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Baked Whole Chicken Recipes

Updated on November 14, 2016
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John applies his scientific & research skills (PhD) to develop recipes, food guides, reviews of healthy whole foods, ingredients & cooking

Though many people are reluctant to try it because of past disappointments, there are many reasons why you should try baking and roasting a chicken tonight! It is very easy to prepare; inexpensive and a whole chicken is a lot cheaper than chicken pieces.

Roasted whole delicious is delicious with so many taste variations and option for using spices and herbs to accentuate the taste of the chicken. This article outlines how to prepare and bake the perfect chicken at home and several fabulous recipes for you to try. All you need is a roasting pan and a good quality chicken, some herbs and spices, oil for basting, foil and ideally a meat thermometer.

A good extra item is roasting rack or frame to hold the chicken above the pan when baking. This will ensure the chicken cooks more evenly, allowing hot air to circulate all around the chicken when cooking. Also the chicken will not be lying in fat at the bottom of the pan, which is healthier and will provide a crispier skin. To make the cleanup easier, you can line the pan with aluminium foil.

Preparing the Chicken for Baking

The best secret tips to really fabulous, juicy roast chicken are:


soaking the chicken in salt water and stuffing the chicken, rubbing it with herbs and spices, or inserting garlic cloves and lemon slices, etc. under the skin. To brine the chicken dissolve 3/4 cup salt in two quarts (4 litres) of warm water (to dissolve the sugar), add 2/3 cup sugar, 3/4 cup soy sauce, 1/4 cup olive oil. Cool the brine mixture and place the chicken in the mixture so that its completely submerged. Leave it in the refrigerator for 3-5 hours. Remove the chicken and rinse well under cold running water, and dry by patting with paper towels. For extra-crisp skin, return the dry chicken to the refrigerator and leave to air-dry for 1-2 hours or perhaps overnight, before roasting. If you're not brining with salt, still thoroughly rinse the chicken with running water and pat dry with paper towels. This cleans the chicken and the drying helps to ensure the skin will crisp and brown when cooked.

Leave the Skin on for Cooking

The crispy, fragrant skin of roast chicken delicious and adds to the flavour. However it can be fatty for those trying to lose weight. Always bake the chicken with the skin on, as it helps to retain moisture and helps stop the meat from drying out. You an always remove the skin before serving.

Dress It Up

You can bake a chicken after coating it with salt, pepper, and little butter or vegetable oil, but it is better to add various ingredients to add extra taste. Chop up fresh herbs such as basil, rosemary and coriander and tuck them under the skin of the chicken skin with small portions of butter, cloves of garlic, ginger pieces, lemon, lime or orange slices. You can also insert herb sprigs into the chicken cavity along with half onions and cloves of garlic. Wedges of oranges, limes and oranges can also be inserted into the body cavity to impart with extra flavor.

Adding a Dry Rub

Many people use a dry rub that consists of a blend of ground and dried spices, rubbing them under the chicken's skin and inside the cavity. Placing these rubs under the skin, means these flavourings won't burn during the baking; and they will infuse into the meat better than if applied to the outside of the skin. This is also an excellent way to add some spice if you intend to discard the skin after the chicken is roasted. Some dry rub recipes to try include:

  • Finely chopped fresh chilies or chili powder, plus cumin and sage
  • equal parts ground coriander, cumin, turmeric and a pinch of garam masala and cardamom
  • ginger slices, lemon grass, green chilies, cilantro and lime juice.


A good stuffing adds flavour and provides an extra taste sensation. Try the recipes below:

Stuffing Recipe 1

  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh mixed herbs (such as chopped sage, parsley, thyme, tarragon) or 2 teaspoons mixed herbs (dried)
  • 25 g butter
  • 1 1/4 cups fresh white breadcrumbs
  • salt and ground black pepper
  • 2 celery stalks, finely chopped

To make this basic stuffing, slowly melt the butter and oil in a frying pan over low to moderate heat and gently cook the celery and onion and for about 10 minutes until soft. Remove from the heat, transfer to a small bowl with the herbs, beaten egg, breadcrumbs, salt and pepper, and combine well together. Allow the stuffing to cool before using.

Stuffing Recipe 2

  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup cooked rice
  • 1/4 cup chopped roasted pistachio nuts (salted or unsalted)
  • 1/4 cup chopped dried apricots
  • 1 1/2 cups stale bread with crust removed
  • 1/2 lean bacon, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

To begin making the stuffing, heat one teaspoon of oil in a non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Add the bacon and onion and cook for about 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally until both are lightly browned. Set aside to cool for about five minutes.

Trussing the Chicken

Trussing is the process of using twine to close to the body cavity and secure the legs. This is not necessary, but it does make the chicken easier to handle, and it helps to retain the stuffing if you use it.

Best Ways to Truss a Chicken for Baking

  • Position the chicken on a bench or cutting board, so that the legs are facing you.
  • Cut off a long piece of string (butcher's twine is best).
  • Run the string under the ends of the drumsticks with equal lengths on each side.
  • Pull the end of the stings on each side and run them around the around the ends of each drumstick.
  • Cross the string ends over and pull tight to draw the drumsticks together.
  • Next, run the strings down and along the sides of the chicken to the point where the thigh meets the leg.
  • Run the string around the wings and pull the wings close to the sides of the bird.
  • Turn the chicken over, pull the ends gently, and tie the strings together to secure the ends under the neck of the chicken.

Chicken Roasting Methods

There are two ways of roasting a whole chicken:

  • Low Heat - Preheat your oven to about 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Prepare the chicken for roasting. Bake whole chickens for about 20 minutes per pound (500 g), plus an additional 15 minutes.
  • Preliminary high heat method (this creates a darker crisp skin ) - Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C) and bake the whole chicken for about 10-15 minutes. Then lower the temperature to about 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) and roast for a further 20 minutes per pound (500 g), without the extra 15 minutes.

Testing When its Cooked

For both methods, use a meat thermometer stuck into the inner thigh, close but clear of the thigh bone, to test when the chicken is cooked. The internal temperature should be at least 170 degrees F (77 degrees C).

After removing the baked chicken from the oven, place a doubled sheet of aluminum foil loosely over it, and let the chicken rest for about 10-15 minutes before slicing and serving. This results in moister chicken as it redistributes the juices.

Tips For Roasting Chickens

  • Begin roasting the chicken in a very hot oven about 425 degrees F (220 degrees C), for 15 minutes, then lower the heat to 325 degrees F (160 degrees C). This quickly cooks the outside, but lowering the heat helps retain moisture while it finishes cooking.
  • Try using a smaller baking pan, even a heavy glass pie plate. This help keep the juices inside and stops it from drying out.
  • Position the chicken so that the legs and thighs are at the back of the oven where its hotter.
  • Don’t forget to include standing time as part of the cooking time. Insert a thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh. Look for a temperature of 165 degrees F (75 degrees C), that shows that the chicken should be removed. Let the chicken stand for 10-15 minutes before carving and serving. The temperature will rise 5 - 10 degrees while standing, and the juices flow through the meat.

Best Ever Baked Chicken Recipes

Simple Recipe for Baked Whole Chicken

  • 1 (4 pound; 2 kg) whole chicken
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 5 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

In a bowl combine all the ingredients and rub all over the chicken. Cover chicken the chicken with foil and store in the refrigerator for 5-8 hours or overnight. Preheat the oven to 490 degrees F (260 degrees C). Place several cloves of garlic into the chicken cavity. Place the chicken on a rack in a roasting pan, breast side down. Roast 15 minutes at the high temperature and then reduce the heat to 440 degrees F (220 degrees C), and continue roasting for another 15 minutes. Turn the chicken over and baste chicken with pan drippings, lower the heat to about 420 degrees F (215 degrees C), and roast for another 30 minutes, till the internal temperature reaches 175 degrees F (84 degrees C). Let rest for about 20 minutes before serving.

Jalapeno Baked Chicken

  • 1 whole chicken
  • 1/2 jalapeno pepper, chopped
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 445 degrees F (225 degrees C). Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl and rub all over the chicken and inside the cavity. Using a medium saucepan blend the honey, chicken broth, lime juice and jalapeno. Cook over medium-high heat until thickened. Place chicken in the preheated oven on a rack over an oven pan and bake for about 15 minutes. Start basting with the chicken broth mixture every 15 minutes. Continue baking for about 30 minutes, until the chicken is cooked.

Oven Baked Chicken with Lots of Herbs

  • 3 1/2 lb (1 1/2 kg) chicken
  • garlic powder (for sprinkling)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chives, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground sage
  • a good pinch of rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (150 degrees C). In a large frying pan, melt the oil and butter and oil and sauté the garlic and onion for about 2 minutes. Stir the flour into butter mixture and add the remaining ingredients to form a paste. Cook until the paste thickens, stirring continuously. Pour the mixture over chicken in a casserole dish. Season the chicken with salt, garlic powder and pepper. Bake for about 50 minutes, until the chicken is tender and the internal breast temperature reaches about 160 degrees F (75 degrees C).

Caribbean-Style Baked Chicken

  • 1 (3 pound; 1 1/2 kg) whole chicken
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground clove
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 fluid ounces rum
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). In a small bowl, combine the rum, lime juice, and brown sugar and set aside. Combine the clove, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, ginger, salt, pepper and thyme leaves. Brush the chicken all over with the oil and then coat the outside with the mixture of spices. Place the chicken on a rack in a roasting pan, and bake, turning once for about 75-90 minutes, until the juices run clear. You can test for doneness with a meat thermometer plunged into thickest part of the thigh reaches 170 degrees F ( 77 degrees C). While baking baste with the sauce every 15-20 minutes. Allow the baked chicken to rest for 10-20 minutes under aluminium foil before carving and serving.

Lemon and Garlic Baked Chicken

  • 1 (5 - 6 pound; 3 kg) roasting chicken
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1/2 pound sliced bacon
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 3 heads garlic, cut in half
  • 4 lemons
  • 1 large bunch fresh thyme
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Pepper and salt to taste

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (210 degrees C). Place the chicken on a rack in a large roasting pan. Brush the outside of the chicken and inside the cavity with the butter and sprinkle with pepper and salt. Stuff the cavity with the thyme, two half-lemons lemon, halved, and half the garlic. Truss the chicken and lay the slices of bacon over the chicken to cover. Bake the chicken for about an hour. Remove the bacon slices and roast the chicken for a further 30 minutes the chicken is cooked. Rest before serving.

© 2012 Dr. John Anderson


Submit a Comment

  • janshares profile image

    Janis Leslie Evans 4 years ago from Washington, DC

    Good techniques and tips, janderson99. I will have to try some of the herb and seasoning combinations. Love the top pic, looks delicious. Up and useful.

  • Vacation Trip profile image

    Susan 4 years ago from India

    Wonderful recipes. Eagerly waiting to try them all. Thanks for sharing.

  • profile image

    Arlene V. Poma 5 years ago

    I am bored with throwing a whole chicken in the oven and waiting for its skin to turn brown, so you have given me these wonderful recipes to try. I think the Jalapeno Baked Chicken would be an instant hit at my home--along with the others. Bookmarked, voted up and everything else.