Mom's Roast Chicken With All the Trimmings

My mother's recipe for roast chicken with all the trimmings (stuffing! chicken gravy!), first published in Kitchen Parade in 1965 - in print, naturally. It belongs to a special collection of Mom's recipes, Kitchen Parade by Shirley published to celebrate Kitchen Parade's 50th anniversary.
Mom's Roast Chicken with all the Trimmings ♥, roasted chicken stuffed and trussed and served with chicken gravy, old-fashioned comfort food.

In Mom's Own Words

“A roast chicken with all the trimmings rates high on the list of everybody’s favorite meals. So many of the younger homemakers are afraid to roast a chicken. It sounds so complicated and so much fuss. It really isn’t.

The secret is to have a stuffing recipe that everyone likes so that preparation time is cut to the minimum. This may not be so easy. Some times two adults have completely different ideas of good poultry stuffing. It took me seven years to achieve one that my husband and I like. Maybe you’ll like it too.”

~ Kitchen Parade, circa 1965

Sunday Dinners Across the Years

In my mother’s childhood, Sunday dinner was often roast chicken with all the trimmings. Family lore says that her English-born father carved a chicken with great skill and flourish. There was no fancy carving in my own childhood home but I sure do remember looking forward to the special occasions when Mom would roast a chicken, complete with stuffing and chicken gravy.

I’ve made my mother’s roast chicken several times this spring. Her recipe may date back 45 years but it’s a classic and works beautifully every time. Plus, call me surprised that making stuffing first adds only about 10 minutes of preparation time!

How to Truss a Chicken

I've seen such complicated instructions for trussing a chicken, all which seem to be most concerned about saving kitchen string. With my technique, you may end up snipping off extra string, but it's extra easy. Do it once, you'll do it again without thinking.

How to Truss a Whole Chicken ♥

  • Place the chicken on flat surface, breast-side up.
  • Cut about three feet of kitchen string. Working from the string's midpoint, wrap the string around the tips of the chicken legs a couple of times, tying the legs together to close the cavity, also so they'll rest close to the body.
  • Now, wrap the string around the whole chicken twice. Catch the wing's "elbows" the first time around, the wing tips the second.
  • Now tie a bow, as fancy as you like!


Hands-on time: 25 minutes up front, 15 minutes to finish
Roasting time: 2 hours
Time to table: 2-3/4 hours
Serves 4 with plenty of leftover cooked chicken
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup chopped celery
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 – 3 slices day-old bread, torn into pieces
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1 egg yolk whisked with about 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 whole chicken, rinsed and dried inside and out
  • Kitchen string, about 3 feet
  • 2 tablespoons butter, optional
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons chicken drippings (reserve the rest for gravy another time)
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup liquid (milk or chicken stock or vegetable water)
  • Salt & pepper

Heat oven to 325F/160C.

MAKE THE STUFFING Sauté the onion and celery in the butter over low heat until they are tender and golden. Crumble the bread into the pan and add the remaining ingredients. Stir to combine, adding more milk if needed.

STUFF & TRUSS THE CHICKEN Spoon the stuffing gently into the body cavity. Don’t pack it in as the stuffing swells during cooking. "Truss" the chicken with kitchen string to tightly bind the legs and wings to the body, sealing the stuffing inside the cavity, trussing instructions above. Rub the breast and legs with butter. (If the chicken is very fat this isn’t necessary but it keeps the meat of a young chicken moist and tender.) Transfer breast-side up to a roasting pan and sprinkle the chicken body with salt. If there's leftover stuffing, tuck it around the chicken.

ROAST COVERED Cover the roasting pan (foil works fine) and roast the chicken for 1 hour.

ROAST UNCOVERED Remove the cover and continue to roast until a digital thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast reaches 150F/65C, about one hour; leave the chicken uncovered so that the chicken will brown.

LET REST Remove the chicken from the oven. Transfer to a carving board and cover with foil to allow the chicken to continue to cook, it should reach the safe cooking temperature of 160F/70C. While the chicken rests, you'll have about 15 minutes to make the gravy and get the chicken on the table.

MAKE THE CHICKEN GRAVY You should have about two tablespoons of drippings left in the roasting pan. Slowly add flour and blend well. Slowly add the liquid. On the stove, cook and stir the gravy over medium heat until thick. Add seasonings to taste and you may want to add some commercial gravy coloring.

SERVE Scoop the stuffing out into a serving dish. Carve the chicken onto a platter. Serve with mashed potatoes, a vegetable and a crisp green salad.

ALANNA's TIPS Does anyone really end up with "day-old" bread anymore? With preservatives, commercial bread stays fresh for days. Such a treat, homemade bread is long gone before the second day! For bread, choose a hearty bread with good structure. Bakers might consider my go-to recipe for whole-grain bread, especially rolls, Light 'n' Fluffy Homemade Whole-Grain Bread. I’ve even used leftover muffins with dried fruit. If the bread tastes good, the stuffing will too! If there’s more stuffing than will fit inside the cavity, just tuck it alongside the chicken in the roasting pan. It pays to learn how to truss a chicken with kitchen string. It takes just a minute or two and helps the chicken roast evenly. Plus, it just looks so good coming out of the oven! To avoid undercooking or overcooking the roast chicken, I insert a programmable meat thermometer, one of my favorite kitchen tools, into the breast meat. I set the thermometer’s alarm for 150F/65C and remove the chicken from the oven then. While it rests and while I make the gravy, the internal temperature will rise to the perfect temperature of 160F/70C. Do you roast a chicken breast-side up or breast-side down? For color, I am quite happy with breast-side up, especially since the meat probe ensures perfect cooking. Save the chicken carcass to make Homemade Chicken Stock. Not excited about stuffing and trussing the chicken? Try Fast Roast Chicken which is roasted at high temperature for just an hour, you can even make Spring Stuffing with Leeks & Mushrooms while the chicken roasts! So so good!

RESOURCES We've owned several digital thermometers over the years, arrgh, the wire probes are always a problem – but honestly, I can't imagine cooking meat well without one. This is the model we currently own, it's from CDN and has been working fine for over a year now. My Disclosure Promise
NUTRITION INFORMATION Assumes a serving is 3oz cooked breast meat plus a quarter of the stuffing and chicken gravy: 367 Cal; 16g Tot Fat; 9g Sat Fat; 146mg Cholesterol; 411mg Sodium; 18g Carb; 1g Fiber; 6g Sugar; 32g Protein WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS Old Points 8 & PointsPlus 9 & SmartPoints 11 & Freestyle 10

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Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. If you make this recipe, I'd love to know your results! Just leave a comment below.

© Copyright Kitchen Parade 2009 & 2019

Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. Is there really only 2-3 slices of bread in the stuffing? It doesn't seem like it would make much.


  2. It's just enough for four, small servings too, but it's all that can fit into the cavity.

    Also a lesson in portion size! It's PLENTY!

  3. Anonymous5/01/2009

    You are becoming my new best recipe friend!!! Yum!!! I have posted a link to you site on my new "Losing It..." blog and if I use a recipe in a menu I link it to you... You are so creative and wonderful!!!

    I have lost 10 pounds as of today... Yeah...

    Hugs and Best Wishes...
    Just A Gal...

  4. Anonymous5/01/2009

    OHHhhhh.. I meant to ask you something... Do you have a post on pantry supplies and how you store item and have on hand? Something along that lines?


    Just A Gal...

  5. Anonymous5/01/2009

    Thanks for directing me to the Shop your pantry and freezer first... it is Very Helpful


    Just A Gal...


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna