Whole Roasted Chicken

Natalya and I are huge fans of buying whole rotisserie chickens from the grocery store, especially when we are feeling too lazy to cook.  Sometimes we will incorporate the rotisserie chicken as part of a full meal, but more often we end up just picking at it as a quick snack.  One day, we were both feeling more ambitious than usual and we decided to tackle roasting a whole chicken ourselves.  I asked my chef buddy Kei for a recipe and he returned with what he called “a very simple recipe.”  HAH!  If a recipe that takes two days to prepare is considered “simple,” then I don’t think I would ever want to try any of his “difficult” recipes…

There are many way to prepare roast chicken; one can do it very simply with salt and pepper, or kick it up a notch by letting the chicken rest in brine for a night and then roasting with vegetables.  Of course, Kei’s way involves all these methods combined… *sigh*  Well, if you are going to invest your time in roasting a chicken, may as well make it the best roast chicken ever!

The dish roasts up plenty of hearty vegetables with the chicken, but you can also add a side of creamy mashed potatoes to complete the meal.  Try these recipes for Potato and Oil Pureé or Pureé of Garlic Potatoes.

Don’t forget you can use the chicken carcass and all bones to then make Chicken Stock!

Whole Roasted Chicken (courtesy of Kei Kurobe)

Yields: 6 servings

Roasted Chicken Ingredients:

  • 1 whole chicken (6-7 lbs)
  • 5 whole onions (Optional: I used whole onions and a bag of pearl onions)
  • Optional: 1 whole bulb of garlic
  • 3 carrots
  • 6 stalks of celery
  • 1 tsp whole cumin
  • 5 sprigs of thyme
  • 1/4-1/2 C soft butter
  • 1 tsp dry herb mix (Herbs de Provence, Italian, or whatever dry aromatics you have)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Kitchen twine
  • Brine bag (either Styrofoam coolers bought at local drug stores or a double layered heavy duty trash bag works)

Brine Ingredients:

  • 1 gallon + 1 C water
  • 1 C kosher salt
  • 1 C brown sugar
  • 1/4 C soy sauce
  • 3 T whole black pepper
  • 2 T whole cumin
  • 2 T whole fennel seed
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 T red chili flakes
  • 5 sprigs of thyme


In a small pot, add 1 cup of water and all the spices (whole black pepper, cumin, fennel seed).  Bring to a boil and set aside. This step just releases the aroma from the spices.

Have ready a container big enough to fit a whole chicken; either Styrofoam coolers bought at local drug stores or a double-layered heavy duty trash bag, placed in a bowl or tray.  Mix 1 gallon water, salt, brown sugar, and soy sauce in a large pot.  Stir until solids are dissolved.  Add all the other ingredients together (garlic cloves, red chili flake, thyme, and boiled spices from earlier).

Add the whole chicken to mixture and let rest for 6 hours or overnight. Brine your chicken!


Set oven to 400°F.  Take the chicken out of brine and rinse with water.  Pat completely dry with paper napkins and set aside.

Rough chop all the vegetables (onions, carrots, celery) into 1-2 inch pieces.  In a saute pan, heat up some vegetable oil over high heat.  Add 1 tsp whole cumin and the chopped vegetables and roast until you get a dark brown color.  Season with salt and pepper, and let cool.

Optional: Add some sweet pearl onions to your vegetables!  Boil the pearl onions in water for a couple minutes to loosen the skin and then peel the skin off.

This part is where you get your hands dirty!  Season chicken generously inside and out with salt and pepper. This will be the flavor to the chicken so make sure whole chicken is seasoned properly.

Stuff insides of chicken with half the vegetables that you sauteed earlier, and also add a few sprigs of thyme.

Add 1 tsp of dry herb mix into the softened butter and mix.

Take the herbed butter onto your hand and rub the chicken with butter mixture.  Try to get under the skin as well, as this helps loosen the skin from the flesh, which makes the skin crispy.  It also helps the flavor penetrate the flesh.

Next step is to truss your bird.  Trussing involves tying the chicken with kitchen twine so that the wings and legs stay close to the body. This makes the chicken more compact which helps it cook evenly.  Click here for step by step photos.

After trussing is done, place your bird on an oven pan covered with the remainder of the sauteed vegetables on the bottom.  Optional: add the pearl onions and an entire bulb of garlic to be roasted with the other vegetables.

Place in oven (400°F) and let the chicken get a nice golden brown color all around (approximately 1-2 hours).  Baste the chicken every half hour.

Once the color on the chicken has spread all around, lower the oven to 250°F at this point and let the chicken cook for another 30 minutes. Rotate roasting pan 180° so that chicken gets even roasting, and cook for another 40 minutes.

All done! Take the chicken out and let it rest for about 5 minutes.  Enjoy!

3 Responses to “Whole Roasted Chicken”
Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] can be easily served in the absence of bread and stock.  This is a similar concept used in this Whole Roasted Chicken recipe that only has vegetables for stuffing.  My next gluten-free stuffing recipe attempt uses […]

  2. […] Whole Roasted Turkey Meet Harold.  He is Hank’s brother.  He got all dolled up for the big show the same way we normally do with Hank — spiced brine, herb butter rub, and roasted.  I used the Whole Roasted Chicken recipe but without the vegetables, and instead put some lemon quarters, garlic cloves, and rosemary in the cavity. […]

  3. […] namely carrots, onions and celery, I’d suggest cooking this soup and serving with our Whole Roasted Chicken, and then you can use the chicken bones to make delicious Chicken […]

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