Roasted chicken in oven bag is the recipe that always turns out great, even if you never cooked a whole chicken before. Besides being very easy, this method makes exceptionally juicy, tender, and flavorful meat. Perfect choice for family dinners and special occasions.
About the recipe
As a busy mom, I always look for recipes that are both easy to make and clean up. That's why I often buy a whole chicken and roast it in an oven bag.
Besides roasting it, I often boil a whole bird for a delicious chicken broth and shredded meat.
Both methods provide excellent leftovers, which I love to use for homemade soups, quesadillas, and casseroles throughout the week.
Baking a whole bird in a bag always guarantees the juiciest and most flavorful meat with crispy skin. The science is simple - the bag traps the moisture and circulates the heat evenly, cooking the chicken perfectly without drying out.
The bag also keeps the splatters inside, which means your oven stays clean. And for those who love crispy skin, slit the bag open during the last 10-15 minutes of cooking, allowing the heat brown the skin.
This method is very similar to how I always prepare my duck for a holiday table.
Don't worry if you cannot find paper bags; an oven-safe plastic bag works just as great.
Another important note, the chicken should be cooked in a bag according to the weight, generally about 15-20 minutes per pound. This time, my chicken was about 4.5 pounds and it took about 85 minutes plus 15 minutes for crisping up the skin.
This is a quick overview of what ingredients you will need to make this recipe. For the full list of ingredients and quantities please see the recipe card at the end of this post.
- Whole chicken: I used 4.5-pound air-chilled whole chicken. Usually, whole chicken weighs between 4-5 pounds.
- Seasoning: salt, garlic powder, paprika, and black pepper.
- Butter: butter helps to crisp up the skin and during the cooking process it bastes the chicken and prevents it from over-drying. Olive oil is a great alternative if you do not want to use butter.
- Lemon: it is optional, but I love adding some lemon for a bright, citrusy flavor. It also pairs well with the fresh herbs I use in this recipe.
- Fresh herbs: I used the poultry fresh herbs blend, which is thyme, rosemary, and sage. You can use only one or all the herbs. If you do not have fresh herbs, use dried ones,
Preparation. Preheat the oven to 400°F and have the baking bag and a large baking dish ready.
Pat dry the chicken with paper towels and remove the giblets if present. Giblets can be fried separately with onions, just like in this recipe.
Rub the chicken with salt, garlic powder, paprika, and black pepper. Do not forget about the cavity.
Chop the herbs finely. I like to leave a few sprigs whole for stuffing the cavity.
Melt butter in a microwave. Squeeze the juice of half of the lemon into butter and add chopped herbs.
Do not get rid of the squeezed lemon halve. The whole lemon will be used in the recipe. Rub the chicken all over, including the cavity with butter, herbs, and lemon mixture.
The butter will solidify on top of the chicken as soon as you apply it, because the meat is cold. Now, stuff the chicken cavity with whole herb sprigs and both lemon halves.
Bagging the chicken. Check the instructions for your particular oven bags, as they may be different.
I used parchment paper bags, with instructions to place the seam facing up during the cooking process.
Shake the oven bag to open it fully. Holding the chicken onto the cavity with one hand and holding the bag with the other hand, slide in the chicken inside the bag, breast side up.
Roll up the bag tightly, letting any excess air out of the bag, or use the provided ties that come with the plastic bags.
Roasting. Place bagged chicken in a large hide-sided baking pan. Use both hands to transfer the baking dish into the preheated to 400°F oven, ensuring it is stable and centered.
Bake it for about 1 hour and 25 minutes. It is usually 15 minutes per pound when baking at 400°F.
After that, I like to slit the bag open and check the internal temperature. Insert the meat thermometer into the thickest part of the chicken, which is usually the inner thigh area near the breast or the thickest part of the breast itself.
The chicken is ready when the internal temperature reaches 165°F. If it is not there yet, let it cook for another 15 minutes. While the internal temperature finally gets to 165°F, the skin will also crisp up and brown.
Crisping up the skin. Once cooked, take the baking dish out and let it sit for 10-15 minutes until it cools down slightly. Carve and serve the chicken.
I like to collect the juices to use them for gravy or soups. And as a bonus, easy clean up - just dispose of the bag, and your oven and baking dish should require minimal cleaning.
Roasting time chart
Note: I always recommend using a meat thermometer to ensure the chicken reaches 165°F. This step ensures the chicken is neither undercooked nor overcooked, guaranteeing a perfectly cooked bird every time.
Below are the chickens by size with the cooking times I have roasted in the oven bag at 400°F. If you decide to cook it at 350°F, increase the cooking time by approximately 15-30 minutes; at 400°F, you can reduce the cooking time by about 15-30 minutes.
- 4.5 lb chicken - about 85 minutes at 400°F
- 5 lb chicken - about 95 minutes at 400°F
- 5.5 lb chicken - about 110 minutes at 400°F
When right out of the oven, we enjoy it as a main meal alongside the different sides.
Check out our favorite pairings below to see how you can turn it into a complete meal:
- roasted golden beets - for a hearty family dinner.
- Cottage cheese pasta - lighter alternative for Pasta Alfredo.
- air fryer potatoes and carrots -as a quick and filling side.
- roasted green bean and carrots - for an elegant meal or holiday dinner
- buckwheat kasha - or a wholesome and satisfying meal.
- air fryer sweet potatoes - for a kid-friendly meal.
- arugula salad with goat cheese and beets or carrot raisin salad - for a lighter-balanced dinner.
Roasted whole chicken makes great leftovers to use throughout the week. Before placing the chicken in the fridge, make sure to carve it into smaller pieces and cool it down to room temperature. Place it in the fridge within 2-hour window.
- To store: store the leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3-4 days.
- To reheat: oven is the best way to reheat the chicken. Always reheat it at a lower temperature to maintain its juiciness and flavor. Preheat your oven to 350°F. Take your cold, cooked chicken and place it in a baking dish. Put the baking dish in the preheated oven. Let it heat for about 20 minutes, or until the meat is heated through.
Frequently asked questions
Besides being the easiest and mess-free way to roast a whole chicken, this method locks in moisture and flavor, resulting in juicier and more tender meat.
I always prefer using parchment paper roasting bags. They work great and they are better than plastic. You can also use plastic oven-safe bags as well. Both work great, but it is important to follow the specific instructions provided on the package of the bag you choose to ensure the best results.
The cooking time varies depending on the size of the bird and the oven temperature. As a general guidance, it is usually 15-20 minutes per pound of chicken, but I always recommend using a meat thermometer to check for doneness (165°F or 74°C in the thickest part).
For crispy skin, carefully cut open the top of the bag for the last 10-15 minutes of roasting, allowing the chicken skin to brown.
Roasted Chicken In Oven Bag
- 1 large oven bag designed for baking I used paper, but plastic works too
- 1 4.5-5 lb whole chicken, giblets removed
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1 lemon, halved
- ½ package poultry blend herbs (rosemary, sage, thyme)
- 2 teaspoons salt, divided
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Prepare a large baking pan and a large bag for roasting.
- Remove the giblets from the chicken and pat it dry with paper towels. Melt 4 tablespoons of butter in a small bowl in the microwave. Rinse the herbs, dividing them in half; reserve one half for the cavity. Finely chop the remaining herbs and add them to the melted butter. Squeeze the juice of half a lemon into the mixture. Do not discard the squeezed lemon half.
- Season the chicken with salt, paprika, garlic powder and black pepper, do not forget to season the cavity as well. Now, rub the chicken with the herb and lemon butter, including the cavity. Stuff the cavity with two lemon halves and the remaining herbs.
- Fully open the oven bag by giving it a shake. Carefully grasp the chicken by the cavity with one hand and hold the bag open with the other. Slide the chicken in, breast side up. Roll up the bag tightly, expelling any extra air, or use the included ties if it's a plastic bag. Place the chicken in the bag into a baking pan.
- Carefully place the pan in the preheated oven and bake it for 85 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F. (see the note below*). Afterward, remove it from the oven and carefully cut open the top of the bag. Return it to the oven and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until the skin becomes crispy. Allow the chicken to cool down slightly before serving.