There are millions of “easy” and “foolproof” roasted chicken recipes on the internet, but what no one tells you is that properly roasting a chicken is actually difficult. Nearly every recipe I consult has a different method and temperature, and some parts turn out overdone while other parts are still raw. It actually took me years to arrive on what I think is an easy and foolproof roasted chicken. You just need a cast iron skillet! And a meat thermometer.
Easy Roasted Chicken in the Cast Iron Skillet
Here’s what you’ll need to make roasted chicken:
- First off, get yourself the right bird. I choose an organic 5-6 pounder.
- Salted kerrygold butter (my favorite grass fed butter)
- Garlic, fresh herbs like rosemary, thyme, oregano, chives, sage
- Sea salt and black pepper
- A lemon
- Cast iron skillet
- Meat thermometer
- Chopped carrots, potatoes, onion, or root vegetables you like.
Preheat oven to 425 and grab your cast iron skillet. I have this one. It needs to be about 10-12 inches. Remove giblets from the cavity and feed them to your dogs or use for gravy. Rinse the inside and outside of the bird and pat dry. It needs to be very dry, which is the key to nice, crispy skin. Salt the inside of the cavity liberally.
Next, stuff the cavity with the following: half a lemon; half a bulb of garlic sliced lengthwise; a handful of fresh herbs like thyme, oregano, and sage; then the other half of the lemon.
Grab your butter and slice off about 2 tablespoons. Heat it until it is very soft, then spread it liberally all over the bird. Sprinkle all over with a spice mix. I use Old Bay (keeping it classic), but any poultry seasoning mix will do. If the mix you choose isn’t salted, you’ll need to also salt and pepper the whole outside of the bird liberally. I do all the buttering and seasoning in the skillet.
Make sure it’s in the skillet breast side up, No need to truss it unless you want to get fancy. Arrange your chopped root veggies around the bird in the skillet (I typically use chopped carrot and onion here). Don’t overcrowd or it won’t brown evenly. You want your chicken to be in contact with the bottom of the skillet so the skin gets crispy, so don’t place it on top of the vegetables. I’ll often roast a tray of root veggies in the oven on a different rack than the bird and toss them together with the chopped carrots I’ve roasted with the chicken. They’ll have soaked up the flavors and juices.
Now it’s ready to go in the oven! Pop it in there and set your timer for 25 minutes. When the timer goes off after 25 minutes, remove it from the oven and baste it if there are enough juices (eventually there will be). Flip it over. This is the secret to getting an evenly roasted and properly cooked chicken.
Pop it back in the oven and set the timer for 25 minutes again. Same thing: when timer goes off, baste it again thoroughly, and flip it back over. Take the temp now to see where it’s at. You want to remove the bird at 160 – 165 degrees. Place the thermometer between the breast and the thigh, like so.
Get it good and in there, but don’t hit any bones. And anytime you have it out of the oven, baste it.
It should be ready sometime between 60-90 minutes. As mentioned, start checking it after 50 minutes to an hour and then check its temp every 10-15 minutes, and remove it from the oven when it’s 165. Tent it with foil and let it rest for 20 minutes. It’s done!
You can pour the juices into a saucepan and add some chicken stock and about 1 tbsp flour (I use this gluten free flour mix) and whisk thoroughly if you wanted to make your own gravy.
Carve it and serve.
I serve it with carrots I roast in the skillet with the chicken and make roasted Brussels sprouts separately. You could also throw sliced fennel bulbs and onions, garlic, and/or parsnips in the skillet, but remember not to overcrowd it.
Enjoy! Easy, right?
- One 5-6 pound organic chicken
- 2 tbsp Kerrygold or grass fed butter
- 1 bulb garlic sliced in half lengthwise
- 1 lemon
- Fresh herbs like sage, thyme, oregano
- Chicken spice mix or rub
- Optional veggies: chopped carrots, sliced onion, garlic, parsnip, sliced fennel
- Preheat oven to 425.
- Unwrap bird and rinse it inside and out thoroughly.
- Salt inside of bird liberally.
- Slice lemon in half.
- Place one half of lemon inside cavity. Put a handful of fresh herbs and the garlic inside cavity, then put other half of lemon in there.
- Make sure butter is nice and soft, then spread liberally all over the outside of the bird.
- Sprinkle all over liberally with spice mix.
- Place in skillet breast side up. Add vegetables at this stage if using.
- Pop in the oven, and after 25 minutes, remove and baste it thoroughly. Flip it over.
- After 25 minutes, remove and baste again. Take its temp.
- Start checking its temp more frequently (every 10 - 15 minutes after 60 minutes) and thoroughly basting it. You don't want it to overcook.
- It'll be ready sometime between 60-90 minutes or so.
- Remove from oven and skillet; place it on a platter, tent it, and let it rest 20 minutes.
- Carve and serve!
Mary Vance is a Certified Nutrition Consultant and author specializing in digestive health. She combines a science-based approach with natural therapies to rebalance the body. In addition to her 1:1 coaching, she offers courses to help you heal your gut and improve your health. Mary lives in San Francisco and Lake Tahoe in Northern California. Read more about her coaching practice here and her background here.