Roast chicken in a Dutch oven is an easy one-pan dinner with a few simple ingredients for an elegant and cozy weekend dinner. This roast chicken recipe includes carrots, onions, garlic, and thyme for a flavorful chicken and a delicious side dish all in one pot!
I can’t tell you how many roast chickens I’ve made over the years, how many different recipes I’ve used, and how many methods I’ve tried.
I’ve made chickens in cast iron pans, in roasting pans, on wire racks in baking pans, and in stainless steel skillets. But none of those cooking vessels and none of the methods I’ve tried compares to this one.
What I love most about this recipe is how evenly the chicken roasts and how the vegetables under the chicken caramelize in the pan as they cook in the chicken juices. This roast chicken recipe is by far my FAVORITE way to cook a whole chicken and I can honestly say that the hour and a half is totally worth the wait.
There’s no more cozy meal than a whole roasted chicken, and this Dutch Oven Whole Roast Chicken recipe is so easy! This oven roasted chicken is has crispy skin on all parts with tender, juicy meat underneath.
This is your basic shopping list for this roast chicken recipe. You can get the full list of measurements and instructions in the recipe card below!
- Whole chicken
- Fresh thyme
- Olive oil
- Onions, white or sweet
- Salt and pepper
- Chicken broth
How to Roast a Chicken in a Dutch Oven
Dutch oven roast chicken is a great dinner party dish or for a cozy weekend meal! Here’s a quick list of the steps for making it, but be sure read the full recipe in the card below.
STEP 1: Preheat the oven with a rack set in the second slot from the bottom. Make sure your Dutch oven fits before you preheat!
STEP 2: Drain and dry your chicken with paper towels. Stuff the bird with lemon, shallots, thyme, salt, and pepper.
STEP 3: Truss the chicken with kitchen twine. If you’ve never done this before, you simply tie the wings together and the legs together across the top of the breast. Melt some butter and brush all over the chicken before seasoning with salt and pepper.
STEP 4: Grease your Dutch oven with butter. I recommend using at least a 7-quart Dutch oven. Add the carrots, onions, and garlic to the edges of the pan, leaving space for the chicken in the center. Season veggies with thyme, salt, and pepper.
STEP 5: Position the chicken on one of its sides in the center of the Dutch oven, scatter cubed butter over the veggies, and drizzle the veggies with olive oil.
STEP 6: Roast for about half an hour before flipping the chicken to the other side and roasting another half hour. Then, turn the chicken breast-side up and roast for another 10 to 15 minutes.
STEP 7: Transfer to a cutting board and tent with foil while the chicken rests. You can also cover the Dutch oven with a lid or foil to keep the vegetables warm.
STEP 8: Slice up the chicken and plate with the roasted veggies on the side. Enjoy!
How Long to Roast a Chicken
It’s so much healthier to roast a chicken at home and skip the pre-cooked and often dried-out grocery store rotisserie chickens. But roasting a whole chicken can be tricky because the wings and legs cook much faster than the breast.
So, how long do you roast a chicken in the oven?
Any oven temperature from 300° to 500° F is fine for roasting a chicken. I use 450° F in this recipe to get a crispy skin and deliciously caramelized veggies in less time, but you can also turn the oven down and roast it for longer.
How long you roast a chicken totally depends on the weight of the bird! On average, you should expect about 15 minutes of cook time per pound of chicken plus an extra 10 minutes to rest before slicing.
You want every piece to reach at least 165° F for food safety purposes. If you don’t have a meat thermometer, you want the juices to run completely clear before resting for a fully cooked roast chicken. Also, the drumstick should pull away easily from the thigh at the connecting joint.
Can You Make this Without a Dutch Oven?
My first choice for cooking a 4- to 6-pound chicken is a 7 ¼-quart round Dutch oven. It’s kind of a beast but there’s plenty of room for the chicken and all of the veggies to cook without feeling crowded. This Dutch oven has been my go-to for many, many meals for almost 15 years so the investment has been completely worth it.
However, without a Dutch oven, you could make this recipe in a cast iron pan with tall sides. I suggest at least a 12-inch skillet, a large braising pan, or a large, heavy duty gratin dish.
Basically, you want a cooking vessel that’s heavy duty, that will retain the heat well in the oven, and that’s got tall sides to minimize splatter of the cooking juices in the oven.
Do You Have to Stuff the Chicken?
Nope! If you want, you can just sprinkle some salt and pepper inside the chicken before roasting it.
But stuffing the chicken with some aromatics like lemon, shallots, and herbs does help to flavor the chicken and the juices that run from it. You’ll notice the extra flavors especially if you roast vegetables underneath or use the chicken juices to make a gravy.
You can certainly use other things to stuff inside a chicken too. Apples, oranges, garlic, onions, and various herbs like rosemary, tarragon, and sage are all great alternatives to the ones I’ve suggested for this recipe.
What to Make with Leftover Chicken
I love a whole roasted chicken because everyone can pick their favorite pieces and there’s nothing like the smell of a roast chicken cooking away on a fall or winter Sunday afternoon! But sometimes there is a lot of leftover meat.
So, what should you make with leftover chicken to up your quick weeknight dinner game?
Pot pie is a family favorite, but that pastry topping can be so much work. This Chicken and Biscuits Pot Pie is a simple comfort food meal made with biscuits instead of pie crust but the same delicious filling!
Looking for something lighter? Apple Pecan Chicken Salad is a great creamy summer or fall dish that’s totally gluten-free!
And of course, there’s always tacos! These Roast Chicken Soft Tacos with Cilantro Cream are super simple to pull together on a busy weeknight with some of this leftover roast chicken.
What to Serve with Roast Chicken
Potatoes are my favorite side dish with a whole roasted chicken. You can stay simple with a Baked Potato, Twice Baked Potato, or go all out with Cheesy Hasselback Potatoes.
If you prefer mashed potatoes, try these Cream Cheese Garlic Mashed Potatoes or Parmesan Smashed Potatoes inspired by Ina Garten.
I always make this chicken with my Skillet Cornbread with Honey Butter for one amazing meal! Although, these Buttermilk Drop Biscuits would be outstanding too!
Want to dress up this rustic dinner? Serve your roast chicken with this Caramelized Onion and Thyme Risotto for a new spin on a traditional chicken and rice dinner. The risotto is also a great way to use up the extra fresh thyme you’ll have from the chicken recipe!
I’ll take any slow cooker recipes, and this Crockpot Stuffing is perfect with a roast chicken. It saves some time and oven space during the busy holiday season, too!
Steakhouse sides are incredibly decadent, and this Creamed Corn or Creamed Spinach with Crispy Shallots are both great, creamy additions to this meal!
Dutch Oven Whole Roast Chicken
Roast chicken in a Dutch oven is a terrific way to cook a whole chicken. This recipe uses a novel method for roasting the chicken so that it cooks evenly on all sides and ensures a crispy skin without drying the chicken out. Carrots and onions caramelized as the roast underneath the chicken, picking up all the delicious flavors from the chicken juices. This is my #1 go-to way for roasting a chicken!
- 1 (5 to 5 1/2 lbs) whole chicken, neck and giblets removed and discarded
- 1 lemon, quartered
- 2 shallots, quartered
- Small bunch of fresh thyme stalks, divided
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 lb carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
- 2 white or sweet onions, skins and ends removed, cut into the 8 wedges each
- 2 to 3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
- Preheat oven to 450° F with a rack set in the second position up from the bottom.
- Drain any liquid from inside the chicken and then pat the outside of the chicken dry with paper towels. Stuff the inside with the lemon, shallots, half of the thyme, and sprinkle of salt and pepper.
- Truss the chicken with kitchen twine, tying the wings and legs tightly against the chicken. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a small bowl in the microwave until just melted but not hot. Brush the butter all over the chicken and liberally sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper.
- Grease a 7 ¼-quart Dutch oven (see Note below) with 1 tablespoon of butter. Add the carrots, onions, and garlic to the pan, leaving a space in the middle for the chicken. Scatter the thyme around the vegetables and sprinkle with a heavy pinch of salt and pepper.
- Position the chicken on one of its sides in the center of the pot. Cube 2 tablespoons of butter and drop the cubes over the vegetables and then drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
- Roast uncovered for 35 minutes. Stir the vegetables around a little and if they are sticking to the bottom of the pan, pour in about a ½ cup of chicken broth to help loosen them up.
- Flip the chicken over onto its other side and roast for another 30 minutes. Stir the vegetables again and add up to another ½ cup of chicken broth if they are sticking. Turn the chicken breast-side up and continue roasting for another 15 to 20 minutes until browned, the juices are clear, and the internal temperature of the thigh meat is around 185° F.
- Transfer the chicken to a cutting board or large serving platter and loosely tent with foil; rest for 15 minutes before slicing. Cover the pot with foil to keep the vegetables warm while the chicken rests.
- To serve, scoop the vegetables from the pot and serve as a side dish to the chicken.
If you don't have a 7 ¼-quart Dutch oven but do have a smaller Dutch oven, simply roast a smaller chicken with less vegetables in the pot you'll need to adjust your roasting time according to the size of the chicken (it needs about 15 minutes per pound). Alternatively, you could use a 12-inch (or larger) cast iron skillet.
If you want to make a chicken gravy with the drippings, do so while the chicken rests. Just keep the vegetables warm in a serving bowl in the still warm oven.
adapted from Around my French Table by Dorie Greenspan
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Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Signature Round Dutch Oven, 7.25 qt., White
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I have arthritis, so as much as I would love a Dutch Oven, they are too heavy for me to handle when they are full! Can I make this recipe in my crock pot?
Hi Margaret! You can definitely make this chicken recipe in a crock pot. I’ve never cooked a chicken this way though, so I don’t know how long to set the crock pot for. A quick google search will definitely give you all the info you need if you don’t already know. Let me know how it turns out for you this way!
This chicken turned out lovely. Just wish the skin were a little more crisp.
Hi there! So glad to hear you loved this chicken! If you want a crispier skin next time, run the broiler for a couple of minutes before you take the chicken out of the oven. We don’t eat the skin so this has never bothered us before but I definitely know the skin is a big thing for some. 😊