My Cajun roasted chicken cooks upside down to ensure that every piece is fall-apart tender and juicy deliciousness y'all. A whole bird, patted with oil and drizzled with fresh lemon juice. Then, topped with an abundance of south Louisiana seasonings, and filled with fresh garlic and spice-covered lemon halves. Finally, covered and roasted over chopped fresh veggies to make a complete meal-in-one with a comfort food kick. Yep and yay...
It's a Tastier Spin on a Time-Tested Tradition...
Cajun roasted chicken is an elevated spin on the time-tested recipe that includes baking a whole chicken with veggies in a large pot. This technique uses signature south Louisiana spices, such as garlic and cayenne, to enhance the flavor.
My signature version also includes the Cajun trinity veggies of onion, green bell pepper, and celery along with potatoes and carrots. This increases the sustenance of the dish, stretching it further to feed a family of at least six people. I also amplify the seasonings, using the maximum dried spices that fit on the outside of the bird to ensure that each bite is seasoned to perfection.
I also include aromatics on the bottom of the bird that inject extra flavor into the breast and surrounding veggies. For an additional burst of flavor, I stuff the cavity of the bird with fresh garlic and spice-covered lemon halves.
So, this Cajun roast chicken is literally covered ALL over with bold flavor enhancers that separate this recipe from all others. Indeed.
- You want a 4 to 6-pound whole chicken for this Cajun whole chicken recipe. I used a 5 ½-pound bird with great success. You will need to remove the neck and gizzards from the chicken before cooking. However, since you are baking the bird breast-side down, that's all of the prep work that is required.
- Fresh raw carrots and potatoes make this Cajun roast chicken a complete meal. You'll definitely want to add the trinity veggies, as well. In addition to adding incredible flavor, they also enhance the texture of the dish. Use a food processor to chop the veggies if you don't have time to cut them by hand.
- Dried bay leaves are common aromatics in Cajun cooking that really help to make this baked chicken recipe an unforgettable dish. I wouldn't skip them. They are super easy to buy online, and you can also grab them in the spice section of your local grocery store. That said, don't stress if you don't have them on hand. It'll be ok.
- The pantry Cajun seasonings are common, as well. You likely have most of them on hand already. But if you don't, buy the ones that you can easily afford from Amazon or your local grocery store.
How to Make Cajun Roasted Chicken
Start by stirring all of the dried spices together in a bowl. Set aside.
Then, arrange all of the chopped vegetables along the bottom of a large cast iron Dutch oven or pot. You can also use a roasting pan, just take the insert out because you'll cook the bird right on top of the vegetables.
Place the dried bay leaves on top of the veggies, in the center of the pot.
Now, position the chicken breast side down over the top of the bay leaves.
(This position is very important, as it allows the natural juices of the bird to trickle down from the thighs into the breasts. This juice collects at the bottom of the pot, cooking the veggies and poaching the breast to super tender juiciness).
Pour the oil over the chicken, rubbing it in as you go to ensure that it sticks to the skin very well.
Now, squeeze the juice from both of the lemon halves over the chicken, making sure that you do not release any seeds into the pot.
Open the cavity of the chicken, and drop the fresh garlic slices into it.
Then, dip each lemon half into the seasoning mixture. Place each half into the cavity of the chicken, along with the garlic.
Sprinkle the dried seasonings over the entire exposed area of the chicken. If you have any spices left over, sprinkle them over the vegetables at the bottom of the pot.
Finally, slide the chicken in the oven, and cover the pot tightly. The low roasting heat ensures that the Cajun roast chicken with vegetables does not burn as it bakes to optimal doneness in just a couple of hours. Then, you rest it for a few minutes, carve the bird, and serve it with the veggies.
And that's it, y'all.
The first thing that you notice about this Cajun roasted chicken is its tenderness. From the breast to the thigh to the wing, each piece melts in your mouth like you cooked it all day long!
And the flavors, y'all! The lemony notes balance nicely with the smoky paprika, and earthy parsley and garlic essences. So, every bite starts out like fireworks that are gently subdued right before the finish.
The finale features the veggies, which are sooo tender and flavorsome that you'll want one of each on every forkful! For realz!!
Share this Cajun roasted chicken with vegetables with those who blow you away with the energy that they bring to your table. Much food love, and see y'all on the yum side...
Cajun Roasted Chicken Substitutions
Quality olive oil and fresh lemon get the bird ready to hold the seasonings and add a lot of flavor to the prepared dish. You can substitute the oil for whatever oil that you have on hand. You can also use melted butter in the place of oil.
However, do not use commercial bottled lemon juice for this. It will ruin the roasted Cajun chicken and you will probably have to throw it away. It would be better if you just omitted it from the recipe.
Use a meat thermometer to ensure that you cook the whole chicken to the safe temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Check the breast, thigh, wing, and leg temperatures before you remove the chicken from the oven.
No, it's not. While it is ultra-flavorful from the skin to the meat, this chicken has a feisty flavor profile with lemony highs and smoky low notes.
It's best if you arrange it all ahead, then refrigerate overnight. Then, bring it down to room temperature as you preheat the oven. Then, bake as directed.
Triple-check to make sure that the baking pot or pan is covered completely. Any air that gets into the vessel from not covering it fully could interrupt the timing of the recipe, and negatively alter the taste and texture of the prepared chicken and veggies.
What to Serve with Cajun Roasted Chicken
While this recipe is a one-pot meal, you can jazz it up even further by serving it with additional Cajun side dishes such as these.
Other Cajun Family Dinner Ideas
If you love this recipe, you'll also likely enjoy some of my other Cajun Sunday dinner recipes.
NOTE: This post was originally published on August 27, 2016, and updated and republished on October 21, 2023.
Cajun Roasted Chicken
For the Cajun Seasoning
For the Cajun Roast Chicken
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped into large chunks
- 1 large green bell pepper, chopped into large chunks
- 3 celery ribs, trimmed and chopped into large chunks
- 2 cups raw carrots, peeled and sliced into circles
- 3 cups raw potatoes, peeled and cubed
- 1 4 to 6-pound raw whole chicken, neck and gizzards removed
- 3 tablespoons oil or melted butter
- 1 large lemon, cut in half and deseeded
- 3 to 4 dried bay leaves
- 3 large garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Stir all of the seasonings together in a bowl. Set aside.
- Add the chopped onions, bell peppers, celery, carrots, and potatoes to the bottom of a large cast iron Dutch oven, baking pan, or oven-proof pot.
- Arrange the bay leaves in the center of the veggies, in a straight line right down the middle.
- Place the chicken breast side down over the bay leaves.
- Pour the oil or melted butter over the chicken, rubbing it into the skin as you go until all of the exposed skin is covered with the oil.
- Squeeze both halves of the lemon over the chicken, making sure that you cover as much of the chicken as you can with the lemon juice. (Remove any seeds that may fall into the pot.)
- Place the peeled garlic slices into the cavity of the chicken.
- Press both sides of the lemon into the seasoning, then place each half into the cavity of the chicken near the garlic.
- Sprinkle the remaining seasoning all over the chicken, covering as much of the exposed skin as you can.
- Use any remaining seasoning by sprinkling it over the vegetables in the bottom of the Dutch oven or baking pan.
- Cover the Dutch oven or baking pan completely with a fitting lid or heavy duty aluminum foil.
- Slide the covered baking pan or Dutch oven into the preheated oven.
- Bake the Cajun roasted chicken for 2 hours, or until a meat thermometer inserted into the breast, thigh, leg, and wing reads at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
- When done, remove the chicken from the oven, and let rest for at least 10 minutes before touching.
- Then, use a turkey baster to remove the liquid from the bottom that is covering the vegetables.
- Carve the bird, and serve alongside the vegetables.
The information shown is an estimate provided by a third-party, online computer-generated nutrition calculator, not a registered dietitian or certified nutritionist. Actual nutritional content will vary based upon brands used, measuring methods and individual portion sizes, along with other factors.See our full nutrition disclaimer here.