How to Cook a Whole Chicken

 Cooking a whole chicken may seem intimidating, but it's actually a straightforward process that can yield delicious results. With a few simple steps, you can roast a juicy and flavorful chicken that will be the centerpiece of any meal. Follow these instructions to learn how to cook a whole chicken.

Whole Chicken On A Roasting Pan


To cook a whole chicken, you will need the following ingredients:

  • 1 whole chicken (3-4 pounds)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges
  • 1 onion, cut into wedges
  • 4-5 sprigs of fresh herbs (such as rosemary, thyme, or sage)


Step 1: Preheat the oven

Preheat your oven to 425°F (218°C).

Step 2: Prepare the chicken

Remove the chicken from its packaging and pat it dry with paper towels. Place it on a cutting board and remove any giblets or excess fat from the cavity. Tuck the wings under the bird and tie the legs together with kitchen twine. Place the chicken in a roasting pan.

Step 3: Season the chicken

In a small bowl, mix together olive oil, salt, black pepper, garlic powder, and paprika. Rub the seasoning mixture all over the chicken, including the cavity. Stuff the cavity with the lemon wedges, onion wedges, and fresh herbs.

Step 4: Roast the chicken

Place the roasting pan in the preheated oven and roast the chicken for 60-75 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C). Baste the chicken with the juices from the pan every 20-30 minutes.

Step 5: Rest and carve the chicken

Remove the chicken from the oven and let it rest for 10-15 minutes before carving. To carve the chicken, remove the twine and cut into the breast, thigh, and leg meat. Serve hot with your favorite sides.

Pros and Cons of Cooking a Whole Chicken


  • Can feed a crowd
  • Usually less expensive per pound than other cuts of chicken
  • Can be roasted, grilled, or cooked in a slow cooker for versatility


  • Takes longer to cook than other cuts of chicken
  • May be intimidating for inexperienced cooks
  • Requires carving skills to serve


Q: How long does it take to cook a whole chicken?

A: It typically takes 60-75 minutes to roast a 3-4 pound chicken at 425°F (218°C).

Q: How do I know when the chicken is done?

A: The internal temperature of the chicken should reach 165°F (74°C) when measured with a meat thermometer.

Q: Can I cook a whole chicken in a slow cooker?

A: Yes, you can cook a whole chicken in a slow cooker on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 4-5 hours.

Q: What sides go well with roasted chicken?

A: Roasted potatoes, green beans, carrots, and salad are all great sides to serve with roasted chicken.