evenly. Take a minute to still tie the legs together, then simply tuck the wings under the body of the chicken — this will save some effort while still preventing them from cooking faster than the rest of the bird.

side view of a whole chicken

How Do You Make Chicken Skin Crispy?

For perfectly browned and crispy skin, dry the surface of your chicken as much as possible before baking. Personally, I opt to refrigerate the chicken uncovered overnight (outlined in Step 3 below) as this dries out the skin really well. You can also sprinkle baking powder or salt over the chicken to dry out the skin even further.

Can You Reuse A Chicken Carcass?

You bet! Once you’ve picked off as much of the meat as possible, use your leftover carcass to make homemade chicken stock — it’s so easy! Add the carcass to a large stock pot with herbs, salt, and pepper and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer gently for a few hours. Or if you have a crockpot, add all ingredients and cook on low for 8 hours. Drain through a sieve and portion your stock to freeze for later use!

Feeling adventurous, try my Spatchcock Chicken, too!

ready to slice roasted chicken
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roasted chicken in cast iron skillet

How to Roast a Chicken

Learn how to roast a chicken that is both juicy and crispy using lemon, garlic, and herbs to enhance the natural flavor of the bird.
Servings: 4
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 40 minutes
Total: 45 minutes


Flavor Enhancers

  • 1 lemon quartered
  • 6 garlic cloves whole
  • small bundle of fresh herbs (See Note 1)


  • Remove the contents from inside body cavity and use to flavor stock or discard.
  • Using paper towels, pat dry the inside and outside all over. Do not wash raw chicken (See Note 2). Season your chicken all over and inside the body cavity with All Purpose Seasoning. Insert any optional flavor enhancers in the body cavity.
  • Using kitchen twine, tie the two legs together. Place on a platter and refrigerate, uncovered, overnight. If not, place on a large enough skillet to hold the roasting chicken.
  • In a preheated 450°F oven roast the chicken until the breast registers 120°F and 135°F in the thighs, about 25-30 minutes for a 3 pound chicken (See Note 3). TURN OFF THE HEAT (See Note 4) and leave the chicken in the oven until the breast registers 160°F and thighs 175°F, about 25-30 minutes (See Note 5).
  • Discard lemon, garlic and herbs from body cavity prior to cutting. Although feel free to mash roasted garlic cloves into the pan juices to spoon over when serving.


  1. A few sprigs of each fresh herbs to use: parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme.
  2. Per the CDC: “Washing raw chicken with cold water can spread germs from the chicken to other food or utensils in the kitchen.”
    Washing raw chicken before cooking it can increase your risk of food poisoning from campylobacter bacteria. Splashing water from washing chicken under a tap can spread the bacteria onto hands, work surfaces, clothing and cooking equipment.
  3. About 30-35 minutes for a 4 pound chicken and 35-40 for a 5 pound chicken.
  4. This is an excellent trick I learned from Cooks Illustrated. By turning OFF the oven when the meat is midway done allows the chicken to finish cooking very gently. The internal temperature will rise 40°F and will not dry out.
  5. About 30-35 minutes for a 4 pound chicken and 35-40 for a 5 pound chicken.


Calories: 600kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 51g | Fat: 41g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 9g | Monounsaturated Fat: 17g | Trans Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 204mg | Sodium: 1736mg | Potassium: 570mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 387IU | Vitamin C: 20mg | Calcium: 46mg | Iron: 3mg

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

Course: Dinners
Cuisine: American
Have You Made This Recipe? Let Me Know on InstagramTag @keviniscooking or tag me #keviniscooking!
overhead shot of roasted chicken in a cast iron skillet


Whether in the kitchen or on the grill, you’ll find me cooking American favorites with a love for BBQ, Mexican and Tex Mex. I’m passionate about making tasty food because life’s too short to be bland!

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