Simple Roast Chicken

Whole roasted chicken is one of those recipes that I feel is way too fancy for the likes of me.


“I couldn’t possibly, I’ll just grill some chicken breasts instead.”


“Well, Ina Garten makes them all the time therefore it’s probably too advanced for me.”


“Nah it’s okay, drive-through tacos are way easier.”


But friends, I have seen the light. Roasting chickens LOOKS fancy, but in reality it’s TOTALLY EASY. I pinkie swear. Today I’m going to share with you a simple recipe for a chicken as beautiful as it is delicious, adapted from Epicurious’ (one of my favorite go-to foodie sites) My Favorite Simple Roast Chicken recipe.




One whole chicken (sometimes called a “fryer”….no, I don’t know why, just go with me here)
Fresh thyme
Butter (optional)
Vegetables (if you want to bake them under the chicken – I used the dirty-sounding-but-not-actually-that-sexual fingerling potatoes, carrots and some red onion)


Disclaimer: In the above photo you will see dijon mustard. The internet told me to buy it, and I love dijon mustard plus we were almost out, so I blindly did what I was told without thinking. Which is how cults get started, I’m almost positive. So I guess you could say that yes, I drank the chicken kool-aid. Moving on. Come to find out, you don’t need dijon mustard at all for this recipe. It’s simply included as a dipping option after your chicken’s all cooked. I would’ve taken another picture sans mustard, but I didn’t figure it out until the end so that’s my bad. Sorry y’all.


Disclaimer Part 2: The internet also says that you can use the optional butter inside the chicken’s “cavity” (gross) – I didn’t, simply because I was lazy, and it turned out delicious all the same.


Okay, I’m going to be real with you. Dealing with whole chickens is in no way glamorous. But the good news is, the first part is the grossest, so at least you get it out of the way early. Most whole chickens come with ……how do I put this….. all of their internal organs jammed up inside their innards like the candy filling of a damn piñata.
It is, unfortunately, your job to somehow remove aforementioned internal organs and make sure the chicken’s “cavity” (still gross) is empty and clean. There are many ways to go about this: I recommend tongs or simply shaking the chicken until everything just kind of….falls out. And then drinking heavily, for obvious reasons. Your sink will look like a crime scene at this point, but don’t worry. That means you’re doing it right.


After that horrendous trauma is over, you’re mostly out of the woods (Taylor Swift would be so pleased). Next you want to pat down your chicken with paper towels until it’s reeeeeeeeaaaaaally good and dry. This will help the skin bake crispier or something, I don’t know. It’s science.




Now it’s time to salt and pepper the thing. You want a lot of salt, it’s basically the only flavoring you’re doing (Simple Roast Chicken, remember?). Salt the outside and the ….inside. If you feel like you’re using too much salt, you’re on the right track and should probably add a little more. Then, set your salted/peppered bird atop whatever vegetables you may or may not be baking along with it, or simply into a pan of its own.




Bake at 450 degrees for 60 minutes. When it’s done, sprinkle on some fresh thyme leaves and be amazed at your own culinary prowess.




Voila! It’s as easy as that, and believe me you look like a total kitchen rockstar pulling this thing out of the oven. Now, I learned a few things making this recipe: first, this is VERY simple. I generally prefer more flavor and spice, so next time I might do some kind of garlic and rosemary adaptation. Second, it would be phenomenal with some kind of gravy or sauce. Third, dealing with a chicken’s “cavity” (gross gross gross) is terrifying and nasty and I don’t think I’ll ever stop hating it.


Happy cooking, all!
—The Wife in Training


PS – No one tells you that the hardest part of roasting a chicken is carving it after it comes out of the oven.


  • Reply May 19, 2015


    Did you know this is like, exactly how you cook a Thanksgiving turkey?

    Also I thought that the gizzard and stuff that comes inside of the bird is referred to as the “innards” but am I wrong??? HOW COULD I BE WRONG??

    We always feel the bird up by rubbing melty butter in between his skin and his meat (DIRTY!). Also there’s poultry seasoning you can get that is literally called “poultry seasoning” and it’s delicious.

    Also what do I do if I don’t have a fancy pan like that??? HOW DO I COOK MY CHICKEN!?????

    • Reply May 20, 2015

      Lindsay Landgraf Hess

      No I think you’re right, I think “innards” is right and “cavity” (gross) is just the hole left behind when you remove the insides…..yuck. I don’t know, it’s very disgusting and I don’t really care to get too explicitly detailed with it. But next time I’m absolutely going to take your advice and feel up the bird with melty butter.

      You can get those fancy pans for like $10 at Ross, they’re not really that fancy. I’ll send you one for a wedding gift because I love you.

  • I mean it’s like you wrote this directly AT ME. Innards are terrifying and will be the only thing that keeps me from trying this but I’ll allow you to cook it for me if you’d like.

    • Reply May 20, 2015

      Lindsay Landgraf Hess

      I would love to cook this for you, but I will be adding much more garlic and definitely butter probably some rosemary next time. But I feel like you’ll be totally OK with that.

  • Reply May 20, 2015


    “I don’t know, it’s science”

    The start of every good experiment.

    • Reply May 20, 2015

      Lindsay Landgraf Hess

      I’m sooooo super scientific. Always.

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