Whole Roast Chicken

I’ve been wanting to make a whole roast chicken for awhile now. I know that it’s super easy, and more economical and sustainable than just cooking up chicken pieces. Plus, it feels very “grown up” to know how to cook a whole chicken.

Well I finally I got the little push I needed to embark on my chicken cooking adventure. I’m scheduled to take SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth) test this week. Part of the prep for this test is that the day before you can only eat protein - baked chicken and fish, eggs and other lean cuts of meat (with minimal seasonings and oil). I figured now was the perfect time to make a chicken since I needed quite a bit of it to eat during my test prep.

Side note: I’m sharing more of my gut healing adventures on Instagram as I do tests, learn more about my digestion and self experiment. If you’re interested in that process, make sure you’re following along there.

This whole roast chicken recipe was easy and oh so delicious! My chicken turned out perfectly cooked - still moist and juicy with good flavor from the salt and lemon. Best of all, I’m proud of myself for learning something new and I’m looking forward to having this recipe in my regular rotation.

Whole Roast Chicken.jpg

Whole Roast Chicken

inspired by Roast Chicken with Lemons from Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan


  • A 3- to 4- pound chicken

  • 1 or 2 lemons (small enough to fit in the cavity of your chicken)

  • About 1 tbsp sea salt

  • Fresh ground black pepper, to taste


  1. Preheat your oven to 350.

  2. Prepare your chicken. Wash (if desired) and pat dry with paper towels. Let any water or liquid drain from the chicken. Then, sprinkle the salt all over and inside the chicken and massage gently.

  3. Prepare the lemons. Wash and dry the lemons. Roll them out a few times on your countertop (this helps get the juices flowing). Poke 15-20 holes in each lemon using a sharp knife, toothpick or fork (this prevents the lemons from exploding during the cooking process).

  4. Place lemon or lemons inside the bird’s cavity. If you’re able, close up the opening with string (I didn’t have any so just used the excess skin to close up the cavity loosely).

  5. Put the chicken into a roasting pan, breast side down. Sprinkle generously with black pepper.

  6. Cook for 30 minutes. Remove the chicken, flip (breast side up) and cook for an additional 30 minutes.

  7. Turn the oven up to 400 and cook for 10-20 more minutes. At this point the skin should start to get brown and crispy. After 10 minutes, check the meat - it’s done when the meat is firm (not jiggly) and juices run clear. If there’s any question, cook for another 5-10 minutes.

  8. Remove chicken from the oven and let rest for 10-15 minutes before carving. The juices in the pan are delicious and can be served as a simple gravy or used to make a more intricate dressing.

What’s one recipe that you’re proud of yourself for trying at home?

Leave a comment below and let me know!