Learn How to Cook a Whole Chicken with ease! This roasted whole chicken is infused with warm, Middle Eastern-inspired flavors and is roasted in an hour for the tenderest, juiciest, most delicious whole chicken you’ll ever taste. Pair it with all your favorite sides for a complete meal!
Why You’ll Love This Roasted Whole Chicken
Ever wanted to learn how to roast a whole chicken but been too intimidated? Yeah, us too, until we created this recipe! Inspired by our Middle Eastern Chicken, it’s warm, tender, juicy, and so easy to make! Plus, it:
- Can be roasted in about an hour.
- Makes a whole chicken. Obviously, but that’s a lot of meat to feed a crowd!
- Stores and reheats super well.
- Pairs amazingly with all your favorite sides so you can mix and match options and enjoy it without getting bored throughout the week.
Ingredients You Need
Unlike other baked whole chicken recipes that are flavored with just a couple of herbs, oil, and maybe some veggies, this roasted whole chicken is infused with spices thanks to our Middle Eastern-inspired marinade. Trust us, it’ll be the best whole chicken you’ll ever taste!
- Whole Chicken – Use a 4-5 pound whole chicken. If it is larger or smaller, you’ll have to adjust the amount of spices and baking time.
- Yogurt – Full-fat yogurt provides the best flavor. However, any percentage you have on hand will do. Just make sure it’s unflavored!
- Spices – Smoked paprika, cumin, onion powder, coriander, salt, and black pepper combine to create a warm flavor with just a kick of spice.
- Tomato Paste – This helps thicken the marinade enhancing its umami flavor and adding a hint of sweetness.
- Lemon Juice – Not only does the acidity help balance the flavors, but it also works to tenderize the chicken!
- Olive Oil – Rich in healthy fats, this is the secret to keeping the chicken extra moist and juicy.
How to Butterfly a Chicken
Not sure how to butterfly a chicken? We’ve got you covered! Check out this in-depth guide, and follow the steps below.
- Place the chicken breast side down on a clean cutting board.
- Use kitchen shears to cut down both sides of the chicken’s backbone all the way to the top cavity.
- Remove the backbone.
- Flip the chicken over, and press down on it with the palms of your hands to flatten it down.
- Now, you’re ready to go. Proceed with the recipe!
How to Cook a Whole Chicken
Believe it or not, learning how to cook a whole chicken worthy of catering is pretty simple to do! Don’t worry, we’ll walk you through the process.
- Prepare. Start by butterflying the chicken.
- Create the Marinade. In a mixing bowl, add the ingredients for the marinade, and stir to combine.
- Coat the Chicken. Some people like to use a clean cloth or paper towels to pat the chicken dry before they begin. Then, spread the marinade over the chicken, making sure it gets under the skin. Place the chicken in the fridge for at least 30 minutes or ideally up to overnight.
- Roast the Whole Chicken. Place the whole chicken in a heavy-bottomed skillet or baking dish. Cover it with
parchment paperand aluminum foil, and bake for 40 minutes. Then, remove the coverings, and continue to bake until the chicken is golden brown on top and cooked all the way through. Use a meat thermometer to ensure your chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F.
Pro-Tip: If your chicken isn’t golden and crispy after an hour, place it under the broiler. Just be careful not to let it burn!
How to Carve a Chicken
Once you’ve got the chicken cooked, the next problem most of us encounter is how the heck to carve it. Luckily, you can find a detailed carving guide here. However, the basics include:
- Carve the thighs and legs off the body of the bird. Then, cut the leg off the thigh at the joint, and set them aside.
- Next, carve the breast.
- Finally, carve the wing, and you’re ready to serve!
Meal Prep and Storage
Unless you’re feeding a big crowd, it’s unlikely you’re going to go through a whole chicken in one sitting. Luckily, it’s easy to store. If you time it right, you can have protein for the whole week!
Refrigerator: Slice up all the parts into pieces, and place them in an airtight container. Store the roasted chicken in the fridge for up to 4-5 days, and use it for salads, sandwiches, wraps, and more!
Freezer: If you want to prepare your roasted whole chicken way in advance, keep the pieces intact. Then, transfer them to a freezer-safe container, and store them in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Not only is a baked whole chicken super affordable, but it’s also soooo versatile! Some of our favorite ways to use it include:
- Paired with cheesy mashed potatoes or lemon Greek potatoes and roasted veggies.
- On top of salads like our Greek salad, green goddess salad, and our Greek orzo pasta salad.
- Stuffed into pita with tzatziki or toum and veggies.
Common Questions About How to Cook a Whole Chicken
We like to roast the chicken covered for part of the time to prevent it from drying out. However, you’ll want to uncover it at least partially to ensure the skin gets crisp.
The time it takes to cook a whole chicken varies depending on the size of the chicken and the temperature of the oven. For a 4-5 pound chicken, it takes about an hour at 400° Fahrenheit.
You can roast a whole chicken anywhere from 325-400° Fahrenheit. We like to roast our whole chicken at 400 to cook it quickly and fairly completely without it drying out.
Patting the chicken dry and seasoning it with salt will help draw out any excess moisture and prevent your chicken from drying out. However, the olive oil and yogurt used in this roasted whole chicken recipe help lock in extra moisture, ensuring your chicken turns out moist.
More Flavorful Chicken Recipes
Say goodbye to bland, boring chicken permanently with this roasted whole chicken and the easy chicken recipes below!
How to Cook a Whole Chicken
- 1 whole chicken (4-5 pounds)
- 1 cup yogurt (plain)
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon coriander
- 2 teaspoons salt (or to taste)
- 1 teaspoon black pepper (or to taste)
- Butterfly the chicken.
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl, add the yogurt, lemon juice, olive oil, tomato paste, smoked paprika, cumin, onion powder, coriander, salt, and pepper. Mix until well combined.
- Spread the marinade evenly over the entire chicken, making sure it gets under the skin.
- Marinate the chicken in the fridge for at least 30 minutes or ideally up to overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 400° F.
- Add the chicken to a heavy-bottomed skillet or baking dish. Cover the chicken with parchment paper and aluminum foil.
- Bake for 40 minutes. Then, remove the parchment paper and foil, and continue to bake for 15-20 minutes or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F. NOTE – If the chicken isn’t crispy, place it under the broiler for 1-3 minutes. Just be careful not to let it burn!
- Rest the chicken for 5-10 minutes, and slice it into pieces. Serve warm!
- Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4-5 days.