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Garlic Herb Roast Chicken

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1 4 to 5 pound roasting chicken
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon dried basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/2 lemon

Garlic Herb Roast Chicken

  • Serves 4
  • Easy

About This Recipe

Nothing (except baking bread) smells better than a chicken roasting in the oven. It’s such a homey smell, comforting, and old-fashioned. But it seems that most people just don’t roast chickens anymore, especially since it’s so easy to buy a rotisserie chicken in the supermarket.

But every once in a while, you should roast a chicken (unless you’re a vegetarian, of course!). This recipe makes a juicy chicken, well flavored and perfectly cooked. The secret is to carefully loosen the skin from the breast and drumsticks and add herbs, garlic and butter.

Chickens used for roasting are young and usually weigh 3 to 5 pounds. They can be roasted, grilled, steamed, or fried. A four pound chicken will serve four people, with some left over.

One point of food safety: NEVER rinse a chicken before you cook it. You can’t wash off pathogens; they are only destroyed by cooking to 160°F. If you rinse a chicken, some of the bacteria on that chicken will aerosolize and spread up to three feet away from the faucet and sink. Rinsing chickens is a great way to cross-contaminate your kitchen. Just pat the chicken dry with paper towels. And always wash your hands after handling raw poultry, meat, seafood, and eggs.

I would serve this recipe with The Best Scalloped Potatoes, some green beans that have been simmered and dressed with butter, Frozen Fruit Salad, and some bakery rolls. Make some Crunchy Peanut Caramel Layered Brownies for dessert. Yum.

Or you could add some carrot chunks, onion wedges, whole garlic cloves, and chunked potatoes mixed with olive oil to the pan around the chicken and roast the whole thing for a one pan meal!



Preheat the oven to 400°F. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Carefully loosen the skin from the breast and drumsticks, being careful not to tear the skin.


In a small bowl combine the remaining ingredients and mix well. Rub half of the herb mixture under the skin of the breast and the drumsticks. Smooth the skin back into place; you may want to use toothpicks to hold it. Put the lemon half inside the body cavity.


Rub the remaining herb mixture on the chicken skin. Tie the drumsticks together using kitchen twine, and tuck the wing tips under the body so they don't burn.


Put the chicken on a wire rack in a roasting pan. Roast at 400°F for 60 to 85 minutes, basting occasionally with the pan juices, until a thermometer registers 165°F. Be sure that the thermometer is not touching a bone.


Remove the chicken from the oven, cover with foil, and let stand for 10 minutes. Then carve and serve.



Linda is a home economist who has authored 43 books (42 cookbooks and Medical Ethics for Dummies) since 2005. She has worked for Pillsbury since 1988, on the Bake-Off and other projects. Linda has been a web presence since 2002, developing recipes and teaching people how to cook.

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