The smell of garlic, rosemary, and thyme welcome you to the table. The layers of tender juicy meat beneath the crispy golden skin seal the deal.  The ingredients are minimal because the secret to making a bird this perfect is in the technique. Our garlic butter roast chicken recipe shows you exactly how to make this simple but beautiful dish.  

Garlic butter roast chicken in roasting pan.

There are some nights when all I want is roast chicken.  I find myself thinking about it all day long and by the time dinner comes around I must have it!

Many in my position might just run out to the store, grab an already made chicken and call it a day.

But what if you could make way better chicken seasoned just the way you like it at home in about an hour?

Garlic butter roast chicken is pretty easy and has very few ingredients. 

In fact, the only “special” ingredients needed are thyme and rosemary.  Everything else like garlic, butter, olive oil, salt, and pepper are just staples.

And the chicken.  I like to pick up a chicken on my usual weekly shopping trip because I find that one way or another, it gets used.  So chicken is a staple for me too.

That’s it for ingredients – sometimes the most basic things are the best.

I’ll usually serve my roasted chicken with scalloped potatoes, or roasted potatoes and a simple green salad. 

My wife and kids devour this meal and ask me to make it frequently!

Ingredients shown: Whole chicken, butter, garlic, fresh rosemary and thyme.

How to make it

Each number corresponds to the numbered written steps below.

  1. Preheat your oven to 450f and set the rack to the middle level.  Also, mince 3 cloves of garlic, 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, 3 tablespoons fresh rosemary, and slice one head of garlic in half.

Garlic butter roast chicken recipe process shot collage group number one.

  1. Drizzle the 3 tablespoons of melted butter and 2 tablespoons of olive oil all over the chicken. Use your hands and get it all over.
  2. Season the inside of the chicken with 1 teaspoon of kosher salt and the outside with another 1 1/2 teaspoons.  Season all over with 1 teaspoon of cracked black pepper and rub in the herbs and the garlic as well. Try to get the seasonings under the skin as well as on top. Place the cut head of garlic inside the chicken’s cavity.  Note: Use garlic powder instead of garlic if you intend to make a pan sauce or gravy.  The fallen garlic pieces will burn in the bottom of the pan.

Recipe process shot collage group number two.

  1. Tie the legs together with kitchen twine and tuck the wing tips under the chicken.
  2. Roast the chicken “breast” side down for 30 minutes.

Recipe process shot collage group number three.

  1. Flip the chicken over to “breast” side up.  
  2. Baste with the pan juices. Return chicken to the oven and continue cooking until the temperature reaches ~160f in the deepest part of the breast (about 30 more minutes).

Recipe process shot collage group number four.

  1. For more color broil the top for the last 1-2 minutes if desired.  Here in pic 8 above, the chicken is perfectly cooked with the breast reading 159f.  Set the chicken onto a carving board and tent with foil for 10-15 minutes before carving and eating.  The juices will settle and the internal temp will continue to rise to about 165f which is considered the proper temperature for safe to eat chicken breast.

Roast chicken being sliced with fork and knife.

Top tips for the BEST roast chicken

  • Really dry your chicken.  I can’t stress enough how important it is to make sure your chicken is dry.  Drying the chicken helps to ensure that it roasts instead of steams.  This helps prevent rubbery chicken.  Simply dry the chicken with paper towels on both the outside and the inside.
  • Double down on the garlic.  This recipe is for GARLIC butter roast chicken with a strong emphasis on garlic.  That’s because I use it on top of the chicken (along with the herbs) and on the inside.  Placing a whole head of garlic (with the top removed) into the cavity of the chicken ups the garlic factor immensely resulting in outstanding flavor.  As noted in the process shots above, use garlic powder instead of minced garlic if you intend to make a pan sauce.  The minced pieces will fall off and get too burnt in the pan to make a sauce. 
  • Crispy golden skin.  The best way to achieve a roast chicken with beautiful color is to broil the top for the last 1-2 minutes.  This helps crisp up the skin and creates a beautiful golden color.  Just watch carefully! 
  • Let it rest.  To ensure the chicken is as juicy as can be, it’s important to let it rest after leaving the oven.  Let the chicken rest for about 15 minutes and tent it with foil to keep it warm.  At this point, your kitchen will smell so incredible and you may be tempted to dive right in, but patience is key here.  

Roast chicken leg held in hands.

Our favorite chicken recipes

Chicken is such a versatile ingredient and can be used in so many dishes.  Here are a few of our favorite ways to enjoy this incredible bird.

  • Chicken Vesuvio – One pan dish with chicken pieces, potato wedges, and green peas in a lemon garlic white wine sauce.
  • Chicken Scarpariello – Crispy chicken pieces, potatoes, bell peppers, and garlic in a vinegary white wine sauce.
  • Chicken Cacciatore – Rustic Italian dish with chicken parts, tomatoes, garlic, onion, and green and black olives.
  • Italian baked chicken with potatoes – Chicken pieces and potatoes with garlic, onion, parsley, and oregano all roasted to perfection.
  • Grilled chicken thighs – Marinated in homemade Italian dressing, these are perfect for summer and so easy!

If you’ve enjoyed this garlic butter roast chicken recipe or any recipe on this site, give it a 5-star rating and leave a review.

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Garlic Butter Roast Chicken

5 from 11 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 1 hour
Resting Time: 10 minutes
Total: 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings: 4
Simple recipe of whole chicken topped with rosemary, thyme, butter and garlic and roasted until golden outside and juicy inside.

Ingredients 

  • 1 4-5 pound whole chicken neck and giblets removed
  • 3 cloves garlic minced, see notes below
  • 1 head garlic cut in half
  • 3 tablespoons butter melted
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 1/2 tesapoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons thyme chopped
  • 3 tablespoons rosemary chopped

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 450f and set rack to middle level.
  • Dry off the chicken very well with paper towels both on both the outside and inside of the bird. Place the chicken into a roasting pan with a wire rack insert. Drizzle the melted butter and olive oil all over the chicken. Use your hands and get it all over.
  • Season the inside of the chicken with 1 teaspoon of kosher salt and the outside with the remaining salt. Season all over with pepper and rub in the herbs and the garlic as well. Try to get the seasonings under the skin as well as on top. Place the cut head of garlic inside the chicken's cavity.
  • Tie the legs together with kitchen twine and tuck the wing tips under the chicken.
  • Roast the chicken "breast" side down for 30 minutes then flip over to breast side up and baste with the pan juices. Return chicken to the oven and continue cooking until the temperature reaches 160f in the deepest part of the breast (about 30 more minutes). For more color broil the top for the last 1-2 minutes if desired.
  • Tent the chicken with foil and allow it to rest for 15 minutes prior to slicing to lock in the juices.

Notes

  • The exact cooking time will vary based on the size of the chicken.  An internal temperature of 160f into the deepest part of the breast is fully cooked.
  • If you want to use the pan juices for gravy or a pan-sauce, use garlic powder instead of fresh garlic.  Fresh garlic will burn after an hour of cooking. 
  • Leftovers can be saved in the fridge for up to 3 days and can be reheated in the oven or microwave.

Nutrition

Calories: 558kcal | Protein: 36.8g | Fat: 45.4g | Saturated Fat: 15.2g | Cholesterol: 189mg | Sodium: 1655mg | Potassium: 3mg | Calcium: 3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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22 Comments

  1. Dale Hager says:

    5 stars
    Going to the store now to get the chicken, can’t wait any longer!

  2. Jerry Homola says:

    5 stars
    All the recipes that I have made are really good thus far. Thanks for posting these recipes.

  3. Laureen says:

    Trying your way! I usually roast in a covered dutch oven. Smells great already! Thank you.

  4. Ana Coeur Doll says:

    5 stars
    Always look forward to your recipes! Especially when you post yummy low carb ones!