This recipe produces a flavourful, seasoned, moist roast chicken or turkey with nice, crisp skin.
We used to raise our own chickens. They would run all over our yard in the summertime. A few times, if we didn't get them inside soon enough in the evening, a fox took some of them. Yes, just like in the storybooks. In the fall, we would fill our freezer with the remaining 6 ½ to 7 ½ lb. chickens. Throughout the following year, I roasted chickens regularly.
We didn't have chickens this year, though, because we went away for several weeks of the summer, the timing of our trip to Colorado being planned around the arrival of our newest grandson. I don't miss chickens on my lawn, but I do miss them in the freezer. Am I allowed to say that?
Moist Roast Chicken
Not only does this method of roasting produce a moist roast chicken, but also leftovers for more quick meals. These days, I'm purchasing large chickens or small turkeys for our dinner table.
If you are looking for a nice variation on cranberry sauce to go with your chicken or turkey, you might like Easy Cranberry Sauce with Mango.
To serve gravy with your roast, check out Gluten Free Gravy for the instructions.
If you should happen to have any leftover turkey or chicken, check out these great salad recipes:
- Chicken Salad
- Festive Cranberry Salad with Chicken
- Mango Avocado Salad with Chicken
- Easy Chicken Salad with Mango
- Broccoli Slaw with Chicken, Blueberries, and Almonds
Size Makes a Difference
This is a recipe for a 7-pound chicken. However, it will work for any size of chicken or turkey. You'll just need to adjust your cooking times according to the guidelines below.
If your chicken or turkey was frozen, defrost it in the refrigerator. These are approximate cooking times for an unstuffed, defrosted or fresh bird. They include the half hour of cooking at a high heat at the beginning.
- 4-6 lb. chicken - 2 hours
- 6-8 lb. turkey - 2 ½ hours
- 8-10 lb. turkey - 2 ¾ hours
- 10-12 lb. turkey - 3 hours
- 12-16 lb. turkey - 3 ¼ hours
- 16 - 20 lb. turkey - 3 ¾ hours
- 20 - 24 lb. turkey - 4 hours
Check for doneness by inserting a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the meat not touching a bone.
Your chicken or turkey is done when the internal temperature is 165 F, according to Foodsafety.gov.
Although this recipe is very easy to make and gives great results, you should plan to start it two days before serving. That's when you apply the dry rub, the secret to the amazing flavour! It's fine for the meat to be partially frozen at this point. However, the seasoning will cling best to thawed skin.
This doesn't take much time - just a little planning!
What to Serve with Roast Chicken or Turkey
Roast Chicken or Turkey
- 1 7- pound whole chicken
- 1 tablespoon coarse sea salt
- 1 teaspoon dried sage
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- freshly cracked pepper
- 3 tablespoons butter melted
- 1 cup water
- Rinse the chicken thoroughly inside and out. Pat it dry with paper towels. Combine the salt and herbs and rub them all over the outside of the chicken. Place it in a roasting pan and cover. Refrigerate for 48 hours, turning it over once after about 24 hours.
- (If your roasting pan doesn't have a lid, you can cover yours with aluminum foil and pinch it snugly around the edges of your pan.)
- Remove the cover. Discard any liquid in the pan, and give it a rinse. Place the chicken or turkey on a rack in the roasting pan, breast side up. Season with pepper. Let sit at room temperature for two hours.
- Preheat the oven to 500F. Brush the chicken all over with melted butter. (You can melt the butter by placing it briefly in the preheating oven. Don't forget about it, though!) Roast, uncovered, on lower rack in oven until the breast is golden brown, 30 minutes.
- Remove pan from oven. Reduce temperature to 350F. Pour water into pan. Cover. Return to oven, and roast until the internal temperature reads 165 F, about 2 ½ hours total cooking time for a 7-pound bird.
- Remove chicken or turkey from oven. Tilt to empty cavity juices into pan. Let rest, tented with foil, 20 minutes before carving.
Jenny | The Baking Skillet says
Oh This looks beautiful Cathy! I love roasting whole chickens and I love trying out new methods and recipes. Will definitely give this a shot.
Cathy Brak says
Thank you, Jenny! I'm sure you'll like this, too.
This is a handy guide to roasting poultry! I like your combination of seasonings too. We try to roast a chicken on Sunday so we have leftovers for work lunches and maybe a dinner too!
Cathy Brak says
Thank you, Shareba. Those chicken leftovers are great, aren't they!
Gabrielle @ eyecandypopper says
That chicken looks delicious! I don't eat or cook meat often, but when I do, usually in the cooler weather, I often roast a whole pastured chicken in the oven because I find it so convenient and we can have several meals out of it. I always use the leftovers to make so many dishes, it's great! I do like a yummy crispy skin, and I love the combination of spices you used! Yum!
Cathy Brak says
It really is a great way to cook a rather large amount of meat easily, isn't it! Thanks for stopping by, Gabrielle.
Over the years I have tried so many ways to get a moist turkey from spatchcocking, to high heat to brining to putting butter underneath the skin. Finally this year I used an Instant Pot and it was the best so far - although I really like your combination here I would definitely try it for chicken.
Cathy Brak says
Spatchcocking is definitely faster, but this is a good way to do a little work ahead of time and get great results. I hope you enjoy it!