8 Whole Chicken Recipes That Will Impress Your Guests

whole chicken with orange slices
whole chicken with orange slices - Julianne De Witt/Tasting Table

Whether you're throwing an intimate dinner party at your house or having your entire family over for a home-cooked meal, presenting a hot, freshly roasted chicken is an impressive sight every time. Not only is a whole bird enough food to feed a crowd but this type of poultry is also one of the most versatile around. Crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside, the chicken's mild flavor can absorb whatever sauce or seasonings you like.

And yet, that mild flavor is the exact reason it's easy to write off chicken as being boring. Let's face it -- on its own, even the most impressive-looking poultry can come across a little bland. Luckily, we're here to help. We've rounded up eight original recipes that you can turn to when you want to wow your guests by delivering a hearty meal full of punchy flavor. First, pick the ideal sized bird to fit your needs, then turn to our array of brines, sauces, spices, and complementary ingredients that will have your family and friends going back for seconds.

Read more: 12 Different Ways To Cook Chicken

Instant Pot Classic Whole-Roasted Chicken

whole-roasted chicken with lemon
whole-roasted chicken with lemon - Ksenia Prints/Tasting Table

Starting off with a classic, this easy but flavorful recipe only calls for simple ingredients and an Instant Pot. If you're worried about picky eaters at your table, this one's for you. In the Instant Pot, you'll first dunk the bird in a bath of salt, oregano, thyme, bay leaves, garlic, and water. All it takes is 22 minutes max for the poultry to soak up all of that herb-infused moisture. Afterward cooking the chicken in the Instant Pot, you'll transfer it to the oven to broil its way to a crispy outer coating (once it's brushed with butter, of course). You won't find a juicier chicken, and the technique to achieve it is blissfully straightforward.

Recipe: Instant Pot Classic Whole-Roasted Chicken 

Whole-Roasted Peruvian-Style Chicken

whole chicken with verde sauce
whole chicken with verde sauce - Michelle McGlinn/Tasting Table

This dish is popular all over Peru, but with this recipe, your guests can enjoy it wherever you are. After you serve whole-roasted Peruvian-style chicken, there's no way they'll think of the bird as bland ever again. Just a few of this recipe's flavor-packed ingredients include lime juice, cumin, soy sauce, honey, cilantro, apple cider vinegar, jalapeño, and aji amarillo paste -- the latter of which is made from the fiery aji amarillo pepper, which is up to 10 times spicier than a jalapeño. Once you marinate and roast your poultry, you'll top it with a creamy aji verde sauce, which uses Greek yogurt to counteract the spice.

Recipe: Whole-Roasted Peruvian-Style Chicken

Herb Roasted Chicken

hands holding roast chicken
hands holding roast chicken - Dave Katz/Tasting Table

Like the Instant Pot recipe, this herb-roasted chicken is an easy way to use simple seasonings to achieve a flavorful bird that even picky eaters will love. But unlike the previous recipe, this one doesn't require any special appliances. You'll brine your poultry overnight in a mixture of water, honey, sugar, peppercorn, thyme, bay leaves, garlic, onion, and lemon, then rub it with herby butter before roasting it in the oven. What you're left with is juicy, earthy chicken with crispy, golden skin.

Recipe: Herb Roasted Chicken

Blackberry-Glazed Sage Roast Chicken

blackberry-glazed roast chicken
blackberry-glazed roast chicken - Jennine Rye/Tasting Table

The impressiveness of this chicken is obvious before your guests even dig in. Instead of a typical golden-brown skin, this recipe will give you a deep purple hue, thanks to the juicy blackberries you'll use to make the glaze. But the fruits don't just provide a pretty color -- they also give this bird a touch of sweetness alongside the sugar, tang of balsamic vinegar, and herby flavor of sage leaves.

Plus, this chicken goes the extra mile flavor-wise with an onion, lemon, and sage stuffing. If you're not a blackberry fan, you can sub in peaches or plums instead for the perfect summer meal.

Recipe: Blackberry-Glazed Sage Roast Chicken

Indonesian Roast Chicken

roast chicken and veggies
roast chicken and veggies - Ting Dalton/Tasting Table

This Indonesian roast chicken accomplishes quite a bit more than just making a tasty protein — it throws baby potatoes, green beans, and sliced carrots into the mix, allowing you to make an entire meal in one pan. Plus, the heavenly scent of lemongrass and lime will fill your kitchen while your bird roasts for over an hour.

This recipe uses a potent marinade with ingredients like fish sauce, green chiles, and turmeric to give your formerly mild chicken notes of sweetness, tang, and spice. While the ingredient list may be a little longer than some, the method involved here is still surprisingly simple.

Recipe: Indonesian Roast Chicken

Roasted Orange And Nutmeg Chicken

chicken pieces with orange slices
chicken pieces with orange slices - Julianne De Witt/Tasting Table

Oranges and nutmeg make a magical combination with chicken. The former adds brightness and an acidity that pops, while the latter balances it out with warmth and nuttiness. This meal is cozy enough for a cold winter day but also zesty enough for summer.

Incorporating these two ingredients couldn't be easier: You'll simply roast the chicken with onions and orange slices, stuffing a few fruity rounds in the bird. Then, orange juice and nutmeg come together with honey and butter to top everything off with a sweet, earthy glaze.

Recipe: Roasted Orange and Nutmeg Chicken

Apple-Spice Chicken Brine

raw chicken in apple brine
raw chicken in apple brine - Susan Olayinka/Tasting Table

If there is one recipe on this list that's perfect for fall, it's this apple-spice chicken brine. While pumpkin and poultry may not be a match made in heaven, a liquid with apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, black peppercorns, cloves, and cinnamon sticks pairs perfectly with plaid and crisp weather.

All you have to do is simmer your brine on the stove, then let your chicken refrigerate in said brine for at least four hours. When you're ready to roast, the poultry will be infused with all the tasty fall flavors. Serve it up with a fall harvest caramelized mushroom salad or a side of maple-roasted butternut squash.

Recipe: Apple-Spice Chicken Brine

Shortcut Chicken And Dumplings

pot of chicken and dumplings
pot of chicken and dumplings - Kate Shungu/Tasting Table

If you need to feed a crowd with a whole bird but don't want to roast one yourself, this recipe is for you. Simply pick up a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store, and you're on your way to a warm, comforting meal of chicken and dumplings. You'll want to cut or rip your poultry into chunks, remove the skin, then cook it in a cozy broth with onion, celery, salt, thyme, flour, heavy cream, peas and carrots (from a frozen package for convenience), and gnocchi. Between the creaminess of the dumplings and the herby chicken and veggies, you can easily trick your guests into thinking you whipped up everything from scratch.

Recipe: Shortcut Chicken and Dumplings

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