There is something special about roasting a whole chicken. It announces festivity. But it is also often more cost-effective than buying it already cut into pieces. It may seem intimidating, but once you’ve done it a couple of times it’s not difficult at all.

I spatchcocked the chicken before I cooked it. Spatchcocking is also often referred to as butterflying the chicken. You can ask your butcher to do it for you, or you can do it yourself with kitchen shears or a sharp(ish) knife. It’s a way to flatten the chicken and help it cook faster and more evenly. There are lots of tutorials online showing how to do it, and I recommend watching a couple before you start.


  • 1 whole chicken
  • 1 cup loosely packed fresh herbs (I used half-dill, half-parsley)
  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • 8 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 lemon, juice and zest
  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 450°F (230°C).
  2. Roughly chop your herbs (you can chop them finer or even mince them if you prefer, I just don’t have patience for that), crush the garlic and zest the lemon into a small bowl. Add the juice of the lemon, the olive oil, ½ tsp kosher salt, and mix. Set aside.
  3. Clear a space and take out your chicken. Google “how to spatchcock a chicken” and watch someone doing it. Spatchcocking a chicken helps it cook more evenly, so the breast doesn’t dry out before the legs are cooked through. It also cooks much quicker. You basically want to remove the spine, so you cut down both sides, through the ribcage, until you can remove the spine. You can use a sharp knife or kitchen scissors. Then turn the chicken over and press down on the breast-bone, until it cracks and the chicken lays flat. (Your best bet is to Google and watch someone else doing it once; then it’s easy to replicate.)
  4. Use a roasting dish or other heavy pan. I lined mine with foil for easier cleanup, but it’s not necessary. Place the chicken upside down and season the underside with salt and pepper. Flip it over, and use your hands to gently separate the skin from the flesh on the breasts and the thighs, making sure not to tear the skin. You have to do this slowly and patiently.
  5. With your hands, spread the herb and oil mixture under the skin, trying to evenly distribute it. Save a little oil in the bowl and brush it over the outside of the skin, then season with salt and pepper.
  6. Bake in the top third of the oven until an internal thermometer reads 165°F (75°C) at the thickest part of the thigh. The timing will depend on the type of pan you use, the size of your chicken, and how hot your oven runs. Mine was perfect at 40 minutes.
  7. Let the chicken rest for 15-20 minutes before carving.
  8. Optional: Throw some veggies on the pan to cook with the chicken. You could use potatoes, carrots, onions, sweet potatoes, etc. Vegetables that cook more quickly - like green beans, broccoli, etc, should be added about halfway through the cooking.