Classic Whole Roasted Chicken

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Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 70 minutes, or until temperature reaches 165 degrees
Serving size: 4

Today I am excited to post this classic recipe – A crispy, delightful, roasted chicken. As usual on this blog, it’s super tasty and healthy. More importantly, its a perfect fall recipe. There is a slight nip in the air, and warm chicken with roasted vegetables just tops it all off. I cooked this last night with my provencal potato wedges and some stir fried green beans. Delicious!

I prefer to spice my chicken conservatively. There is a place and a time for heavy spices, and I do not believe this dish needs it. A simple dash of salt and pepper is a perfect compliment to the flavor of this tender chicken. The stuffing is also simple. I encourage you to use the lemon even if you don’t like the flavor. It actually doesn’t create a lemony flavor, but it does help keep the chicken moist.

The first step of this recipe is to brine the chicken, but it’s not a must. Last night I actually forgot to brine mine, and it turned out to be just as delicious. For those of you worrying about salt intake, you can find analysis online about how much salt you actually consume in the brining liquid. Its not much, and certainly not near the 1/2 C of it you put into the brine.


1 whole chicken, around 5 lbs
1/2 C salt
1/4 onion, cut into four pieces
2 slices lemon, each slice cut into two pieces
3 cloves garlic
12 inches twine or equivalent
Olive oil, enough to coat skin of chicken
Dash of pepper
Dash of salt


1. Preheat oven to 425.

2. Unwrap chicken and remove the giblets, etc. Some chickens come with this stuff neatly packed in a plastic bag.

3. In large bowl or pot, mix 1/2 C salt with enough water to cover the chicken. Place chicken in large bowl or pot. Let sit in refrigerator for an hour minimum, or as long as you like.

4. Remove the chicken from brine and pat dry. Stuff the chicken with onion, lemon, and garlic.


Nothing fancy. Just a few slices to stuff the chicken. Keep in mind that if you choose not to stuff the chicken, it will cook much faster.


A regrettable angle for a picture, I know. Just in case I have some real newbies out there, I wanted to show you what it should look like and exactly where you should stuff.

5. Tie the legs with twine. If you don’t have this on hand, dental floss will work just fine.

6. Highly recommended: Line roasting pan with tin foil (trying to scrub off chicken grease is a NIGHTMARE). Spray roasting rack with olive oil and place into roasting pan.

7. Place chicken on rack breast down. Coat the skin with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.


Dusting food with spices is an art, as evidence by my failure to evenly season the chicken. The good news is that your taste buds will not care – mine didn’t.

8. Cook chicken, uncovered, for 35 minutes. Then flip chicken so that it is breast side up. Coat the skin with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

9. Cook for an additional 35 minutes, or until the breast reaches 165 degrees.


As you can see, the temperature is not always precise. In some parts of the chicken my thermometer actually read 170, but it still had great texture and moisture. 

10. Let chicken rest for 10 minutes after removing from the oven. I use this time to whip up some veggies to accompany this dish.

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The final product! In its delicious, juicy glory. Be sure to save that carcass to make homemade chicken stock. As I write this post, the smell of brewing chicken stock is emanating from my kitchen. 

I know -you’re like but I don’t have a meat thermometer! If you are reading cooking blogs, you are a serious enough cook that your life will change by purchasing a$15 meat thermometers. Promise. No more praying the meat is done and guesstimating how “long” something should cook. You will take your food to the next level once you begin measuring by temperature rather than time. It ensures this beauty will be respected for more than her looks. The tender, juicy meat on the inside is what really counts!

Hungry for more recipes? Explore more at LawyerintheKitchen!

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