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Whole Roasted Pesto Rubbed Chicken

This roasted chicken is a twist on a standard roasted chicken, or a chicken rubbed simply with herbs and oil. This chicken is rubbed with PESTO!

Not only is it rubbed with pesto, but the pesto is also rubbed UNDERNEATH the skin, so that some of the pesto is directly in contact with the meat. Roasting causes the pesto and oils to melt, mixing the fats from the pesto with the fat rendering out of the skin. This all bakes deeper into the flesh, yielding a plump and juicy bird.

The continued basting of the bird helps to give an additionally pesto flavored skin!

Note: A brined chicken is always a good place to start!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time1 hr
Servings: 4 Servings
Calories: 934.7875kcal
Author: DJ Foodie


  • 1 each whole chicken
  • 1/2 cup basil pesto 2 tbsp reserved for basting
  • salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste


  • Pre-heat your oven to 425° F.
  • Wash your bird and pat it dry.
  • Season the outside of the bird with a healthy amount of salt and pepper.
  • With your fingers, slowly and carefully loosen the skin around the back cavity of the bird. Slowly ease your fingers into the spaces between the skin and the breasts and legs. Be VERY careful not to tear the skin or stretch it to the point where it won't return to its original condition. You should be able to gain access to most of the inner-surface-area, without damaging the skin.
  • Push a large portion of the pesto into the spaces between the skin and the meat.
  • Additionally rub more pesto in the surface and within the cavity.
  • With butcher's twice, tie the legs together, or cut a slice a hole into the fatty area near the tail and slide the two legs into the hole.
  • Fold the wings tips behind the upper portions of the wings. They will lock into this position.
  • Place the chicken, breast side up, on a rack above a baking pan with enough water to cover the bottom of the pan.
  • Place the chicken into the oven and roast for 15 minutes.
  • Baste the chicken with the remaining pesto, and lower the temperature of the oven to 325° F.
  • Roast for approximately 10 minutes further, per pound. A 3 lb chicken will take roughly 45 minutes to roast and a 5 lb. chicken will roast for a little more than an hour. Brined birds cook faster than natural birds. In all cases, continue basting the chicken, periodically. When the juices run clear, inside the chicken's main cavity and/or the internal temperature of the thickest part of the chicken is 160° F.
  • Remove the chicken from the oven.
  • Cover with foil and allow it to rest for 10 minutes, before slicing.


Serving: 4g | Calories: 934.7875kcal | Carbohydrates: 1.7025g | Protein: 59.905g | Fat: 75.4575g | Fiber: 0.5125g