Table of Contents
  1. The ingredients that make this the best roast chicken
  2. Watch how to make this roast chicken recipe
  3. The Best Roast Chicken Recipe

A good roast chicken is a recipe everyone needs in their back pocket. After a long day, if you want a quick (but good) meal, you can roast a chicken with vegetables. A roast chicken is really the workhorse in the kitchen. As long as you have a chicken that is thawed, you can have a meal that pleases everyone in a relatively short amount of time with little work. This works as a meal for guests and is easy enough for a family meal at home.

Chicken is easy to roast, but a few tips can add flavor and ensure a crispy golden skin:

  • Always separate the skin from the meat by work your fingers underneath the skin and gently separating.
  • Make sure to work slowly, being careful not to tear the skin.
  • By separating the skin, air and heat can move freely and allow the skin to become extra crisp.
  • Separating the skin allows butter and herbs to be rubbed directly over the meat.

Putting the compound butter under the chicken’s skin provides the protection to keep the butter from burning. The herbs and salt in the compound butter will work directly with the meat for the most added flavor.

White enamel plate filled with slices of roast chicken breast with skin still on top

The ingredients that make this the best roast chicken

  • Chicken is the obvious star of this recipe and a definite crowd-pleaser. Choose a plump five-pound organic chicken without any brining. A five pound bird will have plenty of meat for a group or family, and provide some amount of leftovers. A good quality bird is certainly worth the price.
  • Butter adds so much flavor and is a crucial part of this being considered the best roast chicken. When mixed at room temperature with the herbs, it makes the mixture easy to spread under the skin of the chicken. This will make for a crispy and super delicious skin after roasting.
  • Thyme is the herb of choice for the butter mixture. Instead of adding numerous herbs, keep it simple with this classic herb. I use dried thyme since it’s always on hand, but fresh will work as well. If using fresh, double the amount.
  • Lemon zest is mixed into the compound butter. A little citrus wakes up all of the flavors as well as some brightness.
  • Garlic cloves are also added to the butter. I use a garlic press to easily minced the garlic and ensure the cloves evenly mix into the butter.
Top down view of large metal baking dish filled with roast chicken sitting on top of vegetables all on white countertop

As the chicken roasts, the compound butter and olive oil that was rubbed all over the skin will baste the meat and create a golden, crispy skin.

To make this a meal, large pieces of carrots and fennel bulbs can roast with the chicken and pick up the flavor from the drippings. Keeping the vegetables a larger size will prevent them from becoming too soft. This really a comforting meal that is easy to keep on repeat. This dish will fill your house with an unbelievable aroma and anyone who eats this will fall in love!

Top down view of baking dish sitting on white countertop with roasted vegetables sitting in oil after being in the oven

More dinner recipes

Watch how to make this roast chicken recipe

Top down view of metal baking pan filled with roasted chicken sitting on top of roasted vegetables with white kitchen towel underneath

The Best Roast Chicken

4.54 from 15 votes
There's nothing more classic than a roast chicken for dinner! This recipe for a classic version has a delicious butter mixture made from lemon zest and thyme stuffed under the skin for a crispy texture. If you're looking for a delicious meal, this is the one to make!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Resting Time 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes
Servings 12 servings


For the compound butter

  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter room temperature
  • 1 ½ tsp dried thyme
  • 1 ½ tsp salt
  • ¾ tsp pepper
  • 2 tsp lemon zest
  • 3 cloves garlic minced

For the chicken and vegetables

  • 5 lb chicken
  • 1 ½ tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 1 ½ lb carrot cut in large chunks
  • 2 bulbs fennel cut into ⅛-inch wedges


  • Preheat oven to 425°F.
  • In a small bowl, combine the butter, dried thyme, salt, pepper, lemon zest, and garlic. Mix together, evenly incorporating everything into the butter. Set aside.
    2 tbsp unsalted butter, 1 ½ tsp dried thyme, 1 ½ tsp salt, ¾ tsp pepper, 2 tsp lemon zest, 3 cloves garlic
  • Using fingers, gently separate the skin from the chicken without tearing the skin. Work fingers over the legs and thighs as well. Once the skin is separated, spread the butter mixture onto the meat under the skin. The butter may clump as it cools against the chicken. Place the tops of the fennel along with approximately 1 lemon inside the cavity of the chicken. Also at this point, truss the legs. Set aside.
    5 lb chicken
  • Spread the prepared carrots and fennel on a roasting pan. Drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Set chicken on top of the vegetables and sprinkle with a small amount of olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast in the preheated oven until the vegetables are tender and the chicken reaches 160°F. Remove the chicken and vegetables from the oven and allow the chicken to rest for 10 minutes. While resting, the chicken will reach 165°F.
    1 ½ tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp salt, 1 ½ lb carrot, 2 bulbs fennel, ½ tsp pepper
  • After resting, carve the chicken and serve with the vegetables.


Serving: 1servingCalories: 232kcalCarbohydrates: 8.8gProtein: 20.8gFat: 12.6gSaturated Fat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2.2gMonounsaturated Fat: 5.5gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 65.6mgSodium: 603.9mgPotassium: 559.2mgFiber: 3gSugar: 4.2gVitamin A: 531.3IUVitamin C: 8.8mgCalcium: 54.3mgIron: 1.4mg
Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Difficulty Intermediate
Method Baking

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I’m Kaleb! I'm not a chef, professional baker, landscaper, or designer, but I like to play each on Knollgate Farm. Come join me on my journey and let's learn together!

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  1. There really is nothing like a roast chicken in the winter, but…I think I’ve had enough! I’m ready for spring!


    1. I agree, this winter is never ending!! I was almost planting my garden at this time last year! This year I am just gorging myself with baked goods….currently it is -12 here!


  2. Interesting! Your chicken was upside down but maybe that is more reasonable. Juices to the breast (white)meat.

  3. 5 stars
    Best roasted chicken I ever made. It was a winner with your delicious stuffing which was top-notch. We loved both!

  4. 5 stars
    Love this recipe! Made it for my parents and we really enjoyed it. The thyme and lemon zest butter was fresh and not heavy. The carrots and fennel were delicious. Definitely a keeper for weekly dinners. I may not be able to find fennel in small town Indiana on a regular basis but seasonal substitutions would be an easy fix. Thanks for sharing and keep up the great work as it is appreciated!