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Whole roasted chicken on a white plate with green beans and tomatoes

Oven Roasted Chicken

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If you want a flavorful, succulent recipe for chicken, this is it! This Oven Roasted Chicken is all about technique; it cooks up to be a phenomenal entree!

A Cuban slashing trick allows flavors of garlic and thyme to infuse into your Whole Roasted Chicken. In 2 hours, the aroma of your kitchen will make your mouth water!! I’ll give you all my tips on oven roasting so you, too, can serve juicy, tender chicken to your family.

Overhead view of Oven Roasted Chicken

Testimony from a neighbor who received this chicken for dinner: “That was the best roasted chicken I have ever eaten! We always buy Costco Rotisserie chicken, but I don’t think we will any longer.”

Oven Roasted Chicken

This is no ordinary chicken. A Cuban inspired recipe, the prep for this recipe, dubbed “Pscycho” chicken, starts with slashing the bird, then seasoning with a mixture of garlic, thyme, and cider vinegar. It is then roasted while basting frequently with white wine and pan juices.

A little vinegar in the rub adds a complexity to the flavor plus the acid aids in tenderizing the meat. Half the chicken can be eaten for dinner one night, then the rest can be shredded and parked in the fridge for another meal. You may know how to roast a chicken, but do you know how to roast a Psycho chicken??? Read on.

Whole Roasted Chicken on an oval platter garnished with thyme

Tips for How to Roast a Chicken

A friend shared this “Psycho” chicken recipe with me after she spotted it on the Cooking Light message boards. The curious reference to a horror flick immediately grabbed my attention. Apparently the name of this dish came from the flashbacks to the shower scene in Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho which came while prepping this chicken. That’s right, that moment in the film when that creepy music starts playing, the knife is raised, and then blood is seen swirling down the drain.

  • You will be stabbing your chicken just like that psychopath. But what you’re really doing is increasing the surface area so that all the flavorings have a chance to infuse into the meat. This is my favorite method to make a Whole Roasted Chicken.
  • Use a chef’s knife if you have one, but any sharp knife with a long blade will do. Make sure to slash all the meat area including the thighs and drumsticks, about two inches apart and at least an inch or deeper. Thank the Cubans for this slash and season method.
  • First, remove the giblets that are inside the larger chicken cavity. They dry the surface of the chicken with paper towels. Spread the thyme and garlic mixture across the surface of the chicken, encouraging it into any of the slashes.
  • Roast at 325º for 1 hour 30 minutes to 2 hours or until a thermometer reads 160 degrees. Check in the thickest part of the thigh without touching the bone. Cover with foil and let the carryover heat bring the internal temperature to 165º, the safe temperature for chicken according to the USDA.
  • The roasting time depends on the size of your chicken and the temperature of your oven.
  • You will love this psycho chicken the first time around, then you can pull the leftover meat off the carcass for a second meal later in the week, depending on how many you are serving.
  • Chicken quesadillas with leftover roasted chicken are always a hit at my house. Another idea is a quick and easy soup. Start by sauteing some diced onions, carrots and celery in olive oil. Season with salt, pepper and a generous teaspoon of dried thyme. Add chicken broth and when it comes to a simmer, mix in some quick barley and the leftover chicken. I like to stir in a package of baby spinach, too, right before serving. Another quick and yummy meal; just serve with a crusty loaf of bread or some homemade buttermilk biscuits.
Oven roasted chicken before and after rub applied

Chicken with slashes across meaty areas, every 2 inches – Chicken after the vinegar, garlic, thyme, and salt rub applied

Why This Whole Roasted Chicken Method Works

As mentioned above, the slashes offer more surface area for the seasonings to infuse. Also using vinegar, which is a weak acid, helps to tenderize the meat.

You can get moist, succulent chicken roasting at either a high or a more moderate temperature as long as it’s pulled out at the correct internal temperature. This recipe calls for a more moderate roasting temperature. If your chicken looks a little pale, due to being roasted at a lower temp, just gently brown it under the broiler for a minute or so, but I’ve never found this necessary. If you do use the broiler, watch carefully!

Whole roasted chicken sliced on a white plate with green beans

How Long to Roast a Chicken: 

From the website, The Spruce Eats, here are some guidelines for how long to roast a chicken. Always use a meat thermometer to double-check as all ovens roast differently.

  • A 1 1/2 to 2 pound chicken at 400º will take approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  • A 2 to 2 1/2 pound chicken at 400º will take approximately 1 to 1 1/4 hours.
  • A 2 1/2 to 3 pound chicken at 375º will take approximately 1 1/4 to 1 3/4 hours.
  • A 3 to 4 pound chicken at 375º will take approximately 1 3/4 to 2 1/4 hours.
  • And using my recipe, a 3 to 4 pound chicken at 325º will take approximately 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

More Chicken Recipes You’ll Love:

If you like this roast chicken, you might also enjoy this Maple Mustard Glazed Chicken, Chicken Piccata Pasta, or Feta Chicken Kabobs. How about these Chicken Lasagna Rolls from Cooking on the Ranch? Plus check out all my chicken recipes.

This recipe was originally posted in October 2013. The photos and text were updated in 2020.

Whole roasted chicken on a white plate with green beans and tomatoes

Oven Roasted Chicken

A terrific technique for moist, succulent and tasty chicken!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 10 minutes
Yield 4 servings


  • Whole chicken (about 4 pounds)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • Kosher salt to taste (I use 1-1 1/2 teaspoons)
  • Freshly ground black pepper (I used 1/4 teaspoon)
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine like Sauvignon Blanc (even vermouth works in a pinch)


  1. Preheat oven to 325º.
  2. Remove giblets from chicken. Pat dry.
  3. Slash chicken all over with the tip of a large knife, about every 2 inches, about 1 inch deep.
  4. In a small bowl, mix the thyme, garlic, salt, pepper and vinegar. Rub over chicken, making sure to get mixture into every slash.
  5. Place chicken in a roasting pan fitted with a rack if available. Roast 1 1/2- 2 hours, basting with white wine and pan juices every half hour or so.
  6. Serve slices with the pan juices.


Adapted from the Cooking Light boards.

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 418Total Fat: 20gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 132mgSodium: 270mgCarbohydrates: 3gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 41g


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54 comments on “Oven Roasted Chicken”

  1. Looks crazy good. I’m not sure I’d have enough for leftovers. =)

  2. Heeyyyy chef ,I love it 🙂

  3. That is so funny! Your Psycho chicken would be perfect and delicious (!) for a movie and/or Oscar party =) Interesting too to see the Cuban influence.

  4. I actually looked for a little chicken at the store yesterday… Not a whole bird to be found. I’m always a fan of adding vinegar to things so that really sounds good to me! Enjoy your soup:@)

  5. Sounds perfect for a “Halloween” inspired dinner too! lol I’ll bet it was very tender and juicy!

  6. I love the recipe and the story behind this chicken. This is going to be mighty popular for Halloween.

  7. It looks beautiful! I’ve been wondering why it was called “psycho” chicken and I love that it’s because you stab it!

  8. What a great name for this dish – perfect for a Fall or Halloween party or gathering:) This roast chicken looks amazing – so tender and juicy!

  9. Liz, I a totally cracking up, and it looks and sounds fantastic. And leftover chicken is the best, hence the three chicken salad recipes I’ve posted in the past couple months.

  10. This sounds like some flavorful roast chicken Liz and I bet you can have some fun with the name when guests are over!

  11. I’d almost forgotten about this recipe, Lizzy. I’m so glad you posted it. 🙂

  12. Such a fun little name game there ;). Plus, it sounds amazing…the flavors are fantastic. And roast chicken is a pure comfort dish for me. Saving!

  13. Lizzy , that is one gorgeous stabbed roast chicken 😀 Simple yet delicious !

  14. The flavors sound amazing. We have got to try this!

  15. What a beautiful chicken recipe, this would be a perfect Sunday dinner!

  16. Ha! How can I not make a recipe called psycho chicken?

  17. Fun trivia fact: the “blood” in the shower scene in Psycho was actually Hersey’s Chocolate Syrup. Or so I’ve read. Because the movie was black and white, no need to have something red, and the syrup had the right consistency. Anyway, on that cheerful note, back to your chicken! This looks terrific. I’ve seen recipes for chicken prepared this way before (although it’s been ages), but never made it. Looks terrific – I should do this. Thanks so much.

  18. What a great name! I am so glad to have a chicken in my freezer – can you guess what it will turn into? Yes, Psycho Chicken – Yum!!! Thank you!

  19. LOL! I love the name of this – and it look FANTASTIC!

  20. That movie always makes it impossible to sleep. Great visual for the chicken recipe though. It sounds delicious.

  21. Haha I love the reference to the horror movies. I admit, we watch a lot of horror movies in this house but I cannot recall seeing any stabbing. I tend to look away right before the gorey parts because I am a wimp that ironically likes to watch the most tame parts of the movie! I’d be fine with making this chicken though. You’ve made this chicken look gorgeous! I’ll have to give this a try and spend a little more time on my roasted chicken besides turning the oven on and seasoning it. 🙂

  22. Oh how funny! I used to be a very active member on those boards, and I totally remember when she first posted about this chicken! I made it once, but have since forgotten about it. LOVE this! THanks for the reminder!

  23. I love the name! I’d make it because I love all things Cuban and I can’t resist telling John I’m making psycho chicken.

  24. That’s about the best recipe name ever! LOL I roast a lot of chickens but have never done it this way. I can’t wait to try it!

  25. Wow, this looks good! Nothing better than a roasted chicken, and this one sounds and looks delicious!

  26. The title certainly got my attention! What an unusual but smart idea! This would be great to serve for a Halloween dinner.

  27. YUMMmmmm.
    Love all of the Thyme and Mint! MMmmmmmmmmm

  28. This looks so incredible, Liz! I too was curious about why it was called “psycho” – love it! 🙂

  29. Oh my…what a scary tale! I can’t watch horror movies or any really scary movie, to be honest. I spend practically the whole movie with my hands over my eyes and my fingers in my ears! Haha!! However, your chicken sounds tasty. 😉

  30. The juices for this sound amazing. I’d never heard of adding vinegar before. I’m glad you explained why it was called psycho chicken! I was so curious!

  31. I love the name of this dish – I often feel a little psycho in the kitchen! I think the flavours of this chicken would be wonderful. I’ve never poured vinegar over a chicken but I often use verjuice – slightly similar! xx

  32. I LOVE the name of the recipe and the story behind it is hilarious!

  33. This chicken looks delicious!! I love making a chicken like this and then using the leftovers to create another meal.

  34. Haha! What a name Liz! Perfect for October. It would be fun to serve this at a Halloween dinner party. Thank you for sharing. This looks like one of the better roast chicken recipes I’ve seen.

  35. You had me with this title – so funny!! Gotta try this recipe …… the layers of flavour sound delicious and completely crazzzy!

  36. The bird looks perfectly roasted!

  37. A perfect Sunday meal. Loved your story behind the dish. The title is so perfect, can’t wait to scare people for Halloween with this name.

  38. Oh, yum! I love chicken and this one is really to make one psycho. I so love its name! Thanks to Hitchcock for the title, and your friend and you for the recipe. xx

  39. Hi Liz! Love this recipe! I’m pinning it to my “hubby food” board, because Mr. Allie is a roast chicken fiend. The marinade/seasonings sound fabulous, I love that little bit of vinegar! And I like that it roasts in the oven; lately he’s been spatchcocking birds and searing them on the stove… delicious, but ugh it makes a splattery mess! Thanks for sharing!

  40. LOL! I love the name of this dish!! I was so intrigued to come over and see how a chicken could be psycho and you captured it perfectly with all the “stab” wounds. 🙂 I just watched a movie call Hitchcock with Sir Anthony Hopkins as Hitchcock based on the time period when he was filming psycho.

    Fabulous dish… clever title and a great method to get loads of flavor in the bird. 🙂 The birds… another great Hitchcock film. LOL! 😉

  41. Right now I am in such an awful mood, I’d be happy to slash anything! Guess it may as well be this great chicken!

  42. Roast chicken is always so delicious, but these flavors sound truly exceptional!

  43. I love the story behind this chicken recipe. It looks delicious! All of the flavors sound amazing and perfect for the fall or Halloween.

  44. There wouldn’t be any of this left to save for another night!

  45. Hi Liz, that title certainly caught my attention. I can actually see the slashes on the chicken. Spices sound fantastic on this bird but I would really loved to see the video of your beating the bird in the prepping process. LOL Happy Halloween to you and the fam! Take Care, BAM

  46. Pictures look great! Looks super yummy. Love the name 😉

  47. I’ve been dying (in the shower?) to see this recipe since you posted the title. It didn’t disappoint! Sounds addictive!

  48. It seems we have just fond our new favourite way to prepare chicken. Pinnig, of course !

  49. This chicken looks delicious – perfectly succulent and with a nicely roasted skin! (Love this crispy thyme situation).

  50. This is such a well balanced beautiful meal. I don’t think it gets much better than a perfect roasted chicken! Wish mine were already in the oven. 🙂 ~Valentina

  51. Good to see this again! The psycho is still around! Still need to try this. It sounds so good!

  52. I’ve printed this and cannot wait to make it! It’s very interesting. Thanks!

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