Slow Roasted Chicken

Slow Roasted ChickenThere are already so many different recipes for cooking a whole chicken, you might wonder why you need one more. But if you’re a fan of store-bought rotisserie chicken, then you definitely need this one. Just like a cooked chicken from the market, the meat on this bird is plump, juicy and tender and the skin browned and deeply flavorful. Plus, this recipe is so simple and hands-off that it’s basically as convenient as driving to the store to buy a rotisserie chicken.

What’s the secret? Low and slow. Most recipes for roasted whole chicken crank the oven temperature above 400 ºF/205 ºC in an attempt to crisp up the skin and quickly cook the meat before it dries out. This recipe keeps the temperature at a low 300 ºF/150 ºC and cooks the chicken slowly for 3 hours. While the skin doesn’t get super crispy, it’s far from flabby, and has the same rich flavor that rotisserie chicken skin has. The meat is flavorful and really moist but never rubbery around the bones, like some roasted chickens can be.

The long cooking time at low heat is a gentle and reliable way to make sure the chicken is fully cooked without drying out, so it’s really hard to over or under cook this bird. As an another added bonus, you get to choose the quality of the chicken (ideally pastured and/or organic) and don’t have to wonder if the chicken’s been ruined by a rub down in vegetable oil or other undesirable ingredients, like many store-bought rotisserie chickens are.

Tender, flavorful, healthy and easy – four good reasons why this recipe for roasted chicken is a real winner.

Servings: 1 whole chicken

Time in the Kitchen: 15 minutes, plus 3 hours roasting time


  • 1 3 to 4 pound whole chicken (1.4 kg to 1.8 kg)
  • 2 teaspoons fennel seeds (10 ml)
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds (5 ml)
  • 2 teaspoons paprika (10 ml)
  • 2 tablespoons thyme, plus several sprigs to stuff in the chicken cavity
    (30 ml)
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt (8 g)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil (45 ml)
  • 1 lemon, quartered


Slow Roasted Chicken

Preheat oven to 300 ºF/150 ºC.

Grind fennel and coriander seeds. Mix with paprika, thyme, salt, and olive oil. Rub all over the chicken.

Step 1

Stuff the lemon pieces and thyme sprigs inside the chicken cavity. Tie the legs of the chicken together.

In a roasting pan or rimmed baking sheet, roast the chicken for about 3 hours. As juices/fat accumulate in the pan during the roasting process, baste the chicken a few times while it cooks.

Step 2

When the chicken is done, the skin should be nicely browned and the meat very tender. A thermometer inserted between the leg and thigh should register at 165 ºF/74 ºC.

Roasted Chicken

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57 thoughts on “Slow Roasted Chicken”

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  1. not so sure about this recipe…. Brining and roasting birds at high temps is the most foolproof way to get perfectly cooked every time.

    1. I agree Erin, I have always had the best birds brined. But today, I am giving it a try. We will see…

      1. I made this a couple weeks ago and it was AMAZING. For me, low and slow is the way to go! I altered the spices to my taste but this recipe is perfection. After, we made stock and soup from the carcass, and the flavor was superb.

      2. Oh, I crave crispy skin, and I don’t like opening the oven to baste, so, I didnt. Even though the skin wasn’t so crispy that it snapped when you pulled it off the bird, it was still crisp enough that I poached most of it before I presented it to my guests. Oops. Luckily no one noticed because the flavor in the meat was so good.

      3. It came out great. Easy preparation compared to brining. This is my future method. Next I will try spice variations.

  2. Looks delish! I like the old-fashioned appeal of this recipe. The “in” thing these days is to brine everything, which I never bother with. Not only does brining add time and effort to what should be a simple meal that takes five minutes to shove in the oven, it also makes the meat too salty and changes the texture.

  3. My new favorite way to make a whole chicken is on a crockpot. Low and slow, and the added bonus is that we pull out the meat and leave the carcass in the pot, add water, and then simmer for days to make bone broth.

    1. How much water did you add? Last time I added enough to cover the carcass and slow-cooked for another day or so and I felt like most of the water evaporated. Should I fill half the crockpot?

      1. I fill it about an inch from the top and don’t move the lid. After 24 hours, if it looks low I might add more water for the next 24 hours.

        Also, I start it on high but once it’s boiling I move it to low for the rest of the time. That keeps it from boiling off.

  4. I started slow cooking whole chickens a couple of months ago. But I cook it on a rack. I cook it at 250 F for three hours and then crank up the temp to 350 to crisp the skin. I has come out of the oven falling off the bone done.

    1. I started cooking a whole chicken a couple of months ago. Boy is it crisp now!

    2. falling off the bone *overdone*. There, I fixed it for ya. White meat isn’t dark meat. When the white meat falls off the bone it’s because the proteins have knotted up so tightly that the keel-bone no longer has any connection. Squeezing out the juice in the process.

  5. You can cook it even lower than that. I’ve roasted chickens at 200-250 degrees for hours, using a remote probe thermometer to tell me when it’s cooked. To brown the chicken after it’s done, take it out (it will stay hot for 20-40 minutes), crank the oven up to 475 or more, brush the bird with melted butter, and park it back in until it is golden.

    The indeterminate time frame is inconvenient but if your idea of dinner is a generous serving of protein, a big green salad, and a cup of rich stock/broth, you don’t have to worry about timing side dishes.

  6. I’m going to do this… roast chicken has always been my nemesis.
    High heat and shorter cooking times always leave the thigh and leg meat unpalatable in my opinion.

  7. As a new mom, I’ve had to find ways to make dinner easy, yet edible. So, one way to go about this (which I’ve have done countless times) is put the chicken in the crock pot on a 4-6 hour cycle and then take it out and put in in the oven on the “broil” setting to help brown and crisp the skin….just throwing it out there in case being around for 3 hours in the house seems difficult.

  8. I’m a roast chicken addict and am looking forward to trying this recipe one night this week. Does anyone else save the juices from their roast chicken to use in other dishes?

  9. I have never really commented on this sight before but I am a long time reader. I can not vouch for this method. The high heat roasting method will give you a much better tasting chicken much faster than this.

  10. I tend to cook my chicken this way – with carrots and onions in there too! Back in the pre Apple days there would have been rice too, to soak up the juices.

  11. YES! I have been saying to my fiancé that I need a good slow roasting chicken recipe for him to take in his sandwiches, now I have one. This sounds wonderful! I just have to find a free range chicken now 🙂

    1. Chickens out in the wild are hard to catch…… I’d try a butcher for the local farmers…. he, he, he.
      Actually, this is a keeper for us, nice results and easy access to the bones for broth later.

  12. Not to plug my other job (writing user manuals for Frigidaire, Kenmore and Electrolux) let me help you with this recipe: If you have an oven that has convection simply season the chicken skin generously, and set it on convection roast at 325°F — and set the oven rack at it’s lowest rack position.
    How long depends on the size of the bird–but convection roasting will crisp the skin while keeping the meat juicy and so tender!
    My wife never used her “convection” setting until I started writing and testing the process— now we always have juicy chicken instead of that “cooked until petrified” result we used to get.

    1. I started using a convection oven in the 90’s. To add to Pastor Dave’s method I found that cooking the bird on a trivet breast side up for half the cooking time and then turning it over breast side down for the rest of the time not only gave the bird a beautiful crisp but sent some of the juices back into the breast side making the breast meat extra juicy.

  13. I’m just curious how the internal temperature would get up to 165 degrees, if the oven is set to 150? Can the temperature build up inside the chicken like that?

      1. 149°C to be exact Kaizer– but if you use convection and set the oven at 149°C is will cook like its about 25°F or 13°C hotter.

        1. Hehe… “165F / 74C”. Sorry guys, I’ll read properly next time!

  14. Why the grinding of the seeds? Freshness? Can we use already ground fennel and coriander? Anyone know the measurement sub of seed vs ground? And yes, I know I can Google it, but would rather have an answer from someone who has actual experience. Would love to try this today, but really don’t feel like driving to the store during hurricane Ana 🙂 and I already have the ground seeds of both. Thanks!

    1. Well, I don’t have the answer to your question but am a “dump a dump” cook so just give it a try with your best guess. Live on the edge… he, he, he.

  15. Definitely will try this .. I love making roast chicken at home, but the high temp absolutely ruins my oven with all the grease splatter – so I’ll look forward to trying the low and slow method.


  16. I will have to try this. I have only ever slow cooked chicken in a crock pot; it would be interesting to see how it differs in the oven.

  17. I made this on Sunday, and the flavors are wonderful. Unfortunately, three hours was too long for my 4 lb chicken. I cooked it at 275F convection, and although the dark meat was still juicy, the breast was dry. I recommend checking it for doneness well before the 3 hour mark. FYI, 2 tsp seemed like a lot of fennel, and at first the fennel aroma was very strong, but it mellowed out considerably and was not overly prominent in the finished bird.

  18. every one could benefit from one more chicken recipe. I’ll surely try this soon, and once the initial meal is consumed, that carcass will begin a slow simmer to bone broth heaven. :0) Thanks

  19. Just had this cooked to the recipe. Was excellent, will be a regular meal.

  20. Tried it yesterday. WAY too much either fennel or thyme (or both) though. I’d say 2 tsp (not tbsp) thyme and 1 tsp fennel.

  21. Made this recipe a couple of days ago and it’s a winner! Very easy to pop in the oven, go get the kids from school and deal with homework while it cooks itself. Most importantly, everyone in my family loved it, which elevates it to miracle status. I thought the flavors would be too unusual or complex for my picky kid, but she loved it.
    It’s going to be be one of our staple meals.

  22. I made this chicken today and it came out great! I didn’t have any fresh thyme, and I didn’t have a lemon, so I just put additional dried thyme in the cavity along with a squirt of lemon juice. I also basted the chicken every 30-40 minutes with liquid from the pan, and then turned the heat up to 400ºF for the last 15 minutes.

    Thanks for another ‘go to’ recipe!

  23. Love brined and fast roasted chicken so this will be interesting to see how it compares. Got one in the oven now, I’ll report back in 3 hours or so!

  24. Well, this was GREAT!!!! I came home early today, my boss was sick so she said I had to go home too…. Uh, OK! I had the chicken taunting me in the fridge so into the oven it went. I had to get some spices since the ones I had were, well, they didn’t pass the sniff test, toss.
    I had the 3 hours to spare so it was a lovely, therapeutic time cleaning out the rest of the spice shelf and a few other drawers while we are in “toss mode” and with a bit of rice for the boys and a veggie it was fabulous. Lunch is already packed for tomorrow.
    Just want to find some good chicken feet for the bone broth I’m going to make out of the carcass. Not from chickens who are still using theirs of course…..
    Description – the part I don’t like (white meat) was fabulous. Not dry like, oh say, wet paper, but moist and tasty. Of course the skin, well, it was hard to not just rip it all off and eat it, which, I did NOT do, but it wasn’t too spicy or “herby” even tho it looks like it might be.
    Thanks to the one who donated this one!!! 😀

  25. I just took this out of the oven and it honestly might be the most delicious roast chicken I’ve ever cooked. The skin is fairly crispy and so tasty. The herbs give a nice subtle flavor and the meat is incredibly tender and juicy. So happy with the results from such a simple method. Thank you for sharing this technique!

  26. Just made this recipe tonight for my grandmother as she is staying with me for Halloween. We had a great time with the trick or treaters and the chicken turned out marvelously! Easy, nutritious and satisfying. This is definitely being added to my repertoire.

    I did change the recipe slightly by covering the chicken half way through simply because I didn’t have enough juice to baste. I raised the temp to 350 an hour before it was done and to 400 for the last ten minutes (uncovered). I give this recipe 5 stars!

  27. Google ‘Thomas Keller roast chicken’
    for a step-by-step guide to how a top chef cooks his own favourite dish of a simple roast chicken, using some simple techniques.

    Takes 1 hour start to finish

    Keller advises:

    – buy a good bird to start with
    – bring it to room temperature, ‘temper’
    – properly season bird inside and out
    – truss it as he demonstrates
    – oven cook high on a skillet

    I prefer to cook as he does on a bed of mixed vegetables which lift the chicken off the pan base and which absorb the juices any excess juices make a great pour-over.

    Crispy brown, skin moist meat.

    I thought it might be quite salty, but in fact it really was perfectly seasoned.

    In any case salt is not something that should overly concern if paelo.

  28. I made this last night. Did it exactly as written and it was wonderful. It fell off the bone. I strained the fat off of the juice in the pan and we used it to dip. Served it with roasted carrots and sliced avocado with a squirt of lemon. The hint of lemon from the chicken pulled the whole thing together. I give this recipe 2 big thumbs up.

  29. Do you cover the chicken? Going to make this tonight. Looks so good!

  30. OMG!! Just made this tonight! It is FABULOUS. I love the low & slow method for nearly EVERYTHING–it’s so much more tender than cooking it fast on high temps. Can’t believe how great this turned out—my mom even thinks it’s great! And the color of it was really good too. Just like one of those rotisserie chickens like ya’ said, only without the mystery oil on it…LOL!! Thanks SO much for the recipe–I’ll be making this again for sure! 😀

    P.S. Didn’t have any fennel or some other stuff, but did have the thyme and paprika. Color and everything is amazing!! Thanks again! 🙂

  31. Very Good. It was a tasty and tender chicken! A simple recipe that delivers.

  32. This is the best, and Imdo mean the best roast chicken we have ever had.

  33. If you want crispy skin the why not remove the chicken at temp, crank the oven up to 500 and put it back in to crisp it. If you have the convection roast option it will work great.