Roast Chicken with Purple Garlic

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Roast Chicken with Purple Garlic ~ this chicken roasts on a veritable bower of garlic, and when it comes out of the oven, those cloves are mellow and spread like buttah.  Put that rotisserie chicken back in the plastic tub, you won’t be needing it.

Whole roasted chicken with garlic, lemon and thyme

Chicken roasted with garlic is a heavenly combination!

Garlic and I have a complicated relationship… I think it’s harsh when raw, and can overpower other flavors even when it’s been cooked into a dish.  But today I’m reminded that a long slow roasting, preferably underneath a chicken, magically fixes all that, and I’m happy to report that garlic and I are now best buds.   Yes there’s a lot of garlic in this recipe, but there’s no messy peeling or chopping involved, I just slice off the tops and add the whole heads to the pan.  The oven and the chicken drippings do the rest.

purple garlic cloves in a bowl

How many heads of whole garlic??

If you’ve peeked at the recipe and think I’ve gone over the deep end with the garlic, hold that thought ~ remember that it’s inexpensive, and you can use the leftover bulbs in all kinds of ways (that’s IF you have any leftover.)  For days afterward we smooshed those golden nuggets into potatoes, smashed them into our couscous, and slathered them on grilled bruschetta.  And of course you can always use any extra roasted garlic to make my epic HUMMUS WITH FORTY CLOVES…that stuff proves that roasted garlic makes everything better.

TIP: You can sometimes find garlic sold by the bag ~ these tend to be smaller, and a great value, too ~ perfect for this recipe!

To prepare garlic for roasting whole

  • just slice off the tip (the pointy end) to expose the cloves.  The root (the flattened end) will hold all the cloves intact.
  • Save those tips, you’ll use them to stuff the cavity of the chicken, so nothing goes to waste.

Purple garlic in a roasting pan for Roast Chicken with Purple Garlic

I lined the bottom of my baking dish with the cut heads of garlic.  It becomes a base for the chicken to rest on, and will get the benefit of all the wonderful juices that drip down during the cooking.  Are you beginning to see where this is going?  Yum.

What is purple garlic?

  • Most garlic is pure white, but there are other varieties.  Some are called softneck, which is most common in supermarkets, and others are called hardneck ~ the softneck variety grows on a flexible stem, and the hardneck grows on a stiff stalk.
  • Purple stripe garlic is one of several hardneck varieties of garlic.  You can see the small round stalk in the middle of the cloves if you look closely at my cut garlic heads, above.
  • Purple garlic has a purplish striped outer skin, with white flesh, and tastes slightly milder than regular garlic.
  • Purple garlic is supposed to be ideal for roasting.

I stuff the chicken with those extra garlic tips and fresh lemon wedges for extra flavor.

TIP: If you want to remove the smell of garlic from your fingers after you work with it, rub them along your stainless steel faucet or sides of your stainless steel sink when you wash your hands…the molecules in the steel bind with the smelly sulfur molecules on your hands and neutralize the odor, it really works!  You can even buy stainless steel ‘soap’!

While this isn’t a 30-minute meal, it’s definitely a hands off meal, because, with the exception of a little basting, there’s really nothing to do but enjoy the aromas coming out of your oven.

Roast chicken with purple garlic on a platter

You can serve the chicken right in the baking dish, or on a platter, surrounded by the garlic, it’s pretty spectacular either way.  Make sure each person gets their own roasted head of garlic.  Now doesn’t this beat that rotisserie chicken in the plastic tub??

I love how rustic and homey my chicken looks when I bake it right in a Le Creuset large stoneware multi-bowl ~ I bake stew in this bowl one day, and use it for salad the next.  When I’m not using it for a recipe it sits on the counter holding fruit.  This bowl goes from the freezer to the broiler without any problem, and saves space in my cupboard!  You can click on the photo for more information.

a whole roast chicken with purple garlic in roasting pan

you have a choice…

I read my meat packages and buy the best quality, most sustainably and humanely raised chicken I can afford ~ animals that haven’t been treated with hormones or antibiotics, and animals that have had a decent life are better for us in every way.  It is more expensive, so I just eat less of it, it’s that simple.

Reader Rave ~

I tried this recipe for my husband for Fathers Day-it came out PERFECT. The chicken was not only flavorful but moist as well. I was hoping for leftovers-no such luck! This is the third recipe I’ve tried Sue from your site, and they have all come out perfectly. Thank you, and my husband thanks you!”  ~Patricia

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3.67 from 9 votes

Roast Chicken with Garlic

Roast Chicken with Purple Garlic ~ this chicken roasts on a veritable bower of garlic, and when it comes out of the oven, those cloves are mellow and spread like buttah. 
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Yield 6 -8 servings


  • 1 chicken 3 1/2 - 5 pounds, giblets removed
  • 10 whole heads of garlic
  • 2 lemons cut in wedges
  • one bunch fresh thyme
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • salt and fresh cracked black pepper

for basting

  • 4 Tbsp melted butter or olive oil


  • Set oven to 425F
  • Slice the tip ends of the heads of garlic off to expose the cloves. Reserve the loose ends that you've chopped off.
  • Arrange the heads of garlic, cut side up, on the bottom of a roasting pan or casserole just big enough to hold the chicken. Brush the exposed tops with olive oil.
  • Stuff the cavity of the chicken with 1/2 of the lemon wedges and some of the reserved garlic tips (no need to remove the skins) Tie the legs securely together.
  • Rub the chicken with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place the chicken on top of the garlic in the roasting pan.
  • Roast the chicken for 20 minutes per pound, basting every 10 minutes with melted butter or olive oil. Make sure you baste the exposed garlic, too! As the chicken starts to release juices, you can baste with its own juices if you like.
  • If you cut between the wing and the leg and the juices should run clear, the chicken is done. It should be a nice golden brown. You can be sure by checking with an instant read thermometer inserted between the leg and breast, it should register 160-165F.
  • Let the chicken rest under foil for 10 minutes, then slice and serve with the garlic.


  • If you aren't a garlic lover, you can roast the chicken on a bed of onions, carrots, and potatoes, or any mixture of veggies you happen to love.

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  • Reply
    June 21, 2017 at 10:49 am

    Hello Sue, i was seduced by ur pic. so i just tried tonight.
    i cannot find purple garlic here, so i used the normal white one.
    and i didnt have enough lemon either….so i used only one….. shame on me…
    the chicken is very juicy, and very tender, and the roasted garlic are so decision.
    only i feel the chicken didnt have enough taste inside.
    i did put lot salt and pepper, but still the meat is a little bit too plain.
    what can i do to make it have more taste?
    maybe the taste of my family is too strong…..
    can u help me for some suggestions?
    except the taste, the rest are perfect.

    • Reply
      June 21, 2017 at 11:22 am

      The flavor of the chicken will mostly depend on the quality of your bird, Mezzo, but lots of lemon, salt and pepper can really bring that out. I salt and pepper the inside of the chicken, too, and be sure to stuff the garlic and lemon in, as well. Basting is also important, and you can use melted salted butter in place of olive oil to get more flavor. The last thing I suggest is getting a bit of that roasted garlic in every bite, that’s really the highlight of this recipe! Hope this helps.

  • Reply
    June 18, 2017 at 4:37 pm

    I tried this recipe for my husband for Fathers Day-it came out PERFECT. The chicken was not only flavorful but moist as well. I was hoping for leftovers-no such luck!!!. This is the third recipe I’ve tried Sue from your site, and they have all come out perfectly. Thank you, and my husband thanks you!

    • Reply
      June 18, 2017 at 4:43 pm

      Thanks a million for taking the time to come back and comment, Patricia…and I couldn’t be happier to hear this. My husband and I both remarked on how moist the chicken was, too. Too bad about no leftovers 😉

  • Reply
    Milena | Craft Beering
    June 17, 2017 at 1:02 pm

    So pretty! I love the idea of serving each person a roasted purple garlic head. I usually stuff and surround our Thanksgiving turkey with garlic and oranges, but then use the garlic heads to make a gravy (together with the drippings). I have not come across purple garlic before, looks amazing.
    PS. I own a stainless steel soap bar:) Best thing ever, sits right next to the dish soap. Works after handling fish/seafood too.

    • Reply
      June 17, 2017 at 3:20 pm

      That’s a great idea to do this at Thanksgiving, Milena, love that!

  • Reply
    June 15, 2017 at 9:30 am

    So if I can’t find purple garlic in my local store, would you say I should use less of the regular white garlic, since it’s apparently stronger? Just wondering if I need to adjust the recipe.

    • Reply
      June 15, 2017 at 2:52 pm

      They’re really interchangeable Renate, so you can use the white the same way. My cloves were fairly small, though, so you might need less than 10 to make a bed for your chicken.

  • Reply
    James | Thyme to Mango
    June 14, 2017 at 8:26 pm

    I’m the sort of person who questions the integrity of a recipe when it says “1 clove of garlic” – who only uses one clove?!?! – and here you are using 10 heads of garlic. Yes! This is my sort of recipe, putting this one on the to make list, and sharing, right now. And thanks for the tip about getting rid of the garlic smell from your hands – genius!

    • Reply
      June 14, 2017 at 8:57 pm

      Glad I could inspire you James ~ and if you’re a garlic lover I think you’re going to get a lot of mileage out of that hand washing tip!

  • Reply
    Victoria Schwalbe
    June 14, 2017 at 4:35 pm

    We grow garlic…’s so easy to grow!!!! We have just harvested 3 crates, each 24 x 16 x 6 full. Home grown is stronger and a smaller amount goes a long way. It keeps well all year. Wish you were close enough to share.

    • Reply
      June 14, 2017 at 7:35 pm

      I’ve never grown garlic, but I’ve picked it on farms ~ how lucky you are. You must know a million and one ways to use it 🙂

  • Reply
    Chris Scheuer
    June 14, 2017 at 4:26 pm

    I saw this on my phone today and gasped out loud at how beautiful it is! I love the idea of all that wonderful roasted garlic as a bonus too. I’m sure the aroma is heavenly as it bakes!

    • Reply
      June 14, 2017 at 7:36 pm

      Thanks Chris, that’s such a nice thing to say <3

  • Reply
    June 14, 2017 at 11:55 am

    Did not know that about purple garlic, good to know. your roasted chicken is such a lovely color, I bet this is fabulous!!!

    • Reply
      June 14, 2017 at 12:48 pm

      Thanks Cheri, next time you see some purple garlic grab it!

  • Reply
    June 14, 2017 at 10:37 am

    Roast Chicken is such comfort food and I can just imagine how good it smells baking with all of that garlic. Beautiful chicken and beautiful bowl. May have to purchase one – as if I need anymore kitchen equipment. Thanks Sue.

    • Reply
      June 14, 2017 at 11:12 am

      I just did a major weed out of my pots and pans…basically giving myself permission to re-stock ~ and I love the way that bowl cradles the chicken 🙂

  • Reply
    June 14, 2017 at 9:33 am

    I agree with you 10%. There is very little on the planet that is superior to roasted garlic! This chicken looks fabulous and your photos are mouth watering! (Wel you know what I mean! 🙂 )

  • Reply
    zouhair fiorino najjar
    June 14, 2017 at 9:29 am

    most awesome recipe..The first time i see purple Garlic…By the way Raw GARLIC is very healthy for the heart and those who suffer from Hypertension…Thank you a lot Fiorino

    • Reply
      June 14, 2017 at 11:11 am

      You’re so right, I talk about healthy benefits of ingredients so often that every now and then I give it a rest 😉 But that’s true!

  • Reply
    June 14, 2017 at 9:20 am

    Sue, I made your rainbow salad last night for guests – it’s one of our all time favorites! – and the delicious broccoli pineapple salad earlier this week. Your recipes are always wonderful! This one looks great, too – thanks for sharing each one!

    • Reply
      June 14, 2017 at 9:26 am

      I’m so glad to hear that Natalie! It makes me feel great to think of my recipes being used and loved 🙂

  • Reply
    June 14, 2017 at 9:13 am

    Aww the pink garlic, can’t resist buying it when comes the season, I’m loving your recipe!

  • Reply
    Mary // Chattavore
    June 14, 2017 at 8:19 am

    You know, my philosophy is that if you are going to cook with garlic, you should go all in on it. And I have that exact Le Creuset bowl – I’ve never thought about roasting chicken in it! I will have to give it a go!

    • Reply
      June 14, 2017 at 8:25 am

      I like the way you think, Mary! And I have to give credit to the saleswoman at the Le Creuset outlet store…she gave me all sorts of tips for how to use the bowl…now I want one in every color 🙂

  • Reply
    John/Kitchen Riffs
    June 14, 2017 at 8:17 am

    That’s a lot of garlic! I love the stuff, so it’s hard to have too much in a dish for me. And you’re right — it really mellows as it cooks. Fun dish — thanks.

  • Reply
    [email protected]
    June 14, 2017 at 8:09 am

    I don’t like too much raw garlic either, but roasted, oh my. This is a delicious dish.

  • Reply
    Tina Dawson | Love is in my Tummy
    June 14, 2017 at 7:41 am

    Love your photos! That is one happy, happy chicken!

    • Reply
      June 14, 2017 at 7:53 am

      Thanks Tina, I’m happy to report it tastes even better than it looks 😉

  • Reply
    [email protected]'s Recipes
    June 14, 2017 at 6:51 am

    This little bird looks so perfectly roasted, Sue, and those purple garlic are so beautiful! Your house must have smelled heavenly while you roast the chicken.
    I bought a few of stainless steel soaps for my mom but she never uses them :-((

    • Reply
      June 14, 2017 at 6:53 am

      Thanks Angie! And that stainless steel hack is one of my all time favorites, I still can’t believe it works, it’s like magic!

  • Reply
    Tricia @ Saving Room for Dessert
    June 14, 2017 at 4:47 am

    My gosh this is the most beautiful roast chicken ever! We adore garlic and love all the ways you suggest using leftovers. That hummus has always called my name anyway, so out with the grocery store chickens and in with loads of flavor and the enticing aroma coming from my oven!

  • Reply
    Jennifer @ Seasons and Suppers
    June 14, 2017 at 4:26 am

    What a great way to roast chicken! I can never have enough roasted garlic around and the lemon must infuse the chicken beautifully 🙂 And left-over cooked chicken is so great in the Summer for salads or sandwiches. Perfect!

    • Reply
      June 14, 2017 at 11:15 am

      We never have any leftover, my husband is crazy for chicken and eats it all up ~ I’m going to have to cook an extra just for the leftovers!