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.
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.