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5 from 2 votes
Overhead shot of perfect roast chicken in a cast iron pan with rosemary scattered around.
Perfect Roast Chicken
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
50 mins
Resting Time
15 mins
Total Time
1 hr 5 mins

Making the perfect roast chicken is so much easier than you think! A few simple tips and techniques will yield a juicy bird with crispy skin and tons of flavor! Pop a whole chicken in the oven in a cast iron skillet and watch the magic happen.

Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: roast chicken
Servings: 4 Servings
Calories: 583 kcal
Lemon Herb Butter
  • 2 oz unsalted butter, softened (1/2 stick)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp rosemary, minced
  • 1 Tbsp parsley, minced
  • 1 Tbsp fresh thyme, minced
  • zest of one lemon
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • Kosher salt and pepper
Roast Chicken
  • 4 lb whole chicken, giblets removed
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 3-4 sprigs thyme
  • 1/2 lemon, sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • *kitchen twine for trussing
Lemon Herb Butter
  1. Combine all the ingredients in a mini prep or food processor and blend until combined. Alternatively mix by hand.

Roast Chicken
  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees and remove chicken from refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for 15-20 minutes.

  2. Pat the chicken dry, both in and out and season liberally with salt and pepper.

  3. Stuff the cavity loosely with the herbs, lemon, and garlic.
  4. Spread the herb butter all over chicken, including under the skin.
  5. Fold the wings behind the bird and truss the bird or simply tie the legs together. Place the bird in a cast iron skillet (my preference,) a roasting pan, or an oven-safe skillet and roast until a thermometer reads 160 degrees (about 50 minutes) or until the juices run clear. Baste it occasionally as it cooks.

  6. Remove from the oven and tent the bird loosely with foil and let it rest 15 minutes before carving.

Recipe Notes
  • For a smaller bird (3 - 5 lbs, not a Thanksgiving turkey), I've found that high heat (450 degrees F) for a shorter period yields optimal results.
  • Temperature is key for a juicy bird. That means allowing the uncooked bird to sit at room temperate before it goes into the oven, cooking it to an internal temperature of 160 degrees (it will continue to cook as it rests), and testing it in the leg, thigh, and breast when determining doneness.
  • REST! The bird needs to be covered loosely and allowed to rest for at least 15 mins when it comes out of the oven to let all those juices redistribute. If you skip the oh-so-important resting, all those gorgeous juices will pour out when you slice into it and leave you with a dry bird. Worth the wait, trust me.
Nutrition Facts
Perfect Roast Chicken
Amount Per Serving
Calories 583 Calories from Fat 396
% Daily Value*
Fat 44g68%
Saturated Fat 16g100%
Cholesterol 193mg64%
Sodium 2772mg121%
Potassium 434mg12%
Carbohydrates 3g1%
Protein 41g82%
Vitamin A 885IU18%
Vitamin C 12.9mg16%
Calcium 53mg5%
Iron 2.8mg16%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.