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A roast chicken sitting on an oval platter with sliced lemons and herbs surrounding the bird.

Perfect Roast Chicken

Course: Entree
Cuisine: American / French
Keyword: how long to roast a chicken, how to roast a chicken, Roasted Chicken
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories: 356kcal
This roasted whole chicken really is amazing. The flavors are classic. So simple, but so incredible in flavor. Ideal for entertaining or even a weeknight meal. Be sure to make the gravy/sauce!
Print Recipe


  • Roasting pan, preferably with a rack


  • 4 lb chicken whole, giblets removed
  • 8 tbsp unsalted butter room temperature
  • 1 tsp rosemary fresh, finely chopped, plus 1 sprig
  • 1 tsp thyme fresh, finely chopped, plus 1 sprig
  • 3 cloves garlic finely minced
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 lemon cut in half
  • 2 cups chicken broth plus more, if necessary
  • ½ cup white wine


  • Preheat oven to 475°F
  • Prepare the compound butter by adding the butter, rosemary, thyme, garlic, and smoked paprika to a medium-sized bowl. Use a fork to fully incorporate the herbs, garlic, and paprika into the butter.
  • Pat the chicken dry with a paper towel. Liberally salt and pepper the cavity of the bird. Stuff the lemon halves and one sprig each of the rosemary and thyme into the cavity.
  • Use a spatula, or even better, your clean hands, to rub the butter mixture all over the outside of the bird. Wash hands and then sprinkle salt and pepper all over the outside of the chicken.
  • Place the chicken on a rack placed in a roasting pan breast-side up. Pour 1 cup of chicken broth into the pan.
  • Place in the oven and cook for 20 minutes, turning the pan 180° after 10 minutes, if browning too much on one side. Baste every 20 minutes. Add more chicken broth to the pan if becoming too dry or starting to burn.
  • Lower the heat to 400°F and cook until an internal temperature reaches 165°F. Continue basting every 20 minutes and adding more broth if necessary. (See Notes for Total Roast Time)
  • Remove the pan from the oven and carefully transfer the rack with the chicken on it to a cutting board. The chicken needs to rest for 10 minutes. Remove the lemons and herbs in the cavity before serving.
  • Meanwhile, pour off all but about 2 tablespoons of the liquid in the pan. Place the pan on the stove over two burners and heat to medium-high. Add the wine, broth, and a liberal pinch of salt and pepper and bring to a strong simmer. Cook for 2 minutes and then use a strainer to transfer the gravy/sauce into a heat-resistant gravy boat.
  • Place the roast chicken on a platter and serve at once with the gravy on the side.



The compound butter can be made up to 3 days in advance.  Keep chilled in the fridge up until about 3 hours before roasting the chicken.  Allow to sit out on the counter to become soft. 
Before placing the chicken on the rack, make sure the bird is breast-side up.  The legs and the wings should be on the bottom half of the bird (see photos and video for reference). 
Basting is not 100% necessary, but we find it does help to produce a juicier bird.  If you don't have a baster, just use a large spoon to pour the liquid in the pan over the top of the chicken.  
Cooking times will vary due to the size of the chicken, how cold it is when it goes into the oven, and actual oven temperatures.  Use the following chart as a guideline. 
Weight of Chicken           Total Roast Time
  • 3 - 4 lbs                    60 minutes
  • 4-5 lbs                      65 - 90 minutes
  • 5-7+ lbs                    90 - 120 minutes
The best way to ensure your roast chicken is fully cooked is to place an instant-read thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh and wait until the internal temperature reaches 165°F to 170°F. 
Leftover chicken can be kept in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.  It can easily be frozen for up to 2 months. 


Calories: 356kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 112mg | Sodium: 294mg | Potassium: 294mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 580IU | Vitamin C: 14mg | Calcium: 27mg | Iron: 1mg