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  • Heather Bainbridge EdM, MA, RDN

An Easy and Comforting Roast Chicken Recipe

Updated: Jul 26, 2022

Believe it or not I’m going to give you a recipe for roasted chicken. If you’re having thoughts of long and drawn out preparations for your Thanksgiving turkey, trust me, this is different and will not disappoint.

For a better part of the year, I’ve roasted chickens in the oven since I’m roasting my own little bun in the oven (I'm pregnant) and wanted options for sandwiches that mimicked the ease of lunchmeat (Why you might want to avoid lunchmeat while pregnant). This entailed brushing olive oil over the skin, stuffing it with lemon, fresh garlic and onion as well as often concocting elaborate spice blends to ensure a juicy bird. It’s been perfect because the result is a dinner our family loves and provides ample leftovers for lunches during the week. However I admit it felt a little labor intensive.

Then this summer along comes my husband. Kindly wanting to give me a break in the kitchen, did his research and developed a recipe to grill a whole chicken in a cast iron skillet that is crispy and delicious (he also sweetly modified it for the oven when I emailed him at work asking for the recipe) as he was under the impression I was grill challenged (because I pretend to be). So those who don’t own a grill or are grill challenged (or pretend to be), you’re in luck!

You can find a good (but not fancy) cast iron skillet for as reasonable as $15. We purchased ours at Homegoods and it has worked out great! Incidentally, we also own the fancy cast iron pots that were wedding gifts, but being parents needing to allocate our funds to toys and college educations decided on function not beauty. Remember DO NOT clean cast iron pans with soap. Cool the pan, pour the juices in a can (otherwise you could clog your pipes), use paper towels to wipe off any extra fat, then use a dedicated brush to clean with water only.

While you need to be home for a few hours, the prep is easy enough. And if you’re not convinced, here are a few additional bonuses:

  1. It’s less expensive than buying most lunchmeat.

  2. Contains less sodium (than lunchmeat), yet is very flavorful.

  3. You can have if for dinner that night, then eat for lunch during the week. (Your sandwiches will be so satisfying)!

  4. You are able to make flavorful chicken stock from the bones and carcass. (If you do this, it’s like you’re eating the chicken for free or actually getting paid to eat it due to the savings because you can make several quarts of broth. (We freeze ours in old yogurt or ricotta cheese containers and defrost for future use. You can also refrigerate or freeze the carcass and bones in a freezer gallon bag if you don’t have time to make it that day. In a time crunch, I only include the chicken bones/carcass, onion from the chicken, pepper, bay leaf and water, but click above link for an actual recipe).

  5. If pregnant and are risk adverse, it’s an excellent substitution for lunchmeat. Plus, if you want to prepare your own baby food, it’s a chinch to throw in the mini-chop or blender with your homemade stock. Go ahead spoil your baby’s taste buds!

  6. If grilling you won’t heat up your home in the summer or if your significant other is a proclaimed grill master you can delegate this task!

To your health,




1 whole chicken, 4-7 pounds, trimmed of excess fat but keep skin on

½ lemon, halved

½ onion, halved

Kosher salt, garlic powder and ground black pepper


1. Pat dry, place chicken in cast iron skillet breast side down and air chill in fridge for an hour. (this is how the crispy skin is achieved) 2. Pour salt down cavity and stuff in lemon and onion. 3. Salt, pepper and garlic powder on the outside. (I omitted the salt one time and my husband didn't seem to notice a difference) 4. If Oven: Broil for 15 minutes then 350 until it’s done. If Grill: 500-600 for 15 minutes then 350 until it's done.

-“Done” is when an instant read thermometer is inserted in the meatiest part of the thigh reads 165 degrees F.

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