A whole roasted paprika chicken with a creamy mayonnaise chicken marinade, baked with root veggies and rosemary. Once you taste this mayonnaise marinated chicken recipe, you will never bake chicken any other way!
My grandmother's secret to the perfect whole roasted chicken recipe: A Mayonnaise Chicken Marinade
My grandmother has been roasting whole chicken marinated in mayonnaise and paprika for over 60 years. Her famous paprika chicken recipe has remained steadfast in the face of economic hardship, immigration, depression, births, deaths, recession and times of plenty.
I love this method of baking chicken because:
- It's affordable when butter is expensive
- it's forgiving when other recipes are demanding
- it's endlessly customizable with your favorite vegetables and seasoning
- it gives you a whole meal in one sheet pan chicken and veggies recipe
- mayonnaise creates the most UNBELIEVABLE golden brown crust on top of your baked chicken
How to make the best baked chicken
The secret to the best way to roast a chicken with paprika is really quite simple: take a whole chicken. Stuff it with herbs, garlic and citrus. Make a mayonnaise chicken marinade seasoned with paprika and other spices, and let the stuffed whole chicken marinade in it for a few hours, or preferably overnight. Place the chicken on a baking sheet, surround it with your favorite root vegetables, and then send it to the oven for about an hour.
And that's it - you're well on your way to the juiciest, tastiest, prettiest and most flavorful paprika baked chicken.
This easy paprika chicken recipe was my first ever introduction to prepping a whole chicken when I was in university, and I have to say it is pretty darn easy. This is a simple marinated paprika chicken, but the mayonnaise chicken marinade sets it apart from other common recipes (and makes it thoroughly Soviet).
With the roasting chicken's aroma wafting through the house, the place definitely smelled like the kitchen of my childhood.
Ingredients for making paprika chicken in a mayonnaise chicken marinade
- whole chicken, defrosted - this is going to be my one and only preachy note: please, use a good, locally-raised, free-range organic chicken. It tastes better, has better texture, and has probably lived a better life than I am living these days. If your chicken is frozen, make sure it defrosts over night before proceeding with the marinade - though the truth is, sometimes I take my whole chicken straight from the freezer and plonk it down in the marinade, where it both defrosts and marinades.
- good quality mayonnaise - I love Russian-style mayonnaise for my mayonnaise marinated chicken, but any good quality mayonnaise will do (you can even use homemade mayo).
- mustard - you can use grainy or dijon mustard, or even French's. The mustard gives this some zing, but if you absolutely can't tolerate spice, skip it.
- paprika - as per my grandmother, this recipe uses sweet paprika for this paprika baked chicken. Sometimes, I go wild and use smoked paprika for a Spanish baked chicken. Anything goes!
- garlic cloves - a necessary ingredient in this easy recipe, garlic is as crucial as paprika and mayonnaise to making the perfect roast chicken. You can also use garlic powder in a pinch.
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 teaspoon spice mixture - we normally use a San Moreno salt blend but my grandmother leaves it pretty open. An Herbes de Provence mixture works well, or any poultry seasoning blend. I also love the Original jalapeno spice blend from Smoke Show (no affiliate, just pure love!).
- lemons - the acidity of the lemon gives the stuffed whole chicken a burst of flavor from within. In truth, by placing the cut lemons inside the cavity of the chicken we are almost continuing to massage it from within with acid - it's honestly great for keeping your paprika roast chicken moist and juicy! You can also use orange, grapefruit or blood orange.
- rosemary sprigs - this also goes into the cavity of the chicken. You can use any whole fresh herbs you like, like parsley, though rosemary and thyme work best.
- Potatoes - these are placed around the chicken for our chicken and vegetables tray bake. Feel free to use sweet potatoes or your other favorite root vegetables.
- Carrots - same as with the potatoes; you can also use bell peppers or brussels sprouts here.
- Onion - also a part of the vegetables in this sheet pan chicken and veggies tray bake.
See recipe card for exact quantities.
There's a few basic things you'll need to make this baked chicken recipe.
How to make the world's juiciest paprika chicken
A few hours or the day before, defrost the chicken and drain it of any juices. If the innards are still there, remove them and use them for making chicken broth. Place chicken in a large bowl.
Pat the chicken dry thoroughly with paper towels, taking care to blot behind the wings, legs, and inside the body cavity. This will help the skin crisp up in the oven.
In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, mustard, paprika and any other spices of your choosing, salt, and pepper. Finely mince two cloves of garlic and add to mixture. Stir together to combine. Start with ¼ cup of mayonnaise and if chicken is still dry, add more.
Ensure that there are no juices in the bowl with the chicken. Rub the chicken with this mixture, taking care to cover all spots inside and out.
Stuff halved lemons, rosemary sprigs and 4 cloves of garlic inside the chicken's cavity.
Cover seasoned chicken with plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator for a few hours, or marinade the chicken overnight.
When ready to roast, preheat oven to 500F. Wash and chop your potatoes, carrots and onion into wedges. Arrange them in an even layer on the bottom of a large roasting pan, in order to make a bed for the chicken. Season with salt and the same herb mixture you used in the chicken's marinade. Sprinkle the outside of the chicken generously with salt and pepper.
Set the chicken breast-side-up on the roasting rack, or directly over the vegetables. The chicken will be lifted an inch or two above the bottom of the pan by the vegetables.
Put the chicken tray bake in the oven and broil the chicken at 500 for 15 minutes, allowing the skin to crisp. After 15 minutes, turn the chicken over and lower temperature to 400°F, and continue roasting for 45 minutes. After an hour, check if the chicken is done by inserting an instant-read thermometer in the meatiest part of its thigh. The internal temperature should be at least 165° for the chicken to be done. If you're under, put it back in to cook for another 5 to 10 minutes and check it again.
Let the chicken rest for about 15 minutes before carving. Serve chicken alongside the roasted vegetables in the pan (which may need another 15 minutes on the grill setting at 500F to crisp up a bit more).
This mayonnaise marinade chicken recipe is great to make ahead! The chicken can be marinated for a few hours, or better yet, overnight.
The baked chicken can be frozen in an airtight container for 6 months.
When to serve this whole baked chicken?
I usually serve this chicken as a main course for Thanksgiving. It's perfect for a small to mid-sized family! You can even pair it with a porchetta to give something for everyone.
It's simple enough, however, to serve as a an easy weeknight meal variation.
This recipe will leave you with a gluten free, dairy-free paprika chicken recipe.
Here are some variations of my grandmother's easy paprika chicken recipe that I've tried over the years:
- Use smoked paprika and valencia oranges in place of lemons for a Spanish baked paprika chicken.
- Make oven baked chicken thighs (preferably bone-in, though skinless chicken thighs will also do) or baked chicken legs using the same marinade. Bake them for 25-35 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165 F. (If you're looking for a drumsticks recipe, this Colombian chicken legs recipe is another favorite of mine).
- Mayonnaise chicken breasts will also bake very well.
- Use sweet potatoes, broccoli and bell peppers in the chicken tray bake.
- In place of a spice blend, use dried oregano and red pepper flakes for a more Italian twist on the baked chicken. Surround the chicken with cherry tomatoes.
- Use cornish hens instead of full chicken and bake it as cornish hens in a crock pot for a unique twist.
Expert Tips for Whole Roasted Chicken
- A good roasting pan will help your chicken cook well on all sides, and ensure all the veggies cook at the same time. If you don't have one, just let the veggies that were covered by the chicken cook a bit longer.
- Invest in an instant read thermometer. It's an inexpensive way to ensure your meats cook fully.
- For the best golden brown sear on your chicken skin, make sure you start by baking the chicken breast-side-up at 500 F. After 15 minutes, turn the chicken over and roast for another 45 minutes at 400 F.
Paprika gives the chicken a deep earthy flavor, but paprika also helps brown chicken! It provides color and crispness to the skin. And as everyone knows, one of the best parts of roasted chicken is the crispy chicken skin!
Lemons, oranges, bell peppers, potatoes, sweet potatoes and garlic. Rosemary and thyme are the herbs that go best with paprika.
Yes! I don't love to freeze the vegetables, but the chicken itself freezes beautifully. My recommendation is to carve the chicken, save the bones for making chicken stock, and freeze the meat.
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My other favorite chicken recipes
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Paprika chicken, or the things we do for love
- One 3-4 pound whole pasture-raised organic chicken, defrosted
- ¼-1/2 cup mayo
- 1 tablespoon mustard
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 6 cloves of garlic
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 teaspoon spice mixture - we used a San Moreno salt blend but my grandmother leaves it pretty open. An Herbes de Provence mixture would be good, or a poultry seasoning blend
- 2 lemons cut in half
- 2 sprigs of rosemary
- 3 potatoes
- 3 carrots
- 1 onion
- A few hours or the day before, slit the plastic wrap around your chicken, drain of any juices that were in the bag. If the innards are still there, remove them and use in stock making (our chicken was cleaned out by the farmers, so we didn't have to figure this part out). Place chicken in a large bowl.
- Pat the chicken dry thoroughly with paper towels, taking care to blot behind the wings, legs, and inside the body cavity. This will help the skin crisp up in the oven.
- In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, mustard, paprika and other spices of your choosing, salt, and pepper. Finely mince two cloves of garlic and add to mixture. Mix well to combine. Start with ¼ cup of mayonnaise and if chicken is very dry, add more.
- Ensure that there are no juices in the bowl with the chicken. Rub the chicken with this mixture, taking care to cover all spots inside and out.
- Stuff lemons, rosemary sprigs and 4 cloves of garlic inside the chicken's cavity.
- Cover chicken with plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator for a few hours, or overnight.
- When ready to roast, preheat oven to 500F. Wash and chop your potatoes, carrots and onion into wedges. Arrange them in an even layer on the bottom of a large roasting pan, in order to make a bed for the chicken. Sprinkle with the same herb mixture you used in the chicken's marinade: paprika, salt, pepper, and the spices of your choice.
- Sprinkle the outside of the chicken generously with salt and pepper.
- Set the chicken breast-side-up on the bed of vegetables (we got this part wrong and laid the chicken belly side-down. We then had to turn it over halfway through the roasting process. Don't make the same mistake). The chicken will be lifted an inch or two above the bottom of the pan by the vegetables.
- Put the chicken in the oven and let cook at 500 for 15 minutes, allowing the skin to crisp. Lower temperature to 400°F, and continue roasting for about another hour. After an hour, check if the chicken is done by inserting an instant-read thermometer in the meatiest part of its thigh. The internal temperature should be at least 165° for the chicken to be done. If you're under, put it back in to cook for another 5 to 10 minutes and check it again.
- Let the chicken rest for about 15 minutes before carving. Serve chicken alongside the roasted vegetables in the pan (which may need another 15 minutes on the grill setting at 500F to crisp up a bit more).
- Eat a drumstick for me.
Oh, my baby, my sweaty baby!!I love you very match
I love you very much as well 🙂
.... though I'm not usually very sweaty, mom.
This makes the most delicious, juicy chicken - and it's a perfect centerpiece for a special dinner, too. Just wonderful!
I don't know why I never thought of using mayonnaise before for roasting chicken. It made the meat so moist and delicious with great flavor.
Mayonnaise chicken marinade, it sounded strange to me, but after I tried it I will always use it to cook chicken
This paprika chicken has become my families new favorite Sunday dinner meal. Thank you for a great recipe!!
I love sheet pan meals and this one is so flavorful! We ate all of it and are already planning to make this dinner again!