Delicious Italian Roast Chicken with Rosemary

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You can never run out of ideas for how to cook a whole chicken. My favorite is an Italian roast chicken where I use olive oil, garlic and rosemary as my main seasonings. It’s perfect for a Sunday meal or even to serve during the holidays.

italian roast chicken

About this recipe

The method I use for cooking the chicken is by baking it in the oven. However, you can also cook the chicken in your pressure cooker if you’d like.

If I’m using rosemary as my main herb, I only use the oven method. That’s because the juices from the pressure cooker will have the rosemary flavor which I don’t care for in my broth for later recipes.

Chicken with rosemary

A quick note about the rosemary – it’s not essential for an Italian roasted chicken recipe. If you don’t have fresh rosemary, it’s okay – but I recommend that you use fresh sprigs of rosemary.

You can purchase fresh rosemary from the grocery store in the produce section where they sell lettuce.

Rosemary is a funny herb for me because I am not keen on its strong flavor in its natural state. However when used with this chicken recipe, the aroma is much stronger than it actually tastes.

PRO TIP: You don’t want the herb to be overpowering so if you want a stronger flavor, you’ve got to at least double my recommendations.

Recipe details and instructions are right below the video!

YouTube player

Ingredients

Here are the ingredients you’ll need for making my roasted Italian chicken!

  • Whole chicken. I buy organic chickens so they usually run no more than 5lbs.
  • Extra virgin olive oil. This is for rubbing the chicken before baking.
  • Celery. Cut in 2-3 inch sticks.
  • Onion. Cut in large chunks.
  • Garlic. Cloves sliced in half.
  • Rosemary. You can use fresh rosemary or dried. I prefer the fresh, but both work just fine.
  • Salt and black pepper. This is optional and is used for seasoning.

Ingredient Notes

You do not have to use the onion and celery. Sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t. In my original video, I don’t, but when writing this post based on the last time I baked a chicken, I did.

Specific measurements are located in the recipe card at the end of this post. It’s also printable if you want to save it!

Step by Step Cooking Instructions

Here’s how I prepare and cook the chicken. You can watch the video below which I admit is very old, but the process is the same and you’ll see how crazy easy it is to make!

washing chicken with salt

Step 1. Clean out the inside of the chicken. I like to use regular salt and pour it on top and in the inside of the chicken. I rub it around to clean it and then rinse it really well.

whole chicken in brine

PRO TIP: To help ensure your chicken doesn’t dry out, soak it in a brine. Take about a 1/8 cup of salt and dissolve it in a big pot of water. Then add the chicken, cover with a lid and place in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours as shown above.

Step 2. Remove the chicken from the water and rinse it extremely well, otherwise it will taste overly salty. Speaking from experience! Pat the chicken dry with paper towels.

stuffing chicken with rosemary and onions

Step 3. Place some of the chopped onions, celery and rosemary in the inside of the chicken cavity. Then place the remaining onions and celery in the oven proof baking dish.

slits for placing garlic and rosemary

Step 4. Next, use a sharp knife and cut slits into the skin. Don’t cut into the meat, just the skin. Insert the cloves of garlic and the other rosemary sprigs (you can chop them up to be small), inside the slits.

rubbing olive oil on chicken skin

Step 5. Next, rub the chicken with your olive oil all over the skin (mainly on the top where it will crisp up).

Step 6. Now you can add a dash of salt and black pepper and rub it around. This is an optional step – sometimes I do it and sometimes I totally forget and it turns out fine.

Feel free to toss in some garlic cloves like I did on the sides.

chicken covered in oven

Step 7. Cover tightly with foil and place in the oven. Bake for approximately 50 minutes then remove the foil.

basting chicken

Step 8. Using a baster, suck up the juices and squirt it on top of the chicken. This also helps to get it crispy. Bake for about 20 more minutes or until the thickest part of the chicken (the thighs) register 165F internal temperature.

PRO TIP: Depending on the size of your chicken, times will vary for baking. It’s never the same exact time when I bake mine. Sometimes less, sometimes more. So you need to ensure that various parts of the chicken reach at least 165F!

At this point, if you cut a small slice (or poke) into the chicken, clear juices should run out. If it’s pink and bloody, you need to cook it longer.

whole italian roasted chicken on white plate

Step 9. When the chicken is ready, let it rest for about 10 minutes before slicing .

What about turning the chicken over?

I’ve tried many different ways for roasting chicken. I’ve done the 20 minutes breast side up then flip it over method, I’ve done high temps, then reduce to low after 15 minutes… and so on.

In the end, this is my favorite method. It’s simple, easy, and still comes out so delicious. Feel free to experiment and share with me in the comments below how you like to cook yours!

What makes this roasted chicken Italian?

Well, rosemary is very common in Italian cooking, and so is garlic obviously. Not all cooks use these ingredients for roasting chicken. This Italian-style recipe was originally given to me by my Sicilian mother-in-law when I first got married.

If you prefer not to use rosemary, try other herbs such as:

  • chopped basil
  • chopped Italian parsley. You can use curly parsley if that’s all you have.
  • chopped thyme

Storage Tips

Store your leftover chicken in airtight containers in the fridge for 3-4 days. You can also remove the chicken meat from the carcass and store in freezer bags or containers. The leftover meat is great for sandwiches or with some mashed potatoes!

Side Dish Options

Here are some delicious side dishes that would go great served with your roasted chicken.

garlic mashed potatoes

You’ll love this twist to regular mashed potatoes. This recipe for homemade garlic mashed potatoes is better than what they serve in restaurants!

roasted red potatoes rosemary th

If you’re not a fan of mashed potatoes, try my roasted potatoes with rosemary. Again – omit the rosemary if you want. I love this recipe because it’s so easy to make!

how to make italian green beans recipe th

Italian green beans are always nice to have with any type of recipe using meat.

For more inspiration check out more of our Italian side dish ideas.

Other chicken recipes

chicken breasts with italian seasoning

Try cooking your chicken breasts with Italian seasoning mix. Super easy and delicious!

chicken with figs and olives

Chicken with figs can be made with just breasts or all chicken parts. It’s one of my favorite ways of cooking chicken.

italian chicken cutlets th

Another classic chicken dish I recommend is Italian chicken cutlets. Perfect for summer time or even during holidays.

Check out the full collection of our Italian chicken recipes here!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this recipe for my Italian roasted chicken. Let me know in the comments below if you tried it and made any tweaks to make it your own!

italian roast chicken rosemary th

Italian Roast Chicken

Delicious Italian roasted chicken baked in the oven seasoned with garlic and rosemary. Perfect for a Sunday dinner or special occasion.
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Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Italian
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories: 329kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 Whole chicken
  • 2 Tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Medium onion
  • 3 Fresh Rosemary sprigs
  • 2-3 Celery stalks
  • 3-5 Garlic cloves sliced in half
  • 1 dash Salt and black pepper optional

Instructions

  • Clean out the inside of the chicken. I like to use regular salt and pour it on top and in the inside of the chicken. I rub it around to clean it and then rinse it really well.
    1 Whole chicken
  • Remove the chicken from the brine (if using) and rinse it extremely well, otherwise it will taste overly salty. Speaking from experience!
  • Pat the chicken dry (this is important!) with paper towels.
  • Place some of the chopped onions, celery and rosemary in the inside of the chicken cavity. Then place the remaining onions and celery in the oven proof baking dish.
    2-3 Celery stalks, 1 Medium onion
  • Next, use a sharp knife and cut slits into the skin. Don't cut into the meat, just the skin. Then insert the cloves of garlic and the rosemary sprigs (you can chop them up to be small), inside the slits.
    3-5 Garlic cloves, 3 Fresh Rosemary sprigs
  • Next, rub the chicken with your olive oil all over the skin (mainly on the top where it will crisp up and add flavor).
    2 Tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
  • Now you can add a dash of salt and black pepper and rub it around. This is an optional step – sometimes I do it and sometimes I totally forget and it turns out fine. You can also throw in some whole garlic if you want for extra flavor in the broth it will create.
    1 dash Salt and black pepper
  • Cover tightly with foil and place in the oven. Bake for approximately 50 minutes then remove the foil.
  • Using a baster, suck up the juices and squirt it on top of the chicken. This also helps to get it crispy. Bake for about 20 more minutes or until the thickest part of the chicken (the thighs) registers 165F internal temperature.
  • At this point, if you cut a small slice (or poke) into the chicken, clear juices should run out. If it's pink and bloody, you need to cook it longer.
  • When ready, remove and let rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Notes

Nutritional information are estimates based on API calculations. 
  1. To help ensure your chicken doesn’t dry out, soak it in a brine. Take about a 1/8 cup of salt and dissolve it in a big pot of water. Then add the chicken, cover with a lid and place in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours, although I’ve done less.
  2. Make sure internal temperature reaches 165F at the thick parts of the chicken which are the thigh, under the legs, and breast.
  3. Onion and celery don’t have to be used, but do help enhance flavors. 
  4. Remember that the aroma of the rosemary is greater than the actual flavor when you taste the chicken, so don’t be skimpy on the rosemary.

Nutrition

Calories: 329kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 11g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 95mg | Sodium: 105mg | Potassium: 312mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 1897IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 26mg | Iron: 1mg


Delicious Italian Roast Chicken with RosemaryDelicious Italian Roast Chicken with RosemaryDelicious Italian Roast Chicken with RosemaryDelicious Italian Roast Chicken with Rosemary

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