This whole roast cast iron chicken recipe is infused with the flavors of fresh herbs de Provence and lemon served with baby potatoes and a buttery white wine pan sauce!
This whole roast chicken recipe is made right in a cast iron skillet (no roasting pan required)! It's a simple, rustic, one-pot recipe that creates a juicy chicken and a delicious pan gravy, with a side of caramelized onions and roasted potatoes.
For another take on a classic French chicken recipe, try our Coq au Vin Blanc!
This recipe uses simple ingredients and minimal prep to create a comforting meal with delicious flavor. Here's what you'll need:
- White Wine - The white wine mixes with the chicken drippings to create a delicious, minimal effort pan sauce. We used an inexpensive chardonnay. You can also substitute chicken stock or even water.
- Fresh Herbs de Provence - See our suggestions for seasonal herb blends below.
- Baby Potatoes - We used a mixture of red and yellow peewee potatoes. Peewee potatoes are a petite varietal of fingerlings. Their tiny size allows them to roast perfectly tender alongside the chicken. If you can't find peewees, cut baby potatoes or fingerlings into smaller bite-sized pieces.
What are Herbs de Provence?
Herbs de Provence is a blend of various Mediterranean herbs that are commonly grown and used in cooking in the South of France. This mixture of herbs can vary from kitchen to kitchen but typically include thyme, marjoram, rosemary, savory and oregano. In the United States, herbes de Provence seasoning often contains the addition of lavender, too.
It is common to find herbs de Provence as a dried herb mix. However, for this roast chicken recipe, we will use fresh, aromatic herbs to season the bird and its pan juices. The fresh herbs add a ton of flavor and smell amazing!
This recipe can be made from blends of several different herbs. Some combinations of herbs are perfect for a robust Winter evening, while other blends are lighter and better suited for Spring or Summer.
You can be creative and use any combination of Mediterranean herbs that you please. Here are some of our suggestions for seasonal variations:
- Spring - parsley, tarragon, marjoram, thyme, chervil, mint, lavender
- Summer - Summer savory, oregano, basil, thyme, chervil, bay leaf, fennel
- Autumn - thyme, sage, rosemary, marjoram, bay leaf
- Winter - rosemary, thyme, sage, oregano, Winter savory, bay leaf
Preparing the Bird & Potatoes
1. Start by seasoning the potatoes. In a medium mixing bowl toss the potatoes and garlic cloves in olive oil, salt and black pepper. Set aside while you prepare the bird. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425° Fahrenheit (220° celsius).
2. To dress the bird, first remove the chicken from the refrigerator and remove any giblets from the cavity. Pat all sides of the chicken skin dry with paper towels. Allow the chicken to air-dry while resting at room temperature for about 30, or so, minutes.
3. Next, spread the whole chicken with softened butter. Gently pull the skin away from the chicken breasts and press some of the butter up and under the skin. Continue to cover the whole bird with the remaining butter. Season the surface and cavity of the chicken with salt and pepper.
4. Stuff the cavity of the bird with a halved lemon and the fresh herbs. To do this, simply cut the lemon in half and sandwich the herbs in between. Then, you can press the whole lemon and herbs into the bird with ease.
5. Use a piece of kitchen twine to tie the chicken legs together.
6. In an oven safe baking pan or skillet, arrange thick slices of onion on the bottom of the pan. Space the onion slices centrally to support the size of the chicken. For this recipe, the onion acts as a roasting rack, allowing heat to flow around the bottom of the bird while caramelizing and flavoring the white wine pan sauce.
7. Place the chicken on the onion slices and add the white wine (broth or water) to the bottom of the pan. Then, arrange the seasoned potatoes around the pan.
8. Roast the chicken in the hot, preheated oven for 20 minutes before lowering the roasting temperature to 350° Fahrenheit (175° celsius).
9. Remove the potatoes with a slotted spoon and set aside. Transfer the roast chicken to a cutting board and allow to rest for 15 - 20 minutes before carving. In the meantime, prepare the white wine pan sauce.
How Long Does it Take To Roast a Whole Chicken?
Most medium sized chickens will be cooked through between 1 ½ - 2 hours.
We recommend testing the doneness of the bird one hour after lowering the temperature to 350° F. Continue roasting in short increments, as needed. The fully cooked chicken should have an internal temperature of 165° Fahrenheit (70° C) when an instant read thermometer is inserted into the thickest piece of the thigh. The juices inside the bird should run clear and the legs joints should feel loose when wiggled.
For a different cozy chicken dish that can be ready in only an hour, take a look at our recipe for Cider Braised Chicken Thighs with Bacon & Shallots!
White Wine Pan Sauce
One of the reasons we love this recipe so much is that it creates it's own rich and flavorful sauce while the chicken roasts. The white wine (broth or water) is combined with the chicken drippings and flavored with the caramelizing onion, garlic, lemon juice and aromatic fresh herbs. The sauce naturally has so much flavor.
10. Remove the onion slices and transfer to the serving platter. Then, whisk the sauce over medium low heat being sure to whisk up any browned bits (fond) from the bottom of the pan. Bring to a gentle simmer.
If the sauce is too thick, you can add an additional splash or broth or water to thin, as desired. Taste the sauce and add a pinch of salt and/or a crack of pepper, if needed. If desired, whisk in an extra tablespoon of butter. Serve in a big gravy boat alongside the carved bird.
Carving & Serving
1. After resting, untie the chicken legs and discard the twine. To carve the bird, start by using a sharp knife to remove the hind chicken quarters between the thigh joint. Slice through the skin first. You can pull the thigh and leg meat away from the body, slightly, to see where you need to make the cut.
From there, you can leave the chicken in quarters, or separate the thigh and drumstick, as we like to do. Follow the same procedure to remove the wings.
2. Then, run the knife along either side of the breastbone. Glide the knife under the breast meat (from the central breastbone outward towards the wing) to remove as much of the breast meat as possible. Slice the breast into 4 or 5 thick slices, being careful to leave the skin in tact.
Transfer the carved bird to a serving platter with the caramelized onion slices and roasted potatoes. Garnish with extra herbs and serve immediately with the white wine pan sauce.
Pro Tip: Make Homemade Chicken Broth- You can use the remaining chicken carcass to create a flavorful chicken broth. Add the carcass to a large stock pot with an onion, bay leaves, a couple of carrots and a few ribs of celery. Cover the ingredients with cold water and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 2 - 4 hours and season with salt.
Use the chicken stock for soups, sauces and any other recipes. The stock can be enjoyed immediately or cooled and frozen for 2 - 3 months.
This meal goes wonderfully with a light green salad, asparagus, our French green beans in Herb Butter and a nice glass of wine. Try it with a crisp chardonnay, dry chenin blanc, a red Côtes du Rhone or a pinot noir. Cheers!
5 Tips for Juicy Whole Roast Chicken
- Temper the chicken to room temperature before roasting. This small step helps the meat to cook evenly by allowing the bird to roast at an even temperature.
- Dry the bird thoroughly. Patting the chicken skin dry with paper towels is essential to a crispy skin!
- Start the roasting process in a hot oven. This recipe starts to roast at a higher temperature to ensure a crispy golden skin. Then, the temperature is lowered for the remainder of the cooking time to keep the meat moist and juicy.
- Roast the bird with the legs facing toward the back of the oven. This is such an important tip! Since breast meat generally cooks more quickly than the dark hind quarters, you need to roast the chicken with the legs pointing toward the heat source at the back of the oven. The back of the oven is slightly hotter allowing the legs and thighs to cook through while avoiding overcooking and drying out the breast meat.
- Rest the bird! This herbs de Provence chicken smells amazing and I'm sure you'll want to dig right in! However, please give the chicken at least 15 minutes to rest and allow the juices to redistribute throughout the meat. It's worth the wait!
More Recipes To Try
Check out these other home cooked favorites & don't forget to save room for dessert!
Cast Iron Chicken with White Wine Pan Sauce
- 1 Large Cast Iron Skillet (OR oven-safe baking dish (c.))
- Kitchen Twine
- 1 Instant Read Thermometer ((Optional, but recommended))
- 1 medium whole chicken (3 - 4 pounds / About 1½ Kilograms)
- 1 pound peewee potatoes OR baby or fingerling potatoes cut into bite-sized pieces
- 2 cloves garlic peeled
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil divided
- fine kosher salt* as needed, to taste / About 2 - 3 Tablespoons
- Freshly-ground black pepper as needed, to taste / About 2 teaspoons
- 1 medium yellow onion peeled and cut in ½ inch slices
- 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter softened to room temperature
- 1 lemon halved
- 1 handful fresh herbs de Provence Any combination of fresh thyme, rosemary, marjoram, bay leaves, etc.
- ¾ Cup dry white wine OR chicken stock OR water
- Gather, measure and prepare the Herbs de Provence Roast Chicken ingredients as listed.Remove the bird from the refrigerator and remove the giblets. Thoroughly dry the chicken with paper towels. Allow to temper for 30 minutes. Arrange a rack in the center third of the oven and preheat to 425° Fahrenheit (220° celsius). Meanwhile, prepare the other ingredients.
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine potatoes, garlic, and half of the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
- Drizzle the remaining olive oil in the bottom of a large, oven-safe skillet (c.). Arrange the slices of onion on the bottom of the pan. Set aside.
- To dress the bird, start by pushing some of the butter beneath the breast skin. Then, spread the remaining butter over the surface of the chicken. Season the surface and cavity of the bird generously with salt and pepper. Stuff the cavity of the chicken with the halved lemon and herbs de Provence. Use a piece of kitchen twine to tie the legs together.
- Place the dressed chicken on top of the onion slices. Pour the white wine in the bottom of the skillet. Add the seasoned potatoes around the chicken.
- Roast the chicken, with the legs facing the back of the oven, for 20 minutes. Then, reduce the oven heat to 350° Fahrenheit (175° celsius). Continue roasting for an additional 1 - 1½ hours (b.) or until the thickest part of the thigh reaches an internal temperature of 165° Fahrenheit (75° celsius).
- Once fully cooked, transfer the chicken to a welled cutting board to rest for 15 - 20 minutes. In the meantime, transfer the potatoes and onion with a slotted spoon, to the serving platter - being careful to leave the pan sauce behind.
- Place the skillet with pan sauce on the stove top over a low flame. Bring to a gentle simmer while whisking to emulsify. If too thick, add a splash of stock or water, as desired. Season to taste and transfer to a large gravy boat.
- With a sharp knife, carve the Herbs de Provence roast chicken into 4 or 8 pieces. Serve with potatoes, caramelized onions and white wine pan sauce. Enjoy!
* A Note About Salt
Unless otherwise noted, all recipes on The Sage Apron are developed using Diamond Crystal Kosher salt. It is a great all-purpose salt for cooking and baking. If using table salt, reduce quantities by about half.