Tender roast chicken in the Dutch oven, moist on the inside and crispy on the outside. A delicious, foolproof way of cooking a complete chicken dinner in the Dutch oven.
A whole chicken, potatoes, onions, butter, wine or broth, and a few spices. That’s all you need to make this delicious Dutch oven roast chicken—a recipe suited for a family Sunday dinner or any night of the week. Very little effort, just smear the bird, cut some potatoes and onions, and let the oven do its job.
And you will love this! The meat is fall-off-the-bone tender, incredibly juicy, and flavorful; the skin is crispy, the potatoes are soft and comforting. And speaking about tender meat. My son picked up his drumstick and said: “Oh, this is really fall-off-the-bone!!!” All he had in his hand was the bone; the meat had just fallen back on the plate.
Why use a Dutch oven for roasting chicken?
And not only for roasting chicken; I use this type of dish for almost anything; it can brown, boil, bake, braise, and even deep-fry. Of course, I use it for cooking meat dishes like the Pork Tenderloin, Pulled Pork, or Balsamic Beef, but also for making any soup (for instance, Lamb Bone Soup or Pork Rib Soup), Beef Apple Stew, or goulash, Flaxseed Bread, and so on.
They retain and distribute heat evenly, thus perfect for slow-cooking with incredibly tender and juicy results.
The lid traps the moisture inside and makes the meat super tender. You will have to remove the cover during the second part of the cooking process to allow the skin to get golden brown and crispy.
They are multi-functional; you can use them on the stove and in the oven. Super helpful for recipes that need to start on the stovetop and finish in the oven.
What do you need?
- A whole chicken weighing between 3.3 – 4 ½ lbs/ 1 ½ and 2 kg.
- Spices: dried thyme and rosemary, garlic powder, onion powder, sea or Kosher salt, and black pepper.
- Optional: a few garlic cloves, one lemon, and some fresh herbs for the cavity.
- Vegetables: try the recipe with sweet potatoes, for instance, it is a delight. When using sweet potatoes, cut into slightly larger chunks than you would typically cut regular potatoes; the sweet ones cook faster. Try other root veggies instead of potatoes, for instance, carrots, parsnips, pumpkin, or squash. Add a few peeled cloves of garlic.
- No potatoes: you can leave them out altogether. In this case, you can serve the dish with mashed potatoes (so good) or pasta.
- Spices: the sky is the limit here; use whatever you like. Check your cupboard and mix something or use a ready-made dry rub. Or use herb garlic butter.
- Liquid: I’ve cooked this recipe (or very similar ones) with red or white wine, chicken stock, or even beer. It tastes great no matter what you use.
- Fat: If you don’t fill like mixing butter with spices, use oil instead. Massage the bird with about 2 tablespoons of olive oil, on the outside and inside the cavity. Rub generously with salt, pepper, and spices like sweet or hot paprika, garlic powder, and dried herbs.
How to roast a whole chicken in the Dutch oven?
- If the chicken is frozen, defrost in the refrigerator, it might take up to 36 hours. Remove the bag with the neck and the giblets before roasting; use those for making stock.
- Preheat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius/ 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Wash and chop the potatoes into bite-sized cubes. You can peel them or leave them unpeeled. If I use new organic potatoes, I leave the peel on. I always peel regular potatoes.
- Peel and thickly slice the onions.
- Place potatoes and onions on the bottom of the pan.
- Add salt, pepper, and dried herbs, toss well.
- Pour in wine or stock. Pour it from the side so that you don’t wash away the spices.
- Bring to room temperature before roasting, about 30 minutes should do it.
- Butter: Mix soft butter, dried herbs, salt, pepper, onion, and garlic powder in a small bowl. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Get some of the butter under the skin of the chicken breast. First, loosen the skin gently with your hands; it doesn’t tear that quickly, but be gentle. Then, use your fingers or a small spoon to spread the soft butter underneath the skin. Use the remaining butter to rub the outside of the chicken (1,2).
- Season the inside of the chicken generously with salt and pepper. If desired, stuff with lemon, onion, or herbs (like fresh thyme, rosemary, or garlic).
- Tie the legs of the bird with kitchen twine.
- Place on top of the vegetables and cover with the lid (3).
- Roast covered: Roast in the preheated oven for 1 hour with the lid on.
- Roast uncovered (and broil): Remove the lid. Roast for another 30 to 40 minutes, depending on the size of the bird; make sure it’s cooked through. The chicken should be deeply golden-brown by the end of the cooking time. If it’s not, you can broil the chicken for 2-3 minutes, keeping an eye on it at all times to ensure that the skin doesn’t scorch (4)
- Internal temperature: Measure with a digital meat thermometer; it should be 75 degrees Celsius/ 165 degrees Fahrenheit (Amazon affiliate link).
Rest: Remove from the oven and let rest, uncovered, for about 10 minutes. Resting allows the cooking juices that form during roasting to be reabsorbed into the meat, keeping it moist and juicy.
Gravy: You will have quite a lot of gravy in the end. I never thicken it; I like to serve it as it is and slightly mash the potatoes in the sauce directly on the plate. However, if you wish, you can thicken it with a bit of cornstarch.
- Cutting board: It’s preferable to use a cutting board with a well around the edges to catch the juices (Amazon affiliate link). Otherwise, place some kitchen towels halfway underneath the board so that they can catch those running juices instead.
- Knife: You will need a carving knife or a large, sharp chef’s knife and a fork.
- Carefully transfer the roast to a large chopping board so that the legs are closer to you.
- Remove the kitchen string and everything you might have put into the cavity.
- Slice the skin between the leg and the body so that you can see the joint. Next, slice between the joints to remove the thigh and the drumstick. The knife should go easily between them. If it doesn’t, it means that you didn’t find the right spot. Move the blade a few millimeters right or left and try again.
- If you want to separate the drumstick from the thigh, find the joint between them again and cut cleanly. Then, place both on a large serving platter and proceed with the other leg.
- Loosen the breast meat at the base by making a long, horizontal cut starting at the base of the breast right above the wing and slicing (horizontally) until you’ve reached the bone.
- Now cut down along the breastbone, releasing the breast from the carcass.
- Halve or slice the breast and place it on the platter.
- Repeat with the other side.
- Pull a wing away from the body and cut through the joint. You can remove the wing tips; they don’t have any meat on them (use them for making stock).
- Place the wing on the platter and repeat with the other one.
- There will be some leftover meat on the carcass. I usually leave until after the meal, so I don’t waste too much time before eating and let the food get cold.
- Pick the meat off the bones and use it to make chicken salad or add to a soup.
Stuff or not stuff the chicken’s cavity?
- You can, but you don’t have to.
- For extra flavor, I like to stuff it with half a lemon (if I happen to have one already cut in the fridge), a halved onion, some garlic cloves, or fresh herbs. However, it’s not mandatory; you will still love the recipe without any extras.
- What you should not leave out is the seasoning. Season the inside of the bird well and be generous with the salt.
Should I truss the chicken?
- Again, you can, but you don’t have to. I seldom go the full monty with the trussing; I usually just tie the legs together. And the main reason I do, it’s the looks! The bird just looks prettier when you bring it to the table. Have a look!
Do I have to push the butter under the skin?
- You should, but it’s not mandatory. But getting the spicy butter underneath the skin adds flavor and keeps the breast really juicy and the task is easier and quicker to manage than you might think.
What to do with the carcass and bones?
- I never ever throw them away. Instead, I use them for homemade chicken stock.
- If I don’t want to make the stock immediately, I freeze the bones.
What to serve with a Dutch oven whole roast chicken?
- This is a complete one-pot meal, so you will not need a lot of sides.
- I often make a simple green salad with yogurt dressing or vinaigrette.
- During the colder months of the year, I prefer vegetables. Try Sweet Heart Cabbage, Brussels sprouts or Roasted Cauliflower, Buttered Vegetables, Buttered Peas, or Roasted Leeks.
How to store leftovers?
- Refrigerator: Keep the meat in an airtight container for 3-4 days. Enjoy cold or reheated. I often make sandwiches during the following days.
- Freeze the meat in freezer bags for 3-4 months. Then, defrost in the fridge and reheat well before serving.
- Don’t freeze leftover potatoes; they are not that good anymore after defrosting.
- Leftover potatoes and gravy: keep refrigerated for 2-3 days. Reheat well before serving. Place everything in a small saucepan and reheat on the stovetop on low heat, occasionally stirring.
What to do with leftovers?
More Dutch oven chicken recipes:
Roast Chicken in the Dutch Oven
- Dutch oven
- 1 whole chicken 3 ½ – 4 ½ lbs/ 1.7 – 2 kg (Note 1,2)
- 1.5 lb potatoes 700 g
- 2 medium onions
- ½ teaspoon dried rosemary
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt or Kosher
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 cup white wine
- 1 stick unsalted butter 7 tablespoons/ 100 g
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon rosemary
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit/ 190 degrees Celsius.
- Potatoes: Wash and chop the potatoes into bite-sized (smallish) cubes. You can peel them or leave them unpeeled.
- Onions: Peel and slice thickly. Take the layers apart.
- Pot: Place potatoes and onions in it. Add salt, pepper, and dried herbs, toss well. Pour in wine. Do it from the side so that you don't wash away the spices.
- Mix soft butter, dried herbs, salt, pepper, onion, and garlic powder in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Pat dry with paper towels. Season the cavity generously with salt and pepper. Stuff with lemon or onion or herbs if desired.
- Get some butter under the breast skin. First, loosen the breast skin gently with your hands. Then, use your fingers or a small spoon to spread the soft butter underneath the skin. Rub the outside of the bird with the remaining butter—no need to rub the underside, just the breasts, legs, and wings.
- Tie the legs of the bird with kitchen string. Place on top of the vegetables, breast side up, and cover with the lid
- Roast for 1 hour with the lid on.
- Remove the lid. Roast for about 30 minutes, depending on the size of the bird until it's cooked through.
- Check the internal temperature with a meat thermometer; it should be 75 degrees Celsius/ 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Broil, optional: The chicken should be deeply golden-brown by now. If it's not, you can broil the chicken for 2-3 minutes. Keep an eye on it all the time to ensure that the skin doesn't burn.
- Rest, uncovered, for 10 minutes before carving (Note 3).
- Serve with potatoes and gravy (Note 4).
- If the chicken is frozen, defrost in the refrigerator, it might take up to 36 hours. Remove the bag with the neck and the giblets. Bring the chicken to room temperature before roasting, about 30 minutes.
- If desired, you can stuff the chicken with one halved lemon or onion and/or some fresh herbs like parsley, thyme, or rosemary.
- See blog post for instructions on how to carve the chicken.
- I never thicken the gravy, but you can thicken it with a bit of cornstarch if you like.