Whole Roasted Herb Chicken


  • 3-4 lb. whole chicken
  • Onion
  • Lemon
  • Herbs (rosemary, sage, thyme)
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper


Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

If this is your first time cooking a whole chicken, you are in for a surprise! They package a whole bunch of fun things inside the chicken that you may not expect. I think it’s a littleĀ  gross and if I could buy a chicken without the extra pieces I would. However, many people like to use the spare parts (such as my Dad!). If you’d like to see the steps in between photos below, scroll to the bottom of the post. Otherwise, I’ll spare the innocent and we can just pretend the bird comes out looking all pretty.

Here is what the chicken looks like after it gets a rinse and is patted dry. I like working with chicken on large baking sheets because it makes clean-up easy.

Now that the chicken is ready to go, it’s time to move on to the herb mixture that will be rubbed onto the outside of the chicken and make the crispy skin.

Coarsely chop the rosemary, sage, and thyme together. Put herbs into a bowl, add salt and pepper and mix well. Slowly mix in olive oil until you have a paste.

Next, let’s get the bird stuffed. My favorite way to peel garlic is with the tool on the left. It’s a flexible rubber garlic peeler that removes the skin when the garlic is pressed and rolled back and forth. (I bought mine at Pampered Chef, but you can find them at any cooking store.)

Chop the onion and lemon so they are the right size to fit in the chicken cavity. You will not be using them later so no need to be exact. Put some of the extra herbs together with kitchen string and form a bouquet that will also go inside the chicken.

Give that bird a good stuffing. If everything does not fit, that’s ok. It’s better to leave a little room than over stuff the bird. I prefer to truss my bird but I don’t follow the proper “trussing” technique. I keep wrapping the string around until all the bits and parts are tied. This keeps the chicken cooking evenly so that the wings and drum sticks are not over done.

Once the chicken is trussed, rub the herb mixture all over being sure to get into all the nooks an crannies. I use a digital thermometer that stays in the bird while cooking and sounds an alarm when it gets to 165 degrees. That’s the best way to check the temperature because you are not opening and closing the oven. A general rule is that you need 15-20 minutes for each pound.

Once it gets to 165 degrees, take the bird out and let it rest for 10-15 minutes so the juices can settle. Transfer to a serving dish and enjoy!

Warning…gross chicken part below

When you unwrap the chicken and peek inside the big cavity (there are actually two!) you will find the liver, neck, and heart. Just pull them out and toss them if you don’t want to cook with them. My Dad loves to boil them and eat them…but he’s from the South so I won’t hold that against him (ha-ha!). Since I mentioned the second cavity, flip the bird over, lift up the skirt and make sure nothing extra was put in the smaller cavity. Give the empty bird cavity a good rinse under the faucet then pat dry inside and outside. You are ready to begin!


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