How to Roast a Whole Chicken

Roasting a whole chicken is a very cost effective way to feed your family, and it is super easy. I pick up whole chickens when they are on sale and either roast for dinner, or roast and use the meat for a meal that calls for cooked chicken. Most whole chickens will feed my family for two meals - as I shred up the leftover chicken for either chicken soup, chicken salad sandwiches, or quesadillas. I used to be intimidated by whole chickens, but not let's get roasting, ready?

Roasted Whole Chicken

4-6 lb whole chicken
1 lemon
10-12 cloves of garlic
1-2 tbsp olive oil

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Unwrap your chicken from the wrapper and remove the packet inside that includes the neck and giblets (I hate this part, but it is necessary). Rise your chicken in cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Place in a roasting pan, breast side up, and set aside.
I flavor my chickens with lemon and garlic, but you can really use any herbs and seasonings, or just stick with salt, pepper and olive oil (or butter). You will need about 10-12 cloves or garlic, peeled. I find the easiest way to get the peel off garlic is to give them a good smack with the back of a kitchen knife, and then the peel is easy to remove. I know that sounds like a lot of garlic, but it isn't. Whole garlic tends to get sweet when cooked for a long period of time, unlike minced garlic which is much stronger. Don't be afraid of the garlic; it is a perfect pair to the lemon.
It is okay if your garlic is slightly smashed, it just helps to release the oils and flavor. You will also need a whole lemon. Roll it on the counter to get the juices flowing and cut in half. I squeeze the lemon halves over the chicken, and then cut the lemons in half again, so you have quarters. Place two of the lemon quarters inside the cavity of the chicken, along with half of the garlic.
Drizzle the olive oil over the chicken and season generously with salt and pepper, and place remaining garlic and lemon quarters in the pan. Place in preheated oven, and after 30 minutes, start basting the chicken to help give it extra flavor. Basically basting means to spoon the juices that gather in the pan over the chicken (you will have to tilt the pan so they come to one side). Initially there won't be much to spoon but after you start basting the juices will multiple. I do this after 30 minutes and then every 10-15 minutes until it is done.Cook for approximately 60-75 minutes (or longer depending on the size of your chicken, mine was 5 pounds), or until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. If your chicken starts looking too browned on the top, you can tent it with aluminum foil in the oven to prevent burning. My mom always checks for doneness by cutting slightly into the leg to see if the juices run clear. If they are clear, the chicken is done. Let cool for about 10 - 15 minutes in pan. It will be impossible to cut into pieces if you try to do this while it is hot. Once your chicken has cooled, place on large cutting board and cut into pieces. I usually cut the legs off first, then the wings, then the breasts and thighs.
Now you have a delicious roasted chicken to serve for dinner. Enjoy!


  1. Mmmm, nothing like a roasted chicken dinner. Nice butchering job. I'm hungry now.


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