Chipotle Roast Chicken

Do you like tacos, enchiladas, quesadillas, fajitas, burritos, or soup? Because the meat from this recipe can be used in about a thousand different ways if you don’t want to serve it on its own. Also, the seasoned butter can be used on pretty much any cut or type of meat. The versatility of the recipe is almost as amazing as the mouthwatering taste! I originally saw this recipe in Bon Appetit magazine in 2010 and I really don’t know what took me so long to try it. I’ve simplified the recipe a little to make your kitchen experience more streamlined. Try it out for your next Sunday supper or roast two birds and save the meat for recipes throughout the week.

Recipe Rundown
Taste: Full of savory flavor and spice without being incinerating. You can adjust the amount of chipotle and seeds (where the spice comes from) to your family’s liking.
Texture: Ridiculously tender and moist. Must be all the butter…
Ease: Totally doable yet impressive.
Appearance: I don’t think it’s possible for this chicken to look better than it smells because the aroma is heavenly.
Pros: An all-around fabulous roast chicken recipe. You can use the meat for SO many things.
Cons: None!
Would I make this again? Yes.


Chipotle Roast Chicken

Use the highest quality chicken you can because it really makes a difference!


1/2 stick butter, at room temperature
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro leaves plus 3 fresh cilantro sprigs
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano leaves plus 3 fresh oregano sprigs
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves plus 3 fresh rosemary sprigs
4 teaspoons minced canned chipotle chiles in adobo*
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1 5 1/2- to 6-pound roasting chicken, rinsed, patted dry
2 large onions, each cut into 8 wedges through root end, leaving root ends intact
1/4 cup low sodium chicken broth


Position an oven rack in the bottom third of the oven and preheat to 400°F.

With a fork, mix together the butter, chopped cilantro, chopped oregano, chopped rosemary, chipotle chiles, and coriander in small bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill. Bring to room temperature before using.

Place the chicken, breast side up, in large roasting pan. Starting at neck end of chicken, slide fingers under the skin to loosen, being careful to avoid tearing. Spread all but 1 tablespoon of the seasoned butter over breast meat and thigh meat under the skin. Rub any butter remaining on fingers over the outside of the chicken. Sprinkle the main cavity of chicken with salt and pepper; place all the herb sprigs in cavity. Tie the legs together loosely.

Place the onion wedges in large bowl. Melt the remaining 1 tablespoon of seasoned butter in the microwave then pour over onion wedges and toss to coat. Arrange the onions around the chicken. Sprinkle the onions and chicken with salt and pepper.

Roast the chicken and onions for 30 minutes. Add the broth to the roasting pan. Continue to roast the chicken until an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh registers 170°F, basting occasionally with pan juices, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Remove the chicken and onions to a platter and cover with aluminum foil. Let rest for 15 minutes before carving and serving or before shredding for another purpose.

Adapted from Bon Appetit April 2010

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7 Responses to “Chipotle Roast Chicken”

  1. #
    Jessica L. — December 7, 2012 at 9:41 am

    Oh this looks delicious! I’ve got a chicken hanging out in my fridge just waiting to be roasted, and so this recipe is perfect :)

  2. #
    Nicole — December 8, 2012 at 10:13 am

    If I had my way I’d slather just about everything I eat in Chipotle. There is nothing like that hot and smokey flavor. This is making me hungry and it is still breakfast time here in Alaska!

  3. #
    Tessa — December 8, 2012 at 6:55 pm
  4. #
    Cathy @ Noble Pig — December 10, 2012 at 1:56 pm

    This sounds crazy amazing, I mean wow!!! I am a chipotle nut:).

  5. #
    Lauren — December 21, 2012 at 4:02 pm

    I love roasting a whole chicken and then using the leftovers all week long! Will definitely have to try this way next time! Thanks for sharing!

  6. #
    Nance — October 15, 2013 at 7:05 pm

    I made this a few days ago, and, gosh, is it good!

    I follow a low-carb diet and was looking for something different to do with chicken.

    We love peppery stuff, and I was heavy-handed with the chipotles. Even so, the heat was nuanced and subtle.

    The onions seemed like an odd, or maybe I should say “unusual,” addition, but I put them in anyway. I was lucky enough to be able to use Vidalias. They got so tender that they’re almost like a compote, and the flavor of the onion and chicken together is synergistic!

    Maybe next time I make this, it will last long enough to be made into chicken salad!

    Thank you for a wonderful recipe.

    • Tessa replied: — October 16th, 2013 @ 3:44 pm

      So happy you enjoyed this recipe!

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