Buying a rotisserie chicken at the supermarket is easy, but making your own roasted chicken from scratch has its big benefits too. It’s easier than you think, economical, flavorful, and the beautiful aromas that fill your house when it’s roasting in the oven will make everyone’s mouth water.
The secret to success with my “Mom, the House Smells Great” Roasted Chicken is the lemon- and herb-scented seasoning that gets rubbed under the skin.
Chicken can be bland, which is why I season the bird with an herb and lemon rub made with extra virgin olive oil, lemon zest, garlic, rosemary, thyme, chives, and kosher salt. And for added measure, I stuff the cavity of the bird with a sliced lemon and another handful of the herbs.
September is National Family Meals Month, an initiative spearheaded by the Food Marketing Institute. It’s designed to encourage families to gather around the table more often and to educate everyone about the many health benefits of eating meals together, including a healthier body weight, stronger academic performance in school, a reduced risk of disordered eating, and a lower risk of substance abuse.
What does National Family Meals Month have to do with my roasted chicken recipe? Everything …
My goal with this recipe is to make family dinners impossible to resist!
According to Harris Poll data from 2016, about 30% of US adults report sitting down to a family dinner seven nights per week. Another 30% eat together four to six nights per week. Not bad, right? But there’s room for improvement, especially for the remaining 40% who say they gather for family dinners just three times per week or fewer.
For tips on making family mealtime a daily habit, check out the National Family Meals Month website and my guest blog post over at RDLounge on 9 Ways to Gather Families Around the Dinner Table.
And to get really organized in your kitchen, download my FREE Supermarket Shopping List!
In this post, you’ll find my favorite way to roast a whole chicken, but there are plenty of other ways to fill your house with the gorgeous smell of roasted chicken. My friend Ann Dunaway Teh, MS, RDN from My Menu Pal uses her slow cooker instead of the oven to “roast” chicken. She tells me the meat literally falls off the bone every time she makes her Slow Cooker Rotisserie-Style Chicken. Barbara Baron, RDN is also a fan of the slow cooker. Here’s her recipe for Slow “Roasted” Herb Chicken.
Whether you roast a chicken using my recipe or find another one to try, your family will thank you, because the flavor can’t be beat. And since your oven will be turned on anyway, go ahead and roast up a bunch of veggies too. For this post, I popped a rimmed baking sheet filled with green beans and sweet potato wedges into the oven while the chicken was cooking.
Oh, and one more thing. Between the juice from the lemon and the juices from the chicken, this recipe yields over a cup of pan drippings. When the chicken is done, carefully pour the juices into a measuring cup, cover, and chill in the fridge. After an hour, the fat will rise to the top and solidify, so it’s easy to scrape off. What remains is a rich, luscious broth that you can use as a gravy for the sliced meat.
- Serves: 4 to 6
- Calories: 190
- Fat: 10g
- Saturated fat: 2g
- Carbohydrates: 1g
- Sodium: 380mg
- Protein: 23g
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 small garlic cloves, minced
- 1 lemon, zested and sliced in half
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary, plus 1 to 2 sprigs for the cavity
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme, plus 4 to 5 sprigs for the cavity
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh chives
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
- One 4- to 5-pound roasting chicken
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Paprika, optional
- Place the racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Place the oil, garlic, lemon zest, chopped rosemary, chopped thyme, chives, and ½ teaspoon salt in a small bowl and stir to combine.
- Remove the giblets. Place the chicken on a work surface, and pat dry with paper towels. Sprinkle the remaining salt, a generous amount of pepper, and paprika as desired over both sides of the chicken.
- Place the chicken in a roasting pan. Loosen the skin from the chicken breast and drumsticks by inserting your fingers and gently pushing between the skin and meat.
- Using your fingers or a spoon, rub the seasoning mixture under the loosened skin. It doesn't have to be perfect, but it should cover as much of the meat as possible.
- Stuff the lemon halves inside the cavity with a few sprigs of rosemary and thyme.
- Turn the chicken so the breast side is down and place the roasting pan in the oven. Roast for 45 minutes. Remove the roasting pan from the oven and carefully turn the chicken so the breast side is up. Continue to cook until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of chicken thigh registers 165°. (My rule of thumb is 18 to 20 minutes per pound.)
- Carefully tilt the roasted chicken so the juices inside the cavity drain into the pan. Remove the chicken to a large serving plate and let rest 30 minutes.
- Pour the pan juices into a measuring cup (be careful!) and place in the refrigerator. As the juice cools, the fat will rise to the top and harden. Use a spoon to scrape off the fat. Reheat the pan juices and use as a gravy for the sliced meat.
I love this recipe! Let me know if you try it. And by all means, if you have another favorite way to roast a chicken, do tell…