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Old Fashioned Roast Chicken Recipe

This roast chicken recipe is old-fashioned and classic, but we’ve got something even better on our list!

What Is An Old Fashioned Roast Chicken Recipe?

An old fashioned roast chicken recipe is one that doesn’t involve any fancy ingredients or techniques.

This means no breading of the bird nor any marinating in herbs or spices.

Instead, this recipe uses simple salt, pepper, and garlic.

The result is a crispy skin with juicy meat inside. You can serve it as part of your main meal, or use it to create sandwiches later in the week.

If you want to learn more about how to cook delicious roasts without using special equipment, check out these tips and tricks for cooking everything from beef to lamb.

How Do You Make An Old Fashioned Roast Chicken Recipe?

The key to making this roast chicken recipe is using the right type of bird. While most people use chickens these days, it was once common practice to use pigeons instead.

Pigeon meat has a more delicate flavor than that of a chicken or turkey.

When cooked properly, the result is quite delicious.

  • Remove any excess fat from the inside cavity of the bird by running your fingers underneath the skin.
  • Rub the entire surface with salt and pepper (you can also add rosemary). Add one tablespoon of butter into each cavity. Use two tablespoons if using a large bird.
  • Place the bird breast side down on a rack set over a roasting pan filled with water. Cover loosely with foil and cook at 375°F/190°C until the juices run clear when pierced with a sharp knife.
  • Allow to rest 15 minutes before carving. Serve warm.

What Are The Ingredients In An Old Fashioned Roast Chicken Recipe?

Old fashion roast chicken recipes have been around since before the 1900s.

They were popular during World War I when food was scarce due to rationing.

These days, they can be found at most grocery stores or supermarkets with a large selection of different types.

The main ingredient in this recipe is chicken.

You will need three chickens that weigh about 2 pounds each.

The average size of a chicken breast is 1 pound so you should buy two of these per bird if you want them all cooked together as one big piece.

You also need some fresh herbs like thyme, sage, rosemary, marjoram, and oregano.

If you don’t find any of these herbs in your local supermarket then look out for dried versions instead, which can usually be found near the spice section.

Other than those basic staples, there are many other things you might use in this recipe depending on what type of meal you plan to cook.

Some people prefer dark meat while others may choose white meat, but both options work well here.

Here are some examples of optional ingredients used in an old fashioned roast chicken recipe:

  • Onions – Slice onions thinly into rings and lay them flat on top of the chicken pieces before roasting. This adds flavor and texture to the dish.
  • Garlic cloves – Crush garlic cloves using a mortar and pestle or press through a garlic press. Add crushed garlic to the pan along with chopped onions when cooking.
  • Tomatoes – Chop tomatoes up into small cubes and add them to the pot. Cook until soft and mash with the back of a fork.
  • Milk/butter – Heat milk or butter in a saucepan over medium heat until just warm enough to pour. Pour this mixture over the chicken once roasted to give the skin extra crispiness.
  • Flour – Dust the chicken thoroughly with flour, shake off excess, and fry in hot oil until golden brown.
  • Parsley – Sprinkle parsley leaves onto the finished dish.
  • Celery hearts – Peel the celery heart by cutting off the end, removing the stringy leaf part, and slicing down into the center. Cut the heart crosswise into thin slices.
  • Potato – Boil potatoes until tender, drain, and place in a bowl with melted butter.
  • Soy sauce – Stir soy sauce into the mashed potato mix right after draining.
  • Cheese curds – Mix cheese curds into the mashed potato mix prior to baking.
  • Salt & pepper – Season the finished roast chicken with salt and pepper.

How Long Does It Take To Make An Old Fashioned Roast Chicken Recipe?

Roast Chicken Recipe – Old Fashioned Roasted Chicken

  • 4 medium sized chickens
  • 1/3 cup salt (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice berries
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 10 sprigs fresh rosemary

Step 1: Remove any giblets from inside of each chicken.

Step 2: Wash both sides of each chicken with cold water. Pat dry.

Step 3: Rub each side of each chicken with half of the seasonings, and place them on a large plate or sheet pan.

Step 4: Place the second half of the seasonings into a bowl and mix well. Pour this mixture over each chicken, rubbing it into the skin as evenly as possible.

Step 5: Wrap the legs of each chicken with aluminum foil, then wrap the wings individually. Place these pieces onto another tray, making sure that they are not touching one another.

Step 6: Cover the trays tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Step 7: Preheat your oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Unwrap each chicken, patting off excess moisture. Brush each bird liberally with olive oil, and rub the remaining seasoning mixture into the meat.

Step 8: Put each chicken back on its original roasting rack and bake at 450 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 minutes per pound of weight.

Step 9: Reduce temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and continue cooking until a thermometer reads 165 degrees F when inserted in the thickest part of the thigh.

Step 10: Increase heat again to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and cook for 15 more minutes.

Step 11: Transfer the birds to a heated serving platter, cover loosely with aluminum foil, and let rest for about 20 minutes before carving.

The best way to serve this chicken is by cutting along the bone, which will allow you to remove the entire breast meat and most of the dark meat. Serve warm with roasted potatoes and vegetables and a nice salad…or just eat it straight out of the dish!

What Is The History Of The Old Fashioned Roast Chicken Recipe?

The old fashioned roast chicken recipe was first published in 1868 by Mary Taylor Simms (a famous author who also wrote under her married name, Frances Sargent Osgood).

The book was entitled “Mrs. Osgood’s New Cook Book”.

In this cookbook you can find all sorts of delicious recipes, including one that would be considered the oldest surviving version of the ancient art of roasting chickens.

Although there are many variations of this recipe over time, it remains popular today because it has stood the test of time.

Ingredients for the old fashioned roast chicken recipe

  • A 5-6 pound bird with giblets removed
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 cup dry mustard
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/8 cup water
  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 5 tablespoons melted lard or butter
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 lemon sliced into wedges

Instructions for the old fashioned roast chicken recipe

Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.

After removing the neck skin from the bird, rub the inside cavity generously with salt and pepper.

Place the bird breast side up on a rack in a large baking pan.

Roast at approximately 425 F until internal temperature reaches 165 F.

Take out of the oven and let rest 10 minutes before carving.

When you carve the bird, place slices of lemon around the perimeter of your serving platter.

Serve immediately.

How Did The Old Fashioned Roast Chicken Recipe Come About?

A few years ago, I was looking through my mother’s recipe box when I found this one and it brought me back to a simpler time in American life.

I remember making this roast chicken as a child, watching my mom carefully place each piece of onion into her pan with the skin side down so that they would melt away over the course of cooking.

As she turned the bird over after 45 minutes or so, I could smell the delicious aroma coming from the oven.

She always used fresh herbs for flavor – thyme, rosemary, sage, parsley – which made all the difference.

Her roasting method was simple too – just salt and pepper the breast meat before placing it into the oven, then baste it every 15 minutes while it cooked until done.

The result was moist and flavorful, leaving us hungry for more.

Fast forward many years later, and my husband and I were preparing to host a Thanksgiving meal for friends and family.

We decided to make our traditional roasted turkey recipe using some leftover poultry, along with stuffing made out of bread cubes and vegetables instead of cranberries, and mashed potatoes instead of gravy.

While we had a great time hosting everyone, we felt that there should be a “special occasion” holiday dish that didn’t involve any leftovers or a lot of work.

We wanted to bring back memories of those childhood Sundays where you would sit around the table enjoying your meal and being thankful for what you have.

So, we put together this old-fashioned roast chicken recipe, hoping it would be enjoyed by everyone, no matter who came to share our food.

The next day after the guests had departed, we sat down at the dining room table, ready to enjoy ourselves again (and maybe get a little bit tipsy).

Before long, we were reminiscing about how good this was, how much we loved it, and how we wished we could go back to simpler times like when we were kids.

So, here are the ingredients and steps we followed for creating our own version of an old-fashioned roast chicken recipe.

  • Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 pounds free range organic chickens (preferably Cornish Cross)
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Fresh Thyme
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Parsley
  • Garlic powder
  • Olive oil spray
  • Directions
  • Preheat oven to 425°F / 220°C.
  • Wash chickens inside and outside with cold water. Dry them off thoroughly with paper towels.
  • Rub 1/4 cup of olive oil onto both sides of the birds and sprinkle them with salt and pepper.
  • Place the chickens in a large baking sheet, skin-side up, so that they can air dry for 20 minutes.
  • In a small bowl combine the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil, fresh herbs, garlic powder, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Brush the herb mixture evenly over the top of the birds, covering the entire surface.
  • Bake the birds uncovered for 30 minutes. Then turn the heat down to 375°F / 190°C and continue to bake for another 40 minutes. Turn the oven off and allow the birds to rest in the oven overnight.
  • Next morning, remove the chickens from the oven, brush them once more with the herb mixture, and return them to the oven for 10 additional minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool completely before serving.

What Is The Best Way To Cook An Old Fashioned Roast Chicken Recipe?

The original old-fashioned roast chicken recipe was probably made using a roasting pan with racks inside it that were covered in foil before being placed into the oven.

The bird would be basted regularly throughout the cooking process.

However, this method of cooking has been replaced by modern techniques such as rotisserie chickens, which are cooked over high heat so that they turn golden brown without drying out or burning.

These methods ensure you get the most flavour from your food while also ensuring any bones left behind after carving will not be visible.

While there are many ways to cook an old-fashioned roast chicken recipe, here’s how to do it right…

How Can I Make An Old Fashioned Roast Chicken Recipe Healthier?

Roast chicken recipes have been around since ancient times, so they aren’t exactly new or revolutionary in their approach.

Most of them use butter and salt as main ingredients, which can be unhealthy if you eat it too often.

But don’t worry! We’re here with the most healthy version of this classic dish that will keep your family happy and satisfied without sacrificing taste and flavor.

Here’s how to cook an old fashioned roast chicken recipe the right way.

  • To avoid salting the bird before cooking, season the chicken inside and out (using a mixture of herbs) after roasting it.
  • Use low-fat milk instead of regular milk when making gravy – it makes a lighter sauce while still retaining its richness.
  • When baking the chicken, add extra vegetables like potatoes, carrots, onions, squash, etc., along with more herbs and spices to give the chicken additional flavor.
  • You can also try adding fresh ginger root, garlic cloves, leeks, shallots, fennel seeds, dried basil leaves, dried thyme, or any other herb/spice combination of your choice into the stuffing mix at home.
  • Finally, remember to save some of the drippings from the pan and stir fry the leftover veggies in it for added flavor.

What Are Some Creative Ways To Serve An Old Fashioned Roast Chicken Recipe?

Roast Chicken Recipe (Old Fashioned)

  • 1 (4 pound) roasting chicken with giblets
  • 3/4 cup kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon celery seed


  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  • Place chicken in a large mixing bowl or plastic bag.
  • Mix together all ingredients except chicken.
  • Rub mixture over entire surface of chicken, inside and out.
  • Wrap breast side up in aluminum foil, then place into preheated oven.
  • Cook for 1 hour at 425 degrees F.
  • Remove from oven and let stand 15 minutes before carving.
  • Serve warm with pan gravy if desired.


Chicken Tikka Masala

The key ingredient in this delicious Indian dish is yogurt – it adds extra protein and makes your roasted chicken juicy.

Prep time: 10 minutes | Cook time: 1 hour 15 minutes (or more)

Ingredients: 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, 1/4 teaspoon coriander powder, 1 teaspoon black mustard seed, 2 tablespoons oil, 3 cloves garlic, 1 large onion, 1/4 cup ginger paste, 1 tablespoon tomato ketchup, 1 cup plain Greek yogurt, salt, pepper, 1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs or breasts, 4 green chilies, 1/2 medium sized red bell pepper, 1/2 small head cauliflower, 1 lime, 1/3 cup fresh mint leaves, 1/3 cup chopped coriander leaves.

  • How to make Chicken Tikka Masala
  • Preparation Time: 20 mins + 15 mins cook time
  • Cooking Time: 40 mins
  • Servings: 6–8 servings
  • Nutrition Information

If you like your food spicy, then this recipe is going to be right up your alley.

The spices give the chicken a nice kick of flavor that is hard to resist.

This is one of those dishes that will impress everyone at your next gathering.

It has all the elements of a great meal – tender meat, bold flavors, and just enough heat from the chili peppers to keep things interesting.

Old Fashioned Roast Chicken Recipe

An old fashioned roast chicken recipe is one that doesn’t involve any fancy ingredients or techniques. This means no breading of the bird nor any marinating in herbs or spices.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Old Fashioned Roast Chicken Recipe
Calories: 1762kcal


  • The Oven


  • 1 good-quality whole chicken
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper


  • Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C) with a rack in the center.
  • Remove any giblets from the cavity of the chicken and pat it dry all over.
  • Place the chicken into a roasting pan. For a 4 to 5 pound chicken, I like to use the good old 9x13x2-inch metal roasting pan we’ve had for years. Nothing fancy.
  • Rub the chicken all over with the olive oil, and sprinkle all over with the salt.
  • Tuck the tips of the wings under the chicken.
  • Roast for about 60 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the breast registers 145°F (63°C) to 150°F (65°C) and the juices run clear when the tip of a knife is put between one of the legs and thighs. Don’t worry if it goes a little bit over; start checking at the 45-minute mark.
  • For 20 minutes, let the chicken rest on a cutting board. After that, cut and serve.



Calories: 1762kcal | Protein: 142g | Fat: 129g | Saturated Fat: 35g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 26g | Monounsaturated Fat: 58g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 571mg | Sodium: 1696mg | Potassium: 1440mg | Vitamin A: 1066IU | Vitamin C: 12mg | Calcium: 85mg | Iron: 7mg
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