This oven-roasted whole Italian seasoning chicken is tender, moist, and full of flavor! The combination of Italian herbs, butter, and citrus makes this chicken a family favorite that you will make over and over again!
Nothing is better than a juicy, whole roasted chicken (Pollo Al Forno) seasoned beautifully on a Sunday afternoon. It was something of a tradition for me growing up, like many families having a weekly “Sunday roast” or “family lunch.”
Many years later I have my own family, and cannot think of a more comforting meal to share with them than a roasted chicken seasoned with beautiful Italian herbs.
So read on to find out why this is one of the best ways to prepare chicken!
- Why Roast A Whole Chicken With The Italian Seasoning?
- Which Herbs and Spices Should You Use For Italian Seasoned Chicken?
- I used the following herbs as a basic Italian seasoning:
- I added these spices to complement the seasoning for the chicken:
- Secret Ingredient:
- Does A Whole Chicken With Italian Seasoning Need Added Fat?
- How To Make A Whole Italian Seasoning Chicken, Al Forno Style
- What To Serve With The Italian Seasoned Chicken (Pollo Al Forno)
- The Recipe:
Why Roast A Whole Chicken With The Italian Seasoning?
Al forno, or oven-baked (roasted in this case), is one of the most delicious ways to prepare a whole chicken with Italian seasoning for three reasons:
- Flavor: We have all heard that cooking chicken on the bones tastes better, thanks to the bone marrow that releases flavor into the meat during the cooking time.
- Moisture: The bones help to disribute the heat evenly while cooking, keeping the breasts moist; the skin also renders and helps to hold the moisture in.
- Presentation: Since we are making Italian seasoning chicken, roasting it whole makes for a better presentation – the crispy herbed skin appeals to table-side carving for a family-style meal.
Which Herbs and Spices Should You Use For Italian Seasoned Chicken?
In a previous post, I explained how you can create your very own Italian seasoning as a substitute for a store-bought blend. It is full of great information and ideas on how to use Italian seasoning for chicken and other meats and vegetables, so definitely check it out!
I used the following herbs as a basic Italian seasoning:
I added these spices to complement the seasoning for the chicken:
- Garlic Powder – I prefer the powder form instead of fresh for roasting at high heat to avoid bitterness.
- Onion Powder – This adds demension and depth of flavor without overpowering the Italian seasoning.
- Coarse Kosher or Sea Salt – Try to not use table salt – this extremely important for the texture and seasoning of the skin on the chicken.
- Coarse Ground Black Pepper – Also key to the texture and taste, so try to avoid finely ground pepper if possible.
Sicilian lemon juice – Of course, you can use a regular lemon but Sicilian lemons are less acidic and have a sweeter taste than “regular” lemons. The natural sugars in the lemon juice help to crisp and caramelize the skin as the chicken roasts at high heat.
Does A Whole Chicken With Italian Seasoning Need Added Fat?
A whole chicken is already covered in the skin; however, for added flavor and extra crispy skin, you should add fat like butter or olive oil when seasoning.
For my chicken recipe, I opted to make a compound butter by combining Italian seasoning and the juice of a Sicilian lemon to place under the skin of the chicken. The compound butter makes the chicken taste better by:
- keeping the flesh moist during the roasting and creating more pan juice for basting
- making the skin extra crispy (due to the high fat content of the butter)
Is Butter Commonly Used in Italian Cooking?
Butter, or Burro in Italian, is the principal fat used in cooking of the northern regions of Italy – including Emilia-Romagna – where the best dairy products are made including butter. Expect to find wide usage of butter in the northern Italian regions of Piemonte, Venice, Lombardia, Alto Adige, and Friuli.
How To Make A Whole Italian Seasoning Chicken, Al Forno Style
Preheat the oven. Prepare the compound butter by adding the softened butter, lemon juice, and Italian seasoning to a bowl. Stir the mixture until everything is incorporated.
Rinse the chicken and pat it dry with paper towels. Carefully separate the skin from the breast with your fingers and place the butter mixture underneath the skin while pushing down to spread it evenly over the entire breast. Repeat these steps on the other breast. Reserve the other half of the mixture.
Use the remaining butter mixture to cover the skin on the entire chicken.
Place the chicken into a roasting pan and cook for the suggested time and the skin is a deep golden brown and crispy.
Note: Allow the chicken to rest at least 10 minutes so that the juices can re-absorb into the meat so that it remains moist and easier to carve.
Suggested Cooking Times* For Whole, Bone-In Chicken at 350 F (175 C)
|Weight (lbs/kg)||Total Cooking Time|
|2.5 to 3 lbs/1.1-1.4 kg||1 hour, 15 minutes|
|3 to 3.5 lbs/1.4- 1.6 kg||1 hour, 25 minutes|
|3.5 to 4 lbs/1.6-1.8 kg||1 hour, 35 minutes|
|4 to 4.5 lbs/1.8 kg-2 kg||1 hour, 45 minutes|
|4.5 to 5 lbs/2-2.3 kg||1 hour, 55 minutes|
|5 to 5.5 lbs/2.3-2.5 kg||2 hours, 5 minutes|
What To Serve With The Italian Seasoned Chicken (Pollo Al Forno)
Pollo Al Forno: Italian Seasoning Roasted Chicken
- Preheat the oven to 350° F (175°C).
- In a bowl, add lemon juice and Italian seasoning to the softened butter and mix well.
- Rinse the chicken and pat it dry with paper towels, making sure it is completely dry so that the seasonings adhere properly.
- Using your fingers, gently separate the skin from the breast meat to form a pocket for the butter mixture. Using a spoon or spatula, carefully place half of the seasoned butter underneath the skin of the chicken breast. Using your hands or spoon, distribute the mixture so that the breast meat is coated underneath the skin. Repeat the steps on the other breast.
- With the remaining half of the butter mixture, evenly coat the outside of the entire chicken. Season the outside of the chicken with salt and pepper to taste.
- Place the chicken in a roasting pan or dutch oven and place it into the oven to gently roast. After the recommended cooking time* allow the chicken to rest at least 10 minutes before slicing.
- The nutrition information is an average for the recipe as written with pan juices without the added salt, and may vary according to the parts of the chicken consumed (light vs. dark meat). For specific nutrition information, consult a site such as https://www.nutritionvalue.org/ for more accurate information.
- *For accurate cooking times, please refer to the table in the post. For added safety, use a meat thermomter to check for doneness.
What is your favorite go-to seasoning for a whole roasted chicken?
Will you be trying this recipe using an Italian seasoning with butter?
Leave a comment below!