This Slow Roasted Chicken Recipe makes it easy to cook up a perfect roast chicken every time, with juicy flavorful meat that practically falls off the bone, golden brown skin, and luscious pan juices (to spoon over mashed potatoes!)
With garlic and spices slathered all over the chicken, and the gentle heat of a 300ºF oven for three hours, this chicken gets meltingly tender, soaking up all the incredible flavors of the garlic and spice mixture into every delicious bite!
The Best Way to Roast A Chicken
Every home cook needs a great roast chicken recipe in their repertoire. Roasting a whole chicken is not hard to do, yet if you get it wrong, you can end up with rubbery drumsticks, dried out breast meat and soggy skin - a very sad situation.
There are so many ways to roast a chicken it's almost dizzying. Some recipes focus on super crisp skin, others have a special two-sided cooking technique designed to keep the breasts moist, some include vegetables for a full roasted dinner in one pot.
Out of all the roasted chicken recipes that I've seen and tried, this slow roasted chicken is one of the easiest methods I know, and it's fail proof. You get a perfect roast chicken every time!
Here’s what I love about this slow roasted chicken recipe:
- The prep time is only 15-20 minutes
- The lemon, garlic, fennel and thyme create amazing flavor
- Though the cook time is long - 3 hours - there's no basting or fuss. You just set it and forget it.
- As the chicken roasts, the house fills up with a heavenly aroma
- Because the oven heat is so low - 300ºF/150ºC - there's no risk that the chicken will dry out or that the garlic and herbs on top will burn. With this method, even the white meat is juicy and tender.
How To Slow Roast A Whole Chicken In The Oven
Here's how to do it: coat the chicken with the garlic and spice mixture, inside and out; stuff the cavity with more garlic, a sliced lemon, and fresh thyme; tie up the legs; and roast the chicken in a 300ºF/150ºC oven for three hours.
- Start by Preheating the oven to 300ºF. While it's heating, make the garlic and spice mixture: Whisk the olive oil, garlic, fennel, salt, and red pepper flakes in a small bowl. Spoon it over, under and inside the chicken, and use your hands to spread it evenly over every surface of the chicken, making sure there's plenty on top of the breasts, which will soak up all those delicious flavors. This is the perfect combination of flavors for an incredibly delicious roasted chicken.
- Stuff the cavity of the chicken with lightly crushed garlic cloves, the sliced lemon, and the fresh thyme.
- Truss the chicken: Tie the chicken's legs together with kitchen twine. This will help the chicken cook evenly (more about trussing below).
- Roast the chicken in the oven for three hours. No need to baste it or to even check on it. Just set the timer and when you come back, you'll have a perfect roast chicken!
- Wait 15 minutes before carving. When you take the chicken out of the oven, it needs a little time to cool down a bit and redistribute its juices.
How to Slice and Serve A Whole Slow Roasted Chicken
This slow roasted chicken cooks up so tender and easy to slice, I often cut it up right in the roasting pan. Transferring it to a cutting board works well too! Here's my favorite way to slice and serve a roast chicken.
- First cut the chicken into eight pieces: two breasts, two thighs, two drumsticks, and two wings. Then cut each breast crosswise into five or six slices. That way everyone can have a thigh or a leg plus a couple of pieces of white meat.
- Arrange the chicken pieces on a platter or, even easier, in the same pan you used to roast it. Nestle the pieces into the pan juices, put the lemon slices around (they're delicious by the way), and sprinkle some thyme leaves around, or chopped parsley, for color.
- For the perfect roast chicken dinner, serve this chicken with mashed potatoes and a leafy salad with bright citrusy dressing.
Three Tips for making the best whole roasted chicken:
- Let the chicken come to room temperature before roasting it. If you put a cold chicken in the oven, it will lower the oven temperature; the chicken won't cook as evenly; and your recipe timing will be off. A half an hour out of the fridge is plenty of time for the chicken to come to room temperature.
- Pat the skin dry with paper towels. The drier the better if you want the chicken skin to brown. A wet chicken will create a steamy oven which can result in soggy skin. Some chefs recommend salting the chicken and putting it in the fridge overnight, uncovered to dry it out completely before roasting it. Some even recommend using a hair dryer! Or you can buy an air chilled chicken, which is low-moisture. Personally, I'm very happy with the paper towel method.
- Truss the Chicken (tie the legs together). The key here is to tie the ends of the legs together, which helps the chicken cook evenly. When the legs are tight against the breasts, both are less likely to dry out. Also, trussing the chicken closes up the cavity and prevents hot air from circulating in there and drying out the breasts.
Here's the Slow Roasted Chicken Recipe. If you try this, I hope you'll come back to leave a star rating and a comment. I'd love to know what you think!Print
Slow Roasted Chicken: A Perfect Roast Chicken Every Time
- Total Time: 3 hours 15 minutes
- Yield: 4 servings 1x
This low and slow cooking technique is an easy, no fail recipe for making a perfect whole roast chicken in the oven, with meltingly tender flavorful meat, golden brown skin, and luscious pan juices.
- 3 ½-4 pound chicken
- 8 medium garlic cloves, divided
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons of ground fennel seed (even better if you freshly crush 2 teaspoons of fennel seeds with mortar and pestle)
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (or 1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper flakes)
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 lemon, thinly sliced
- 1 whole bunch of fresh thyme
- Preheat the oven to 300ºF (not convection) and arrange a rack in the center position. Remove the chicken from the fridge so it has time to come to room temperature before you roast it (see notes below).
- Squeeze 3 of the garlic cloves through a garlic press or finely mince them, and put them into a small mixing bowl. Add the olive oil, salt, fennel, red pepper flakes, and black pepper. Mix thoroughly and set aside.
- Remove the giblet pouch from the cavity of the chicken (if there is one); rinse the chicken inside and out with cold water and pat it very dry with paper towels, inside and out. Place the chicken, breast side up, in a roasting pan.
- Coat the chicken with the garlic and spice mixture, spooning it on, under and inside the chicken, and using your hands to spread it around evenly, making sure there's plenty on top of the breasts.
- Lightly crush the remaining 5 garlic cloves (see notes below) and stuff them into the cavity of the chicken. Set aside a few sprigs of fresh thyme to use as a garnish and stuff the rest into the chicken, along with the sliced lemon. Tie the chicken's legs together with twine (see notes below) and roast it in the oven uncovered for 3 hours, undisturbed.
- Remove the pan from the oven and let the chicken rest in its juices for fifteen minutes before carving. Cut it into eight serving pieces and then cut each breast crosswise, into 5 or 6 thin slices, if you like. Transfer the chicken to a serving platter or, even easier, serve it right in the roasting pan. Nestle the chicken pieces into the pan juices, scatter the cooked lemons around, and garnish with reserved thyme sprigs.
Three Tips for making the best roast chicken:
- Bring the chicken to room temperature before roasting it. If you put an ice cold chicken in the oven, it will lower the oven temperature; the chicken won't cook evenly; and your timing will be off. Make sure the chicken is out of the fridge for a half hour to 45 minutes, before roasting it.
- Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. The drier the better if you want the skin to brown.
- Truss the Chicken (tie the legs together). When the legs are tied together, they're held tight against the breasts and both the legs and breasts are less likely to dry out. Also, trussing closes up the cavity of the chicken, which prevents hot air from circulating in there and drying out the breasts.
How to lightly crush and peel garlic: Place an unpeeled garlic clove under the flat side of a large kitchen knife and pound the top side of the knife with the heel of your hand (VERY CAREFULLY, AVOIDING THE BLADE), to lightly crush the garlic. The skin will come off easily.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 3 hours
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Roast
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: How to roast a chicken, oven roasted chicken, roasted whole chicken
Do you cover the chicken?
No - you don't need to cover the chicken. At that low temperature the skin won't burn.
Amazing - the chicken remain moist and melts off the bones - i like cooking it on a bed of onion coursely cut in rings to soak in all those lovely juices and have on the side
The bed of onions sounds amazing! Thanks for your note. I'm glad this recipe worked out well for you.
The most flavorful, tenderest roast chicken ever! I'm delighted to discover your recipe… made it twice in 2 weeks. I've been roasting chickens for decades, so why is your recipe such a standout? Well, your garlic-herb-oil preparation really penetrates the meat with flavor. Fennel is a new twist for me. Also, roasting at low temperature for a long time must be a piece of long-lost ancestral wisdom. Thank you for sharing your discoveries!
I tried a variation that made it even more awesomely delicious: Stuffed the cavity with chopped leek, carrot, celery, parsley and a bay leaf. I'll only go to that extra trouble on the most special occasions because your original recipe is superb.
Like another commenter I couldn’t keep the bird in the oven for the full 3 hrs because it was falling off the bone and reaching the target temperature after 2 hrs 20 min. Maybe my oven needs adjusting? Next time I’ll lower the temp.
Hi Missy - Thank you so much for your detailed review and for sharing your special stuffing - sounds delicious! I'm thrilled the recipe worked out so well for you!
Can I use butter instead of oil?
Yes - definitely!
Does the weight of the chicken determine how long I should leave the chicken in for? I see the recipe is for a 3-4 pound bird, my my bird is 7 pounds.
It should take longer longer for such a large chicken. The best way to check for doneness is to use an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh. (Take care not to touch the bone with the thermometer.) It should read 165 degrees. I suggest you check after 3 hours and then again in 20 or 30 minute intervals. I hope you enjoy the roast chicken!
What if i do not have a roasting pan?
Hi Monica, a large cast iron skillet will work, or a rimmed baking sheet covered with foil. You need some sort of cooking vessel that's large enough to hold the chicken, that can go in the oven, and that has a rim so the juices don't spill out.
I did not truss it and it did dry out I questioned the temp of my over and questioned the recipe…thought maybe it was based on a much bigger roaster than mine so went back and re read and found exactly what was described from not tying up the bird had happened to me .., don’t get me wrong wasn’t ruined but breast was dry
Thanks for circling back about this Steve. I think it's really helpful to other people wanting to try this recipe, to get this kind of feedback. I appreciate the 5 star review and I hope that means you enjoyed the meal 🙂
This was the best slow roasted chicken we have had!! Super moist and tasty!! I used 1/2 the garlic amount and substituted 2tsps of Herbs from Provence for the ground fennel and the thyme sprigs. I will be making this again.
Hi Angela - Thanks for sharing your substitutions - I'm so glad you enjoyed the chicken!
Yup - you nailed it. Very moist and tender even a day later for leftovers. A little unsure of oven settings so went for 160c over fan heat for three hours. Perfect.
I'm so glad you enjoyed!
What if I am cooking two whole chickens in one pan, how do I alter the time, or is it still 3 hours?
Hi Bobbie - good question. The cooking time should be the same for two chickens. The slow steady heat in the oven will cook two chickens in the same amount of time - the only difference is it may take a few minutes longer to get the oven back up to temperature after you put the two chickens in the oven. I suggest you take them out of the fridge for a half hour or so and let them come to room temp. Then prep and cook them. Check them after 3 hours. They may need an extra 15 minutes, but no more than that, and they will likely be done in 3 hours.
The best roasted chicken ever!
Tender, juicy, lots of pan gravy.
Wonderful news! I'm so glad you enjoyed the chicken Lisa 🙂
How would you modify this recipe for a "spatch-cocked" or butterflied chicken? Thank you.
Hi Audrey - I actually have a fantastic recipe for a butterflied chicken cooked in a cast iron skillet. It has some of the same flavors as the slow roasted chicken. See if this work for you and let me know if you need more help with this. https://www.panningtheglobe.com/mustard-garlic-butterflied-roasted-chicken/
Super confused that my chicken came to temperature (on a meat thermometer) after just an hour and a half!
Is this not something to follow and let it cook for another hour and a half?
Hi Sophie, I've never checked the temp halfway through so I'm not sure if that's normal. What size chicken did you use? Was your oven set on convection? If so, it will cook a lot quicker. I hope you enjoy the end product!
Wonderful, if you have the time. Make a gravy with the juices!
I'm so glad you enjoyed!!
Very Tasty! I laid it on a bed of vidalia onions.
I was searching for the perfect roasted chicken recipe and I am happy I came across your page. The chicken does take time to cook but it was roasted to perfection. Every piece was moist. Thank you for your recipe! I will make this again.
HI Kelley - I'm so glad the roasted chicken recipe worked out well for you. Thanks for circling back to let me know!
Recipe looks easy but do I cover the chicken or leave it uncovered?
Hi Dave - sorry if the recipe was unclear on this point. You should leave it uncovered. I hope you enjoy!
Best whole roasted chicken I have ever made!! I love it! Thanks for such a wonderful recipe.
Amber Lynn Jones
The easiest recipe to follow and the best I have tried so far! The family loved it!
So great to hear - I'm happy you all enjoyed!
Turned out tender moist and flavorful! My new favorite way to cook a whole chicken!
Hey Pam - thank you for coming back to leave a comment - I'm so happy you enjoyed the chicken!
Can I use the same cook temp and time with half a chicken? I don’t want it to dry out
Hi Karen - Half a chicken will cook faster than a whole chicken. I suggest that you keep the temperature the same and check the chicken for doneness after 2 hrs and 15 min and if it's not done, check after another 15 minutes. I doubt it will take longer than 2 1/2 hours.
So good! Literally fall off the bone...just enough spice, but the natural flavor of good old roasted chicken was still there. Will become a regular in our chicken rotation.
I'm really glad you enjoyed Joel, and I love your description of the dish. 🙂
Convection bake or roast or regular bake?
Regular bake. Thanks for asking. I'd better be more specific in the recipe. Convention would be way too hot. I hope you enjoy!
I can't turn off the convection iny UK oven. What temperature should I go down to?
300F converts to 150C but if you have a convection/fan oven, it would be 130C. I hope that helps - hope you enjoy!