Whole Roasted Chicken Recipe

This whole roasted chicken is both delicious and budget friendly!

Can you believe I’ve never cooked a whole chicken before? My entire life, I’ve only bought and cooked chicken breasts. I don’t really care for any other part of the chicken. So I figured, what’s the point?

Clean Eating Whole Roasted Chicken

Then I married a man who will eat just about anything I set in front of him, including a whole chicken.

Thankfully, he’s more than happy to leave me the parts I like while he dives into the rest of the poor bird. The scene that ensues is a carnivorous feast unlike anything I’ve seen before. It’s a good thing the poor creature is dead. And that’s all I’m gonna say about that!

I’ve been purchasing whole chickens at Whole Foods for a while, and finally decided I’d try cooking one myself to save a few dollars. And if you don’t mind me saying so, I think I did better than Whole Foods! This chicken was down right delicious!

(Vegetarians beware, this gets a little graphic for those with overly sensitive stomachs. It involves innards… and that’s all I’m gonna say about that.)

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Clean Eating Whole Roasted Chicken

Whole Roasted Chicken

A budget friendly recipe for making a whole roasted chicken!
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Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Servings: 8 servings (approximate)


  • 6 lb. chicken (the size can vary a bit)
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 1 lb. baby carrots
  • 1 medium bunch celery
  • 2 tbsp. dried tarragon
  • 2 tbsp. lemon zest
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • ½ tsp. ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil


  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
  • Place your birdie on a stable work surface.
    Clean Eating Whole Roasted Chicken
  • Reach in through the larger of the two cavities and pull out the stuff wrapped in paper.
    Clean Eating Whole Roasted Chicken
  • Prepare your veggies to your liking. They will cook down considerably, so don’t worry too much about slicing them properly. Just chop them up roughly.
    Clean Eating Whole Roasted Chicken
  • Place your veggies in a roasting pan or large baking dish. (Mine was to large. You want something that is just a bit larger than the chicken).
  • In a small mixing bowl, mix your tarragon, lemon zest, garlic powder, onion powder, pepper and olive oil.
    Clean Eating Whole Roasted Chicken
  • Separate the skin from the meat by moving your fingers around under the skin. You’re not removing the skin, just separating it from the meat so you can get the spices under there.
    Clean Eating Whole Roasted Chicken
  • With your hand, rub the majority of your spice mix under the skin, covering as much of the bird as possible. Rub the remaining spice mix all over the rest of the outside of the bird.
    Clean Eating Whole Roasted Chicken
  • Place your birdie on top of your veggies and put the whole pan into the preheated oven. Bake for approximately 20-25 minutes. Your birdie should have a nice golden glow at this point. (I would sell my knife set for a tan like that!)
    Loosely, lay a large piece of foil over the top to prevent any further browning (burning) and continue cooking until the internal temperature of the meat reaches 180 degrees F. (About 50-60 minutes in total – This will vary from oven to oven).
    Allow to cool, remove skin, carve and serve.
    Note: The veggies will soak up a lot of the fat from the chicken. I didn't actually serve these with the meat. I saved them to put into soup which I will cool after cooking so I can skim the fat off. That way my soup gets all the flavor without the added fat!
    And one more note: If you find blood or juices (when you cut into the meat) that indicates your bird is not cooked all the way, please… pretty please… put it back in the oven for a while and recheck the temperature. Raw chicken can give you an awfully upset tummy!
    Clean Eating Whole Roasted Chicken


Please note that the nutrition data below is not available for this recipe.

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  1. I just read your other recipe, coconut cauliflower chicken. I guess I’ll get some more garlic and onion powders.
    With summer here, my favorite way of cooking a whole chicken is using the beer-can holder on the grill. Have you heard of that method before? You can’t go wrong, the bird never turns outs dry. You should try it this summer.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Aaron –

      No, never heard of it. What is it?

  2. There’s a holder, which a 12 ounce can fits in. The holder has three feet which keeps it stable on the grill. You can use a 3/4 full beer can, or any beverage can that fits, with liquid and seasoning in the can. You fit the whole seasoned chicken, bottom cavity first, down over the can and holder and place a wedge of potato, onion or apple over the top cavity and the can heats up on the grill producing steam, which helps cook the chicken internally, while keeping it moist and juicy. The wedge of onion keeps the steam from escaping out of the top.
    I first heard about it on the radio. I’ve seen the “Beer can chicken” holders all over the place, grocery stores, drug stores, I think even Home Depot and Lowes have them.
    But it does make a big difference in how moist the bird turns out.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Leigh – No. Beer is not clean.

  3. “Beer Can Chicken” is just the common name. You can use any standard 12 0z beverage can, as long as it fits in the holder, and any fluid inside of the can. You do not have to use beer.

  4. Ruth Morgan says:

    What is your soup recipe for the leftover veggies

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Ruth – I usually add them to veggie broth and add whatever I have on hand. It’s always tasty!

  5. OOOOOHHHHHH This sounds so good. Whole chicken is going to have to go on my list.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Paulissa – I think you’ll enjoy it, and it’s a money saver too!

  6. Tiff, this is awesome!!!

    I usually buy the smaller Harvestland chickens and boil them into soup but I am going to throw this together tonight after the gym and score some protein… Thank you for what is quite possibly the BEST clean eating recipe site on the net!!

    You ROCK!! : )


    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      T-man – Wow! What a compliment! Thank you so very much! Enjoy the bird!

  7. I just saw this recipe and wanted to share my favorite way to roast chicken.

    I take my oval slow cooker. Roll up some tinfoil balls (usually 6) and put them on the bottom of the crock. “clean” your chicken (remove innards). Season with whatever (I’ve stuffed stuff under the skin, I’ve also just rubbed with olive oil and seasoned with garlic and thyme. Whatever you like). Set on top of the foil balls. Cover. Cook on high 4 hours (3 1/2 lb chicken). The fat drips below the foil, so the chicken does not cook in it. It is always falling off the bone tender when it’s done.

    Roast the veggies in the oven with olive oil.

    This is the only way I ever make whole chicken!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Amanda – Fabulous! Thank you for sharing that!

  8. Thanks so much for this great recipe! I have always done turkey but not chicken whole roasted. I made this and then used your stock recipe with the leftovers (first time doing that as well). I used cheesecloth to strain it and had enough for your fabulous chicken and dumpling recipe with 8 cups of broth to freeze! So excited to have the extra and everything turned out so fabulously. This set of 3 recipes was a first for all of them for me and I do not recall ever using marjoram before. So a first for many things! I appreciate that your recipes are tried and true. Haven’t had one not turn out yet ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Sarah – That is so awesome!!! I’m so happy you were able to use all of those recipes! I love those chicken and dumplings. Soooo yummy!

  9. This was wonderful! I made soup with it afterwards and skimmed the fat like you said ๐Ÿ™‚ Don’t know which I liked better!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Ashley – That’s great!! And it’s so much more economical to use the whole bird. Good for you! Thanks for trying my recipe!

  10. Anonymous says:

    It’s the best! Well, that and any chicken cooked in a slow cooker…. Love that too!

  11. graciouspantry says:

    Clemencia – There is a way to do it, but I don’t know how. Sorry.

  12. graciouspantry says:

    Kelly – I never eat the skin, but thanks for the tip!

  13. I do this in my crockpot…I set the chicken right in the crockpot on top of veggies…let it cook all day until cooked thru. The skin will be perfectly browned just like this!

  14. graciouspantry says:

    Haha!! Ya, I have to agree with you there…

  15. Rosemary- Motivating Other Moms says:

    This was great! I was looking for a different way to spice up our bird and this did the trick! My husband loved it! LOVED your tip on what to do with the veggies! The left over chicken & bones are in the pot simmering for a Sunday chicken soup. Love your site! Plus I love that your readers try your recipes can comment on their results and share tips. So many food blogs only get “ooohhh that looks so good, I want to try it” but you never see anyone who has actually tried it! New fan!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Rosemary – Fantastic! I always welcome constructive feedback. So glad you enjoyed the chicken! ๐Ÿ™‚

  16. Hi, thanks for the wonderful recipe ๐Ÿ™‚ I have a quick question though, when you tent the bird and continue to cook you mention to cook for 50-60min total. Is that including the initial 25? Or in addition to? Thanks

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Lindsey – It includes that first 25 minutes. You want to cook for a total of 50-60 minutes. Hope you enjoy it!

  17. why is the ‘save receipe’ link not working? I want to add all these great recipes to my Recipe Box and its not working. ๐Ÿ™

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Kathy – Are you signed in at Ziplist?

  18. Hi Tiffany,

    Can you suggest another spice besides terragon? I have this crazy aversion to it…always have hated it. I know that’s almost sac-religious in the cooking world!

    Thanks so much!!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Page – You can put almost any herbs on a chicken. Rosemary is always a safe bet!

  19. Mary Pat Filer says:

    Made this tonight, it was absolutely delish!!! Cold and windy here, great night for it, hubbie loved it too!!!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Mary Pat – Fantastic! ๐Ÿ™‚

  20. I made this last night and it was fantastic! I didn’t have any tarragon so I substituted it with some thyme and oregano and it worked well. I love the lemon zest element. I’ve tried other roasted chicken recipes but this was by far the most flavorful. I used the scraps to make broth overnight in the crockpot and now I’ll have soup for tonight’s dinner with the leftover chicken we didn’t eat. I love getting two meals out of one recipe! This is the first of your recipes I’ve tried and I can say I will definitely be trying more. Thanks for sharing them.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Sandy – My pleasure! I’m honored to have you try one of my recipes! ๐Ÿ™‚

  21. Jennifer Martin says:

    I am making this for dinner tonight and noticed in one pic that you had your bird breast side down. Was that on purpose or just an errant photo. Thanks for any response!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Jennifer – Just the photo. ๐Ÿ™‚

  22. You have such great information here. Thanks so much. It’s so helpful! I’ll be trying this recipe tonight!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Sara – Thanks so much! Let me know how you like it! ๐Ÿ™‚

  23. I roast chicken by rubbing salt into the chicken and the covering the whole chicken with chicken spice. Nothing else is added to the chicken or in the roasting dish. I always open roast chicken at 190 degrees Celsius using 50 minutes per kg or part there of as a guide. When the chicken is done it is remove it from the roasting dish to a heatproof container with a lid. The chicken then rests the closed container for a few minutes. The chicken does not dry out and has this wonderful roast chicken flavour.
    We either eat it with veggies, or I turn it into a roast chicken and veggie pie, sometimes it becomes a roast chicken salad, or becomes part of a pasta dish. You dnt need expensive ingredients to make good food, just tweaking the baking temperature makes a big difference.