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Crisp on the outside, juicy on the inside, this Dutch Oven Chicken is a versatile, easy dinner! Garlic and fresh herbs season the whole roasted chicken, which pairs perfectly with mashed potatoes, rice pilaf, a loaf of crusty bread, or flaky buttermilk biscuits. It’s simple, flavorful, down-home comfort food for your next Sunday supper!

Overhead shot of hands serving a roasted Dutch oven chicken on a blue and white platter

Dutch Oven Whole Roast Chicken

Yes, that’s right — you can roast a whole chicken in a cast-iron Dutch oven! Simply prep the chicken in about 20 minutes, and the Dutch oven does the rest of the work. It’s a delicious and hearty homemade dinner with very little effort!

There’s something magical about a simple oven roasted chicken. It’s one of the easiest meals that any home cook can serve, you can prepare the meat in a variety of ways, and it’s almost impossible to mess up! Even with the most basic seasonings (like salt and pepper), you can achieve a really delicious bird with so much natural flavor. Add some fresh rosemary, thyme, and garlic, and the crispy roast chicken is absolute perfection!

What is so special about a Dutch Oven?

The Dutch oven is one of the most versatile kitchen tools because it’s used for everything from chili to pot roast, and fried chicken to chicken and dumplings. You can even bake a loaf of bread in the heavy pot!

A Dutch oven is perfect for roast chicken because of its unique design and the flexibility that it provides. Dutch ovens are made from cast iron, so they retain and evenly distribute heat. First, the sides of the pot trap moisture, resulting in the juiciest roasted whole chicken that you will ever taste. The lid on the Dutch oven also gives you flexibility to control the browning process on the outside of the chicken.

Bake the chicken uncovered for the entire 1 ½ hours for a dry roast that crisps the skin and creates that gorgeous golden brown exterior. If you don’t want the chicken quite so dark, you can easily cover the pot at any point. You get the best of both worlds with a Dutch Oven Chicken — moist, juicy meat with crispy skin. No more dried-out white meat or charred exterior!

Overhead image of crisp and juicy whole roasted chicken on a dinner table.

What size Dutch Oven do you need for a whole chicken?

You’ll need a Dutch oven with a capacity of at least 5½-6 quarts. I use a 7¼-quart Dutch oven, which works particularly well and allows room for additional potatoes or vegetables, if you like.

How Long to Cook a Chicken in a Dutch Oven

This Dutch oven method roasts a whole 5-6 lb. chicken at high heat (425°F) for about 90 minutes. The total cooking time will vary depending on the size and initial temperature of your chicken. If you’re starting with a smaller 3-4 lb. chicken, decrease the cooking time.

Placing a trussed chicken in a Dutch oven

Ingredients

This is just a quick overview of the ingredients that you’ll need for a crispy Dutch oven chicken. As always, specific measurements and complete cooking instructions are included in the printable recipe box at the bottom of the post.

  • Whole chicken: I use a larger 5-6 lb. chicken, which easily feeds a family of 4-5. Smaller chickens will cook faster, and larger chickens will require a bit more time (use a thermometer to know when your bird is done).
  • Kosher salt and pepper: to season the chicken.
  • Onion, celery, fresh thyme, fresh rosemary, and garlic: aromatics that flavor the chicken from the inside as it roasts.
  • Butter: brushing the skin with melted butter before roasting adds flavor and helps the skin brown.
  • Vegetable oil: for coating the Dutch oven.
Brushing melted butter on a raw whole chicken.

How to Cook Chicken in a Dutch Oven

Allow plenty of time for the chicken to come to room temperature and for the chicken to roast in the oven, but the actual hands-on prep time for this recipe is only about 15-20 minutes. It’s so easy, so delicious, and your kitchen will smell amazing while it cooks!

  1. Prep the Chicken: Season the inside cavity of the chicken with salt and pepper, and then stuff the bird with onion, celery, thyme, rosemary, and garlic. Tie the legs together, tuck the wings underneath, and place the chicken (breast-side up) in the Dutch oven. Drizzle or brush with melted butter, and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Roast the Chicken: Place the Dutch oven (uncovered) in a 425°F oven for 90 minutes, or until cooked through. Check the chicken after the first hour, and cover with the lid if the skin is getting too dark.
  3. Rest: Remove the chicken from the Dutch oven and place on a cutting board. Allow the meat to rest for about 10-15 minutes before carving.
Overhead shot of hands carving a whole roast chicken

Roast Chicken Temperature

A whole chicken is ready when a meat thermometer inserted between a leg and thigh (not touching the bone) reads at least 170 – 175°F. Note: the temperature of the meat will continue to rise slightly when you pull it out of the oven.

What to Serve with Dutch Oven Roast Chicken

A crispy roast chicken makes a perfect Sunday supper. Pair the juicy meat with any of your family’s favorite sides, such as:

Side shot of roast chicken on a serving platter on a dinner table

Storage

Leftover chicken will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Be aware, however, that the skin will not be as crispy when thawed.

To Reheat

Allow the chicken to come to room temperature on the counter for at least 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Arrange chicken on a foil-lined baking sheet or roasting pan and place (uncovered) in the oven until the skin is crisp and the chicken is warmed through. Be careful not to leave the chicken in the oven for too long or it will dry out.

How to Use Leftover Roast Chicken

Shred the leftover meat and use the cooked chicken in casseroles (like Chicken SpaghettiChicken Noodle Casserole or Chicken and Stuffing Casserole), in soups (like Chicken Tortilla Soup or Brunswick Stew), in stuffed potatoes, in Chicken Salad, in Chicken Enchiladas, in quesadillas or tacos, for Chicken Pot Pie, or on top of Caesar SaladSo many delicious options!

Overhead image of a crispy roast chicken on a blue and white platter

Whole Chicken Recipe Variations

  • I typically leave the chicken uncovered for the entire 90 minute cooking time, because we love a really brown, crispy skin. If you prefer less color on the outside of your chicken, add the lid to the Dutch oven at any point.
  • Instead of brushing the outside of the chicken with melted butter, rub (or brush) olive oil all over the skin. The extra fat on the skin helps it get brown and crispy in the oven.
  • Dutch Oven Chicken and Potatoes: Place 6-8 small, halved or quartered Yukon Gold or red potatoes in the bottom of the Dutch oven before adding the chicken on top.
  • Include Vegetables: Add butternut squash or root veggies such as onions, carrots, or turnips to the bottom of the Dutch oven to create a one-pot meal.
  • Stuff lemon wedges inside the chicken cavity for a bright, citrus flavor.
  • Additional Herbs: Use fresh basil or parsley in addition to the rosemary and thyme.
Close up side shot of a whole roasted chicken

Tips for the Best Roast Chicken Recipe

  • Bring the chicken to room temperature for about 30 minutes before roasting in order to ensure even cooking.
  • For the crispiest skin, make sure that your chicken is very dry before roasting.
  • Cooking time will vary depending on the total weight of your chicken. Always use a meat thermometer to test the internal temperature of the meat to know when it’s done.
  • Truss the chicken. This only takes a minute or two, but tying together the chicken legs with twine and tucking the wings underneath helps the chicken cook evenly.
  • Season liberally. Don’t be shy with the salt and pepper. This is a big piece of meat, so you want to add plenty of flavor by using enough seasoning both inside and outside the bird.
  • For the juiciest meat, allow the chicken to rest for at least 10-15 minutes before carving.
  • Don’t omit the butter. The butter on the outside helps to make sure that the exterior is perfectly crispy and golden brown, and it also adds great flavor.
  • Use additional fresh herbs as a garnish just before serving.
Overhead image of hands holding a blue and white platter with a Dutch oven chicken

More Dutch Oven Chicken Recipes to Try

Overhead shot of hands serving a roasted Dutch oven chicken on a blue and white platter

Dutch Oven Chicken

5 from 2 votes
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 1 hour 30 minutes
Resting Time 15 minutes
Total: 2 hours 5 minutes
Servings 4 people
Calories 578 kcal
Crisp on the outside, juicy on the inside, this Dutch Oven Chicken is a versatile, easy dinner idea!

Ingredients
  

  • 1 (5-6 lb.) whole chicken, giblets removed
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • ½ of an onion, cut into 4 pieces
  • 1 stalk celery, quartered
  • 5 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 long sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled but not chopped
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, for coating the Dutch oven
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter, melted
  • Kitchen twine

Instructions

  • Allow chicken to sit on the counter for about 30 minutes to come to room temperature. Preheat oven to 425°F. Lightly coat the bottom of a Dutch oven with vegetable oil.
  • Pat chicken dry with paper towels. Season the inside cavity of the chicken liberally with salt and pepper. Stuff cavity with onion, celery, thyme sprigs, rosemary sprigs, and garlic cloves. It’s okay if you can’t fit everything in there – just stuff as much in as you can!
  • Tie the legs together with kitchen twine and tuck the wings underneath the bird. Place the chicken (breast-side up) in the Dutch oven.
  • Drizzle or brush the melted butter over the outside of the chicken. Season liberally all over with salt and pepper.
  • Roast the chicken uncovered at 425°F for 1 ½ hours, or until the juices run clear when you cut between a leg and thigh and the temperature on a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reaches 170-175°F. Check the chicken after the first hour, and if the skin starts to get too dark, cover the pot with the lid for the remainder of the roasting time.
  • Remove chicken from the pot and allow to rest for 10-15 minutes before carving.

Notes

  • Bring the chicken to room temperature for about 30 minutes before roasting in order to ensure even cooking.
  • For the crispiest skin, make sure that your chicken is very dry before roasting.
  • Cooking time will vary depending on the total weight of your chicken. Always use a meat thermometer to test the internal temperature of the meat to know when it’s done.
  • Truss the chicken. This only takes a minute or two, but tying together the chicken legs with twine and tucking the wings underneath helps the chicken cook evenly.
  • Season liberally. Don’t be shy with the salt and pepper. This is a big piece of meat, so you want to add plenty of flavor by using enough seasoning both inside and outside the bird.
  • For the juiciest meat, allow the chicken to rest for at least 10-15 minutes before carving.
  • Don’t omit the butter. The butter on the outside helps to make sure that the exterior is perfectly crispy and golden brown, and it also adds great flavor.
  • Use additional fresh herbs as a garnish (shown here) just before serving.

Nutrition

Serving: 1/4 of the chickenCalories: 578kcalCarbohydrates: 1gProtein: 46gFat: 43gSaturated Fat: 14gCholesterol: 199mgSodium: 222mgPotassium: 463mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 577IUVitamin C: 6mgCalcium: 32mgIron: 2mg
Keyword: dutch oven chicken, roast chicken, whole roasted chicken
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Author: Blair Lonergan

This recipe was originally published in October, 2020. It was updated in January, 2022.

blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

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  1. 5 stars
    Made this recipe tonight. I left out the rosemary and thyme and rubbed the outside of the chicken with a spice rub. It came out great. The chicken was moist and the skin was crisp. I used the pan dripping to make an awesome gravy. This recipe is very easy to make.

  2. 5 stars
    Excellent, juicy bird! Lightly oiled the bottom of Dutch Oven, added a layer of halved Dutch Red potatoes, sliced onion, 2 Tbs of butter and a few halved garlic cloves. Stuffed with fresh Rosemary, Thyme, Garlic and a couple of Chive blossoms. Used olive oil/salt/fresh pepper instead of butter. The potatoes and carmelized onion were awesome – two of us ate nearly the whole pound of potatoes. Thanks!