Best Roast Chicken Recipes
Summer is drawing to a close, and as we look forward to the coziness and comfort of fall, some of us choose to celebrate the change in seasons by breaking out our favorite hearty, nourishing, comfort-food recipes to herald in the beginning of cooler weather and shorter days. There are few things better than a roast chicken and we are thrilled to share some of the best roast chicken recipes with you.
A roast chicken is such a versatile recipe and can really be enjoyed any time of year, but there’s something about a steamy, crispy roasted chicken that is particularly fitting when there’s a chill in the air. Another reason why roast chicken is such a perfect fall recipe is that it pairs wonderfully with other fall comfort foods - roasted root vegetables, or a warm and nourishing paleo soup are two sides that go well with a roast chicken.
If you’re not someone who is used to cooking, preparing a whole chicken may seem a little daunting. Actually, roast chicken is incredibly easy to prepare, and doesn’t take nearly as long to cook as you might think.
You can cook a roast chicken in the oven, a slow cooker, and even a pressure cooker. There are benefits to each. Using a pressure cooker to roast your chicken is the quickest option, and is perfect for whipping up a home cooked meal on a busy weeknight. A slow cooker option allows you to “set it and forget it” - you can put your chicken to roast in the morning, go about your day, and have a nourishing meal waiting for you at dinner time. Cooking your roast chicken in the oven requires a little more oversight during the cooking process, but is definitely the best option if you like your roast chicken with a crispy, flavorful skin. And who can deny the delicious aroma that fills the air whenever you make a roast chicken, regardless of vessel.
Slow Cooker Roast Chicken Recipe
One of our favorite parts about this recipe, adapted from 100 Days of Real Food, is that after you enjoy your meal, you can throw the roast chicken bones back in the slow cooker, add some water and vegetables, and have a hearty chicken bone broth with very little effort.
It goes without saying that we recommend pasture raised chicken in all of our recipes! This is especially important when you plan to make bone broth with your leftover chicken bones. The low temperature and slow cooking of bone broth helps to extract all of the nutrients and essential amino acids out of the bones - if you’re not using high quality pasture raised chicken, this process can also extract any hormones, antibiotics, or pesticides the conventionally raised chicken was exposed to during its lifetime.
This recipe calls for the following ingredients, which you probably have on hand in your pantry:
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon thyme
½ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (adjust to your spice preference)
¼ teaspoon pepper
Chop the onion, and place it in the bottom of your slow cooker. The chicken will rest on top. Combine all of the spices in a small bowl and mix thoroughly. Rub the spice mixture on the chicken and then place it breast side down on top of the onion. Cook for about 4 and a half hours on high, until the internal temperature of the chicken is at least 165 degrees F.
Once you’ve consumed the chicken, save the bones! You can either add them right back in to the slow cooker, or freeze them until you’re ready to make your bone broth. Combine the bones in the slow cooker with 1-2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar (this helps extract as much collagen as possible from the bones), a few peppercorns and some sea salt, bay leaves, fresh herbs of your choice (we like oregano, rosemary, and thyme), an onion, quartered and about 5 cloves of garlic. You can leave the skin on the onions and garlic. Roughly chop some carrots and celery and throw those in as well, and cook on low heat for about 12 hours. The result is a wholesome, nutritious bone broth that can be sipped alone or used in cooking everything and anything ranging from soups to sautéed veggies.
Oven Roasted Whole Chicken
One of our absolute favorite ways to prepare a roast chicken in the oven is with a flavorful herbed butter rub and one of the best chicken recipes around. Ghee is a paleo friendly substitute for butter, but depending on how strictly you follow your paleo diet you can also use grass fed butter. We love freshly chopped herbs for this recipe, but use dried in its place if it’s all you have on hand. When rubbing the herbed butter on your chicken, make sure to get under the skin, especially around the breast and leg area. A great way to do this is to take a spoon and turn it curved side down, using it as leverage to lift up the skin so you can really get the butter under the skin to infuse the chicken with maximum flavor.
You’ll need 1 stick of butter (softened), and 2 tbsp each of thyme, sage, and rosemary (or feel free to substitute your favorite savory herbs.) If you’re using dried herbs instead of fresh, just reduce the amount to 2 tsp of each. Add 1 tsp each of sea salt, pepper, and garlic powder and mix everything well in a small bowl. MAKE SURE that your butter is nice and soft, or you will have a heck of a time combining all of these ingredients together.
Rub the herbed butter all over the chicken, making sure to get lots of it under the skin of the breasts and legs, for an extra juicy chicken. Roast breast side down in a 400 degree oven for about an hour and 15 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the breasts is at least 165 degrees F. Baste the chicken with its juices 2 or 3 times during the cooking process for extra crispy and delicious skin. Voila! One of the BEST ROAST CHICKEN RECIPES!!!
Whole Chicken in the Pressure Cooker
While you won’t get crispy skin cooking this way, preparing a roast chicken in your pressure cooker is really handy on busy weeknights when you crave a home cooked meal but don’t have a lot of time to devote to preparation. In under an hour, you can have a wholesome roast chicken that literally falls off of the bone. The moisture in the pressure cooker is what keeps the skin from crisping up, but you can always stick the whole chicken in the oven to broil for a few minutes once it’s fully cooked.
We don’t even have a recipe for this one because it is so easy. You can even prepare your chicken using the recipes we outlined above, and then place it on top of the trivet in your pressure cooker, with a little bit of chicken stock or water added to the bottom of the pot. Cook the chicken on high for 6 minutes per pound (so, 24 minutes for a 4 pound chicken), and then allow the pressure to release naturally for 10-15 minutes before using the manual release.
Voila! A wholesome, delicious roast chicken dinner in under an hour. Serve with a simple salad or roasted vegetables for an easy paleo weeknight meal.
Give these a try and let us know what you think about some of our best roast chicken recipes!