This is the perfect one hour whole roasted chicken recipe. Basted with butter and sprinkled with herbs. The skin is perfectly crisp, and the chicken is juicy and tender! This homemade roasted chicken recipe is better than any rotisserie chicken you can buy at the store!

whole roasted chicken in cast iron pan

This one hour whole roasted chicken will knock your socks off!

Crispy, buttery skin that’s seasoned with a few select herbs and roasted with lemons and garlic.

Homemade roasted chicken is tender, juicy, flavor-packed, golden, and delicious. The aromatics really make the chicken, though. We stuff the belly full of lemons, garlic cloves, sage, thyme, and pretty much any other kind herb you’ve got on hand. Brush on melted butter and sprinkle the bird with lemon pepper seasoning. 

It’ll make the whole house smell delicious and it’s easy enough to make if you’re hosting an intimate dinner.

hand with spoon basting roasted chicken in pan

If you’ve never roasted a whole chicken before and find the idea daunting, let me walk you through a few things. Trust me; it’s not that bad. This isn’t like trussing a giant 20-pound turkey for Thanksgiving. We’ll get to that a different day. Let’s take baby steps.

The best part about this roasted chicken recipe is that you don’t have to truss the chicken at all if you don’t want to. I just tie the legs together using a snippet of kitchen twine because it makes the chicken look prettier for pictures, but it’s not something you have to do. Once you’ve mastered this, give the spatchcock chicken recipe a try! It’s delicious and comes together super quickly.

raw chicken in plate ready to be stuffed

What do you need to make roasted chicken?

  • Chicken: You’ll need a whole bird with the neck and giblets removed. You can use anything from a 3 ½ pound to 4 ½ pound chicken for this recipe. Just keep in mind that the 4 ½ pounds will take a little over an hour to roast.
  • Lemon: one lemon cut in half and stuffed inside the chicken lends a delicious lemony scent 
  • Head of garlic: garlic adds flavor and acts as an aromatic. This makes the whole house smell so delicious!
  • Fresh herbs: fresh herbs are used in a couple of ways. The first is to stuff inside the chicken while it roasts. The other is sprinkled on top to flavor the chicken. I’m using thyme, rosemary, and parsley inside the chicken and sprinkling a few thyme leaves on top to flavor the skin.
  • Butter: Melted butter is used to baste the chicken while it roasts. It helps the chicken develop that delicious looking brown crust when the milk solids on the butter roast up.
  • Lemon pepper seasoning: a sprinkle of lemon pepper is added to the chicken so that it has that delicious flavor on the skin.
whole raw chicken with seasonings in cast iron pan

How to make the best whole roasted chicken recipe:

  1. Prep everything first. You’ll want to position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 425ºF. Place the chicken on a clean cutting board and pat dry using paper towels. This is important because you want the skin to render all the fat. If water is left on the surface, it will steam, causing the skin to remain flabby. Season the inside of the cavity with kosher salt. Place the lemon halves, garlic halves, and herbs inside. At this point, you can use kitchen twine to tie the legs if you want. Place the chicken in a cast-iron skillet, an oven-safe frying pan, or a baking dish. Sprinkle the remaining salt all over the chicken.
  2. Baste the bird. Melt the butter in the microwave and brush it on the skin of the chicken using a pastry brush. Don’t discard any of the remaining butter. You want to save it so you can repeat this step around the halfway mark. Sprinkle the chicken with lemon pepper seasoning and thyme leaves. 
  3. Roast it. Place the skillet in the oven for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and baste the chicken again with the remaining melted butter. Place the chicken back in the oven and continue roasting for 25 minutes. Insert a meat thermometer in the thickest part of the thigh and check to make sure it has reached 165ºF. Continue roasting the chicken if it hasn’t. If it has, you’ll want to remove the chicken and allow it to rest before carving.
whole roasted chicken in cast iron pan

How long do you roast a whole chicken?

  • 3 ½ pound chicken: I’ve made this recipe several times in a few different ovens (always guided with an oven thermometer) and my chicken always takes a full 45 minutes to roast.
  • 4 ½ pound chicken: This will take 10-15 minutes more than the 3 ½ pound chicken, so I estimate it will be about 55-60 minutes. 

Regardless of the size of the chicken, please allow at least 15-30 minutes for the chicken to rest before carving it. Resting allows the chicken to complete cooking but also for the moisture from the chicken to distribute and seal itself in. Resting allows the full chicken flavor to carry through. Cutting it immediately would cause all the juices to leak right out onto the cutting board.

spooning butter over roasted chicken

Recommended equipment:

What to serve with homemade whole roasted chicken:

Bonus points if you use the pan drippings to make a gravy!

pouring gravy over sliced chicken breast
Yield: serves 4-6

Perfect One Hour Whole Roasted Chicken

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour

This is the perfect one hour whole roasted chicken recipe. Basted with butter and sprinkled with herbs. The skin is perfectly crisp and the chicken is juicy and tender! This homemade roasted chicken recipe is better than any rotisserie chicken you can buy at the store!

Perfect One Hour Whole Roasted Chicken

Ingredients

  • 3 ½ - 4 ½ pound whole chicken, neck + giblets removed
  • 1 lemon, cut in half
  • 1 head of garlic, cut in half
  • Few sprigs of thyme, rosemary, parsley, sage (or whatever herbs you have on hand)
  • 5 tablespoons salted butter, melted
  • 2 teaspoons EACH: kosher salt AND lemon pepper seasoning, no salt added
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme (leaves pulled off)

Instructions

  1. PREP: Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 425ºF. Place the chicken on a cutting board and pat dry using paper towels. Season the inside of the cavity with ½ teaspoon of salt. Place the lemon halves, garlic head, and herbs inside the cavity. Place the chicken breast-side up in a large cast-iron skillet or an oven-safe frying pan. Sprinkle the chicken with the remaining 1 ½ teaspoon of salt all over.
  2. BASTE: Melt the butter in the microwave and using a pastry brush, brush half the butter generously all over the chicken, save remaining butter do not discard. Sprinkle with the thyme leaves and lemon pepper seasoning.
  3. ROAST: the chicken for 20 minutes, remove from oven, brush on the remaining butter mixture. Place the chicken back into the oven and continue roasting for 25 minutes. Insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh and check to make sure it registers at 165 degrees F. Continue to roast for an additional 10-15 minutes if necessary (see notes). Remove roasted chicken from the oven and allow for it to rest for 15-30 minutes before carving.

Notes

    • If you have the time, I suggest salting the chicken for 1 hour-24 hours in advance. Salt the cavity with ½ teaspoon of salt and the top of the bird with 1 ½ teaspoon of salt. Allow the chicken to sit covered in the refrigerator (if done earlier.) Remove the chicken from the refrigerator 1 hour prior to roasting. This will make homemade rotisserie chicken 100000x better!
    • I used a 3 ½ pound chicken and it took exactly 45 minutes to roast. I let the chicken rest for 20 minutes prior to carving. If you're using a 4½ pound chicken, you will need to add an additional 10 -15 minutes of roasting time.
    • Please keep in mind this recipe was not tested on an organic chicken. I find that they sometimes take longer to roast (so a 3 ½ pound chicken might take you closer to 1 hour.) The best thing to do is monitor for doneness in the thickest portion of the chicken using a meat thermometer at 45 minutes and then again every 7-10 minutes until it reaches 165ºF.

Have you made this recipe?

I’d LOVE it if you could take a second to rate this recipe and leave a comment below. You can also share a picture on Instagram with the hashtag #LITTLESPICEJAR 🙂

This recipe was originally shared in Dec. 2014, updated with minor recipe changes, new pictures, and a new post in Sept. 2020.

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