This cast iron roast chicken recipe is the best way to cook a whole chicken in the oven. Tender and juicy and roasted to perfection, this easy one pan whole roasted chicken recipe is perfect for Sunday dinner!
I love cooking food in cast iron. It's great for searing or slow cooking and it is cookware that will last forever. It's probably 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.
🍗 Ingredient notes
- Whole Chicken - A broiler, roaster, or fryer chicken will work best for this recipe. They will vary in size but aim for a chicken between 4-6 pounds.
- Sliced Onions - These will provide a bed for the chicken to rest on and will not only flavor the chicken but caramelize during cooking for some super tasty drippings.
- Whole Lemon, Fresh Thyme, and Sage - These are the "aromatics" that will go inside the cavity of the bird that will also help flavor it.
- Olive Oil, Salt & Pepper - These will be rubbed on the outside of the chicken to help brown the skin, provide flavor and also help retain moisture.
📋 Substitutions and variations
- Whole meal - add potatoes and vegetables to the pan around the chicken to make it a complete dinner!
- Italian style - rub 1 Tablespoon of Italian season on the bird after you add the olive oil and salt and pepper for an Italian style roasted chicken
🔪 Step by step instructions
Slice your onion and place it in your cast iron skillet. Make sure you pick a skillet that is bigger than your chicken. Anywhere from a 12" - 15" skillet should work.
Remove the gizzards from the chicken and pat it dry. Place the chicken in your skillet on the sliced onions. Stuff the inside of the chicken with a lemon that has been cut in half and a few sprigs of fresh thyme and sage.
Using cooking twine, tie the two legs together and then tuck the wings inside or under the breast so they don't burn.
Rub the chicken with olive oil and sprinkle it with salt and pepper.
Roast the chicken in a 375° oven for 1 ½ - 2 hours until the chicken registers 165° with a kitchen thermometer in the thickest part of the breast and thigh. Let chicken rest for 10 minutes before carving and serving with the pan drippings.
If you ever don't recognize a tool or skill that I mention, be sure to look it up in the Glossary of Cooking Terms and Definitions for more information.
⏲️ Cooking time
As a rule of thumb, you should roast a chicken for about 20 minutes per pound.
Example: 6-pound chicken = 2 hours cooking time
This time can vary depending on your oven and the exact size of the bird. I recommend checking the temperature with a kitchen thermometer about 20 minutes before it should be "done" to see where it's at. This will give you an idea of how much longer it needs.
⭐ Top tip
Always cook any chicken dish to 165° before removing it from the oven. Using a kitchen thermometer, check the temperature of the bird in the thickest part of the thigh and breast.
💭 Frequently asked questions
If the skin is getting too brown, place a large piece of foil lightly over the chicken to prevent burning.
Let your roast chicken rest for 10 minutes before carving. This will help it to retain the juices so it doesn't become dry.
For a quick overview of this recipe, check out my web story for roast chicken in cast iron.
🍳 More Cast Iron Recipes
If you enjoyed this recipe for my cast iron roast chicken, check out these other recipes that you can cook in cast iron too!
Cast Iron Roast Chicken
- Preheat oven to 375˚.
- Slice onion and place evenly over the bottom of a cast iron skillet. Make sure the skillet is bigger than the chicken. (12" - 15" skillet will work)
- Remove gizzards from the inside of the chicken and discard. Place chicken breast side up on top of the sliced onions in the skillet. Pat the chicken skin dry with a paper towel.
- Cut the lemon in half and place into the cavity of the chicken along with the fresh thyme and sage.
- Use cooking twine to tie the legs of the chicken together and then tuck the tips of the wings underneath the chicken breast to prevent burning.
- Rub olive oil over the entire skin of the chicken and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Place the entire skillet in the pre-heated oven and roast for 1 ½ - 2 hours or until the temperature of the chicken reaches 165˚ in the thickest part of the breast and thigh with a kitchen thermometer. If the skin starts to brown too quickly, a piece of foil can be placed over the top of the chicken towards the end of the cooking time to prevent burning.
- Once the chicken is done cooking, remove it from the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes before carving. Serve in the skillet with drippings.