Upgrade your typical chicken and vegetables with Pesto Roast Chicken with Potatoes and Carrots!
Crispy roast chicken is smothered in luscious pesto and roasted with veggies that soak in all the pesto-y juices.
And would you believe you only need 5 ingredients and one pan? So this easy roast chicken recipe is both simple AND delicious.
Plus, it’s naturally gluten-free and easy to make this dairy-free, Paleo and/or Whole30-friendly!
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Pesto Roast Chicken with Potatoes and Carrots
Roast chicken with vegetables is a dinner staple for a reason. It’s a complete meal with protein and veggies, plus it can feed a lot of people.
And one-pan chicken recipes make cleanup a snap!
With this recipe, you get crispy roast chicken covered in pesto, a classic Italian sauce of basil, Parmesan, pine nuts, garlic and extra virgin olive oil. No need to make your own sauce, no need to marinate ahead of time.
And it’s roasted with potatoes and carrots, which get all tender and caramelized in the oven. Even better, they soak up all the pesto-y, chicken-y juices so they’re full of flavor.
And you can achieve all this with only 5 ingredients!
OK, not including salt, pepper and oil, but even if you did include those, then it’s just an 8 ingredient recipe. That’s still great!
Plus these are all wholesome ingredients, so this healthy chicken and vegetable recipe is not just good but good for you.
Easy enough for a weeknight but elevated enough for company, this Pesto Roast Chicken with Potatoes and Carrots will become a regular in your dinner routine.
And just like that, you’re basically Ina Garten or Jamie Oliver. Go you!
What you need for this easy roast chicken recipe
Check out this simple ingredient list:
- a whole chicken (3-4 pounds)
- a 5-6oz. tub of pesto – try to get the kind sold in tubs in the refrigerated section as these taste fresher than the jarred kind (or make your own arugula pesto!)
- one lemon
- 1 pound red or yellow potatoes
- 2 pounds carrots carrots
- avocado oil
If you’re dairy free or want to make this a Whole30 chicken recipe, there are dairy-free pesto options, such as this brand that I like a lot.
Otherwise just follow the instructions in the notes below the recipe to make your own dairy-free pesto!
- a baking sheet
- a large cutting board and chef’s knife
- a vegetable peeler
- a large bowl
- parchment paper – this helps make cleanup easier while ensuring that your veggies still get caramelized and crispy, but if you’re a die-hard crispy potato fan you can omit this
- an oven probe thermometer or instant read thermometer
- a carving knife
How to make this crispy roast chicken and veggies
It probably takes longer to describe how to prepare the recipe than to actually do it!
Heat the oven to 400°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Peel, trim and chop the carrots into 1″ pieces. If you have organic carrots, you might prefer to just scrub them under running water rather than peel them.
Scrub the potatoes under running water and pat dry, then chop into 1″ pieces.
Toss the vegetables with salt, pepper and oil. You can do this directly on the baking sheet but since there’s a lot of veggies I do this in a large bowl. Yes, it’s one more thing to clean up so if you don’t want to, stick to the baking sheet.
Spread the veggies out in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Try to scoot most of the veggies close to the middle of the pan. They don’t need to be smooshed up against each other but you want to create a little platform for the chicken.
Plus this will ensure most of them really soak up the chicken and pesto juices.
Very important: make sure the chicken is at room temperature. If it’s straight from the fridge, it will take forever to cook and the top will get burned. Take it out at least an hour before you want to bake it.
Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Do NOT rinse the chicken. That is an outdated and unnecessary method.
Wiggle your finger in-between the chicken skin and meat to create space for the pesto. You won’t be able to reach inside the wings. Try not to rip the skin but don’t worry if you do.
Smear the pesto under the skin. I scoop a few tablespoons onto my fingers, get it under the skin and then use the skin to scrape it off my fingers. Then I massage the skin to spread the pesto out and repeat the process.
It’s messy but also kinda fun!
If you have any leftover pesto, spread out a thin layer across the top of the chicken skin, including the wings and legs.
Place the chicken on top of the veggies with the drumsticks pointing at one of the baking sheet’s long sides.
Yes, this seems wrong. But when you bake everything, aim the legs toward the back of the chicken where it’s hotter and keep the breasts toward the front of the chicken where it’s cooler (a little trick I picked up from Samin Nosrat of Salt Fat Acid Heat fame).
And there’s no need to truss the chicken. All I do to prepare the bird is tuck the wings under the breasts so they don’t burn.
Roast chicken cooking times and temperature
Roast until the chicken skin is crispy, the chicken is cooked through and the veggies are tender.
You want the breast to reach 165° on an oven probe or instant read thermometer.
This can take about 60-75 minutes, depending on the size of your chicken.
What to serve with this oven baked chicken and potatoes recipe
While this is already a complete meal as is, there are a few ways you can round it out if you feel like it.
The pesto-y juices will collect at the bottom of your serving platter, so you’ll definitely want some regular or gluten-free bread or rolls to sop them up. Or try these almond flour biscuits.
Some leafy greens simply dressed in lemon juice or red wine vinegar, extra virgin olive and salt would be great.
You could try this orange and avocado salad.
Or you could add braised red cabbage for a great pop of color on your plate.
Leftovers will keep in the fridge, covered, for up to 5 days.
You can also freeze the leftovers in an air-tight container for up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge. Warm up in a 300° oven for 20-30 minutes.
Once the chicken is warmed up, you can broil it for 1-5 minutes to re-crisp the skin. It won’t get as crispy as before but it’ll get pretty close. Just keep an eye on it so it doesn’t burn.
Or turn the leftovers into this easy Leftover Chicken Vegetable Soup!
Other sheet pan and pesto recipes:
- Arugula Pistachio Pesto
- Sheet Pan Lemon Salmon with Pesto
- Sheet Pan Chicken, Potatoes and Peas
- Sheet Pan Apple Cinnamon Chicken
- Tomato Salad with Deconstructed Pesto
Pesto Roast Chicken with Potatoes and Carrots
- Heat the oven to 400°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Peel and trim the ends off the carrots. Chop into 1" pieces and add to a large bowl.
- Scrub the potatoes under running water and dry. Chop into 1" pieces and add to the bowl.
- Toss the veggies with 2 tablespoons of oil, 2 teaspoons of salt and 1 teaspoon of black pepper until thoroughly coated. Spread out on the baking sheet in a single layer, making sure there's enough in the middle to rest the chicken on.
- Pat the chicken dry and trim off any excess fat around the cavity. Wiggle your finger between the skin and meat to loosen the skin. You don't want the skin to rip but don't worry if it does.
- Smear the pesto under the chicken skin. Use your fingers and the skin to evenly spread out the pesto as best as possible. You should have about 1-2 tablespoons remaining pesto which you can spread out over the skin.
- Cut the lemon in half and stick in the cavity.
- Place the chicken on top of the vegetables with the legs facing the long side of the baking sheet. Place in the oven with the legs toward the back of the oven.
- Roast until the skin is crispy and the vegetables are tender. An oven probe or instant thermometer should register 165° when inserted into the thickest part of the breast (without hitting bone). You can also cut into the chicken at the thigh joint - the juices should run clear. This should take about 60-75 minutes, depending on the size of the bird.
- Remove from the oven, loosely cover with foil and let rest for 15 minutes. Remove the lemon from the cavity. Remove the chicken to a cutting board and carve. Toss the veggies on the baking sheet to get evenly coated with the juices. Serve the chicken and veggies, squeezing some lemon over everything.