The Secret to the Juiciest Whole Roasted Chicken

6 servings
55 min

What is the secret to the juiciest whole roasted chicken? I have the answers for you!

A whole roasted chicken is easy to make and it can be dressed up for an elegant Sunday Dinner or taken apart and used for chicken salad sandwiches.

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Here’s the Secret

The secret is brining! I’m such a fan of brining meat. I brine pork chops, chicken, and our Thanksgiving turkey. I understand that you can also brine shrimp and fish but I have yet to try it. It is now definitely on my to-try list.

What is Brining?

Brining is when you soak your protein in a water, sugar, and salt mixture. I add a little bit more to mine as you will see in my recipe.

The brine brakes down the meat’s muscle fiber and soaks in flavor all the way to the bone. It doesn’t make it salty as some might imagine.

Seasoning Salt

I triple the seasoning salt recipe and always have it on hand in my pantry. Seasoning salt is so versatile. You can use it on meat, vegetables, a salad, basically anything you want to enhance the flavor.

If you need to restrict salt, then there are other options available that are salt-free. My favorites are the Mrs. Dash varieties.

There is nothing like roast chicken. It is helpful and agreeable, the perfect dish no matter what the circumstances. Elegant or homey, a dish for a dinner party or a family summer, it will not let you down.

-Laurie Colwin

How Long do you Brine

You can brine your protein for as little as 30 minutes and up to 24 hours. For a whole chicken or pork roast, my recommendation is closer to the 24-hour mark, however, when I’m making pork chops or chicken breast, I’ve found that 30 minutes works well.

Cooking the Chicken

Investing in a good roasting pan with a rack will be something that will serve you well for years to come. You can use it for roasts, turkey as well as whole chickens. The beauty of a nice big roasting pan is that you can make this a one-pan dish by putting potatoes, carrots, and onions right into the bottom of the pan to cook along with your chicken.

A good digital meat thermometer is also a must in the kitchen. The one that we recently purchased was probably the least expensive and so far our favorite.

Tools you’ll need

Cutting a Whole Chicken

The easiest way to cut up and serve a whole chicken is to cut off the legs, wings, and then the thighs. Slice the breast meat off whole and then cut the breast meat into slices. In our house, no one eats thigh meat but it is very juicy and full of flavor. There is however a fight for the legs or drumsticks!

Farberware Bamboo Cutting Boards, Set of 3

Roasting a whole chicken is pretty straightforward and easy. It’s a great meal that is elegant enough for a Sunday dinner or easy enough for a weeknight meal. The hardest part is that it needs some pre-planning to brine the bird.

We do the exact same thing for our Thanksgiving turkey, we just double or triple the brine. We also use a turkey brining bag.

Now you know The Secret to the Juiciest Whole Roasted Chicken!


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The Secret to the Juiciest Whole Roasted Chicken
Recipe details
  • 6  servings
  • Prep time: 15 Minutes Cook time: 40 Minutes Total time: 55 min
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  • 1 whole roasting chicken 3 lbs
  • 1/2 cup kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 3 tblsp crushed garlic
  • 2 tblsp fresh thyme I just throw a handful of stalks into the brine
  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • water to cover the chicken
Seasoning Salt
  • 1/3 cup kosher salt
  • 1 tblsp paprika
  • 1 tblsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp celery salt
  • softened butter or olive oil
  • seasoning salt

Put about 4 cups of water into a bowl large enough to hold the chicken.
Add all the salt, sugar, lemon juice, garlic, and herbs to the water. Using a wooden spoon, stir until salt and sugar are dissolved.
Rinse your chicken well and don't forget to remove the bag in the cavity that has the giblets etc., I toss this.
Place the chicken, breast side down into the brine and then fill the bowl with more water to cover the chicken
Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerator for up to 24 hours
Seasoning Salt
Mix all the seasoning salt ingredients together in a small bowl. Save any remaining in an airtight container
Baking the Chicken
Pre-heat oven to 375°
Take chicken out of the brine and place it on a rack in a baking pan
Pour about an inch of brine into the bottom of the pan.
Lightly butter or oil the chicken and sprinkle with seasoning salt on both sides.
With the chicken breast side down, place the pan into the oven and cook for 40 – 50 minutes or until the internal meat temperature is 170° (in the thickest part of the thigh – not touching the bone)
  • When my garden is in full bloom, I put other herbs into my brine. Rosemary, Thyme, Lemon Grass and  Oregano all pair well with poultry.
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