Easy Herb Roasted Chicken Recipe
Seasoned with lemon zest and herbs, your Sunday Roast Chicken will shine in all it’s simplicity. The BEST Roasted Chicken requires only minutes of hands on time and should be a staple in your easy dinner arsenal.
Originally published September 2015 and updated February 2020.
I love the simple things in life. Mostly because in my life…laziness prevails. But because of my lazy ways I’ve learned to appreciate simplicity especially when it comes to my food. Think juicy, ripe summer tomatoes still warm from the sun….sprinkled generously with sea salt. Is your mouth watering yet?
How about a slice of watermelon….slightly chilled and dripping with juice? Refreshing. Or a whole roasted chicken with just a few herbs, some salt and lemon? Drool. And for some reason these are the things that impress me the most.
Easy Whole Roasted Chicken
A simple chicken dinner just screams Sunday family meal to me. I’m not sure why but for some reason I only roast a whole chicken on Sundays. It’s like a thing for me. Even though it’s not something that requires a lot of time or energy and it certainly doesn’t need to cook for hours.
And yet….I have friends that are terrified of roasting a whole chicken. It’s baffling. My entire roast chicken recipe costs less than $9 to make. NINE DOLLARS!!! And it feeds us dinner….and lunch for days. The perfect way to keep your sanity during the school year, especially.
How To Roast a Chicken
This Simple Roast Chicken recipe is just what it sounds like. Simple. A handful of ingredients are used to maintain moisture and pump up the flavor just a tad. For this recipe, I am careful to not overdo it with the extra flavor enhancers since I like to use the leftovers in a few lunchbox lunches during the week.
I stick with the basics…kosher salt, fresh ground pepper, olive oil, lemon, thyme, garlic. That’s it.
The key to making sure those flavors are actually in the meat and not on the bottom of the pan is by rubbing it all under the skin. I use this same technique in my roasted turkey at Thanksgiving every year and it ensures that I have the juiciest turkey in all the land. Seriously, you should try it sometime.
How Long To Roast It
Depending on the size of your chicken, roasting a whole chicken should take only about an hour. I like to roast my chicken at a 425˚F so that I have the juiciest, crispy roast chicken ever. It’s a higher temperature than most recipes but it ensures a perfect roast chicken without much fuss.
A 5-6 pound chicken will take about 1 hour and 10 minutes to fully cook. Your chicken is finished cooking when an instant read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 165˚F. For an accurate reading, be sure the thermometer is not touching the bone.
If your chicken is beginning to brown too quickly, you can cover it with foil after the skin is crispy and golden brown. The foil will keep the skin from browning and burning, as well as, keep the chicken breast from drying out.
If you want to roast your chicken at a lower temperature, be sure to follow this chart as a guide:
- 2-1/2 to 3 pounds: Roast at 375 degrees F for 1 to 1-1/4 hours.
- 3 to 3-1/2 pounds: Roast at 375 degrees F for 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 hours.
- 3-1/2 to 4 pounds: Roast at 375 degrees F for 1-1/4 to 1-3/4 hours.
- 4-1/2 to 5 pounds: Roast at 375 degrees F for 1-1/2 to 2 hours.
A general rule of thumb for my recommended 425˚ roasting temperature is 10 minutes per pound for the chicken to be fully cooked.
Roasting vs. Baking
Roasting occurs at a higher temperature, generally 375˚ and above. Anything below 375˚F would be considered baking a chicken. Both work, but if you’re looking for a crispy skinned whole chicken you definitely need the higher temperatures to render the fat and crisp up the skin.
We LOVE this Oven Baked Chicken Breast for quick, easy dinners if you’re not wanting to roast a whole chicken.
What To Serve With It
We’re also loving this Green Beans Almondine if you’re feeling a little fancy….even though they’re super EASY to make.
If you’re looking for more easy chicken recipes we love this simple Engagement Chicken.…it has a lemony sauce that’s super easy to make with the pan juices. We also LOVE this Rotisserie Style Chicken….it has SO MUCH FLAVOR!
Get the Recipe: Simple Roasted Chicken
- 5 pound Whole Chicken
- 1/4 cup kosher salt
- 1/4 cup Olive Oil
- 1 tablespoon Black Pepper Grinder
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
- 1 lemon, cut in quarters
- 1 head of garlic cut in half horizontally
- Preheat oven to 425˚F.
- In a small bowl, mix together the salt, pepper, lemon zest and thyme until well blended. Using your clean hands, carefully separate the skin from the meat on the chicken breast. Spread the salt mixture over the meat.
- Stuff the lemon and garlic in the cavity of the chicken. Tuck the wings of the chicken under the breast and tie the legs together with kitchen twine.
- Place the chicken in a medium sized roasting pan and roast for approximately 1 hour and 10 minutes or until the juices run clear. The chicken is done cooking when it registers 165˚F on an instant read thermometer.
- Cover the chicken with foil and allow to rest for 10 minutes before carving.