A simple whole roasted chicken is the perfect recipe for an elegant dinner, or just meal-prep for the week. With few ingredients (and without lemon!), you can have a delicious and easy dinner.
Easy Whole Roasted Chicken
A roast chicken is a beautiful thing. It can be made as a cozy dinner for family, or as a meal-prep for lunches the rest of the week. Some (Ina Garten & Glamour Magazine) even say it’s the way to a proposal. Apparently it’s what worked for Meghan Markle, who became engaged to Prince Harry after an evening of cooking roast chicken. Unfortunately for those on a migraine diet, lemon and onion are a roast chicken staple. But what’s a migraineur to do? Never get engaged?!
My "Anyone-Can-Cook" Chicken
I decided I would set out to create my own recipe that had nothing to do with engagements. In fact, I was inspired by the movie Ratatouille. If you haven’t seen this movie and you love food, you should watch it immediately. Remy, a French rat, dreams of being a chef. He mixes and matches flavors that ordinary rats could never discern. The overall moral of the story is that “anyone can cook”, including rats! So never judge a book by it’s cover, especially if you see a rodent in your kitchen. It could just be preparing it’s mise-en-place.
All joking aside, I think it’s a really important concept to remember. There are many things you can do, as long as you set your mind to it. As fancy and complicated as a roast chicken can seem, it’s surprisingly easy to make even when you’re not feeling the best. It’s also a wonderful, easy dish for those nights where you’ve scheduled company and you just don’t feel up to it. I mean, just look at my pictures. The chicken is upside down for crying out loud. It’s been an exhausting week, but I still managed to roast a chicken. And it turned out delicious even if it was cooked upside down.
Previously I had this recipe with a few ingredients, like lemongrass, but I wanted to update it to make it easy for whatever you have on hand. I make this recipe with so many variations. Sometimes I use olive oil (for dairy free) other times I cover it in butter...like the below.
I actually wouldn't recommend this much butter, but I had girlfriends over for a cooking class on how to roast a chicken and they used the entire pat of butter I had set out our class. C'est la vie!
This past week, I tried to conserve my garlic so I wouldn't have to run to the grocery store with COVID-19 still around and our lockdown in full force. So I used shallots! But if you have garlic and no shallots, do that instead. This can really be made your own recipe.
Roast Chicken without Lemon
Because lemon and onion are higher in tyramine, and lemon can be a histamine liberator, they’re both on the avoid list for the Heal Your Headache diet. There are ways to incorporate a similar flavor while using safe ingredients and I found that lemongrass and lemon thyme, were wonderful ways to add a light citrus flavor. If you can’t find lemon thyme, you can use regular fresh thyme. I have found lemon thyme is pretty prevalent in some of the grocery stores at the moment. Just don’t skip making the sauce, because it’s absolutely delicious.
Here's a tip - store your herbs in some water in the fridge. They'll last you much longer than out on the counter or wrapped up in plastic in the fridge.
Just for reference, here is how your chicken should look. 🙂
This post was originally published March 28, 2018, but has been updated April 2020 with fewer ingredients and new pictures.
You can use this pulled chicken in the following recipes:
For more chicken recipes:
Simple Whole Roasted Chicken
- 4 lb whole chicken, patted dry
- 1 tbsp butter or oil
- 2 shallots, peeled and cut in half *Can substitute 4 garlic cloves
- ½ bunch lemon thyme, rosemary, and/or parsley *Regular thyme is also ok...whatever you have
- kosher salt and pepper
- pan drippings accumulated from the chicken
- 1 shallot, chopped
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 cup MSG-free broth or stock of any kind
- 1 tbsp all purpose flour can use gluten free
- ½ tbsp fresh lemon thyme leaves regular thyme is also ok
- ½ tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Pat chicken till dry and remove any giblets. Place chicken in a large roasting pan, breast side up with wings tucked. Stuff the cavity garlic, shallots, a handful of herbs. Tie legs together with a kitchen string. Carefully lift the skin, sliding your fingers under to loosen it. Rub softened butter or oil underneath then on top of the skin, all around the chicken. Season with freshly cracked black pepper and salt - I used about ½ teaspoon each. Cook on the middle rack for 1 hour and 5 minutes and then check. Chicken should be a temperature of 165 degrees when inserted in between the thigh and breast - not touching the bone.
- Remove from oven and place chicken on a carving plate or cutting board. Cover with aluminum foil.
- Scrap leftover pan drippings into a large pan and place on medium heat. Add butter and shallots and sauté for about 2 minutes. Toss in 1 tbsp of flour and add the 1 cup of broth. Bring to a simmer and reduce till thickened, about 3-5 minutes. Stir in the lemon thyme and rosemary. Serve next to the chicken or pour on top.
- I prefer to use air-chilled, organic chicken. Air chilled chickens roast and taste better overall.
- Use whatever herbs you have on hand to stuff the cavity - rosemary, thyme, sage, oregano, parsley would all be good.
- Root vegetables like potatoes, radishes, and shallots are great in the roasting pan with the chicken for an easy side dish. Season them and roast for the same time.