Stick of Butter Roast Chicken

At least three times a month I prepare a roast chicken for dinner. I think many people think a big roast chicken is best reserved for a special Sunday supper, but in reality a roast chicken is one the easier dinners to make, even on the weeknights. It can be made a few hours ahead of time, the mess is mostly confined to one pan, and the leftovers make the absolute best chicken stock.

I’ve found that it is never a good idea to buy a cheap chicken when making a roast chicken. Conventional birds from a conventional grocery store just taste so…flat? fake? artificial? Whatever the word to describe them, they just aren’t good. Instead, we pick up whole chickens from our co-op, but I also think the organic ones from Whole Foods are great. As much as possible, I just like knowing exactly where my food comes from and who raised it.

This stick of butter roast chicken was a hit with all the kids, especially Ben, who kept sneaking bites off the bird while I prepped the dinner plates. I have to admit, I was sneaking bites, too! Ha!

Stick of Butter Roast Chicken

1 4-5 pound whole chicken

2 yellow onions, sliced

1 stick of butter, very softened

1 tablespoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon dried thyme

1 tablespoon kosher salt


1 bulb garlic, sliced in half lengthwise

1 lemon, cut into quarters

Heat oven to 425 degrees.

Rinse chicken and pat dry. Sprinkle half of the sliced onion on the bottom of a large (at least 9×13) baking dish. Lay the chicken on top of the onions.

In a small bowl, mix very soft butter, garlic powder, thyme, salt and pepper. Use your hands to spread the butter mixture all over and in the chicken – get under the skin, too! Put the bottom half of the garlic bulb and the lemon quarters inside the chicken. Tie the legs with kitchen twine. Sprinkle the loosened cloves of garlic from the top half of the bulb around the chicken.

Roast at 425 for 30 minutes. Reduce heat to 375 degrees and sprinkle the remaining onion slices around the chicken. Roast for another 45-65 minutes, or until a meat thermometer registers 165 degrees.

Remove from the oven and let the chicken rest on the counter for at least 15 minutes before slicing. Serve with the roasted onions on the side.

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