The easiest way to feed your whole family is with this Dutch Oven Whole Roast Chicken recipe. There’s very little prep time, making dinner super simple.
For more ideas of what to make, check out all of our recipes.
Cooking a whole chicken can be really intimidating. It shouldn’t be, but it is. Which is a bummer because buying a whole chicken is so much better on your wallet than buying chicken in pieces.
You don’t have to be intimidated. You just have to make our Dutch Oven roast chicken recipe. Trust me when I tell you that it’s so incredibly easy. And delicious.
Once you make this whole chicken once, you’ll be making it this way all the time because it’s just one of the easiest meals and perfect for a weeknight dinner. You just chop some onions, season the chicken, and put it in the oven. It’s a really easy recipe that’s very hands off.
Chicken is such a wallet-friendly ingredient. But, it can get kind of boring it you serve it the same way every time. For some easy dinner ideas using chicken, check out our list of Budget-Friendly Chicken Recipes.
Dutch Oven Whole Roast Chicken Recipe
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How To Make A Dutch Oven Whole Roast Chicken:
Pre-heat the oven to 425 F.
Cut the onion into slices and put them in the bottom of the Dutch oven.
You’ll want to do this to raise the chicken off the bottom of the Dutch oven. That way, you end up with really tasty skin on the bottom of the chicken, not just the top. If you don’t do this, you run the risk of the skin of the chicken sticking to the bottom of the Dutch oven.
Clean your chicken.
Quick note: This definitely means pulling out the giblet bag and discarding it (or saving it to cook with, if you know how). It also means rinsing the chicken and patting it dry with a paper towel, depending on what the spirits of your ancestors tell you to do. Honestly, the washing vs. not washing argument runs deep. So do what feels right in your soul.
Melt the butter in a small bowl. Add a half tablespoon of salt, the garlic powder, and three of the sprigs of thyme to it. Stir.
Use a pastry brush to brush the bottom of the chicken with the melted butter.
Place the chicken into the Dutch oven (on top of the onions) and brush the outside of the chicken with the remaining butter.
Stick the remaining sprigs of thyme into the cavity of the chicken. If there’s any melted butter left, brush it inside the chicken.
Sprinkle the remaining salt (1 tablespoon) on the top of the chicken.
Put the lid on the Dutch oven and put the entire Dutch oven into the oven. Cook for one hour.
Take off the lid and brush some of the juice from the pan drippings onto the chicken.
Quick side note: Make sure you have washed the pastry brush before you do this. You absolutely don’t want to be brushing raw chicken on top.
Cook for an additional 30 minutes.
That’s the secret to crispy skin, by the way. Taking the lid off and cooking it for the remaining 30 minutes without a lid starts to really crisp up the skin. Letting the chicken rest finishes crisping the skin as well.
Use a meat thermometer to make sure the internal temperature is 165 F. You want to stick it into the thickest part of the thigh and the thickest part of the breast to check the temperature. Make sure you’re not hitting any bone because the bone will read higher than the meat.
Depending on the size of the chicken, the cooking process may take a little longer or shorter, so make sure you check the chicken’s temperature before serving.
Let the roasted chicken rest for about 20 minutes before cutting it.
When you serve the chicken, be sure to pour some of the liquid from the bottom of the pot onto it. You can mix pan drippings with either flour or corn starch to make a gravy, if you feel the need to thicken it, but I don’t do that.
Dutch Oven Whole Roast Chicken: Frequently Asked Questions
I make this recipe with a 4 pound chicken in a 5 1/2 quart Dutch oven. I use a round Dutch oven and that’s fits the chicken really well. Ours is an enameled cast iron Dutch oven.
Some people make this recipe with root vegetables (potatoes, carrots, etc.) on the bottom of the Dutch oven and then put the chicken on top of the vegetables and cook a complete meal all at once. If you’re trying that, it might be crowded in a 5 1/2 quart Dutch oven and you might need a larger one. Or, just make the side dishes separately.
We have used a skillet to make a whole chicken (before we had a Dutch oven). In that case, you’re going to have to adjust your cooking time. When we did it in a skillet, we cooked it at 450 F for 26 minutes per pound. We cooked it for 40 minutes with the oven on, then turned the oven off and let the residual heat cook it the rest of the way.
You could also make the chicken in a roasting pan. We do that when we make our Sheet Pan Chicken Vesuvio, but we do cut the whole chicken into pieces before adding it to the pan, so I’m not exactly sure how long you would need to cook the chicken that way.
When you truss a chicken, you use kitchen twine to keep the wings and legs close to the body of the chicken. That helps the chicken to brown evenly and keeps the chicken from drying out.
But, trust me when I tell you, as long as you follow this recipe, you end up with really juicy chicken without worrying about tying it up.
Let the chicken cool to room temperature. Then, put any leftover chicken in an airtight container in the fridge for three to four days.
You can reheat any leftovers in the oven or microwave. If you don’t want to reheat it, a great way to use leftover chicken is chicken salad sandwiches. We actually have a great Chicken Salad BLT that’s a good way to repurpose leftovers.
More Easy Dutch Oven Recipes:
A Dutch oven is a really big investment. They’re not cheap. But, they cook so well and are really worth the money.
We love to use our Dutch oven to make soup, like our Lasagna Soup, One Pot Sausage Potato Soup, and our French Onion Soup. You can also use it when you’re making a one-pot meal, like our One Pot Sausage Pasta recipe.
A lot of people also use it to make homemade bread (but I personally prefer to make bread on a pizza stone, but that’s just me).
More Whole Chicken Recipes:
If you’re looking for another way to make a whole chicken, try our Grilled Beer Can Chicken.
- 1/2 white onion
- 4 pound whole chicken
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1.5 tablespoons salt
- 1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
- 5 sprigs of fresh thyme
- Pre-heat the oven to 425 F.
- Cut the onion into slices and put them in the bottom of the Dutch oven.
- Clean your chicken. Pat it dry.
- Melt the butter in a small bowl. Add a half tablespoon of salt, the garlic powder, and three of the sprigs of thyme to it. Stir.
- Use a pastry brush to brush the bottom of the chicken with the melted butter.
- Place the chicken into the Dutch oven (on top of the onions) and brush the outside of the chicken with the remaining butter.
- Stick the remaining sprigs of thyme into the cavity of the chicken. If there’s any melted butter left, brush it inside the chicken.
- Sprinkle the remaining salt (1 tablespoon) on the top of the chicken.
- Put the lid on the Dutch oven and put the entire Dutch oven into the oven. Cook for one hour.
- Take off the lid and brush some of the juice from the pan drippings onto the chicken.
- Cook for an additional 30 minutes.
- Let the roasted chicken rest for about 20 minutes before cutting it.
Remember to pull out the giblet bag from the chicken.
Amount Per Serving Calories 1145Total Fat 68gSaturated Fat 21gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 40gCholesterol 414mgSodium 2753mgCarbohydrates 2gFiber 0gSugar 1gProtein 124g
Have you made this Dutch Oven Whole Roast Chicken recipe? Let us know how it went in the comments.