I think there is something so satisfying about roasting a whole chicken in the oven. To me, it is the definition of comfort food. So today, we are going back to basics and making a simple yet delicious one-pan whole roasted chicken with potatoes.
In addition to providing you with a foolproof and easy recipe for a next-level roasted herb chicken, my goal here is to share with you all the tips and tricks I learned from the masters of the craft. Below, you will find all the ingredients you need, steps you need to follow, the best equipment to use, and substitution ideas of this basic recipe to make it your own.
If you are a fan of cooking simple chicken recipes and looking for creative ideas as to what to make with a whole chicken, I hope this post will provide you with everything you need to know.
Agreed? Let’s break it down.
Does it get any better than this? A one-pan, 7-ingredient dinner that takes minimal hands-on time. Enter my go-to Sunday dinner: Roast Chicken Recipe.
The ingredients in this recipe are simple staples that are likely to already be in your home:
- Whole Chicken: We’re going to use a bird weighing 3 ½ to 4 pounds. I find that this is a great size to feed a family of four.
- Roast Chicken Seasoning: The bird needs to be well-seasoned before going in the oven. The seasoning we use here is made up of vegetable oil, minced garlic, fresh thyme, paprika, lemon zest, salt, and pepper.
- Yukon Gold Potatoes: It is important to select potatoes that are similar in size for even cooking. I usually wash them well under cold running water and use them with the skin on but if you want you can peel them as well.
How To Prepare a Whole Chicken for Roasting
When it comes to preparing a whole chicken for roasting there are two things you need to do:
- Properly season the chicken: If you are a fan of Ina Garten like I am, you probably heard her saying that chicken that is not properly seasoned tastes like dishwater. You’ve probably seen her on TV while she was making her chicken broth. I totally agree. Seasoning the bird thoroughly with everyday herbs and spices is one of the most important steps for the most flavorful roasted chicken recipe.
To season properly, start with drying the skin of the chicken and the chicken cavity as much as you can with a few sheets of paper towels. Simply pat chicken dry on all sides as much as you can. Then mix together all the seasoning ingredients in a small bowl and rub it all over the chicken, including under its skin and inside the carcass. I highly recommend letting the chicken rest on the kitchen counter for at least 30 minutes (up to an hour) so that all the flavors in the seasoning have a chance to marinade.
- Truss the chicken: If you are not familiar, trussing chicken helps with roasting the chicken in an even way. You can certainly use fancy trussing techniques (watching videos like this one on YouTube) and truss your chicken as the pros do. Or if you find trussing too complicated, you can simply tie legs with kitchen twine (affiliate link) and tuck the wings behind their back (the recommended way for this recipe in the cookbook).
How To Roast Chicken and Potatoes in Oven:
Once your full chicken is properly seasoned and trussed, most of the work is done. You just need to do a few more things before you can sit back and relax while your oven is doing all the work.
The last few steps for the perfectly roasted whole chicken and potatoes are:
- Preheat The Oven: Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. According to the folks over at ATK, this is the best oven temperature for roasting a whole chicken as it will give you crispy baked skin and juicy meat.
- Prepare the potatoes: Slice potatoes in 1-inch thick slices. Toss them with 1 tablespoon of oil, 1 ½ teaspoons of salt, and ½ teaspoon of black pepper. Place potatoes at the bottom of the skillet, arrange them in single layer and cook over medium heat for 7 minutes on the stovetop without touching them until they are golden brown on the bottom. No need to flip (we are just jumpstarting the cooking here, the oven will do the rest of the work.)
- Place chicken on top and roast: Place the seasoned whole chicken, breast side up, on top of potatoes in the skillet and transfer it to the oven.
- The best skillet for this recipe: In the book, the authors of How To Roast Everything suggests using an ovenproof, nonstick skillet for cooking potatoes with chicken in the oven. If you don’t own one you can also use a 12-inch cast-iron skillet, dutch oven, or oven-safe pot. I used my Le Creuset Signature Enameled Cast Iron Skillet (affiliate link) and I think it worked perfectly for this recipe. This is my all-time favorite pan that I use almost on a daily basis.
With that being said, you can also use a large roasting pan for this recipe.
Check out this Mediterranean Lemon Chicken recipe, a similar lemon herb-roasted chicken thighs recipe, to see it in action. I especially love that it has a lid and can go from oven to table easily.
- A Word On Roasting Chicken and Potatoes Together: To me, the magic of this recipe comes from roasting chicken and potatoes in the same pan. As the chicken roasts, its drippings get soaked by potatoes leaving you with perfectly flavored pillowy potatoes. Here, I would like to note that the original recipe suggested roasting potatoes for another 20 minutes after the chicken was cooked and removed from the skillet. In all my three testings of this recipe, my potatoes were fully cooked when the chicken breast was registered between 165 to 175 F degrees.
In the recipe below, I did not include that step, but if for some reason, your potatoes are not fully cooked you can remove the chicken and put the pan back in the oven to roast them for another 20 minutes.
- The Secret to The Most Delicious Baked Whole Chicken: Once the chicken is fully cooked, it is imperative to let it rest for 10-15 minutes for the most juicy roasted chicken. To me, this is the secret to the most delicious chicken recipe. Because if carved immediately after baking, the juices will leak out and the meat will be dry.
So, do yourself a favor, resist the urge, and let your roasted chicken rest on the cutting board before carving.
It will take between an hour to an hour and fifteen minutes for a 3 ½ to 4-pound whole chicken to roast in the oven at 400 degrees F. The best way to know whether or not your chicken is cooked is by using a meat thermometer (affiliate link). A fully cooked chicken should register between 160 to 175 degrees F. when a thermometer is inserted into one of the chicken breasts or the thickest part of the thigh.
What To Serve With This Oven Roasted Full Chicken
While I think this whole roasted chicken and potatoes recipe easily feeds a family of four, I would recommend enhancing it with a simple salad, vegetable side dish, or grain dish on the side. Or better yet, get inspiration from my Cornish Hen Menu for a detailed list of recipes to choose from.
I think the side dishes below would work perfectly with the chicken and roasted potatoes and make it a complete meal:
- Baby Spring Mix Salad
- Herbed Lemon Quinoa
- Bulgur Pilaf or Wild Rice
- Brussel Sprouts and Kale Salad
- Quinoa Avocado Salad or any of my Quinoa Salad Recipes
- Turkish Navy Bean Salad
- Fajita Veggies from Cooktoria
Other Chicken Recipes You Might Like:
Whole Roasted Chicken and Potatoes Recipe
- 1 3 ½ – to 4 pounds whole chicken, giblets discarded
- Kosher Salt and black pepper
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil divided
- 2 cloves of garlic peeled and minced
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme minced
- 1 ½ teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 ½ teaspoons grated lemon zest plus lemon wedges for serving
- 2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes sliced into 1-inch thick pieces
- Lemon wedges for serving (optional)
- Start with making the seasoning: In a bowl, mix vegetable oil, garlic, thyme, paprika, lemon zest, 1-teaspoon of kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper.
- Remove the chicken from the fridge and pat dry with paper towels.
- Using your fingers or a handle of a spoon, gently loosen the skin of the chicken from breast and thighs making sure to not tear the skin. Rub the seasoning all over the chicken and underneath the skin of the breast, directly onto the meat. Truss the chicken or if it is easier tie the legs together and tuck wings behind back. Let it sit on the counter uncovered for 30 minutes.
- Pre-heat the oven: Meanwhile, adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees.
- Prep the potatoes: Toss potatoes with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, 1 ½ teaspoons salt and ½ teaspoon black pepper. Arrange them flat sides down in a single layer in an oven-safe 10 or 12-inch nonstick skillet*. Place it over medium heat and cook without moving them for 7-9 minutes or until lightly brown on the bottom.
- Assemble & Roast: Place chicken, breast side up, on top of potatoes, and transfer it to the oven. Let it roast for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes or until breast registers 160 degrees when a thermometer is inserted in the middle.
- Let it rest & serve: Remove skillet from the oven and transfer chicken to a carving board and let it rest for 10-15 minutes.
- Carve chicken and serve with potatoes and lemon wedges.
A Word On Roasting Chicken and Potatoes Together: To me, the magic of this recipe comes from roasting chicken and potatoes in the same pan. As the chicken roasts, its drippings get soaked by potatoes leaving you with perfectly flavored pillowy potatoes. Here, I would like to note that the original recipe suggested roasting potatoes for another 20 minutes after the chicken was cooked and removed from the skillet. In all my three testings of this recipe, my potatoes were fully cooked when the chicken breast was registered between 160 to 175 F degrees. In the recipe below, I did not include that step, but if for some reason, your potatoes are not fully cooked you can remove the chicken and put the pan back in the oven to roast them for another 20 minutes. Variations:
- Swap vegetable oil with butter and add in more garlic: If you want to switch things up, you can make a garlic butter rub by using 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter (in place of vegetable oil) and add in 2 more cloves of garlic to the seasoning mix I used in the recipe below.
- Use red potatoes instead of Yukon Gold: While I am a big fan of the creamy Yukon Gold potatoes I have also made this recipe using red potatoes in the past and it turned out very good.
- Add in some carrots in the pan: If you have some carrots on hand slice them 1-inch thick and add them into the pan. You may have to use fewer potatoes to fit them all in, but the sweetness coming from carrots will surely be a nice addition to the overall recipe.
- Use rosemary instead of thyme: If I am making this around Thanksgiving or Christmas, I usually switch thyme with an equal amount of fresh chopped rosemary for some holiday flavors.