Roasted chicken is incredibly easy to make, with beautiful golden brown, crispy skin, brushed with a glaze full of amazing flavor. This simple-to-make whole roasted chicken is perfect for weeknights or a Sunday supper.
There's nothing more satisfying as a cook than a perfectly roasted chicken. It feeds the whole family, it's simple to make, and it doesn't require a lot of fuss but there's a ton of flavor. It's classic comfort food, but in this recipe we are giving it an elevated twist while still keeping it one of my favorite easy family recipes that's perfect for a Sunday supper.
This roasted chicken is based off of The Standard Grill's Million Dollar Chicken recipe. It's a whole chicken, seasoned with fresh herbs, a whole head of garlic and lemon inside the cavity of the chicken, then roasted with an amazing, luxurious creme fraiche glaze made with aleppo pepper, grated shallot, lemon juice and lemon zest, which caramelizes to an absolutely stunning golden brown.
It's a great chicken recipe that anyone can make no matter the cooking skill. (Looking at you, people who want to impress their loved ones with homemade food but burn water. You can make this!)
Then there's the bread, which I promise you: it will get fought over. The chicken roasts on top of the bread in the center of the pan while the creamy sauce and chicken drippings get soaked up by the thick slices of bread that are getting browned and crisped by the bottom of the skillet it's in. Pure heaven.
How to Make Million Dollar Roasted Chicken at Home
This recipe starts by seasoning the chicken inside and out with salt. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels , then season the skin and the cavity of the chicken generously with kosher salt. This can be done a day before, the morning of, or even just 30 minutes to an hour before cooking.
Pro Tip: I always like to make sure I let my proteins come to room temperature to at least shake off the chill from the fridge before cooking them. This helps larger pieces of meat like whole chicken or beef cuts roast more evenly in the oven, so you don't end up with undercooked inner parts and overcooked outer parts.
Truss your chicken's legs with kitchen twine so that the legs don't end up overcooked, too! All you need to do it tie them together with the twine into a knot. It'll get cut off before serving.
Brush on a couple tablespoons of olive oil onto the skin after seasoning it with a few tablespoons of kosher salt and place chicken in a seriously hot 425 degree F oven on top of the sourdough bread slices in a large baking dish or cast iron skillet. Make sure the pan is just a smidge bigger than the chicken is so that the bread soaks up all the drippings from the chicken and the creme fraiche sauce while the chicken roasts.
It'll be a lovely, crispy-skinned bird after 30 minutes!
While it's roasting for about 25-30 minutes, make the creme fraiche glaze in a small bowl. When the chicken is a lovely even golden color and the skin is crisp, brush it generously onto the bird with a pastry brush every 10 minutes until the chicken is fully cooked at 160 degrees F (it'll rise in temperature as it rests to 165 degrees F).
The glaze will melt all over the chicken and caramelize, giving a richer, prettier color while imparting serious flavor.
Let rest for about 10 to 15 minutes so that the juices are redistributed before serving! This makes sure your chicken is extra, extra juicy!
A whole chicken. I used a 4.5 pound roaster chicken, giblets removed. Make sure to use a roaster, fryer, or broiler chicken, these are young birds bred and raised for their meat to be plump and juicy. They usually range from 2.5 pounds up to even 8 pounds, so adjust the roasting time accordingly. I have a little guide in the recipe notes to help with the weight to cook timing.
The best way to ensure your chicken is all the way cooked through is by using an instant read meat thermometer in the thickest part of the thigh. It should read 165 degrees F when it's ready. To make this dish extra special, you could use cornish hens to give everyone their own personal million dollar bird!
Fresh herbs. In the Standard Grill original recipe there's only bay leaf and sprigs of thyme but I like adding a sprig of rosemary and some sage in sometimes, especially during the fall.
A whole head of garlic. This is cut in half horizontally to expose the cloves and both halves are placed into the cavity of the chicken. It's really important to season the inside of your chicken when roasting a whole one, the meat benefits from it so much!
Day old artisan bread. This can't be regular ole sandwich bread. It needs to be a heartier bread. Originally it's sour dough bread, but I like using brioche because it's super buttery and enriched (and I typically have it because we make French Toast all the time). Use whatever artisanal bread you want like a rustic country loaf, Italian bread, ciabatta bread, etc.
A little olive oil. Brush a little light olive oil (not extra virgin) onto the surface of the bird to crisp up the skin for the first 30 minutes, this sets the base for that rich creme fraiche glaze.
Creme Fraiche Million Dollar Sauce Ingredients
This is what turns regular ole roast chicken into amazing, fabulous million dollar chicken. And the best part is that it doesn't require a lot of ingredients or cooking before slathering it all over our chicken. It's so good.
Creme Fraiche. This is sour cream but fancy and French. It's a butterfat-rich thickened cream that's actually really simple to make at home (Creme Fraiche recipe here!) instead of trying to find it at the store. It gives our chicken skin that lovely golden brown caramelized color!
Aleppo Pepper. This pepper is named after a city in Syria (hey, that's where my granddaddy is from!) but it's mostly sourced from Turkey now. It's a pretty mild pepper with a fruity flavor, much like an ancho chili. It's a big flavor enhancer, with a mild heat, so it keeps this dish kid friendly. If you can't find it at your local grocer, you can find aleppo pepper on Amazon. To substitute it, you could use Korean gochugaru flakes or smoked paprika, which is much easier to find at your local stores.
Lemon juice and lemon zest. Use a microplane to zest the lemons without also grating the bitter white pith into your sauce. It'll ruin the entire thing, trust me.
Grated shallot. Grating the shallot gives it more intense flavor and it mixes smoothly into the glaze without having any big chunks that would burn while roasting. You can also use yellow or green onions.
And that's really it for ingredients! Like I said, really simple but it makes such a beautiful and delicious difference to a basic chicken dinner.
What's the Difference between Roasted Chicken and Baked Chicken?
The terms roasting and baking are often used interchangeably when talking about cooking meats like chicken.
Roasted chicken is usually a whole bird, it has structure like other large pieces of meat (pork loin, a chateaubriand, a leg of lamb, for example) where as baking chicken is usually referring to a piece of chicken like a chicken breast or pieces of chicken inside of a casserole where all the ingredients bake together to create a structure, much like a cake.
Roasting is also done at a higher temperature, typically, than baking, so that the Maillard Reaction occurs and makes the skin on our chicken (or roast) golden brown. The majority of the fats for roasting also are on the outside of the food, whereas most things getting baked have the fat on the inside as part of the ingredients to create structure.
How to Store and Reheat
Carve the chicken into serving sizes and store all the parts in airtight containers for up to 5 days in the fridge. To reheat it, you can microwave a serving of chicken until warmed through or reheat at 325 degrees F in the oven until warmed through.
When you are finished with the meat, use the carcass to making a wonderful chicken stock to use for gravy, soup, and sauces!
Side Dishes for Roasted Chicken
I love a whole roasted chicken simply from the comfort factor. Here are some of my favorite cozy sides to eat with it:
Southern Slow Cooked Green Beans. These are super easy, dump all the ingredients in the slow cooker and forget it until dinner time!
Sister Schubert Copycat Parker House Yeast Rolls. Tastes literally identical to the real thing, but with real ingredients. It's freezer friendly too! And nothing is better than rolls covered in butter (especially if you lost out on a piece of that million dollar bread!)
Check out the Side Dish Category for more ideas!
More Chicken Dinners:
- Cozy Chicken a la King
- Spatchcock One-Pan Chicken and Potatoes with Lemon Garlic Pan Sauce
- Chicken and Waffles with Spicy Honey Butter Sauce
- Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
- Atlanta-Style Lemon Pepper Chicken Wings
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- 4 lb Whole Chicken, gizzards removed
- Kosher Salt
- Regular olive oil
- 1 whole head garlic
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 2 slices day old bread (sliced 1 inch thick each)
- 1 lemon, quartered
Creme Fraiche Glaze
- ½ cup (240g) Creme Fraiche
- Zest of 1 lemon
- Juice of ½ lemon
- ½ shallot, grated
- 1 tsp (3g) Aleppo Pepper
- The night before you cook the chicken, pat the skin of the chicken dry season it well inside and out with salt. Stuff the cavity of the chicken with the garlic, the lemon quarters, bay leaf, rosemary, and thyme. Truss the legs with butcher's twine if desired. Refrigerate overnight. This step can be done the day of up to an hour before step two.
- When ready to cook, take the chicken out of the refrigerator for 30 minutes to an hour before you plan to roast it, this will relax the proteins so the skin doesn't rip and the chicken cooks evenly. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).
- While chicken is coming to temperature, mix together all the ingredients for the creme fraiche glaze in a small bowl. Set aside.
- In an oven-safe skillet or cast iron skillet large enough to hold the chicken (but not a ton of empty space, a 10 to 12 inch cast iron or stainless skillet would do), oil the pan lightly with olive oil, place the pieces of bread in the center of the skillet and then put the chicken on top of the bread. Drizzle the bird lightly with olive oil. Place the skillet in the oven and roast for 25-30 minutes.
- Turn down temperature to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C), and use a pastry brush to baste the bird generously with the creme fraiche glaze every 10 minutes until a meat thermometer is 160 degrees F (74 degrees C) when stuck into the thickest part of the chicken thigh. The chicken should be golden brown.
- Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes before serving with the bread in pieces. The temperature will rise while resting to 165 degrees F and the juices will be redistributed into the meat by time to serve.
Time for different weights:
3 lbs: 1 hour
4 lbs: 1.5 hours
5 lbs: 1 hour 45 mins-2 hours
Remember to use a meat thermometer in the thickest part of the chicken's thigh, reaching 160 degrees F, at least (temperature will rise as it rests). This is the best way to ensure a fully cooked chicken.
Substitutes for Aleppo Pepper
Spanish Paprika, Smoked Paprika, or Gochugaru pepper can be used in lieu of Aleppo pepper.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 474Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 857mgSodium: 280mgCarbohydrates: 12gFiber: 1gSugar: 5gProtein: 71g
Eden Westbrook is the recipe developer, writer, and photographer behind Sweet Tea and Thyme. A classically trained chef, Eden has inspired home cooks into the kitchen with cultural comfort foods, easy family-friendly eats and sweets, and glorious spreads for date night and entertaining since 2015.