Use your cast iron skillet to roast a whole chicken then make a delicious and luscious gravy to spoon on top. The chicken gets golden and crisp on the outside, really juicy on the inside and the pan drippings make the best gravy.
A cast iron skillet is so versatile, you can use it as a baking pan and roast a whole chicken in it. The chicken is golden brown and crisp on the outside with an amazing garlic flavor and so juicy and tender on the inside. It’s perfect for a simple but classic family dinner.
As the chicken roasts, the chicken juices collect in the bottom of the skillet and get rich and concentrated. Take out the chicken and while it rests, (which is super important to keep that bird as juicy as possible), use the drippings to make a smooth and flavorful gravy right in the same skillet, taking it to the stove this time.
I love serving this dinner with mashed potatoes because what else pairs so perfectly with gravy? You can also serve some Garlic Green Beans, also so easy to make and go really well with everything else.
- 1 whole chicken
- onion, garlic – to cook inside the cavity of the chicken and also some garlic to spread on top of the chicken
- salt, pepper, dry herbs and spices
- One of my favorite seasonings to use for just about everything is Trader Joe’s Onion Salt. Use any dry herbs and spices that you like, such as granulated onion and garlic, dry bay leaf, parsley, thyme, rosemary, chives, paprika, etc.
- butter, for the gravy, if needed.
- If your chicken isn’t as juicy or doesn’t have enough fat, use butter to supplement.
- chicken broth – for the gravy. You can use store bought or Homemade Chicken Broth
- all purpose flour – to thicken the gravy
How to Roast a Whole Chicken in a Cast Iron Skillet
(I used a 12 inch cast iron skillet. If you use a really small chicken, it may fit into a 10 inch cast iron skillet, otherwise, for an average sized or larger sized chicken, use a 12 inch skillet.)
- Season the chicken with salt and pepper on all sides and inside the cavity of the chicken.
- Stuff the cavity of the chicken with onion and garlic. Cut an onion into quarters. Set aside a few cloves of garlic for later and use the rest with the onion.
- Tie the legs (drumsticks) together and tuck the chicken wings tips back behind the chicken breast.
- Place the chicken into the cast iron skillet (12 inches) and roast in a preheated oven (400 Degrees Fahrenheit) for a 1 hour – 70/80 minutes, depending on the size of the chicken.
- Chicken should be 160-165 degrees Fahrenheit in the center of the breast meat and about 170-175 degrees Fahrenheit in the center of the thigh meat. Roast the chicken until it’s a few degrees underdone.
- Brush the chicken all over with minced garlic. You can also use a little bit of oil or chicken drippings to brush all over the surface of the chicken. Return to the oven and keep cooking until fully cooked through and the garlic is tender.
- Take the chicken out of the oven and let it rest while you make the gravy.
How To Make Gravy From Roast Chicken Drippings
- Remove all the drippings out of the skillet. Let stand for a few minutes, the fat will rise to the top. Skim off all the fat using a spoon, gravy separator or baster.
- Measure out 1/4 cup chicken fat and return to the skillet, heat until simmering. Discard the rest of the fat. If you don’t have enough, add additional butter.
- Add the flour, whisking to combine until it’s all absorbed and smooth. Pour in the broth slowly, whisking the whole time to remove all the lumps. Bring to a simmer, adding more broth until you have a smooth gravy. Use more or less broth, depending on how thick you like it.
- Cut up the chicken and serve with the gravy. It’s delicious with mashed potatoes or pasta.
Not a problem! Use a baking dish or a roasting pan instead. Follow the instructions, then, when making the gravy, pour out the chicken fat and drippings and then make the gravy in a small/medium saucepan.
Some whole chickens in the store will have chickens labeled as “roasters” and others as “fryers”. The “roasters” are typically best for roasting, since they are bigger. There are also stewing chickens.
Fryers: Chickens 6 to 8 weeks old and weighing 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 pounds
Roasters: Chickens less than 8 months old and weighing 3 1/2 to 5 pounds
Stewing Chickens: Chickens over 10 months old and weighing 5 to 7 pounds
Roasters are the perfect size for roasting. They aren’t too small or too big.
If you add the fresh garlic at the very beginning when you season the chicken, the garlic will burn. Adding it at the end, right before it’s done cooking, keeps the garlic from burnings and adds a delicious garlic flavor to the chicken.
1. Don’t overcook it. Use an instant read thermometer, and there’s no guessing involved. Roast until the chicken reaches 160-165 degrees Fahrenheit in the breast meat and 170-175 degrees Fahrenheit in the thigh meat. If chicken is overcooked, it will be dry, chewy and leathery.
2. Let the chicken rest before carving it. This will allow the juices to redistribute and not all leak out when you cut into it too soon.
Cast Iron Roast Chicken
Roast a chicken in your cast iron skillet, then make a smooth and flavorful gravy from the pan drippings. This is a simple dinner that is so classic and comforting.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 75 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
- Yield: 4–6 1x
1 whole chicken (3 1/2 – 5 1/2 lbs)
salt, ground black pepper
1 large onion, quartered
1 large garlic head, 3-4 garlic cloves minced and rubbed on the chicken and the rest to be inserted into the chicken cavity
1/2 Tablespoon dry herbs and spices (poultry seasoning, granulated or powdered onion/garlic, dry thyme, parsley, chives, rosemary, etc.) OPTIONAL
Roast Chicken Gravy:
1/4 cup chicken fat (0r butter)
1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 – 2 1/2 cups chicken drippings + broth
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Season the chicken on all sides and inside the cavity of the chicken with salt, ground black pepper and any dry herbs and seasonings that you like.
- Stuff the cavity of the chicken with the quartered onion and most of the garlic head, leaving a few cloves for later.
- Tie the chicken legs (drumsticks) together with kitchen twine and tuck the wing tips behind the chicken. Place the chicken into a cast iron skillet (I use a 12 inch skillet, if you use a smaller chicken, you can use a 10 inch skillet.) You can also use a roasting pan or baking dish instead of the cast iron skillet.
- Roast in the preheated oven until the chicken is a few degrees shy of being cooked through completely. Use an instant read thermometer. To be fully cooked, the chicken should be 170-175 degrees Fahrenheit in the center of the thighs and 160-165 F in the breast. Rub the remaining few garlic cloves on top of the chicken, then return to the oven to finish roasting completely. You can also use some of the chicken drippings or olive oil to rub on top of the chicken along with the garlic. It will spread more easily and evenly.
- The time will depend on the size of the chicken and your oven. It should be around an hour, but can be less if you are roasting a really small chicken, or sometimes even longer than an hour and a half, if your chicken is large. Mine was about 4.5 lbs and took 70 minutes total.
- Remove the chicken from the skillet and set aside to rest. Pour out all the chicken drippings into a measuring cup. Set aside for a few minutes. Make the gravy.
- The chicken fat should rise to the top. You need about 1/4 cup of fat. Discard the extra fat. If you don’t have enough fat, use additional butter to make up the rest.
- Pour the chicken fat/butter into the same skillet and heat up until shimmering. Add the flour and whisk to combine, cooking for just a few minutes, to cook off the raw flour flavor and to give a more concentrated flavor to it.
- You need 2 – 2 1/2 cups of chicken drippings. If you don’t have enough, add chicken broth to make up the rest. Pour in slowly into the skillet, whisking vigorously to mix in with the flour, slowly adding more broth. Keep whisking to remove all the lumps. Keep cooking, on medium low heat, until the gravy has thickened and is the consistency that you like. You can use more or less broth, depending on how thick/thin you like your gravy. Add more salt, if needed.
- Carve the chicken and serve with the gravy.
Keywords: how to roast a chicken, cast iron roast chicken, roast chicken with gravy