When you want unbeatable flavour and perfectly juicy meat, this herb roasted chicken recipe is all you need.
- Succulent, tender meat.
- Golden crispy skin.
- Perfectly seasoned for maximum flavour.
Roasting a whole chicken at home couldn’t be easier or more delicious than with my flavourful, juicy and tender herbed roasted chicken recipe. With all the tips to get the chicken perfect, you can experiment with your own combination of herbs and flavours.
If you love this you’ll love my crispy roasted pork belly.
Table of contents
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Ingredients you’ll need
Detailed quantities and instructions in the recipe card below.
- Chicken: For the very best flavour, I definitely recommend a free-range chicken. You’re looking for a bird of about 1.8kg / 4lb.
- Butter: Because we’re adding salt to the chicken separately, I recommend using unsalted butter.
- Fresh herbs: A trio of fresh herbs – fresh rosemary, fresh thyme and fresh sage – are what gives this roast chicken it’s unbeatable comforting flavour.
- Garlic: You can add garlic cloves to your taste. I add just one clove to add a hint of flavour without being overpowering.
- Lemon: Just a few lemon slices in the cavity of the chicken works in two ways. It adds a subtle flavour but also keeps the chicken moist as the lemon juice steams it from the inside while the chicken roasts.
- Onion powder: Onion powder is a favourite of mine when it comes to seasoning. One teaspoon here adds so much flavour that works so beautifully with the herbs, butter and chicken.
- Onions: The chicken is surrounded by chopped onions as it bakes. These both add flavour to the chicken and roast until soft and sweet.
How to roast a chicken (step-by-step)
Detailed quantities and instructions in the recipe card below.
- Prepare the chicken: Start by drying the chicken well by pressing with paper towel all over. Dry skin = crispy skin. Clear out the cavity – some chickens come with giblets inside, so remove those first and save them for making gravy. Next, from the neck end of the chicken, use your hands or an upturned spoon to carefully push up under the skin to create a space between the skin and the meat.
- Make the herb butter: Herb butter chicken needs a herb butter. Just mix melted butter with fresh herbs, garlic, onion powder, salt and pepper.
- Dress the chicken: Pour or spoon around half the herb butter (with most of the seasonings) under the skin of the chicken from the neck end. Use your hands or an upturned spoon to carefully push that butter all over the breast meat. Use the remaining butter to dress the whole outside of the chicken. Massage it well all over the breast, drumsticks, thighs, and wings.
- Roast: I like to use a roasting rack in my roasting pan which allows the skin to crisp all the way round but it’s not an absolute necessity. Place the chicken into the roasting tin with the onions dispersed around the outside. Roast it for 20 minutes at a high temperature, then another 40-50 minutes at a lower temperature.
What is the best temperature to roast a chicken?
To get the very best roast chicken with crispy skin and juicy meat, you need to roast it at two temperatures. First at 220C/425F to start rendering the fat and getting that skin crispy. Then, turn it down to 180C/350F for the remainder of the cooking time so that it doesn’t become dry.
Is it better to roast a chicken covered or uncovered?
Keep your chicken uncovered for the best crispy golden skin. You can keep it moist by making sure to add some lemon or onion slices inside the cavity.
Tips for foolproof roast chicken
Just a few tips will give you perfect chicken every time, no matter what you want to flavour it with.
- Take it out of the fridge earlier: Let the chicken sit at room temperature for around 30 minutes prior to roasting. This helps the chicken to cook more evenly.
- Dry the skin: Make sure to pat the skin dry with paper towel. This helps it to crisp up in the oven.
- Separate the skin from the meat from the neck end: The skin at the neck end is much stronger than at the leg end so when you’re separating the skin from the meat, do it at the neck end. It’s less likely to tear this way.
- Add fat to the breast: Chicken breast is much leaner than leg meat and as we all know, fat is flavour, so make sure to add some fat to the chicken breast. This one uses butter under the skin and on top. This butter seeps down through the chicken breast helping it stay moist and flavourful.
- Don’t skip the seasoning: Make sure to season the chicken. A little salt and pepper adds so much flavour.
- Don’t cram the cavity with stuffing: The cavity is best under-stuffed than over-stuffed. Traditional breadcrumb stuffing crammed into the cavity actually makes it more difficult to cook the chicken evenly. Instead, just add some flavours like the lemon and rosemary in this recipe to flavour from the inside out whilst still allowing hot air to flow into the cavity. Bake your stuffing on the side.
- Use a digital meat thermometer: For very best results, every single time, invest in a good digital meat thermometer. You only need to buy one and it will last a lifetime. Being able to measure the temperature of the meat will give you perfectly juicy roast chicken every time. Chicken is cooked when the thermometer, inserted into the thickest part of the meat, reaches 74C/165F.
- Always rest the chicken: Rest the chicken for 10 minutes on a wooden chopping board before carving. This allows the juices to disperse and settle back into the meat so that it’s nice and tender.
You can change up the flavours by using different herbs – tarragon, oregano, parsley and marjoram all add great flavour for chicken.
Add some lemon zest to the butter mixture to get more zesty flavour too but make sure to get most of that under the skin. You can also try other citrus fruits – try orange, lime or grapefruit.
Add some vegetables for roasting around the outside. Some peeled baby potatoes turn into lovely chickeny roasted potatoes. Parsnips and carrots added in the last 30 minutes are delicious too.
What to serve with roast chicken
Roast chicken is such a comforting meal. For a cosy dinner, it’s great served with crunchy roast potatoes, classic mashed potatoes or these cheesy mashed potatoes. Add some mustard maple roasted carrots, roasted shallots or hasselback butternut squash to glam it up.
For a lightened up dinner, serve it with a lovely salad like this asparagus, rocket and parmesan salad, this vibrant roasted beetroot and feta salad or my apple coleslaw.
As for a sauce, this mushroom sauce is amazing with roast chicken.
What to do with leftover chicken
Chicken is absolutely my favourite meat because of it’s incredible versatility and flavour. There are so many different ways to cook it and any number of ways to use up the leftovers. Don’t get me started or I might turn into Bubba from Forest Gump.
While you could just create a delicious sandwich, try chopping it up roughly and using in place of turkey in my turkey san choy bow. It’s delicious on pizza like my tandoori chicken pizza or this turkey pizza. Try it in soup or chowder. Cooked chicken freezes well, so shred any leftover bits and store it in the freezer for up to 3 months. Do this with rice as well, then when you’re craving fried rice everything you need is right there.
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Herb Roasted Chicken
- 1.8 kg whole chicken (4lb)
- ¼ lemon, cut into slices
- 2 sprigs rosemary
- 85 g unsalted butter, melted
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh sage
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, stems stripped & discarded
- 1 clove garlic, minced (or to taste)
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 2 medium brown onions, peeled and quartered
For best results, always weigh ingredients where a weight is provided
- Roasting pan
- Roasting rack (optional)
- Digital thermometer
- Take the chicken out of the fridge 30 minutes before roasting.
- Preheat the oven to 220C (200C fan) / 425F. Line a roasting pan with foil. Sit a roasting rack inside, if you have one.
- Dry chicken all over with paper towel. Push the lemon and rosemary into the chicken cavity.
- Mix the melted butter, sage, thyme, garlic, onion powder, salt and pepper in a small bowl.
- Gently push an upturned spoon or your hand under the chicken skin from the neck end (less likely for the skin to tear at this end).
- Drizzle ⅔ of the butter herb mixture under the skin a little at a time (make sure most of the herbs, garlic and seasoning goes under the skin – it can burn on top), then push it around all over the breast meat, using your hand or spoon again.
- Massage the rest of the herb butter all over the top of the breast, wings and legs until evenly covered (don’t worry about the back).
- Fold the wing tips under the chicken and use some kitchen twine to tie the legs together at the end knuckle.
- Place the chicken breast-side up onto the roasting rack then scatter the onions around the outside.
- Roast for 20 minutes, then baste with the pan juices.
- Turn the oven down to 180C / 350F and place the chicken straight back in. Roast for another 40-50 minutes or until the juices run clear when you prick the thigh with a skewer. The best way to see if it’s done is with a digital thermometer – it should reach 74C / 165F when inserted into the thickest part of the meat.
- Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes before serving.
- Please take a moment to leave a comment & rating. It's appreciated and so helpful.
- The chicken can be prepared, including rubbed with the butter mixture, ahead of time. Place it back into the fridge, then take out half an hour before you plan to roast it.
- A gravy can be made from the pan drippings. Add that to a saucepan with some a couple of tablespoons of butter or a little oil and 2 tablespoons of flour, whisk it well and cook for a minute or two. Pour in some chicken stock (chicken broth) and whisk. Bring to a simmer to reduce, then season with salt and pepper.
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