Herb Stuffed Roast Chicken

Whole roasted chicken, infused with fresh herbs - parsley, basil, thyme, oregano.

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 1 hour
  • Yield: Serves 4 to 5


  • One 5 pound chicken
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup loosely packed fresh herbs (basil, parsley, thyme, marjoram or oregano), finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 sprig of fresh rosemary


1 Preheat oven with a roasting pan in it to 400°F.

2 Rinse and salt the chicken: Rinse the chicken and chicken cavity with water and pat dry with paper towels. Rub salt over the inside of the cavity.

3 Stuff herbs under skin:  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.

herb-roasted-chicken-method-1 herb-roasted-chicken-method-2

4 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.

5 Tuck in the wings and truss with kitchen string. 


6 Brown the breast side of the chicken in roasting pan in oven: Rub 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.

7 Turn chicken over and roast until done: Then turn the chicken over so that it is breast-side up. Cook for 45 min to 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°F for the breast and thigh.


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  • AnnieBB

    Instead of a lemon (which i find overwhelming) i peeled off a good amount of lemon rind and stuck that in the cavity. the fresh herbs make all the difference and so too does sprinkling salt under the skin. Very good, simple recipe!

  • Jo

    I was surprised at how flavourful the chicken was. I used Italian parsley, rosemary, and basil to stuff the chicken. Realised halfway through cooking that I forgot to add the bay leaves! Still turned out delicious, and I liked how fancy the chicken looked with the herbs bursting out after being cut into. This one is going on the dinner rotation.


    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Jo, I’m so glad you liked the chicken! Those herbs make all the difference.

  • 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 :)


  • 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.


  • 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!


  • 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

  • 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.