Here’s how to make the best ever roast chicken! Adding a few secret ingredients makes it so juicy and flavorful. Your family will love gathering around the table for this classic meal.
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Roast chicken with mashed potatoes, gravy and vegetables is my all-time favorite meal. It’s been on our regular meal rotation ever since I was dating my husband. Over the years, we’ve come up with our favorite way to make the absolute best roast chicken.
The ingredients that make this the BEST roast chicken!
Whole Chicken: I try to get organic, no-antibiotic chicken whenever possible. Typically I get a chicken that is around 5 pounds to make this meal which is more than enough meat for my family of 4. My boys love to eat the leftovers for lunch the next day!
Vegetables: I add in onions, carrots and celery. I think it tastes best with all 3 but if I’m out of one of these vegetables it’s not a big deal. These are mostly to flavor the chicken and the gravy, but you can eat them if you like!
Garlic, Salt and Pepper: The essentials for flavoring this chicken. Garlic adds so much flavor and is good for you, too.
Butter: Butter is one of the secret ingredients for a moist and flavorful roast chicken.
Bacon: My husband came up with the idea of adding bacon to our roast chicken a few months ago and now we have to add it every time! It adds SO much flavor.
How to Cook Roast Chicken
I think that my chicken always tastes best when cooked in my dutch oven. For juicier chicken, I like to cook it with a lid on for part of the time and then remove. If you don’t have a dutch oven, you can use another roasting pan or cooking pan with a lid.
If you look around the internet for roast chicken recipes, you’ll see that there is a debate about the best temperature to cook it at. My favorite is to cook at 375 F for most of the time and then increase to 500 F at the end to brown the chicken and make the skin crispy.
A general rule of thumb is to cook a roast chicken for 20 minutes per pound. So for a 5 pound chicken I start checking it after about 1 hour and 40 minutes. It should no longer be pink and should reach an internal temperature of at least 165 F.
What to Serve with this Roast Chicken?
This Roast Chicken goes perfectly with mashed potatoes, homemade gravy from the drippings and a vegetable such as green beans.
If you have any leftover chicken, you can use it to make another meal the next night! Here are some easy ways to use up leftover chicken.
After you carve all of the chicken off of the bones, be sure to save them to make bone broth! I also throw in any remaining vegetables and the skin.
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- 1 whole chicken (I typically get one that is around 5 pounds)
- 1 cooking onion, peeled and sliced
- 2 large carrots, peeled and sliced
- 1 head celery, cut into small pieces
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- 3 tbsp butter
- 4 strips of bacon
- Salt and Pepper
- Preheat the oven to 375 F. You'll need a large roasting pan or cooking pot with a lid, I like to use my dutch oven. Place the chicken in the pan, breast-side down (I find that this makes the meat much juicer and more flavorful).
- Add the onion, carrot and celery slices around the chicken. Spoon the minced garlic over the chicken. Cut the butter into 3 pieces and place on top of the chicken. Add the strips of bacon on top. Season everything with salt and pepper.
- Cover and cook, removing the lid after 30 minutes and continuing to cook until done. A general rule of thumb is 20 minutes per pound, so for a 5 pound chicken I start checking it around 1 hour and 40 minutes. It should reach an internal temperature of at least 165 F and the chicken should no longer be pink. If you want to make the skin crispy, increase the temperature to 500 F at the end and bake for another 10-15 minutes, checking that it doesn't burn.
- I usually let my chicken sit, covered for 10+ minutes while I finish up the sides. Carve and serve.
Save the bones, skin and any leftover vegetables to make bone broth!