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+ servings
whole roast chicken in a cast iron pan

Easy Garlic Herb Butter Chicken

Rebecca Eisenberg
An intensely flavored compound herb butter and a few special roasting techniques make for a super juicy, flavorful garlic herb butter roast chicken with crispy skin.
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Prep Time 45 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 15 mins
Dry Brining 1 d
Total Time 1 d 2 hrs
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 6 people


Roasted Garlic Chive Compound Butter

  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter (½ cup, 4 oz)
  • 1 bulb garlic
  • cup chopped chives
  • 2 tablespoon additional minced herbs (optional - rosemary, thyme, sage)

Garlic Herb Butter Roast Chicken

  • 5-6 pound whole chicken
  • 6-8 tablespoons roasted garlic chive herb compound butter
  • 1 medium lemon (quartered)
  • 1 bulb garlic (top removed)
  • 1 medium onion (quartered)
  • 5-10 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2-3 sprigs fresh sage
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons diamond crystal kosher salt (use half as much of a different brand)
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper (pre-ground is fine)


Roasted Garlic Compound Herb Butter

  • Remove top quarter of garlic bulb. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, then wrap loosely in aluminum foil and roast for 30 minutes at 420°F.
  • Mash roasted garlic cloves with room temperature butter, chives, and any other herbs (if using) until well combined.
  • Use immediately, or wrap in plastic and refrigerate or freeze. You'll need it softened to room temperature for this recipe.

The Night Before

  • Mix the salt and pepper together in a small bowl and set aside.
  • Remove chicken from packaging (discard giblets from center cavity, if included). Pat the chicken dry all over with paper towels, including inside the chicken.
  • Find the edge of the chicken skin (near the neck or inner thigh) and gently lift to begin separating it from the meat.
    Use your fingers, or a thin silicone spatula, to continue separating the skin from the meat, including on the chicken thighs, legs, and back.
  • Season the chicken all over under the skin with the salt/pepper blend. Massage it into the meat to ensure even coverage. Flip the bird over to season the backs of the chicken thighs and the chicken wings and back.
  • Smush softened compound butter under the skin all over the chicken, front and back.
    Estimate about 1½ tablespoon each per breast and 1 tablespoon each per front of thigh and leg. You'll need an additional 1½ tablespoons per back thigh and shoulders.
    This isn't about precision, don't worry if it's uneven or you didn't get exact tablespoons. Just do your best to get a nice layer of butter under the skin all over.
  • Arrange the chicken on its back in a rimmed sheet pan, sprinkle with additional salt and pepper, and let it rest, uncovered, 12-24 hours on the bottom shelf of your fridge before roasting.


  • Preheat oven to 425°F with a rack in the middle setting.
  • Place chicken in roasting pan. Tuck the wing tips behind the shoulders and stuff the cavity with aromatics — lemon, garlic, fresh herbs, onion.
    Tie the legs together with twine and tuck any remaining aromatics into the pan around the chicken.
    Insert oven-safe instant read meat thermometer into the thickest part of the chicken breast, if using.
  • Place the skillet in the back right corner of the oven so the chicken's legs are pointing toward the back right corner.
    After 30 minutes, drop the oven temperature to 400°F and rotate the pan so that it's in the back left corner of the oven with the chicken's legs pointing toward the back left corner.
  • Roast for an additional 40-60 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 165°F.
    If the chicken seems like it's browning too quickly, tent with aluminum foil.
  • Remove from oven and rest for 15-20 minutes before carving.


  • Roasting technique inspired by Samin Nosrat's Buttermilk Roast Chicken from Salt Fat Acid Heat.


Tried this recipe?Leave a comment and let me how it was!