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Fragrant and juicy dutch oven roast chicken is an easy, comforting dinner. Citrus-herb butter is rubbed on the chicken for a wonderful flavor.
Early on in my kindergarten days, I walked home all by myself from the school. I was rewarded with my choice of dinner. What did my little, picky, five-year-old mind choose that fateful day?
Chicken. Not chicken nuggets, just straight up chicken. For some reason, it was a favorite. Through the years, that has stuck with me, especially as I cook for my own children.
One of my family’s biggest money-saving and sanity-saving tricks is cooking whole chicken. We spatchcock them, stick them in the crockpot, cut them into pieces for barbecue basting, and of course, roast them in the oven.
Roasting a chicken always seems fancy but it’s so easy. Plus, by cooking the veggies right under the chicken, you’ve got a one-pot meal that will satisfy.
This is an ideal Sunday dinner, or for any day you have some extra time to spend on dinner.
Why you’ll love this recipe
It’s super simple. All you need to do is mix up a flavorful herb butter and coat the chicken, plus chop some veggies! The rest of the time is hands off as the chicken roasts and fills the kitchen with an incredible aroma.
It’s customizable. Swap the orange for lemon or use thyme in place of the rosemary. Go with your favorite flavors and instincts!
The sides cook with the chicken so you don’t need to worry about making lots of extra dishes.
Don’t forget to use the carcass to make a batch of homemade chicken broth, too!
Ingredients for dutch oven roast chicken
Whole fryer chicken – I like to buy whole chickens from a local farmer when I can. Wherever you buy your chicken, make sure it is fully thawed before you prepare it, or it will take much longer to cook in the oven.
Some whole chickens have the giblets inside the cavity. Make sure to remove them! You can use the giblets to make stuffing or giblet gravy.
Salt – A rule of thumb for salting chicken is to use 1 teaspoon per pound of chicken.
I use fine sea salt and add it to the butter as well as salting the chicken itself.
Pepper – You can use ground black pepper or crack the pepper directly onto the chicken.
Butter – I use unsalted butter here, simply so I can control the level of salt I am adding. You can use salted butter if you prefer.
Make sure to soften the butter to room temperature.
Orange – You’ll need 1 navel orange. The zest is added to the butter, then the fruit is stuffed into the chicken cavity.
Rosemary – Use 3 to 4 sprigs of fresh rosemary. A sprig is typically 3-4 inches in length.
Onion – White or yellow onion is best for this recipe.
Potatoes – Use either small new potatoes, quartered, or larger potatoes that have been cut into chunks.
Carrots – Cut the carrots into pieces about the same size as the potatoes for even cooking.
How to make this recipe
Heat the oven to 425°F. Get out a dutch oven and lightly coat with nonstick spray.
Wash and chop the potatoes and carrots into even pieces and add to the dutch oven.
Cut the onion into large chunks. Set aside ¼ of the onion and add the rest to the dutch oven. Sprinkle some salt over the vegetables.
Make the herb butter
Add the butter to a small bowl. Zest the orange into the bowl, then quarter the orange and set aside.
Strip the leaves from 2 of the rosemary sprigs, then chop. You want about 1 tablespoon of fresh chopped rosemary, so chop another sprig if needed. Make sure to have 1 sprig remaining to tuck into the chicken cavity.
Add the rosemary and a pinch of salt to the butter, and then mix well. Set aside.
Prepare the chicken
Use a sharp knife or kitchen shears to trim the neck from the chicken. Remove giblets from the cavity, if included.
Rinse out the chicken cavity. Pat chicken dry all over with paper towels and set on a cutting board or large plate.
Take the herb butter and rub it liberally all over the chicken, working it under the skin on the breast as well.
Liberally season the chicken both inside and out with salt and pepper. Set breast-side up.
Tuck the orange quarters, remaining onion, and remaining rosemary into the cavity of the chicken. You might not be able to fit all of the orange; discard any leftover.
Use kitchen twine to tie the legs together. Carefully transfer the chicken to the dutch oven, setting on top of the vegetables breast-side up. If you like, tuck the wings under.
Place in the oven and roast chicken, uncovered, for 15 minutes at 425°F. This helps to crisp the skin.
Reduce heat to 375°F. Continue roasting the chicken for 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 hour 45 minutes, depending on the size of the chicken.
The internal temperature should read 165°F when a probe is inserted into the thickest part of the thigh.
If the chicken is browning too much before the inside is done, place on the dutch oven cover. Otherwise leave it uncovered.
Let the chicken rest, tented with foil, for 15 minutes before slicing and serving.
Resting allows the juices to settle and redistribute through the chicken. Don’t skip this step!
Serve with the roasted veggies on the side.
What size dutch oven do I need to roast a chicken?
This recipe works perfectly in a 5 quart dutch oven. I use an enameled dutch oven. A cast iron dutch oven will also work.
Larger dutch ovens will also work, but a smaller one will be a bit tight for fitting the chicken, unless it is only around 3 pounds.
You do not need the lid for cooking this chicken.
I don’t have a dutch oven, can I use a different pan?
If you don’t have a dutch oven, you can use a regular roasting pan, a deep-sided casserole pan, or a cast iron
Make sure there is enough room for the chicken to sit comfortably on the bed of vegetables.
What size chicken do I need?
Whole chickens can vary quite a bit in size. We usually get chickens that are 4 to 5 pounds.
Keep in mind that the larger the chicken, the longer it will take to fully cook.
How long does it take to roast a chicken?
Estimate for about 20 minutes of roasting time per pound of chicken. That means a 3-pound chicken will take about 1 hour, while a 5-pound chicken will take 1 hour 40 minutes.
However, don’t just use time as an indicator! Use an instant-read thermometer to check the chicken’s internal temperature.
Chicken is fully cooked at 165°F. Make sure to test in the thickest part of the thigh for the most accurate temperature.
If you’re craving a homemade chicken dinner, give this recipe a try!
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It means so much when you enjoy my recipes, so let me know how it goes and leave a comment if you have any questions.
Dutch Oven Roast Chicken
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 1 pound potatoes, cut into large chunks
- 1 pound carrots, cut into large chunks
- 1 onion
- 1 tablespoon fine sea salt
- 1 orange
- 3 to 4 sprigs rosemary
- Ground black pepper
- 4 pound whole chicken
- Preheat oven to 425°F. Lightly coat a dutch oven with nonstick spray.
- Add chopped potatoes and carrots to the dutch oven. Cut onion into large chunks. Set aside ¼ of the onion and put the rest into the pot. Sprinkle with a few pinches of salt.
- In a small bowl, add the butter. Zest the orange over the butter, reserving the rest of the orange. Strip the leaves from 2 or 3 of the rosemary sprigs, then chop finely to yield 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary. Add rosemary to the butter along with a pinch of salt and mix well until evenly distributed.
- Trim neck from chicken and remove giblets (if included). Rinse chicken inside and out and pat dry.
- Rub chicken all over with the butter. Season inside and out with salt and pepper.
- Quarter the reserved orange and place inside the cavity of the chicken along with the reserved onion and remaining rosemary sprig. Tie the chicken legs together with kitchen twine. Transfer the chicken to the pot, setting breast-side up on top of the vegetables. If desired, tuck under the wings.
- Roast for 15 minutes at 425°F, then bring oven down to 375°F. Continue roasting for 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 hour 45 minutes, until internal temperature reaches 165°F with a thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh.
- Let chicken rest, tented with foil, for 15 minutes before serving.
Nutrition information is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate based on online calculators. Any nutritional information found on Stetted should be used as a general guideline only.
I focus on fresh ingredients and easy methods, with spins that keep meals interesting. Dinnertime shouldn’t be stressful or complicated, and I’m here to help you enjoy the time spent in the kitchen. Read more…