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RECIPE: Never Fail Roasted Whole Chicken

written by

Eileen Napier

posted on

January 6, 2020


Prep Time: 24 hrs. to thaw 
1hr.+ to marinade 
20 min. to assemble 
1-1.5 hrs. to cook and rest 
Serves: 6 adults


  • 1 whole Ramstead Ranch chicken. These instructions are optimized for a 4 lb bird
  • 3 tsp salt 
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 4 tsp dried herbs (rosemary and/or thyme and/or sage work well)
  • 6 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 small onions
  • Veggies for roasting.  Choose your favorite. We used 1 sweet potato, 1 red potato, 4 medium carrots, and 2 turnips. Rutabagas, beets, and more onions also work well. We tend to use what is available. The combination is always a little different. 
  • Optional for added zing--add a handful of dried cherries or raisins 


  1. Thaw chicken in refrigerator. Thawing will take ~24 hrs.  Remove giblets from carcass, rinse and pat dry.  
  2. Mix half the spices in a small bowl with 3 Tbs olive oil. Rub the oil-spice mixture all over the chicken, inside and out. Allow to marinate in the fridge for at least an hour and up to overnight.
  3. Preheat oven to 400 F. 
  4. Prepare your bird’s bed. Cube the veggies for roasting to ~½ inch (Leave the onions alone. You'll use them in a minute.)  
  5. Combine the other half of the spices and oil with the chopped veggies and toss them in a ziploc bag or in a big bowl.
  6. Put veggies into a 9 x 12-glass baking dish or 9-inch cast iron pan or Dutch oven. I usually outgrow my pan due to excessive veggie volume. 
  7. Use two onions to arrange "a rack" to receive the bird. Cut two small onions in half and arrange them so they will keep the cooking bird out of the vegetables underneath. Note:  you can use a metal rack in place of the onions, but then you can’t eat it. 
  8. Remove your bird from the fridge. If you used fresh herbs in your marinade remove them from the outside of the bird so they don’t singe while cooking.
  9. Set your bird on the onion rack breast side down and put your pan in the hot oven.
  10. Cook for 40 minutes, then flip the bird to be breast side up.
  11. Cook for additional 30 minutes. The goal is to achieve a temperature of 160 F in the breast.
  12. If the skin on the chicken is not a golden brown when the breast meat is 160 F, turn your oven broiler on high. IMPORTANT: this process takes ~3 minutes. Do not leave the kitchen. Do not check your social media. Crack the oven door and watch as your chicken skin sizzles and turns a crispy golden brown before your eyes. If you over-do this step, the breast meat will become dry and tough.
  13. Remove from oven, allow the meat to rest for 10 minutes, and serve!

Need help with carving that beautiful bird when it comes out of the oven? Watch this 6 1/2 min. how-to video that shows you the 3 simple steps you need to know.

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