Growing up, Sunday dinner was a special time in our family. So, when I think of a classic roasted chicken dinner, I always think of family. Many weekends we gathered around the table with a special meal my mom or grandma would make. This was usually a post-church meal, but could also be a weekend meal that was a way to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, and even holidays. These meals with my family, to this day, are still some of my favorite times in my life.
Roasted Chicken with Garlic Butter
The star of these meals with my family was always the main dish. In our home, a whole chicken, turkey breast, ham, or roast beef were the most common choices. It was always a special meal when my mom or Granny opened the oven and we saw one of these dishes being pulled out to serve.
I realize now that those were all meals that were easy to cook while we were off at church. They slowly cooked in the oven or a slow cooker and resulted in delicious juicy and tender meat that didn't require a ton of tending. In this case, chicken is an ideal choice. Not only is it so versatile and delicious, but this recipe means you only do a little prep and let the oven do the rest.
What more could you ask for in a Sunday dinner? Of course, this isn't just for weekends. This makes a delicious weeknight meal any time of the week!
How do I Cut a Whole Chicken?
Probably the hardest part of making this chicken is actually cutting it to serve. Carving a bird is one of those things that can be super confusing to manage. So, while I know how to carve one now, I struggle to explain it. That's why I am sharing my favorite tutorial from one of my favorite chefs, Jacques Pepin. The video below shows you in detail how to simply carve any bird in just a minute.
At What Temperature is Chicken Done Cooking?
The FDA guide states that chicken is safe to eat once it reaches 165ºF internally. I use a meat thermometer and start checking around 15 minutes before what is the projected cook time. If chicken is overcooked, it quickly becomes dry.
I tend to remove my chicken from the oven right as it reaches 160ºF and then leaves it covered and resting for at least 10 minutes before slicing to serve. This gives it plenty of time to come up to safe temperature by retaining the heat still in the bird, but won't let it overcook and get dry.
Tip: My favorite meat thermometer is the ThermoPro. This is easily found online at Amazon and in many kitchenware stores.
How Long is Chicken Good Once Cooked?
Cooked chicken stored properly is safe to eat or 3-4 days after cooking. Always make sure you put the leftover chicken in an airtight container, storage bag, or tightly wrapped in aluminum foil.
Another note to consider is the date on the chicken before you are preparing it. I always err on the side of caution. In our house, chicken is eaten within 48 hours of cooking. If I know that I won't be able to eat it all, then I will wrap and freeze it to use for a future meal.
What to do With Leftover Roasted Chicken
Leftovers are rare in our house as a whole roasted chicken with teenagers in the house just doesn't last long. That said, on the occasions when there are some leftovers, I love using them for second unique meals.
One of my all-time favorites is to make these yummy chicken salad puffs with leftovers. They are so delicious and having already baked chicken on hand makes it even easier to manage. Another family favorite is this yummy buffalo chicken dip recipe. It's great for parties but we have it with fresh veggies and turn it into a meal by itself.
If you like to use leftovers for a full meal, you'll fall in love with this recipe for buffalo chicken enchiladas that Fanny shared recently. It's so delicious and super easy to make! You could even use leftover chicken in this recipe for stuffed bell peppers. Another great meal that will satisfy your whole family.
How to Reheat Roasted Chicken
Reheated chicken can get dry fast. That means you want to be careful when reheating it to serve again. The recipes above make that easy because they all have a yummy cream sauce or liquid added to the new recipe that helps keep it moist and delicious.
If you are planning to serve just the chicken like you did the first day it was cooked, then I much prefer putting into a baking dish and pouring additional garlic butter over it and baking for 10 minutes at 350ºF to heat through. This keeps it moist but also tender.
Never reheat chicken in the microwave! It only ends up rubbery and dry. Instead, add to other recipes or reheat in the oven.
- Whole chicken
- Unsalted butter (Get it in bulk when your preferred brand is on sale and simply freeze butter to use all year long)
- Olive oil
- Lemon juice & zest
- Black pepper
How to Make Roasted Chicken with Garlic Butter
Begin by removing the neck and gizzards from the inside of the chicken and rinsing it well then patting it dry.
Melt the butter.
In a small bowl, combine melted butter, olive oil, minced garlic, lemon juice, lemon zest, parsley, and rosemary together and whisk until blended.
Sprinkle the outside of the chicken with salt and pepper then begin brushing the butter mixture over the chicken coating the outside and adding additional butter mixture under the skin.
Stuff halved heads of garlic, sliced lemon, and a sprig of rosemary into the chicken cavity then tie the legs together with kitchen twine.
Place the whole chicken into a lined baking dish and roast for 45 minutes.
Pull the chicken out of the oven, and baste well then add additional rosemary and squeeze half of one lime over the chicken. Cover the chicken with aluminum foil and roast for an additional 35 minutes.
Uncover the chicken and place under broil for 4-5 minutes to crisp the skin.
Let the chicken rest for ten minutes before carving to serve.
One of my favorite ways to make a roasted chicken is to use the beer can method. If you have never done this, it is simply a way to prop the chicken onto a can of beer while baking or roasting. This will impart flavor and helps to crisp the skin on all sides.
If you don't want to use a beer can, invest in one of these ceramic beer can chicken holders instead! I love that this can easily fit into my backing dish and give me at home rotisserie style chicken with ease.
- 4 lb whole chicken
- 3 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 lemon, juiced and zested
- 1 ½ lemon, quartered
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 sprig rosemary, chopped
- 2 sprigs rosemary, whole
- 3 tablespoon parsley, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 bulb garlic, cut in half
- 1 small onion
- 2 stalks celery
- Preheat the oven to 400F;
- Remove the neck and innards from inside the chicken and rinse it inside and out then pat dry and set aside;
- Melt the butter in a small bowl;
- Combine the melted butter, olive oil, minced garlic, the juice and zest of one lemon, parsley, and 1 sprig rosemary chopped together and whisk until blended;
- Sprinkle the salt and pepper over all sides of the chicken;
- Brush the butter mixture over the chicken coating all sides and adding more under the skin until the chicken is thoroughly coated inside and out with garlic butter;
- Inside the chicken cavity, stuff the halved clove of garlic, half a lemon sliced or quartered, a single sprig of rosemary, and if desired, chopped onion and celery;
- Roast at 400F for 45 minutes then remove the chicken and baste with the excess juices in the pan;
- Now, add the additional two sprigs of rosemary and slices of lemon to the pan and cover the chicken with aluminum foil, you may also squeeze the additional ½ lemon over the top of the chicken at this time;
- Roast for an additional 20 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165F;
- Uncover and broil for 4-5 minutes to crisp the skin;
- Remove from the oven and cover to rest for an additional 10 minutes before carving to serve.
You can use any preferred herbs in place of parsley and rosemary for this dish. Use what you have on hand or what your family prefers.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 653Total Fat: 42gSaturated Fat: 13gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 25gCholesterol: 215mgSodium: 343mgCarbohydrates: 4gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 63g