The Ultimate Roast Chicken Recipe

Fergus Henderson made the “nose to tail” movement popular, encouraging diners not to waste any part of the animal. While we’re not sure “beak to tail feathers” has quite the same ring to it, there’s a lot more to chicken than breasts and legs. Roast the whole bird for a delicious dinner and several more meals throughout the week.

Serves 2-6, depending on the size of the bird


2 tablespoons butter, plus more for greasing pan

1 tablespoon olive oil

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

1 whole chicken (3-5 pounds, preferably an organic, pastured bird)

2 cloves garlic, smashed


Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F and lightly grease the interior of a roasting pan with butter or oil.

Remove the packaging and the bag of liver and other parts from the center of your bird. Pat dry with paper towels. Smear a teaspoon of butter in the interior cavity, then sprinkle with the salt and toss in the garlic cloves. Place it breast side up in a roasting pan. Rub about 1 tablespoon of butter around the rest of the bird with your hands.

Melt the remaining butter in a ramekin and add the olive oil.

Cook in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes, until it begins to brown. Turn the heat down to 325 degrees and cook for another hour, depending on the size of your bird. A 3-pound chicken will require a total cooking time of about 1 hour and 20 minutes. Each additional pound requires about 15 more minutes.

At a few points during the cooking process, remove the chicken from the oven and baste with the remaining butter and oil. This will help the skin brown nicely and seal in all of the juices.

When the cooking time has elapsed, insert a metal thermometer at various points in the bird to ensure it reaches an internal temperature of at least 165 degrees. Allow it to rest for at least 10 minutes before carving.

Dark meat (thighs, wings, etc.) (5-ounce portion) 327 calories, 0g carbohydrates, 18g fat, 42g protein, 138mg sodium

White meat (breast) (5-ounce portion) 250 calories, 0g carbohydrates, 13g fat, 30g protein, 91mg sodium

And now that you have lots of tasty roast chicken leftovers, here are some great chicken recipes to use them up!

Lemongrass Chicken Salad

lemon chicken salad recipe

Enjoy the flavors of Thailand in this simple, savory salad. Get the recipe.

Lighter Spaghetti Carbonara

light spaghetti carbonara recipe
Comfort food for less than 500 calories never tasted so good! Get the recipe.

Avocado-Lime Chicken Tortilla Soup

chicken tortilla soup
This is a healthier verison of a Mexican restaurant favorite that still packs in plenty of spice. Get the recipe.

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