Creating an elegant and memorable meal is easy when you’ve got a whole chicken on your hands. Whether it’s seasoned, stuffed, roasted, baked, or broiled, a whole chicken creates a dinner centerpiece that is perfect for every occasion. With these 7 recipes, you can create everything from a basic roasted chicken to one that’s been glazed with a spicy honey sauce. There’s no need to save these savory recipes for Sunday night dinner, either. They require minimal prep time, meaning you can sit back and relax while your chicken cooks.
1. Perfect Roast Chicken
There is nothing better than a chicken that’s been roasted to perfection. The best part? You can use the leftovers from this easy and elegant dinner for a tasty lunch the following day. Ina Garten’s recipe via Food Network yields 8 servings.
- 1 (5 to 6 pound) roasting chicken
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 large bunch fresh thyme, plus 20 sprigs
- 1 lemon, halved
- 1 head garlic, cut in half crosswise
- 2 tablespoons (¼ stick) butter, melted
- 1 large yellow onion, thickly sliced
- 4 carrots cut into 2-inch chunks
- 1 bulb of fennel, tops removed, and cut into wedges
- Olive oil
Directions: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove the chicken giblets. Rinse the chicken inside and out. Remove any excess fat and leftover pin feathers and pat the outside dry. Liberally salt and pepper the inside of the chicken. Stuff the cavity with the bunch of thyme, both halves of lemon, and all the garlic. Brush the outside of the chicken with the butter and sprinkle again with salt and pepper. Tie the legs together with kitchen string and tuck the wing tips under the body of the chicken.
Place the onions, carrots, and fennel in a roasting pan. Toss with salt, pepper, 20 sprigs of thyme, and olive oil. Spread around the bottom of the roasting pan and place the chicken on top. Roast the chicken for 1 ½ hours, or until the juices run clear when you cut between a leg and thigh. Remove the chicken and vegetables to a platter and cover with aluminum foil for about 20 minutes. Slice the chicken onto a platter and serve it with the vegetables.
2. Balsamic Roasted Chicken with Figs and Sweet Onions
After roasting for 2 hours, the figs, onions, and chicken will have a rich melt-in-your-mouth flavor. Nourishing Meals has created a fancy dinner dish that calls for simple ingredients and is surprisingly easy to make. It only takes a few minutes of prep time, but it’ll look like you were in the kitchen all day.
- 1 whole chicken (about 4 pounds)
- Herbamare and freshly ground black pepper (or other spice blend)
- 1 large sweet onion, chopped
- Fresh figs
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- Fresh rosemary sprigs
Directions: Preheat oven to 475 degrees Fahrenheit. Rinse chicken under cold running water. Place it into a 9-by-13-inch baking dish or other roasting pan. Generously sprinkle with Herbamare and freshly ground black pepper. Place the chopped onion inside the cavity of the chicken and around it on the bottom of the pan. Place the figs around the chicken.
Whisk together the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and maple syrup in a small bowl or cup. Pour over the chicken. Place a few fresh rosemary springs on and around the chicken. Add about ¼ cup of water to the bottom of the pan. Place in the oven and roast at 475 degrees for about 20 minutes to seal in the juices. Reduce heat to 325 degrees and continue to cook until juices run clear, about another 1 ½ hours.
Recommended wine pairings: Viognier, 2008 Reilly’s Barking Mad Riesling
3. Chicken in Coconut Milk with Lemongrass
Coconut milk, lemongrass, garlic, cinnamon, and star anise help to create an unbelievably moist and savory chicken. Serve The Kitchn‘s recipe, which yields 4 to 6 servings, with rice for a flavorful and well-rounded meal.
- 1 whole roasting chicken (3 to 4 pounds)
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 tablespoons (½ stick) butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 whole pieces star anise
- ½ cup roughly chopped cilantro stems
- 1 large lemon, cut into eighths
- 1 stalk lemongrass, 5 inches of white part only, chopped into ¼ -inch pieces
- 6 to 8 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
- 1 (16-ounce) can coconut milk
- 3 cups torn greens (spinach, kale, chard, mizuna)
- 2 green onions, chopped into ¼-inch pieces
- Chopped cilantro, to garnish
- Cooked rice, to serve
Directions: Pat the chicken dry and sprinkle it liberally with salt and pepper. Put the chicken, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours, or if you’re going to cook it right away, set it aside while you prepare remaining ingredients. When ready to bake the chicken, preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Melt the butter in a large Dutch oven over medium heat, then add the oil. Put in the chicken, breast side up, and let it sizzle for about 30 seconds.
Carefully flip the bird and crisp the other side for another 30 seconds. Remove the pan from the heat, put the chicken on a plate, and pour off the the fat in the pot. Transfer the chicken back into the pot, breast side up, and add the cinnamon stick, star anise, chopped cilantro stems, lemon, lemongrass, garlic, and coconut milk. Cook, uncovered, in the preheated oven for 60 to 90 minutes, depending on size. Spoon the sauce over the top of the bird to baste every 20 minutes or so.
The chicken is done when an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thigh reads 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove chicken from the pot and put it on a plate. Pull out and discard the cinnamon stick and star anise. Put the pot with the sauce back on the stovetop over medium heat, add the spinach and stir until just wilted, about 10 seconds. Carve the chicken and serve each piece over rice with sauce spooned over the top. Garnish with chopped scallions and cilantro leaves.
Recommended wine pairings: Chenin Blanc, 2007 Koonowla Riesling
4. Whole Chicken with Dried Fruit Stuffing
Prepare to enjoy a perfectly seasoned chicken that has been stuffed full of prunes, apricots, raisins, apples, and both sweet and savory seasonings. In Paula’s Kitchen’s recipe creates a hearty and healthy meal that your friends and family are guaranteed to enjoy. It yields 6 to 8 servings.
- 1 large whole chicken
- 1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil
- 1 large onion, chopped into ¼ inch pieces
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 cup pitted prunes, chopped into ¼ inch pieces
- 1 cup dried apricots, chopped into ¼ inch pieces
- ¼ cup raisins
- 1 large apple, any kind, chopped into ¼ inch pieces
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- Salt to taste
- ¼ teaspoon saffron threads, dissolved into 2 tablespoons boiling water
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
Directions: Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. In large sauté pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until they begin to brown, about 8 minutes. Add the prunes, apricots, raisins, apple, black pepper, cinnamon, salt, and saffron and water. Stir and cook for 3 minutes. Place into a bowl and let cool 10 minutes. Rinse off chicken and pat dry. Stuff as much of the dried fruit mixture into the cavity of the chicken. At this point, you can sew the cavity shut or tie up the chicken.
It also comes out fine if you do not seal the cavity. Place any leftover stuffing into a small baking dish, cover with foil and set aside. Place the chicken into a roasting pan. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil over the chicken, add ½ teaspoon of the turmeric and salt and pepper to taste. Rub all over the chicken. Turn the chicken over. Add the other tablespoon of oil, the other ½ teaspoon of the turmeric and more salt and pepper and rub all over. Leave the chicken breast side down for the first part of the roasting.
Place in the oven for 20 minutes. Carefully turn the chicken over and roast another 20 minutes. Turn the heat down to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the pan of extra stuffing into the oven and then cook the chicken and stuffing for 50 minutes. Let the chicken sit for 5 minutes and then cut up. Scoop the stuffing out of the chicken and combine with the stuffing cooked separately. Serve the chicken pieces over the stuffing and drizzle with the pan juices.
Recommended wine pairings: White Burgundy, 2010 Dandy Chardonnay
5. Spicy Honey-Roasted Chicken
You will love the zesty flavors that the roasted spices and honey add to this dinner dish. AllRecipes.com’s roasted chicken is both sweet and spicy and pairs perfectly with a crisp green salad.
- 1 (6 pound) whole roasting chicken
- ½ cup honey
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Rinse and pat dry the chicken; place in roasting pan. In a bowl, mix together the honey, chili powder, cumin, cayenne pepper, salt, and garlic powder. Using your hands, rub the honey mixture all over the chicken. Baste chicken with the melted butter. Roast the chicken in the preheated oven until the skin begins to brown, 30 to 45 minutes. Baste the chicken with juices in the roasting pan.
Reduce heat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and roast until no longer pink at the bone and the juices run clear, about 1 ½ to 2 hours. Baste occasionally during roasting. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh, near the bone should read 180 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove the chicken from the oven, cover with a doubled sheet of aluminum foil, and allow to rest in a warm area for 10 minutes before slicing.
Recommended wine pairings: Moscato, 2010 Lorenz Symphony German Riesling
6. Whole Chicken in a Slow Cooker Recipe
All you need to prepare this moist and tender The Little Kitchen recipe is a whole chicken, veggies, garlic, lemon, seasonings, and a slow cooker. When the chicken is done, place it in your broiler for a bit so the skin gets nice and crisp. You’ll be amazed at how incredibly easy this dish is to prepare.
- 4 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 1 teaspoon white pepper
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 cup chopped onion, approximately 1 medium to large onion
- 4 to 5 carrots, scrubbed, chopped in halves or thirds
- 4 celery stalks, cut in thirds
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
- 1 whole lemon, quartered
- 3 ½ to 4 ½ pound roasting or fryer chicken
Directions: Combine rub ingredients in a small bowl and set aside. Prep the vegetables and place inside the slow cooker. Remove chicken from packaging and remove neck and pouch with organs. Discard or reserve for later use in another recipe. Rinse chicken with water and pat dry with paper towels. Rub garlic all over outside of the chicken. Put garlic inside the chicken. Put the rub all over the outside and inside the chicken.
Add quartered lemon to the inside of the chicken. Place chicken on top of the vegetables. Cover slow cooker and cook chicken on low for 4-8 hours. Cook until the internal temperature of the leg is at 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove chicken and place in a 9-by-13 glass or ceramic baking dish. Place baking dish in the oven under the broiler for about 4-5 minutes. Allow chicken to rest after removing it from the broiler for 5-10 minutes.
7. Roast Chicken with Root Vegetables
If you’ve been searching for a refined dish to serve at your next dinner party, look no further. Saveur’s recipe creates a chicken centerpiece that’s seasoned in rosemary and garlic, surrounded by fresh and flavorful veggies, and drizzled in a rich and zesty sauce. The recipe yields 2 to 4 servings.
- 4 branches fresh rosemary, bruised
- 6 cloves garlic, crushed and peeled
- ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 (3 ½-4 pound) chicken
- Salt and freshly ground white pepper
- 6 cloves garlic, peeled
- 6 small new potatoes, quartered
- 2 bell peppers, 1 red and 1 green, cored, seeded, and cut into 2-inch squares
- ½ small kabocha squash, seeded, peeled, and cut into 2-inch squares
- 2-3 celery hearts, cut in half lengthwise, then into thirds
- 2-3 leeks, white part only, trimmed, halved lengthwise, cleaned, blanched for 30 seconds, and cooled in ice water
- 1 red onion, peeled and halved crosswise, each half quartered
- Salt and freshly ground white pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled, blanched for 15 seconds, cooled in ice water, then sliced
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary
- ½ cup rich chicken stock
- 4 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
- Juice of ½ lemon
- Salt and freshly ground white pepper
- ¼ bunch parsley, leaves chopped
Directions: To prepare the chicken, strip leaves from 2 of the rosemary branches and finely chop. Finely chop 3 of the garlic cloves. Combine chopped rosemary and garlic and oil in a bowl and set aside. Generously season chicken cavity with salt and pepper, then stuff with remaining 2 branches rosemary and 3 garlic cloves. Tie legs together with kitchen twine and rub all over with half the prepared oil. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate overnight. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Rub chicken with half the remaining prepared oil and generously season with salt and pepper.
Put chicken, breast side up, directly on an oven rack set in the middle of the oven and set a large roasting pan on an oven rack underneath the chicken. Roast until skin is deeply golden and internal temperature reaches 165 degrees, 50-60 minutes. While chicken is roasting, put garlic, potatoes, peppers, squash, celery hearts, leeks, and onions into a large bowl. Add the remaining prepared oil, season to taste with salt and pepper, and mix well. After chicken has been roasting for 25 minutes, put vegetables in roasting pan under chicken to roast until chicken is cooked and vegetables are soft, another 25-35 minutes.
To make the sauce, heat oil, garlic, and rosemary in a small pan over medium heat until garlic begins to brown, about 2 minutes. Add stock and simmer until reduced by half, 8-10 minutes; discard rosemary. Whisk in butter, a few pieces at a time, then add lemon juice and season to taste with salt and pepper. Add parsley just before serving. Transfer vegetables and chicken to a deep platter, remove kitchen twine, then pour sauce over top.