Ina Garten's Perfect Roast Chicken


I'm pretty sure I'm the authority on roast chicken now. Well, technically Ina Garten's the authority because she told me what to do for the most part — I tinkered with her recipe only a little bit.

I cannot stress how good (and cheap) this was. I like playing with spices and herbs a lot, but this recipe only has a handful of ingredients. It is an edible statement of how the simple way is sometimes the best way.

It was well-worth the giblet-induced dry heaving (don't worry, I recovered and then thought about making giblet gravy, but I think I'll work up to that).

Ina Garten's Perfect Roast Chicken

gluten-free, paleo + whole30 approved | lightly adapted from the one-and-only Ina Garten


  • a whole chicken (5-6 lbs)
  • 2 lemons (one sliced into rings; one cut in half)
  • 4-6 carrots, cut into chunks
  • 1 bulb fennel, with the tops removed and cut into wedges
  • 2 onions, thickly sliced
  • olive oil
  • salt and black pepper
  • 1.5 bunches of fresh thyme (~1.5 packages from the grocery store)
  • 8 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1 head of garlic cloves, cut in half so all the cloves are exposed


  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Line a 13x9 baking pan or a roasting pan with foil and create a single layer of lemon slices on the bottom.
  3. Toss the veggies with olive oil, 1/2 package worth of thyme leaves (about 20 sprigs), salt and pepper and throw them in on top of the lemons slices.
  4. Prep the chicken by removing the giblets (ew, but necessary), rinsing the chicken inside and then patting everything very dry. That will ensure crisp skin.
  5. Liberally salt and pepper the inside of the chicken and stuff with whole sprigs of thyme and rosemary, plus the lemon halves and garlic cloves.
  6. Truss the chicken with a string (video tutorial).
  7. Rub the chicken skin with olive oil, salt and pepper (liberally again) and then set the chicken on top of the veggies (or on the roasting rack).
  8. Roast for 1 hour and 20 minutes.
  9. Cover with a foil tent and let rest for 20 minutes (check for a 165 F temp to make sure it's cooked through before removing from the oven). 
  10. Carve and eat.


  • The veggies are amazing in this dish. However, you don't want to crowd the pan too much or the veggies will sort of steam instead. If you want more veggies, grab another sheet pan and roast some more there (they will take less time — maybe 40-50 minutes). Then, before serving, mix those in with the other veggies (since the ones in the roasting pan will be soaking up all the chicken-y goodness).
  • For herbs, I ended up buying one package of thyme and one of poultry herbs (thyme, rosemary and sage mix). I just set the sage aside to use in another recipe and that left me with all the herbs needed for this chicken.
  • Make paleo giblet gravy using the cooked/chopped giblets, meat juices at the bottom of the pan, arrowroot powder, etc. Nomnom.
  • The original recipe called for 1.5 hours of roasting time, but I'm glad I accidentally took this out 10 minutes early so it didn't dry out. It was a big bird too. That said, everybody's oven is different.
  • Here's a handy carving tutorial (with a French accent, because of course).
  • Leftovers! The leftovers are totally delicious as is, but if you want to switch it up you now have chicken ready to throw in to a curry chicken salad, tacos, chili, tamales, etc.