Say hello to the most delicious roast chicken you’ll ever try! Whole stuffed chicken has butter rubbed under the skin for extra juicy and tender chicken. It is stuffed with traditional, homemade stuffing with bread cubes, celery and seasonings and sprinkled with thyme. Finish off with an easy homemade gravy for the perfect, low-fuss special dinner.
Dare I say it? Could a roast chicken (or two?) be better than a turkey? I’ll leave that up to you to decide once you try this juicy and perfect whole roasted chicken. If you’re hosting a small group for the holidays (this could be delicious for Thanksgiving or Christmas) I can’t think of anything more tasty than baking a perfect chicken with stuffing and homemade gravy.
If you’re looking for more roast chicken recipes, Dutch oven whole roasted chicken or lemon thyme chicken are two of my favourites.
Why this recipe works
The secret to this chicken comes from the delicious stuffing! Not only does it help keep the meat moist and juicy, but it also perfumes the chicken with flavour from the inside while it cooks.
I also love to rub salted butter under the skin for even more flavour and I brush the outside with olive oil (it’s easier to spread than butter) for that perfect golden, crispy skin that we all crave in a roast chicken.
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Get yourself a good quality whole chicken this one is about 3-4 lbs.
- Butter is used to sauté the stuffing ingredients and is tucked under the skin (this is what helps keep the chicken breast so juicy!).
- Cubed bread I just use Italian or sandwich bread. Don’t worry about needing to remember to keep it out for “day old bread”, I toast it in the oven before making the stuffing.
- Onion, garlic and celery are all used to add flavour to the stuffing.
- I season my stuffing with Italian seasoning or you could also use poultry seasoning. I like to use a blend because it will have bits of rosemary, sage and thyme or oregano which are all key ingredients in a stuffing. You could also make your own stuffing blend using a combination of those herbs. Since the stuffing cooks for some time in the chicken, dried herbs work well here.
- Chicken broth to keep the stuffing moist.
- I use olive oil on the outside of the skin, I find that it’s easier to spread than butter and leads to a glorious golden and crispy skin.
- Thyme is my go-to herb to pair with chicken and I love to sprinkle it all over the skin before roasting.
- Not pictured, but for the gravy it is super simple; water and flour. We’ll reserve some of the chicken drippings and fat as well.
Step by step instructions
Start by making the stuffing.
- Preheat oven to 425F. Toast bread cubes (no oil needed) for 5-8 minutes until they are golden and start to crisp. Remove from oven and set aside. Reduce the oven temperature to 400F.
- Melt 2 tbsp butter in a frying pan over medium heat. Add onions and celery. Cook until onion is translucent and celery is almost tender, about 3 minutes.
- Add the reserved toasted bread cubes, garlic, Italian seasoning, ¼ tsp salt and chicken broth. Stir to combine and begin cooking the garlic, about 30 seconds. The bread cubes should begin to soften. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Grease the baking sheet you will be using to roast the chicken with 1 tbsp of olive oil. Add the chicken, gently loosen the skin by running your fingers underneath it (both for the breast and the legs), be careful not to tear, but you do want to loosen it from the meat. Massage the remaining 2 tbsp of butter underneath the skin all over, try to distribute as evenly as possible.
- Using a spoon or your hands loosely stuff the cooled stuffing in the cavity of the chicken. You want there to be some room for the air to circulate, it’s ok if a little bit is peeking out. You can also add some stuffing to the front of the bird, in the cavity where the neck was and cover with the skin that is there.
- Next, brush the outside of the chicken with olive oil, sprinkle all over with salt, pepper and dried thyme.
- Using a piece of kitchen twine, tie the legs together. We’re not trussing the whole bird here, just tying the legs so don’t be nervous! Simply get your twine underneath both of the legs and tie a bow. This will pull the legs together, with one overlapping.
- Add 1 ½ cups of chicken broth into the pan, this will help to create a gravy and stop anything from burning in the pan. You’ll need to add some more broth or water about ¾ of the way through the cook time.
- Once the chicken is done cooking (both the chicken meat and the stuffing have reached 165F), remove it from the pan and set aside.
- To make the gravy. Scrape all juices and fat from the roasting pan into a glass measuring cup. The fat will float to the top and will separate from the liquid and will be lighter in colour. Using a spoon, reserve 2 tbsp of fat, discard the rest of the fat, but keep the liquid juices that are in the measuring cup. Depending on how much liquid you have remaining, top up with enough water to measure 1 ½ cups of liquid for the gravy.
- Heat a small a small pot over medium heat. Add the 2 tbsp of reserved fat with 3 tbsp of all purpose flour. Whisking constantly, slowly pour in the liquid from the chicken, bring to a boil and cook, whisking constantly until it reaches the desired consistency, about 5 minutes. Taste and add as much salt as needed (this will differ depending on the amounts of juices you had left and the amount of water used).
- I like to use a rimmed baking sheet to roast the chicken, it helps the whole chicken brown. And because we’re not making anything else in the same pan, you don’t need to worry about having deep sides.
- Keep an eye on the chicken as it is cooking. If it is starting to brown too much in certain spots (or if the stuffing that’s peeking out is burning), cover those areas with tin foil.
- It’s really important to not only check the temperature of the chicken, but of the stuffing as well. You want to make sure that both the stuffing and the chicken reach 165F.
- To serve, simply spoon the stuffing out of the cavity and place in a bowl.
More holiday recipes
The sides are one of the best parts of a holiday meal, Maple bacon Brussels sprouts, Thanksgiving chopped salad, and roasted delicata squash are always on my table.
Roasted Stuffed Whole Chicken
- 3 cups bread cubes, about 1" in size
- 2 tbsp salted butter
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1 rib celery, finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tsp Italian seasoing, or poultry seasoning
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ cup chicken broth
- 1 chicken, about 3-4 lbs
- 2 tbsp salted butter, softened
- 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
- ¾ tsp salt
- ½ tsp dried thyme
- ¼ tsp pepper
- 2 ½ cups water or chicken broth
- Preheat oven to 425F. Arrange bread cubes on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 5-8 minutes, until lightly browned and crisp. Remove from pan and set aside. Reduce heat to 400F.
- Melt 2 tbsp butter in a frying pan over medium heat. Add onion and celery. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring frequently until onion is translucent and celery has started to soften. Add toasted bread cubes, garlic, Italian seasoning and salt. Stir to coat. Pour chicken broth over top, stirring to soften cubes slightly. Remove from heat and set aside to cool until it's cool enough to handle.
- Grease the baking sheet you used to toast the bread cubes with 1 tbsp of live oil. Add chicken.
- Using your hands, loosen the skin of the chicken, being careful not to tear it. Rub butter underneath loosened skin (make sure you distribute the butter evenly between the breast and the legs).
- Using a spoon or your hands, stuff the cavity of the chicken chicken with the stuffing that has cooled enough to handle. Make sure to leave room in the stuffing for air to circulate (i.e. don't pack it in too tightly!), it’s ok if a little bit is peeking out. You can also add some stuffing to the front of the bird, in the cavity where the neck was and cover with the skin that is there.
- Brush chicken with remaining olive oil and sprinkle all over with salt, thyme and freshly cracked pepper.
- Using a piece of kitchen twine, tie the legs together. Get your twine underneath both of the legs and tie a bow. This will pull the legs together, with one overlapping.
- Add 1 ½ cups of broth to the pan, and roast for 1.5 hours at 400F. After an hour, check chicken. Carefully remove from the oven and add another 1 cup of water or broth. Return to oven and continue roasting for another 15-30 minutes or until both the chicken and the stuffing reach 165F.
- When chicken is done, remove from the baking sheet and allow to rest for 10 minutes before carving.
- Scrape all juices and fat from the roasting pan into a measuring cup. The fat will float to the top and will be a lighter colour than the liquid.
- Using a spoon, reserve 2 tbsp of fat, discard the rest of the fat, but keep the liquid juices that are in the measuring cup. Depending on how much liquid you have, top up with enough water to measure 1 ½ cups of liquid for the gravy.
- Heat a small a small pot over medium heat. Add the 2 tbsp of reserved fat with 3 tbsp of all purpose flour. Whisking constantly, the flour and fat should form a paste, continue cooking and whisking for about 30 seconds. Mixture should start to bubble.
- Next, slowly pour in the reserved liquid from the chicken while whisking (to avoid clumpy gravy). Bring to a boil and cook, whisking constantly until it reaches the desired consistency, about 5 minutes. Taste and add as much salt as needed (this will differ depending on the amounts of juices you had left and the amount of water used).
- Keep an eye on the chicken as it is cooking. If it is starting to brown too much in certain spots (or if the stuffing that’s peeking out is burning), cover those areas with tin foil. Your oven may also have hot spots, so you may need to rotate the chicken if it isn’t browning evenly.
- It’s really important that both the meat and the stuffing both reach 165F which is the food-safe temperature for cooked chicken. You may find your chicken reaches that before the stuffing, in that case, continue cooking until the stuffing also reaches 165F (this usually takes another 10-15 minutes or so after the chicken reaches temperature).
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