rosemary garlic roasted chicken

10 | February 17, 2012

If you haven’t tried roasting a whole chicken before, you are missing out. It’s a very simple recipe that can practically feed a family for at least two to three meals; that is, unless you are a family of 20. If that’s the case, better throw eight chickens or so in the oven.

Last year we talked about roasting chickens with this Herbs de Provence version. But to tell you the truth, there are some things I have learned having a toddler. One is ,when you are making a dinner for the entire family, the quicker the better. This rosemary garlic chicken is very simple with just a few steps; dice, stir, rub, and roast.

What type of chicken is the best for roasting?

Here’s another lesson I have learned when dealing with this yummy bird: a free range/no antibiotic/organic/natural fryer chicken yields the best flavor and tenderness. These are super expensive, so the next choice (and the one we usually opt for) is the free range/no antibiotic/natural fryer chickens. These are, in my opinion, the best types of chickens to eat and they will run you around $10 to $15 at the store (slightly more at a farmers market). Trust me–I’ve been roasting chickens for a long time, and once you taste a free range chicken you will never go back. After finding tumors in two regular fryer chickens last year that I bought at the store I immediately switched, and now can tell the difference between a tough produced chicken and a tender free range “natural” chicken. Plus, research is showing that less human intervention with our meats is better for our health (feeding processed foods laced with hormones, hormone injections, anit-biotics, and such). We will go into detail about that another day.

All of these labels, what do they mean?

Good lord, the labeling issue. With all of this terminology, who do you believe these days? Let’s break it down according to poultry. source: USDA.

Free Range – Producers must demonstrate to the Agency that the poultry has been allowed access to the outside. {It does not say how long the chickens have to be outside to be called free range. Vague, I know but at least you are hoping they are able to eat worms, insects and such as they would naturally. This is where it helps to know and trust your source, like from a farm you can visit or from the farmers market.

No Antibiotics – the terms “no antibiotics added” may be used on labels for meat or poultry products if sufficient documentation is provided by the producer to the Agency demonstrating that the animals were raised without antibiotics. 

Organic – That term is a folly in itself these days. Honestly, I can’t find an exact definition when it comes to poultry. Here is the USDA definition to the Organic Label: Products labeled as “100 percent organic” must contain (excluding water and salt) only organically produced ingredients and processing aids. After speaking to a poultry farmer HIS definition is he only feeds his chickens organic additive free feed, organic corn, and the land that the chickens feed off of is not treated with pesticides.

Natural – A product containing no artificial ingredient or added color and is only minimally processed. Minimal processing means that the product was processed in a manner that does not fundamentally alter the product. The label must include a statement explaining the meaning of the term natural (such as “no artificial ingredients; minimally processed”).

To find more information about USDA labeling, please visit the USDA website 

Hope that helps and by all means PLEASE COOK WITH THE CHICKEN YOU FEEL COMFORTABLE WITH! I’m not here to tell you what to cook, just how to cook it. wink wink

Now, on to the chicken! This rosemary garlic roasted chicken is one of our family’s go to meals. It’s tender, juicy, insanely delectable, yields more than one meal, and most importantly, everyone loves it.

Rosemary Garlic Roasted Chicken serves 4 to 6

  • 4  pound fryer chicken, preferably free range/natural/antibiotic-free
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, 5 to 6 inches long
  • 1 sprig fresh oregano, 5 to 6 inches long
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 425°F. Remove any wrapping from the chicken and dry the skin with a paper towel. (Allowing the skin to dry makes the skin extra crispy when roasted) Set aside.

Finely chop the garlic, rosemary and oregano. Place in a small bowl.

To the garlic and herbs, add olive oil, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine and set aside.



Prep the chicken by trussing it. This will help with even cooking but seriously, you can roast a chicken without trussing it. Note: I am a bit dyslexic. I truss a chicken backwards. I have issues, I know. The harder I try to do it correctly I am sent into a wave of confusion and feel like I’m in second grade math class getting my eights and threes confused. Here’s my wrong (but works) way for all of you other dyslexic people: 1. Cut 3 feet of cooking twine. Lay the chicken breast side up with the drumstick feet facing you. Slide the twine evenly behind the wings underneath the chicken. If you have any leftover herbs place them in the cavity. 2. Bring the twine up and forward over the drumsticks. 3. Next, wrap the twine under the feet. 4. Then, wrap the twine back up and over the feet meeting in the middle of the cavity. Tie the twine tight, bringing the drumsticks together.

Of course there is the proper way that I highly recommend : How to Truss a Chicken from

With your fingers, stuff a tablespoon of the garlic and herb mixture in between the skin and the breast.

Rub the remaining garlic mixture over the entire chicken. Place the chicken on a rack in a roasting pan. A large cast iron skillet without a rack or a large casserole dish will work as well. Place in the oven and roast for 1 hour and 20 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F.

Once roasted remove from the oven and allow to stand for 5 to 10 minutes before carving.

OPTIONAL: Make this dish a one-pot meal by combining root vegetables or winter vegetables with a teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Stir to combine and place the vegetables in the roasting pan around the chicken after the chicken has been cooking for 25 minutes. Allow to cook the remaining time with the chicken. In early spring to summer try a combo of potatoes, carrots, and onions. In the fall through winter, try large diced winter squashes such as butternut and acorn, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts.

The most succulent fall-off-the-bone chicken with the crispiest skin. Seriously good.

My favorite thjigs to do with leftover roasted chicken are: Baked Chicken and Artichoke Egg Rolls and Chicken, Leek, and Kale Soup with Black Rice Noodles.




  • Sara

    This is a great post! I have never roasted a chicken – it always scared me because it seems so complicated. Your directions make it look so easy, and the thought of having leftovers for soups and other dishes later in the week is super appealing! Thanks!

  • Sarah

    I’m in the same boat as the other Sara up there – I’ve never roasted a chicken but your recipe looks doable! I think I’m going to attempt it this weekend! Thanks for the yummy recipe!

  • Jon

    I’m trying it right now. Excellent and amazing. Tossed in carrots, potatoes, celery, and summer squash. Yum.

  • Rachel

    Will it roast in a cast iron skillet? I don’t have the roasting pan.

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