This easy roasted whole chicken is a versatile and impressive dish that's perfect for any special occasion or even just a weeknight dinner. Check out all of our tips and tricks for a chicken that is crispy on the outside and perfectly juicy on the inside.
Prepare the rub: Mash the minced garlic and salt together on a cutting board to form a paste. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in 1 tablespoon lemon juice (from 1 quarter of lemon), lemon zest, olive oil, Italian seasoning, and black pepper.
Dry and season the chicken: Use paper towels to pat the chicken dry inside and out with paper towels. Remove as much moisture as you can (this will give you beautiful, golden crispy, skin). Place the chicken on a large plate and loosen the skin from the breast meat and the legs. You can do this by just inserting your fingers between the skin and the flesh. Rub ⅓ of the Italian seasoning rub on the flesh, ⅓ on the skin, and ⅓ inside the cavity of the chicken. Stuff the chicken with remaining lemon and quartered onion.
Truss the chicken: Take kitchen string and truss the chicken by tucking the wings under the chicken, placing twine under the chicken, pulling it up on each side, crossing it over the breast like an X then tying the legs together. If you don’t have kitchen twine you can skip the trussing. It’s not the end of the world, but it does help the chicken cook more evenly.
Air dry the chicken: Place the chicken, uncovered in the refrigerator for 24 hours. (This step is optional, but if you have the time take it. It gives the salt in the rub time to penetrate the meat which makes the chicken juicy and not dry. It also drys the skin of chicken making it extra crispy and golden.
Preheat the oven: Preheat the oven to 375°F.
Season (again) and bake: Remove the chicken from the fridge it will look emaciated and you will think you did something wrong. You did not. Stick with me here! Rub the chicken with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, then sprinkle on ½ teaspoon of kosher salt and ½ teaspoon of Italian seasoning.
Roast the chicken: Transfer chicken to a cast iron skillet (or oven safe dish) and place in the oven for 1 hour and 20 minutes or until an instant read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast reads 165°F.
Spices: I used our homemade Italian seasoning recipe for this chicken, but if you can also use a combination of spices like rosemary, oregano and thyme. I also love Herbs de Provence on chicken so if you have that in your cupboard feel free to swap it. You can keep it simple too -- try it with just salt, pepper, lemon and thyme. Always a winning combo!
Air drying: When air drying the chicken leave it uncovered in the fridge.
Cast iron skillet optional: If you don't have an oven safe skillet, don't worry about it. Just make this chicken on a baking sheet. I like to place a cooling rack on top of a baking sheet, then place the chicken on that for better air circulation.