Roast Chicken with Grapes

DinnerRoast ChickenGrape

Whole roast chicken, stuffed with grapes and seasoned with rosemary, thyme, onions, and lemon.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

One of the first things I ever learned to cook on my own (post college quesadillas) was roast chicken.

Roast chicken is actually crazy easy, given that all you really need to do is to just salt the chicken, put it in a pan and put it in a hot oven for an hour or so.

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My brilliant inspiration, or at least I thought so at the time, and I still think it produces a terrific result, was to chop up some seedless grapes and use them to stuff the chicken.

Roast Chicken with Grapes

The juice from the grapes bastes the chicken on the inside. The addition of onions, lemon, and rosemary provide aromatics for the chicken.

When it’s done, the cooked grapes, along with the onions and lemon act almost like chutney, when eaten with the chicken.

Roast Chicken with Grapes Recipe

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


  • 1 roasting chicken, about 4 to 5 pounds
  • 1 lemon, cut into thin wedges
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 onion, peeled, cut into eight wedges
  • 1 large bunch of seedless grapes (about 3 cups total)
  • A few sprigs of fresh rosemary, thyme, sage, and/or tarragon
  • 2 cups of white wine (can substitute chicken stock)
  • Extra virgin olive oil


1 Let chicken sit at room temperature (70°F) for at least an hour so it comes close to room temp before roasting.

2 Stuff chicken with cut grapes, onions, herbs, lemon: Preheat oven to 450°F. Pat the chicken dry. Rub inside and outside of chicken with olive oil. Sprinkle inside and outside with salt and pepper.

Remove about a cup's worth of grapes from their stems and cut in half. Insert grapes into cavity.

Add a couple onion wedges into the cavity, along with a few sprigs of fresh herbs. You do not need to remove the rosemary from its stem. Add a couple lemon wedges to the cavity.

stuff whole raw chicken with grapes lemon herbs

3 Arrange chicken in roasting pan, surrounded with herbs, onions, lemon wedges: Line the bottom of a roasting pan with onion slices and lemon wedges. Place the chicken on a roasting rack in the roasting pan, on top of the lemon wedges and onion, breast side down.

(Alternatively you can place the chicken directly in the pan, resting on the onions, in which case the breast meat will braise in the juices, instead of roasting.)

Place sprigs of herbs and slices of lemon between the wings and the body of the chicken. Arrange any remaining grapes, lemon wedges, and herbs in the pan.

arrange grape stuffed chicken on roasting pan

4 Roast and baste the chicken: Roast at 450°F for 25 minutes. Then baste with a cup of the wine and reduce the heat to 400°F. Cook for 30 minutes more and baste again with the 2nd cup of wine.

Cook for another 10 to 20 minutes (depending on the size of the chicken) until the juices run clear (not pink) when a knife tip is inserted into the chicken thigh, or when the temperature reading of a meat thermometer, inserted deep into the breast or thigh, reads 160°F.

roast chicken with grapes in roasting pan

5 Rest the chicken: Remove the roast from the oven and cover with aluminum foil. Let rest for 15 minutes. The internal temperature of the chicken will continue to rise.

6 Carve the chicken: Turn the chicken so that it is breast side up on a carving board. First separate the legs (drumstick and thigh) from the body. Then cut away the wings.

Make a cut down the breast bone. Continue to cut down on one side of the breast bone, cutting the breast away from the carcass, following the curvature of the rib cage as you cut. Repeat on the other side.

Slice the breasts crosswise to serve. Arrange the pieces on a platter, surrounded by grapes and caramelized onions from the roasting pan. Spoon pan sauce over the chicken pieces, and serve.

cut chicken breast crosswise to serve with grapes

7 Serve: Serve with rice or egg noodles.

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Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

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18 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Cindy

    I made this recipe back in the early 80’s when I first got married. It was always one of my husband’s favorite. Lost the recipe and forgot about it over the years. My husband recently talked about how he loved this chicken so here I am. Looked it up, found your recipe and made it tonight. Can I say FANTASTIC. Moist, flavorful, easy! Thank you for refreshing my mind on how to make this. Made with Hasselback Sweet Potatoes and Roasted Green Beans, if the oven is on use it. Wish I had taken a picture.


  2. b

    I just made this tonight and the only flavor was the lemon, which I do not enjoy. And the sauce was not brown like the picture and I did not have that much meat after carving, as in the picture. For me it was a failure and I made the dinner for friends and was completely embarrassed. We all ate the rolls, noodles and chicken without the sauce. I will try again. So disappointed.

  3. Nancy

    The chicken was so moist and delicious! I will definitely make this again. However, as Museummom posted, the onion, grapes and lemons were doing the breast stroke and I had to reduce the liquids which took a bit of time. I cut all the grapes in half so I’m wondering since your recipe didn’t indicate that the ones in the pan should be left whole that was the reason for all the excess liquid. If not, I’ll probably baste each time with a half cup of wine. In order to brown the breast, would you recommend beginning the roasting with breast side up, or finish the last 20 minutes breast side up?

    To brown the breast I would finish the last 20 minutes breast side up. ~Elise

  4. Museummom

    While the flavors were wonderful and the chicken was very moist, I actually used half the amount of wine suggested for basting because the fruit and onions in the pan were swimming and not roasting. While the chicken was resting, I removed the pan juices (separating the fat) into a sauce pan, and put the onions/grapes/lemons under the broiler to finish. I boiled the pan juices until they were a little thickened. This all worked, but required a little more effort than the recipe suggested. Oh, and I used chives from my garden as the herb which tasted great!

  5. Jeanne

    Grapes are one of my favorite fruits to combine with chicken (along with balsamic vinegar), but I have NEVER thought of stuffing the cavity of a bird with them. Must try, and soon!

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