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Whole roasted chicken surrounded by apples slices in a cast iron skillet.

Apple-Bacon Roasted Chicken Recipe

This recipe packed with flavor and it's a huge crowd pleaser. It's easy enough to prepare for a weeknight meal, and impressive enough for a weekend dinner party.

Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword chicken for family dinner
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Resting Time 15 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 5 minutes
Servings 4 to 6
Calories 543 kcal
Author Valentina K. Wein

Ingredients

  • 3 strips applewood smoked bacon
  • 12 ounces hard apple cider
  • 1 1/2 cups Fuji or Granny Smith apple, washed and dried, cored, and thinly sliced (about 1/2-inch slices)
  • 1 cup yellow onion, super thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons garlic, minced
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • olive oil for drizzling
  • 1 (approximately 5 1/2-pound) whole chicken

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 500° F. Place a paper towel on a plate and set it aside.

  2. In a large, ovenproof skillet, over medium-high heat, cook the bacon until it's crispy, about 3 minutes per side. (A cast iron skillet is perfect.) Turn the heat off, remove the bacon, and place on the paper towel-lined plate to drain.

  3. With the heat off, add the hard apple cider to the pan and let it sit for a few minutes. Then turn the heat to medium-low and add the apple, onion and garlic. Crumble the bacon and add it to the pan too. Let it simmer gently for about 10 minutes. Then add the butter and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

  4. Lightly drizzle a 9 x 13 x 2-inch baking pan with olive oil. Remove the insides of the chicken and pat dry with paper towels. Season the inside and outside of the chicken with salt and pepper and truss it. (Here's how.) Then place it breast side up in a in the baking pan and drizzle with olive oil.

  5. Place the pan in the preheated 500° F oven and roast until the chicken is golden brown, about 25 minutes. Remove the chicken from the oven and reduce the heat to 350° F.

  6. Arrange the apple mixture around the sides of the skillet, so there's space enough for the chicken in the center. Very carefully, use tongs, heat resistant cooking gloves or your hands, to flip the chicken over so it's now breast side down, in the center of the skillet, surrounded by the apple mixture. Place the skillet in the 350° F oven and continue to roast until the internal temperature is 155 degrees F -- this should take about 1 hour. The final internal temperature will be about 165 degrees, as the chicken will continue to cook for several minutes outside of the oven. You can use a meat thermometer to check the temperature. You'll also know it's done when the juices run clear and the legs should move easily when it's done. Baste the chicken with the cider-butter mixture every 15 minutes or so.

  7. Wait at least 15 minutes before carving, to allow the juices to settle

  8. Season the sauce to taste with salt and pepper. (Here's How to Season to Taste.) Serve!

Recipe Notes

I highly recommend buying an organic chicken, as they typically have less fat and more flavor.