Herbed Roast Chicken

This is my father’s favorite recipe for roasting a whole chicken. Adapted from a recipe by Jamie Oliver.

Herbed Roast Chicken Recipe

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 1 hour, 10 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4 to 5.


  • One 5 lb. chicken
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 small handfuls of fresh herbs (basil, parsley, thyme, marjoram or oregano), finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 sprig of fresh rosemary


1 Preheat oven and a roasting pan to 400°F. Rinse the chicken and chicken cavity with water and pat dry with paper towels.


2 Rub salt over the inside of the cavity. Grasp the skin at the tip of the chicken breast and gently pull up. Use your fingers to gently separate the skin from the breast meat, taking care not to tear the skin. Sprinkle a little salt into the gaps and insert as much of the chopped herb mixture as you can. Drizzle with a little olive oil. Stuff the cavity with the lemon, bay leaves, rosemary, and any remaining herbs. Pull the skin of the chicken breast over the breast so that none of the meat is exposed. Tuck in the wings and truss with kitchen string.


3 Rub some olive oil over the chicken and sprinkle all over with salt and pepper. Carefully remove the hot roasting pan from the oven and add a little oil to the bottom of the pan. Place the chicken on one side, breast side down, on the roasting pan and put it back in the oven. Cook for 5 minutes, then turn the chicken so that the other breast is on the pan and cook for another 5 minutes. Starting off by cooking the chicken this way will help brown the breasts. Then turn the chicken over so that it is back-side down. Cook for 1 hour, or until the juices run clear (not pink) when a knife tip is inserted into both the chicken breast and thigh, about 165-170°F for the breast and 175-180°F for the thigh.

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  1. cameron

    This chicken looks really delicious. It’s perfect for spring/summer when fresh herbs are plentiful. I am intrigued by the addition of bay leaf. Question: have you ever found that lemons lend a bitter taste to the pan juices? For this reason, I have just squeezed the juice of half a lemon inside the cavity rather than tossing in the whole thing.

  2. Trinity

    Oh my, was this delicious! I made this last night when I thought company was coming over. They ended up staying home and so I had this amazing chicken all to myself. It was hard to not eat the entire thing! Thank goodness I used a small chicken!

  3. Giselle

    This was the first time I ever cooked a whole chicken. I made it for my boyfriend and myself. In fact, we’re still eating and it’s AMAZING! I forgot to add the parsley and bay leaves and even without those, it’s pretty darn good.

  4. Ellen

    Also my first time cooking a whole chicken. Didn’t have a lemon so tossed in an onion instead, and it still was delicious, but I want to try it again with the lemon too. I was able to toss the whole carcass, onion and all, into a stockpot for broth, which is smelling excellent. Just wondering, do you have any good tips for carving a whole, hot chicken? I’ve never done a whole turkey before either, and my butcher job has me nervous before thanksgiving!

    I think if you look up “how to carve a turkey” in Google, you’ll find plenty of videos. Carving a large chicken is similar. ~Elise

  5. geneenb

    Loved this recipe! Simple, delicious, and used herbs from the garden. Would definitely make this again. Organic chickens from costco are always 5lbs not 3 like the grocery :)

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