Garlic Herb Butter Roast Chicken

You know what I never really envisioned loving to cook? A whole freaking roast chicken! Standing in the poultry aisle, it is tempting to reach for the nicely trimmed breasts or thighs and sometimes that's great. However, I am here to tell you that if you have the spoons for it, cooking a whole chicken is where it's at. Before you ask, yes, you will have to reach your hand inside of a chicken and yes, using it for a macabre puppet show will be hilarious and is a creative way to impress your guests (follow me for more hot hosting tips).

A whole roasted chicken on aluminum foil in a pan, next to a bowl of roasted potatoes.

Why should you roast a whole chicken?

I completely understand gawking at the idea of roasting up a whole chicken. It sounds kind of daunting. However, it's actually relatively simple and if you have the energy for it, can be used for multiple meals. Besides, if you make the chicken yourself, you can tailor it to your own satisfaction. Once the chicken is cooked, eat it as is or pull it apart and use the shredded chicken for tacos, ramen, quesadillas, or soups, or freeze it for later. If you have the energy, use the remainder of the chicken to make your own broth. Otherwise, bag up the leavings and make broth when you DO have the energy.

The broth is perfect as a base for any soup. Might I suggest: creamy wild rice soup, Italian sausage and tortellini soup, or beef stew.


At what temperature should you roast a whole chicken?

Roast a whole chicken at 425 °F for nice crispy skin.

How long does it take to roast a chicken?

It takes between 1 and 1 ¼ hours to roast a chicken at 425 °F. Always check the internal temperature of your chicken to make sure that it reaches 165 °F.

Can I roast a whole frozen chicken?

You can definitely do that but it will take a while longer. If you start with a frozen chicken you will not be able to get garlic butter under the skin easily but you may be able to at least put it into the cavity. You will want to decrease the cooking temperature to around 400 °F and cook the chicken for between 2 and 2 ½ hours, until the internal temperature reaches 165 °F.

Can this recipe be made dairy-free?

Absolutely. To make a dairy free roasted chicken you can either use your favorite butter substitute or skip the butter entirely and add an extra tablespoon of olive oil to the outside of the bird.

What to serve with roasted chicken

It is hard to go wrong serving chicken with potatoes. Try roasting potatoes in an air fryer or make some creamy sour cream mashed potatoes. Then, treat your body to a green vegetable once in a while. My favorite vegetables for alongside this chicken are roasted broccoli, brussels sprouts, or asparagus.

Alright, I've talked enough. Go make yourself a chicken...or don't and buy a rotisserie chicken instead. You're an adult who don't need no adultier adult to make your decisions.

Keep your belly full, your mind engaged, and your heart open.

A whole roasted chicken on a platter.

Garlic Herb Butter Roast Chicken

Simple but mouth-watering garlic butter roasted whole chicken.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 15 mins
Resting time 15 mins
Course Entree, Main Course
Servings 5 servings


Garlic butter

  • 2 tablespoons butter softened
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • ½ tablespoon fresh rosemary or thyme or sage or ½ teaspoon dried
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

The chicken

  • 4 pound whole chicken no giblets or removed
  • ½ lemon or ½ tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil


  • Pre-heat oven to 425°F and cover a large baking dish with aluminum foil (heavy duty is best for avoiding messes).
  • Combine all garlic butter ingredients in a small bowl.
  • Rinse the inside and outside of the chicken briefly with cool water, then pat it dry with a paper towel. Place the chicken on your baking dish breast side up. Use your fingers to separate the skin from the chicken and push butter into the space. Squish the butter through the skin to move it further down the chicken until it's well spread. Then put the extra butter in the cavity.
  • Pour the olive oil over the chicken and spread it as evenly as you can over the surface of the chicken. Then, squeeze the lemon or lemon juice over the top of the chicken. If you are feeling fancy, use some kitchen twine to tie the legs together...or don't bother.
  • Roast the chicken for about 1 to 1 ½ hours, basting it twice during cooking with the extra juices from the pan, until a meat thermometer reads 165°F. Let the chicken rest for 15 minutes before digging in.
Keyword butter, chicken, garlic, garlic-butter, Roasted, whole chicken
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