Whole Roasted Chicken

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I’m excited to show you just how easy it is to bake a whole chicken today! I promise, roasting a chicken is so much simpler than you might think; and, it doesn’t take a lot of odd ingredients or time to make a really flavorful and moist chicken.

whole roasted chicken in cast iron skillet
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Whole Roasted Chicken

This is my tried and true roasted chicken recipe and you are going to love it. This recipe is the baked chicken recipe that I make the most often because it is made with the most basic ingredients in my kitchen.

It’s simple but it turns out full of flavor and moist each time I make it. I love cooking chicken like this for easy family dinners because it takes very little hands on time and my whole family loves it.

whole roasted chicken in cast iron skillet

How to Make Easy Roasted Chicken

  1. Prep the “rack” to keep your chicken off the bottom of the pan, by cutting up an onion and a few carrots and stalks of celery.
  2. Pat the chicken dry with paper towel, this helps the skin to crisp up nicely.
  3. Season well! You’re going to mix up a little seasoning mix and rub it all over the outside of the chicken to make sure the finished chicken isn’t bland.
  4. Roast the whole chicken for 80 to 100 minutes (depending on size).
  5. All that’s left is to let it rest and then serve. See there’s nothing to it!
collage on how to roast a whole chicken

Ingredients Needed:

  1. A whole raw chicken: New to buying a whole chicken? Have no fear! You can buy them fresh or frozen and they are normally very affordable (it’ll be one of the least expensive ways to buy chicken). Look for one that is between 4 and 5 pounds total weight. If the chicken you bought is frozen, allow it fully thaw in the fridge before cooking. Buy a chicken with the skin on for best results.
  2. Onion, carrots, and celery: These kitchen stables are what will hold your chicken up off the bottom of the pan. And if you make gravy to go with your chicken, they’ll help to make it extra delicious.
  3. Salt and pepper: these are the most common spices in the kitchen and you’ll be using plenty of them to ensure the chicken is full of flavor.
  4. Garlic and onion powder and smoked paprika: these three simple spices are some of my favorites and add tons of flavor to the chicken without being over-bearing. If you are new to smoked paprika, be excited. It adds so much flavor (it’s very different from traditional paprika).
  5. Optional: cornstarch and additional chicken broth to make chicken gravy: if you are going to make chicken gravy, you’ll need these to make it. If not, you won’t need these. The cornstarch is what thickens the gravy.
Roasted chicken cut in pieces on white plate

Don’t forget to scroll past the recipe to see:

  • how to make chicken gravy from the drippings
  • how to carve your whole chicken
  • tips and tricks for success
  • how to know when the chicken is done
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whole roasted chicken in cast iron skillet

Whole Roasted Chicken

  • Author: Melissa Griffiths – Bless this Mess
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 8
  • Diet: Gluten Free


Quick and easy roasted chicken is a staple recipe that you should know how to make! It comes together fast, is made with simple ingredients, and the chicken is so moist.


  • One whole chicken, 4-5 pounds
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 large carrots
  • 2 large ribs of celery
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper


  1. Move your oven rack to the lowest position in the oven. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. 
  2. Prepare the onion by cutting the root and stem end off and removing the outer layer of peel. Slice into 3-4 large rounds. 
  3. Prepare the carrots and celery by washing well and cutting into 3-4 inch pieces. It’s OK to leave the stems and leaves on, no issues there.
  4. Place the onion, carrots, and celery in a single layer on the bottom of a large cast iron skillet or a baking dish (you can use a 9×13 inch baking dish or a large oval one). The vegetables will act like a rack to keep the chicken off the bottom of the pan. 
  5. Prepare the chicken by removing it from any packaging. Remove any neck pieces from the cavity of the chicken if needed and set aside (I save them to make broth with). 
  6. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels.
  7. In a small bowl combine the salt, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, and pepper. Stir to combine.
  8. Rub the spice mixture evenly all over the outside of the chicken, use all of the spice mixture to do this. 
  9. Place the chicken on top of the vegetables in the pan – breast side down.  This will help keep the breast meat from drying out and overcooking before the legs and thighs are cooked through.
  10. Bake the chicken in the hot oven until the chicken reaches 165 degrees F in the thickest part of the breast and thigh. This will take about 20 minutes of cooking time, per pound of chicken. So a 4-5 pound chicken will roughly take 1 hour 20 minutes to 1 hour 40 minutes to cook through. 
  11. When the chicken is cooked through, remove it from the oven. 
  12. Allow the chicken to cool for 10 minutes before serving the chicken. I like to cut the chicken into pieces on a cutting board before taking it to the table to serve. 
  13. The juices from the chicken left in the pan, combined with the roasted vegetables, make for a very flavorful liquid (often called drippings). You can serve these drippings to dip your chicken in or you can turn them into a simple gravy (see the instructions below this recipe for the gravy recipe – keep scrolling!). 


  • The skin of the chicken should be perfectly crispy when the chicken is cooked through. If the skin looks like it’s cooking too fast and the meat isn’t done yet, cover the chicken with foil to prevent the skin from over cooking while the meat finishes cooking. 
  • Full instructions on how to make chicken gravy with your pan drippings can be found in the blog post following this recipe (keep scrolling!).
  • Instructions on how to cut up or carve a whole chicken can be found in the blog post following this recipe. 
  • Prep Time: 10 min
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 20 min
  • Category: main dish
  • Method: bake
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: how to bake a chicken, how to roast a chicken, roasted chicken, baked chicken, whole baked chicken, whole roasted chicken

How do you know when the chicken is done?

The chicken will be done when an instant read thermometer is inserted into the thickest part of the thigh and registers 165 degrees. When using a thermometer, don’t let it touch the bone. That will throw off the reading.

Also, note that a whole chicken won’t increase in temperature like other cuts of meat during the rest time because of the large cavity in the middle. You’ll want it to be fully cooked before removing it from the oven.

The chicken will generally take 20 minutes per pound. If you are in between pounds, it’s best to round up and cook the chicken for the longer amount of time.

My other favorite chicken recipe (using only legs) is this slow cooker chicken legs recipe, check it out too!

oven roasted chicken pin for pinterest

How do you make chicken gravy?

My family loves when I make chicken gravy to go with this meal! The juices that collect in the bottom of the pan are what you make the gravy with and they are so full of flavor.

  1. To make the chicken gravy, remove the chicken from the pan to cool.
  2. Pour the remaining contents of the pan into a large colander and discard the solids (I usually eat the carrots and feed everything else to my chickens), taking care to reserve all of the liquid.
  3. Pour the juices you’ve saved into a glass measuring cup. If there’s a lot of fat that’s floated to the top, use a spoon to scoop a bit off the top (you don’t have to remove it all, but remove what you can). You can also use a fat separator for this if you have one.
  4. Once you have removed the fat, see how much liquid you have left. Add enough additional chicken broth to the measuring cup to make 2 cups total.
  5. Add the 2 cups of liquid to a small sauce pan and bring to a boil.
  6. While your liquid is heating, add 2 tablespoons of cornstarch to a small bowl and add 2 tablespoons of cold water to the bowl. Stir to combine well.
  7. When the broth is boiling, whisk in the cornstarch mixture and continue to whisk until the mixture thickens, about 2 minutes.
  8. Remove from the heat and adjust the salt and pepper to taste (I also like to stir in a little extra garlic and/or onion powder to taste too. )
  9. Serve over your roasted chicken.

How to carve a roast chicken:

  1. Use a long sharp knife to carve your chicken.
  2. Start by slicing the through the joint where the chicken thigh meets the body. Repeat with the other thigh.
  3. Cut through the joint where the leg meats the thigh. Set the two thighs and the two legs on a serving plate.
  4. Flip the chicken over and find the line going down the middle of the chicken, between the breast. This is the breastbone. Place your knife to one side of, and parallel to, the breastbone and slice, following the bottom of the breast meat, until the meat is fully removed. Repeat on other side. Place the breast meat on the serving platter.
  5. Serve these main pieces of meat. You can use your fingers to hand pick the rest of the meat from the bone. These smaller pieces are great for making chicken noodle soup or chicken pot pie.
  6. You can reserve the carcass and bones for making chicken stock once the meat is removed.
whole roasted chicken in cast iron skillet

Tips and Tricks for baking a whole chicken:

  • Roast the chicken breast-side down. This isn’t the traditional position, but it’s going to help keep that breast meat from drying out and overcooking before the legs and thighs are cooked through.
  • Use an instant read thermometer to check the doneness of the chicken if you can, few things are as frustrating as sitting down to a meal of undercooked chicken and having to put it back in the oven.
  • When it comes to the amount a whole chicken will serve, it depends a lot on what you are serving it with. If you are using this for your Thanksgiving meal this year with lots of sides, you can plan on it feeding about 8 people. If you are doing just a few sides like some mashed potatoes and a green salad, plan on the chicken feeding closer to 6 people.

What to serve with roasted chicken:

The beauty of cooking a whole chicken is that it can go with so many side dishes. Simply pick your favorites. Here are some of mine.


Vegetables Sides:

This and That:

And now you know how to make one simple but amazing whole roasted chicken. It’s simple enough to make it on a weeknight and fancy enough to serve it to guests. I can’t wait for you to try it!

About Melissa

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1 Comment

  1. Oh my Melissa, this recipe looks simple yet amazing! I can’t wait to try it out for thanksgiving since my family doesn’t like turkey. Thank you for sharing 🙏🏼 Happy holidays 😊