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

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

A terrific technique for moist, succulent and tasty chicken!


  • 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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