This is the easiest cast iron roast chicken recipe! Tender and juicy, this whole roasted chicken is cooked in the oven in a cast iron skillet.
This post was originally published in February 2021 and has been updated for content.
I love cooking with cast iron. It's great for searing or slow cooking and it's cookware that will last forever.
It is also the only type of pan that gets better the more you use it. Cast iron absorbs all the flavor and seasoning from the dishes you cook in it, which then in turn makes your next dish, that much better.
This cast iron skillet whole roasted chicken is a great one-pan meal that makes a delicious meal for special occasions or Sunday dinners. It uses simple ingredients and takes just a few minutes of prep time.
🍗 Ingredient notes
- Chicken - A broiler, roaster, or fryer chicken is the type of whole chicken that will work best for this recipe. They will vary in size but aim for a chicken between 4-6 pounds. Cooking time for a whole chicken is approximately 20 minutes per pound. For example, a five-pound whole chicken will take about 1 hour and 40 minutes to roast.
- Onions - The onions provide a bed for the whole chicken to rest on. They will absorb the juices and also caramelize to make delicious pan drippings. Use white or yellow onions for the best flavor. Celery, shallots, and leeks could also be used in combination with the onions, or as an alternative.
📋 Substitutions and variations
- Meal - To make this into a complete dinner, add red or yellow baby potatoes along with vegetables. Brussels sprouts, carrots, or parsnips would all hold up well.
- Italian-Style - Add Italian seasoning along with the salt and pepper. Add crushed red pepper flakes to spice things up a bit.
- Pan - Instead of a cast iron skillet, a dutch oven or other heavy pan that is oven-safe will also work, such as a baking dish.
🔪 Step by step instructions
First, slice the onions and then lay them in an even layer in a large cast iron skillet. Remove the gizzards from the chicken and then pat chicken dry with paper towels.
Place chicken on top of the onions, breast side up, in the cast iron pan. Stuff the inside cavity of the chicken with the lemon and fresh herbs.
Using kitchen twine, tie the two legs to hold them together and also keep the stuffing inside. Tuck the wings inside and under the chicken breasts so they don't burn.
Rub the outside of the chicken with the olive oil and then sprinkle it with the kosher salt and black pepper.
Roast the chicken in a 375° oven for 1 ½ - 2 hours until the internal temperature reaches 165˚.
Let the bird rest for 10 minutes on a cutting board, and then carve and serve with the onion pan drippings.
If you ever don't recognize a tool or skill that I mention, be sure to look it up in our Glossary of Cooking Terms and Definitions for more information.
⭐ Expert tips
- Don't wash chicken prior to cooking and use food-safe gloves during prep to reduce the risk of cross-contamination.
- The FDA recommends chicken be cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 165˚. Check the temperature in the innermost part of the thigh, the innermost part of the wing, and also the thickest part of the breast. Use a probe-style meat thermometer or instant-read thermometer to ensure the chicken is done cooking and doesn't dry out.
- If the chicken skin starts to brown too quickly, place a piece of aluminum foil loosely over the top.
- Save the bones or chicken carcass to make homemade chicken stock.
⏲️ Make ahead and storage instructions
Prep and season the chicken up to 24 hours ahead of time. Cover the cast iron skillet with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator until roasting time.
Take the skillet out of the refrigerator 30-60 minutes prior to roasting for the chicken to come to room temperature. Roast as directed.
Keep leftover chicken in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-5 days. Reheat in the microwave or oven with a bit of pan drippings or chicken stock.
For a quick overview of this recipe, then check out my web story for roast chicken in cast iron.
🍳 More Cast Iron Recipes
If you enjoyed this easy cast iron roast chicken recipe, check out these other cast rion recipes that I know you will love too!
The Easiest Cast Iron Roast Chicken Recipe
- Preheat the oven to 375˚.
- Slice the onion and place an even layer in the bottom of a large cast iron skillet.
- Remove the gizzards from the inside of the chicken and discard. Pat the outside of the chicken dry with paper towels.
- Place the chicken, breast side up, on top of the onions. Cut the lemon in half and place it in the cavity of the chicken along with the fresh thyme and sage.
- Use cooking twine to tie the legs of the chicken together and tuck the tips of the wings underneath the breast to prevent burning.
- Rub the olive oil over the entire skin of the chicken and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Roast this chicken in the preheated oven, uncovered, for 1 ½ - 2 hours or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165˚ in the thickest part of the breast and the innermost part of the thigh and wing.
- Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes before carving and serving with the drippings.
- Cooking Time - The final cooking time will depend on the size of the whole chicken. Approximately 20 minutes per pound is recommended. If the skin starts to brown too quickly, place a piece of foil lightly over the chicken. Use a probe-style kitchen thermometer or instant-read thermometer to ensure the chicken is done cooking and doesn't dry out.
- Onions - Celery, shallots, and leeks could also be used in combination with the onions, or as an alternative.
- Complete Meal - Add red or yellow baby potatoes, brussels sprouts, carrots, or parsnips to the skillet around the chicken.
- Italian-Style - Add Italian seasoning along with the salt and pepper. Crushed red pepper flakes could also be added.
- Make Ahead - Prep and season the chicken up to 24 hours ahead of time. Cover the skillet with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator until roasting time. Take out 30-60 minutes prior to roasting to come to room temperature and cook as directed.
- Leftovers - Keep leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-5 days. Reheat in the microwave or oven with drippings or broth. Bones or carcass can be used to make homemade chicken stock