This simple and classic recipe for Dutch Oven whole chicken is made with just a handful of ingredients and delivers moist and delicious results every single time. You can even save the leftover bones to make bone broth, making this staple an economical meal that the whole family will love.
When it comes to quintessential home cooking classics, whole roast chicken takes the cake. This time-tested favorite is easy to prepare, delicious to enjoy, and the perfect way to make use of economical whole chickens.
This version is made using a Dutch Oven – which keeps the heat (and moisture) inside of the chicken, resulting in a shorter cooking time and succulent meat. This has long been a favorite and a staple at my home. I hope that it will soon become a favorite of yours!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- It uses a whole chicken, which is often half the price (or less) of individual cuts of chicken such as the breast or thighs.
- You can reserve the leftover bones and make a budget-friendly batch of bone broth. This can then be used to craft comforting homemade soups.
- It’s a classic recipe that works for a variety of dietary needs and restrictions, including gluten-free, dairy-free, GAPS, low carb, etc.
- If you have a smaller family you can easily get 2-3 meals out of a single chicken. Try making soup with the bones and a casserole with the leftover cooked chicken.
- Whole Chicken: I like to buy a chicken that is between 4-5 lbs, but you can use whatever size your family prefers (just be sure to adjust the time and adjust for internal temperature). You’ll want to make sure any giblets are removed (you can use those to make a giblet gravy or add to a batch of bone broth).
- Onion: All you need are regular cooking (aka yellow) onions for this recipe!
- Garlic: Nothing beats fresh garlic. My husband loves fishing the soft garlic cloves out and eating them whole.
- Rosemary: Just a few sprigs of fresh rosemary add a lovely, but not overpowering flavor. I have a little potted rosemary by my sink that I use often for this purpose.
- Butter: I like to use salted butter, but you can use melted ghee or coconut oil in place of the butter if you desire. If you opt for that, I would recommend adding a bit more salt to your taste.
- Seasonings: Just some paprika, black pepper, and salt is all that’s needed.
- Dutch oven – I’ve used both a standard 6 quart round Dutch Oven and a oval Dutch Oven with equally delicious results. This is the model that I use in my kitchen for everything from sourdough bread, to chicken and dumplings, and delicious stuffed peppers.
- Parchment paper – This makes cleanup a breeze and is a total game changer in the kitchen. I like to crinkle it up a little bit to get it to hold the shape of the Dutch Oven more easily.
How to Roast a Whole Chicken in a Dutch Oven
Preheat the oven to 350F. Rinse the outside and the cavity of your whole chicken and pat dry. Stuff the chicken cavity with the onion, garlic cloves, and sprig of fresh rosemary.
To get started, preheat your oven to 350ºF and line a 6 quart Dutch Oven with some parchment paper. I recommend crumpling it a bit, as this helps it take the shape of the pot more easily.
Remove any giblets from your chicken and pat it dry with a paper towel. Then stuff the cavity with the whole garlic cloves, quartered onion, and sprigs of rosemary.
Place the stuffed whole chicken, breast side up, in the parchment-lined Dutch Oven. Then evenly drizzle some melted butter (or ghee, coconut oil, or avocado oil) over the surface of the chicken, aiming to get all parts of the chicken.
Seasoning the Chicken
Combine the smoked paprika, black pepper, and salt in a small bow. Mix together well, and then sprinkle evenly over the surface of the chicken, taking care to get some on the wings and legs too.
Roasting and Basting
- Secure the lid on the Dutch Oven and place it into the preheated oven. Cook for 60-90 minutes with the lid on (depending on the size of your chicken). Smaller chickens will take less time, while larger chickens will require more time.
- Remove the chicken from the oven and baste with any drippings in the pot.
- Increase the oven temperature to 425ºF and remove the lid.
- Return to the oven and cook for an additional 30 minutes, basting it with the drippings once or twice during the remaining time.
- Once a minimal internal temperature is reached in all parts of the chicken, remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving.
What Can I do with the Pan Drippings?
Most whole chickens will release some pan drippings when they are roasted in a Dutch Oven. The good thing is that these pan drippings do not need to go to waste! Here are some ideas:
- Serve spooned over cooked chicken.
- Reserve for adding into your bone broth.
- If juices are abundant, make some gravy.
- Reserve or freeze for adding to your favorite chicken soups.
Stretching a Chicken for Multiple Meals
- Serve Lots of Sides: For your initial roast chicken dinner, ensure you have lots of filling sides available. Mashed potatoes, rice, roasted vegetables, biscuits, and sourdough bread all make filling options. Cook up as many sides as you can, that way you can get away with serving a smaller portion of chicken to each family member.
- Don’t Leave the Chicken at the Table: Portion out the chicken in the kitchen, and then serve all of the sides family style on the table. If someone wants seconds they will be more likely to fill up on things already on the dining room table.
- Make Bone Broth: To really get the most from your chicken, you should make bone broth. The next days meal can be made with bone broth, making the chicken last that much longer. I use bone broth for soups, cooking grains, making gravy, and in chicken pot pie. If you really want to stretch your chicken, you need to make sure you’re making bone broth!
- Casseroles and Pot Pie: The best way to use leftover shredded chicken is in casseroles and pot pies. You can make just 1-2 cups of shredded chicken go a long way! Make sure to include plenty of vegetables, as well as a filling starch like potatoes, sourdough bread, or brown rice.
Variations and Substitutions
Dairy free: If you want to make your Dutch Oven whole chicken dairy free you can easily swap the melted butter for coconut oil or avocado oil. Melted ghee is a great option if you are just dairy sensitive.
Gluten free: Like most roast whole chicken recipes, this one is totally gluten free. No need to make any subs or swaps for this one – just serve with your favorite gluten free sides like my healthy sweet potato casserole.
Paleo/Whole30/GAPS: You can easily make this recipe suit your particular dietary needs. If you’re doing GAPS, Paleo, or Whole30, simply swap the melted butter for melted ghee (or clarified butter) or melted coconut oil.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, you absolutely can roast a whole chicken in a Dutch Oven! If you like a moist breast, keep the lid on the Dutch oven for the first half of baking, and remove it for the last half of baking. If you like it crispy like a rotisserie-style chicken try leaving the lid off for the entire baking time.
Since whole chickens can be as small as 2 1/2 pounds and as large as 7+ pounds, a larger Dutch Oven will work best. A mid-size 6 quart Dutch Oven will accommodate larger chickens, as well as a variety of dishes like sourdough bread and homemade soups.
More Dutch Oven Recipes
- Dutch Oven Stuffed Peppers
- Dutch Oven Chicken Breast and Potatoes
- How to Make Chicken Broth
- Homemade Hamburger Helper
- Hearty Marinara Sauce
- 4-5 pound whole chicken (giblets removed)
- 1 large onion, peeled and quartered
- 5 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1-2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
- ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
- Rinse the outside and the cavity of your whole chicken and pat dry.
- Stuff the chicken cavity with the onion, garlic cloves, and sprig of fresh rosemary.
- Place the chicken, breast side up, in the dutch oven. Drizzle the melted butter over the surface of the chicken.
- Combine the smoked paprika, black pepper, and mineral salt in a small bowl. Mix well and sprinkle over the surface of the chicken, taking care to get the wings and legs as well.
- Place the lid on the dutch oven and place into the preheated oven.
- Cook for 60-90 minutes with the lid on, depending on the size of the chicken. If the chicken is on the smaller end, cook for 60, for chickens close to 5lbs, bake for 90 minutes.
- Remove the chicken from the oven. Increase the temperature to 425ºF and remove the lid from the dutch oven. Baste the chicken with the drippings.
- Once the oven reaches the new higher temperature, place the chicken back in the oven and bake for an additional 20-30 minutes, or until a thermometer reads 180ºF in the thickest part, or at least 165ºF for each individual part.
- Remove the chicken from the dutch oven to a plate, cool for 5 minutes, and then serve. You can also serve directly in the dutch oven if you have a sturdy heatproof trivet for your kitchen table.
Internal temperature: A good way to make sure you don’t over bake your chicken is to check the internal temperature. The finished whole chicken needs to have an minimum temperature of 185ºF (individual pieces must reach 165ºF)..
Making bone broth: You can either add the bones to an Instant Pot and make an Instant Pot bone broth, OR add all of the bones back into the dutch oven and make it right in there.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1/10 of Recipe
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 571Total Fat: 33gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 20gCholesterol: 206mgSodium: 416mgCarbohydrates: 2gFiber: 0gSugar: 1gProtein: 62g
Nutrition information is an estimate only.
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