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Grilled Whole Chicken

Perfectly charred on the outside and juicy on the inside, this grilled whole chicken is smothered with a smokey homemade spice rub for loads of flavor. Cook it on a gas or charcoal grill, just follow my tips for the perfect effortless dinner.

The Best Grilled Whole Chicken Recipe

Made indoors or outdoors, this grilled whole chicken with crispy and perfectly charred skin will be the hit of the night. With a caramelized spice rub on the outside keeping everything nice and juicy on the inside, good luck ever making or buying another grilled chicken again.

Infused with aromatic and smokey flavors from the homemade rub, every bite of this tender grilled chicken hits home after a long day. Needing nothing more than a bit of olive oil to bring it all together, you’ll also love how effortless this dinner is. All you need to do is whisk the spices, rub them into the chicken, and grill away!

Freshly made or shredded for later, it’s an effortless recipe you’ll make time and time again. After all, no one can resist a chicken dinner that’s straight out of the grill and ready to be enjoyed with your favorite sides.

Angled photo of grilled whole chicken.

Why This Grilled Chicken Recipe Works

Don’t just Pin this recipe into oblivion. It’s super simple and will become a weeknight favorite in no time.

  • Great for gatherings. Make one large chicken or cook several small ones; this recipe is perfect for all your gatherings if you set it in the center of the table and let everyone help themselves.
  • Family-friendly. Even the pickiest eaters love grilled chicken! Besides, there are so many things you can do with the leftovers too.
  • Better than store-bought. As is or with the amount of spices adjusted to taste, this chicken is way better than anything you can get at the store.
  • Healthy. With full control of the salt and only a little bit of avocado oil, this dinner recipe is quite healthy.
Ingredients for grilled whole chicken.

What You’ll Need

Your spice cabinet better be well stocked! Check the recipe card at the bottom of the post for exact amounts.

  • Chicken

For the Spice Rub

  • Garlic powder
  • Ground cumin
  • Ground coriander – Don’t use fresh coriander. It’ll burn in the oven.
  • Smoked paprika Use your favorite kind.
  • Dried rosemary
  • Sea salt
  • Ground black pepper
  • Avocado oil – Feel free to use olive, corn, canola, or vegetable oil.

How to Grill Whole Chicken

Whether you’ve got a gas or charcoal grill, there’s no excuse for buying rotisserie chicken ever again. Check the recipe card at the bottom of the post for more detailed instructions.

On A Gas Grill

  • Make the spice rub. Preheat the grill to medium-high heat. Whisk the ingredients for the spice rub in a bowl until well combined. Set it aside.
  • Add the spice rub. Pat the chicken dry on all sides with a paper towel. Brush the spice mixture all over the chicken until it’s evenly coated. Don’t forget the inside cavity!
  • Grill the chicken. Place the chicken on a vertical roaster, with the legs at the bottom. Create a spot for indirect heat by turning off one burner. Close the grill and cook the chicken at 375-400F for 15-20 minutes per pound.
  • Serve it. Remove it from the grill and let it rest for at least 15 minutes. Slice, serve, and enjoy!

On A Charcoal Grill

  • Prepare the grill. Light a chimney full of charcoal. When the coal is ready, pour it over one-half of the grill. Cover it and let it heat for 5 minutes.
  • Make spice rub. Whisk the garlic powder, ground cumin, ground coriander, smoked paprika, dried rosemary, salt, pepper, and avocado oil in a small bowl until well combined. Set it aside.
  • Prepare the chicken. Use paper towels to pat the chicken dry on all sides.
  • Add the spice rub. Brush the spice rub all over the chicken, including the inside cavity. Place it upright on a vertical roaster.
  • Grill it. Turn off one burner to create a spot for indirect heat and place the chicken there. Close grill and cook the chicken at 375-400F for 15-20 minutes per pound.
  • Let it rest and serve. Remove the chicken from the grill and let it rest for at least 15 minutes before slicing and serving.

Tips for Success

Consider these tips the secrets to the best grilled whole chicken ever— we’re talking deli-quality or better.

  • Use a meat thermometer. The only way to truly know if the chicken is done cooking is by using a meat thermometer. Once it reads 160F in the thickest part, remove the chicken from the oven.
  • Add butter. Carefully lift the skin and use your hands to rub butter underneath it. Do this for the entire chicken to make it juicier.
  • Adjust the spices. Add 1 additional teaspoon of your favorite spices at a time until the spice mix is just the way you like it.
  • Use mayo. Rub 1/4 cup of mayonnaise on the skin before adding the spice rub. It will help the chicken retain more moisture. No, it won’t taste like mayo after.
  • Cover it. If your chicken is beginning to brown too much but it’s still not done, cover it with aluminum foil for the remaining cooking time.
  • Make it spicy. Add 1/2-1 tablespoon of cayenne pepper to the spice rub for a kick of heat.
Angled photo of grilled whole chicken.

What Is The Best Temp To Grill Whole Chicken?

Anywhere from 375-400F is the perfect temperature for grilling because it’ll help the skin crispen while keeping the inside juicy. As long as the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 160F before removing it from the heat, feel free to grill the chicken within the 375-400F range.

Common Questions

The answers to these grilled chicken-related questions will help you serve the juiciest slices and pieces you and your guests have ever tried.

Is it better to grill chicken on high or low?

It’s best to grill chicken over high heat. Low heat dries out the chicken, makes the cooking time longer, and often leaves the center raw anyway.

How long does it take to grill a whole chicken?

The exact time depends on the size of your chicken. Whole chicken needs to be grilled for 15-20 minutes per pound. Make sure you read the weight on the label before throwing the packaging away so you can perfectly calculate the grilling time.

Should you flip a whole chicken while grilling?

No, it doesn’t need to be flipped. Just pop it into the grill and let it be!

Vertically-standing grilled chicken.

Serving Suggestions

This grilled whole chicken is great for dinner with simple salads and sides. I love to pop my Crab Stuffed Mushrooms and Hasselback Potatoes into the other racks in the oven (if it has a grill setting) so everything cooks at the same time, just keep an eye on the clock! For a fresh salad, try my Cucumber Tomato Feta Salad or Cobb Salad with Ranch.

How to Store Leftover Grilled Chicken

Once fully cooled, refrigerate the leftovers in an airtight container for up to 5 days. To easier serving later on, you can also shred the chicken before storing it. Keep it away from heat and sunlight when on the counter. To reheat it, sprinkle it with 1-2 teaspoons of water and microwave it for up to a minute. If you’re reheating the whole chicken, do it in the oven at 400F for 12-15 minutes.

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Grilled whole chicken with a slightly chatted part.

Grilled Whole Chicken

  • Author: Krista
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hr 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 0 hours
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: Chicken
  • Method: Grill
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This easy grilled whole chicken recipe is crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside and covered in a smokey spice rub for the best bite!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 56 lb whole chicken

Spice Rub:

  • 1 tablespoon of garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon of ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry rosemary
  • 1/2 tablespoon of sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon of ground black pepper
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons avocado oil

Instructions

For Gas Grills:

  1. Preheat grill to medium hot heat, 375-400°F.
  2. Make spice rub, to a bowl add garlic powder, ground cumin, ground coriander, smoked paprika, dry rosemary, salt and pepper. Then pour in the avocado oil. Stir around until well combined. Set aside.
  3. Remove the chicken from its packaging and thoroughly pat dry with a paper towel.
  4. Using a grill brush, brush the spice rub all over the chicken. (both sides including the inside cavity.) Once the chicken is completely covered, place the chicken upright on a vertical roaster (legs at the bottom).
  5. Turn off one grill burner to create a spot for indirect heat and place the chicken there. Close the grill. Be sure to keep the grill at a constant 375-400°F the entire grilling process, you may need to check it occasionally.
  6. Grill whole chicken for 15-20 minutes per pound or until an instant-read thermometer reaches 160°F. Once the chicken reaches temperature, remove it from the grill and rest for at least 15 minutes. The carryover cooking will get it to 165°F. 

For Charcoal Grills:

  1. Light a chimney full of charcoal. When coals are ready, pour them evenly over one-half of your grill. Cover and allow the grill to preheat for at least 5 minutes.
  2. Make spice rub, to a bowl add garlic powder, ground cumin, ground coriander, smoked paprika, dry rosemary, salt and pepper. Then pour in the avocado oil. Stir around until well combined. Set aside.
  3. Remove the chicken from its packaging and thoroughly pat dry with a paper towel.
  4. Using a grill brush, brush the spice rub all over the chicken. (both sides including the inside cavity). Once the chicken is completely covered, place the chicken upright on a vertical roaster (legs at the bottom).
  5. Turn off one grill burner to create a spot for indirect heat and place the chicken there. Close the grill. Be sure to keep the grill at a constant 375-400°F the entire grilling process, you may need to check it and adjust vents on occasion to maintain this temperature.
  6. Grill whole chicken for 15-20 minutes per pound or until an instant-read thermometer reaches 160°F. Once the chicken reaches temperature, remove it from the grill and rest for at least 15 minutes. The carryover cooking will get it to 165°F. 

Keywords: grilled whole chicken, grilled chicken

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