French-style roast chicken with vegetables delivers a juicy bird with incredibly crispy skin. It is loaded with flavor from the butter and French herbs and really delivers when you want an impressive meal with little effort.
I’ll give you variations and substitutions where I can, plus helpful tips and tricks for success. Read on for this info as well as the recipe. If you’d like to skip straight to the recipe, use the jump to recipe button at the top of the post.
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Why you should make this roasted chicken with French herbs
Poulet rôti, as they French call it, is a staple. This one pan roast chicken is coated in butter and herbs and roasted until the skin crackles.
It makes the perfect weekend dinner, but it is easy enough for weeknight cooking. Round out the meal with vegetables tossed into the same pan with the chicken and dinner is done.
Compound butter with French herbs
What is compound butter? Compound butter is simply butter with herbs, citrus zest, or spices mixed in. In this case, we are making a compound butter with French herbs – lavender, rosemary, sage, thyme and tarragon.
How to make roast chicken with vegetables
First, combine the herbs and the butter to make a compound butter.
Place slices of onion in the cast iron pan – the chicken will sit on them. Add lemon to the cavity of the chicken.
Gently separate the skin from the breast meat of the chicken and work the mixture down to cover the entire breast. Coat the outside of the chicken with herb butter, then truss the bird, or tie the legs closed and tuck the wing tips under the back of the chicken.
Roast the chicken for an hour, adding the vegetables about 15 minutes into the cooking time.
The best vegetables to cook with roast chicken
The best vegetables to make with this French roast chicken are the ones you like. I generally go with carrots, parsnips, baby potatoes, shallots and rutabaga.
You’ll want to choose hearty vegetables that can stand up to high heat. If you choose delicate vegetables like asparagus or summer squash, those will go in when you have about 15 – 20 minutes left of cooking – any earlier and they will overcook.
Tools and equipment
I love this recipe for its simplicity. You don’t need a bunch of fancy equipment or tools to make roast chicken with vegetables – just the basics.
- Chef’s knife – this is the same knife I’ve used for 20 years.
- Cast iron pan – the exact pan used in the recipe
- Butcher’s twine – please make sure your twine is oven safe and food grade before using.
Roast chicken with vegetables Q & A
Yes! You can make this meal up to 2 days ahead of time. Reheat in a warm oven to crisp up the skin.
No, you don’t have to, but I do recommend it. You could put a thin layer on top of the skin if you don’t want to put it under the skin.
YES. That fan in the back of your oven will circulate the air around the roast chicken, helping it to cook evenly and to crisp the skin.
Roast the chicken in a roasting pan or in an oven-proof pan.
A loaf of crusty bread and a nice green salad would make this my perfect meal.
- White wine sangria is light and fruity, this is an easy pitcher drink recipe.
- Lemon thyme pound cake would be a great dessert to serve after dinner.
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- 1 whole chicken (about 4 lbs.)
- 3 ounces butter, softened
- 2 tsp. lavender
- 1 tbsp. fresh rosemary, chopped
- 1 tbsp. fresh sage, chopped
- 1 tbsp. fresh thyme, chopped
- 1 tsp. tarragon, chopped
- 1 large onion, sliced into 4 rounds
- 1 lemon, halved and sliced
- 2 tsp. kosher salt
- 1 tsp. fresh black pepper
- 3 shallots, halved
- 2 lbs. carrots and parsnips, peeled and cut into 3 inch pieces
- 2 lbs. baby potatoes, optional
- At least 30 minutes (but no more than 1 hour) before you plan to start cooking the chicken, take it out of the refrigerator and let it come up to room temperature.
- Preheat oven to 425°F with convection (450° without convection) // 220° - 230°C.
- In a small bowl, combine softened butter with lavender, rosemary, sage, thyme, tarragon and half of the salt and pepper. Mix until thoroughly incorporated. (This is compound butter.)
- Pat chicken completely dry with paper towels.
- Very gently, separate the skin from the breast meat by sliding a couple fingers between the skin and the flesh to pull the membrane away from the meat. (*See note) Place about 3/4 of the compound butter on breast meat, spreading over both sides of the breast.
- Use remaining compound butter to spread over the outside of the chicken. Sprinkle remaining salt and pepper over the chicken.
- Add sliced lemon to the cavity of the bird and use butcher's twine to tie the legs together. Tuck the wing tips under the back of the chicken.
- Place the 4 rounds of onion in the bottom of a 10 - 12 in. cast iron skillet (or oven-proof sauté pan). Place the trussed chicken on top of the onions.
- Roast the chicken for 20 minutes, then add vegetables. Scatter them around the chicken and return the pan to the oven for an additional 40 - 45 minutes.
- Remove the chicken from the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes before carving.
Try to be as gentle as possible when sliding your fingers between the skin and the breast meat. If it tears, don't panic - it happens. Just do your best not to make it worse. TIP: If you have long fingernails - WEAR GLOVES. I use these vinyl gloves even though I have short nails.
To check for doneness
The juices should run clear, if not put the chicken back in the oven for another 5 minutes and check it again after that - a meat thermometer should register 165°F. PLEASE REMEMBER - the chicken will continue to cook for a few minutes after it comes out of the oven. Just watch the meat thermometer - it will continue to rise before it starts to come down in temp.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 665Total Fat: 39gSaturated Fat: 17gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 18gCholesterol: 177mgSodium: 1051mgCarbohydrates: 82gFiber: 15gSugar: 16gProtein: 50g
Nutrition information calculated by a third-party company as a courtesy. It is intended as a guideline only.
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Originally published 1/8/12, most recent update 7/12/22.