This Simple Classic Roast Chicken recipe is as classic as your grandma’s but simple enough for the novice cook. The presentation is not only impressive but the result is chicken that is tender, juices are locked in, and it’s packed with flavor!
Classic roast chicken is a dish that reminds me of my Grandma plain and simple. Nobody could make a roast chicken as well as grandma and she seemed to do it so effortlessly. As a little girl I can still remember her standing in the kitchen gently putting the roast in the pot and pulling out her spices. She would add a dash of this and sprinkle of that, never measuring of course. And it always turned out perfect every time.
To be honest, I learned how to make roast chicken far later than I should have. Of course I asked my grandma first but she never used a recipe so she just suggested exactly what I had watched her do for years. Add a dash of this and splash of that and roast it until it was cooked!
Well, it is definitely helpful when you are learning to cook to have the measurements as a guideline. Once you get the hang of it, experimenting with flavours becomes easy!
How to make classic roast chicken
I get asked all the time how to make roast chicken that isn’t dry. I have a few simple tips for making a classic roast chicken that is easy, full of flavor, and results in tender and moist meat.
I always suggest buying organic roasts. I buy mine in a two-pack from Costco (sometimes they even go on sale) and always keep them in my freezer. They are pre-tied and so convenient and I’m avoiding any antibiotics or chemicals in my meat.
You will want to start with a chicken that is between 4-6 lbs (if you have a smaller or larger chicken just cook for a shorter or longer period of time).
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
- Rinse the chicken and pat dry.
- Season the chicken
- Tie up the legs and wings using kitchen twine.
- Place in the dutch oven and immediately reduce the temperature to 375 degrees.
- Cook for approximately 20 minutes per pound. Check the roast regularly with a meat thermometer until the chicken has reached 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you have the time, slow roasting the chicken is the absolute best way to go. I love to cook a roast on Sundays. I will put it in around 8:30 AM and it cooks all day (be warned, your house will smell UNREAL). Then we have it for dinner and I make chicken salad for that week’s lunches. I also save the bones and make stock later in the week for another meal. It’s so easy and makes
Slow-roasting chicken is hands down the best routine for meal prep and lining up your weekday meals for success. Its super relaxing and so rewarding. Here is my go-to routine for slow-roasting chicken.
- The day before, take your roast out of the freezer to dethaw then place in the fridge. (If using a fresh roast, there is no prep the day before).
- In the morning, rinse and pat the chicken with paper towels. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.
- Season the roast.
- Tie up the legs and wings using kitchen twine (I buy mine pre-tied at Costco).
- Place the roast in a dutch oven with the lid and place it in the oven.
- Cook for approximately 8-9 hrs or until internal temperature has reached 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
How to check for doneness
I hands down recommend getting a kitchen thermometer. It is invaluable for getting the correct doneness for any type of meat you are making. For chicken, you need the meat to reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. I have tried a lot of thermometers and definitely like and recommend this instant-read one.
How to make gravy
Gravy is so simple to make and is an absolutely delicious addition to a classic roast chicken meal. After the chicken has cooked remove it from the dutch oven onto a platter to carve. Remove the large chunks of lemon and onion and discard.
- Place that dutch oven with the pan drippings on an element set to medium heat.
- Add in a splash of white wine (or dry vermouth) for amazing flavor.
- Make a slurry of 3 tbsp cornstarch and 1/4 cup water by stirring in a small bowl or in a small jar.
- Add the slurry to the pan and whisk thoroughly while you let it all cook together for a minute or two, until it thickens up.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper.
What to serve with roast chicken
More recipes to try:
Simple Classic Roast Chicken
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp fresh rosemarry, chopped
- 1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
- 1 tsp fresh sage
- 1 tbsp grass-fed butter, room temperature
- 2 tsp Himalayan pink salt
- 1 tsp fresh ground pepper
- 1 tsp lemon zest (plus one whole lemon)
- 1 whole organic chicken (4-6 lbs)
- 1 large onion, quartered
- 2 tbsp balsalmic vinegar
- Optional: quartered russet potatoes
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees farenheit.
- Rinse and pat dry chicken. In a small bowl combine garlic, butter, thyme, rosemary, sage, salt, pepper and lemon zest.
- Place the chicken breast side up in a dutch oven and rub the paste all over the chicken including under the skin. In the cavity place 1/2 the onion and 1/2 a lemon. Scatter remaining onion and lemon around the pot and potatoes if using. You can also add additiontal sprigs of herbs if you prefer. Drizzel balsamic vinegar over the top.
- Cover the pot and place in oven. Turn the temperature down to 375 and roast for 20 minutes per lb or until a thermometer inserted reads 165 degrees farenheit.
- For slow roasted chicken roast covered at 200 degrees for 8-9 hours or until roast reachces 165 degrees fahrenheit. When roast has reached temperature, remove the lid and raise the oven temperature to 425 degrees fahrenheit and roast for approximately 10 minutds or until skin is crisp.