How To Roast A Chicken


Roasting a chicken is a great way to prepare a special dish on any day of the week. Smaller chickens take only an hour or so to cook, making it perfect for a light dinner or lunch.

Your Ingredient List

To roast your chicken, you’ll first want to gather all your tools and ingredients. What you’ll need for this recipe is:
  • A whole chicken between three and four pounds. Defrost this the day before if you store it frozen.
  • 2 teaspoons of olive oil.
  • 2 teaspoons of unsalted butter (you can use two additional teaspoons of olive oil in place of butter for a lighter fare).
  • A bowl full of celery, carrots, potatoes and/or onions (shallots work great if prefer them more than regular white onion).
  • [A] 1 and ½ teaspoons of minced thyme.
  • [B] 1 teaspoon of paprika.
  • [C] 1 teaspoon of coriander (ground).
  • [D] 2 minced garlic cloves.
  • [E] 1 teaspoon of kosher salt.
  • [F] ¼ to ½ of a teaspoon of black pepper.
  • [G] 1 teaspoon of sage.
  • A lemon. Cut it into fours.
  • Optional: other herbs or additional garlic to taste. You can also use a spice rub on the chicken beforehand to add additional flavor.

You’ll also need a pan for your chicken, toothpicks, a cutting board and knife for your vegetables, a bowl, something to mix together your herbs, and a meat thermometer.


The cooking process is relatively straightforward. After any step that you directly touch the chicken, it’s a good idea to wash your hands unless the following step simply has you moving the chicken to a new location.

Let’s get cracking:

  • If adding a spicy rub to your chicken, use your rub the night before and let the chicken sit in the fridge overnight. Make sure your bird is defrosted when you begin.
  • Preheat your over to 400°F.
  • As it heats, peel your mix of carrots, potatoes and/or onions. Cut your celery into small pieces.
  • Use your peeled and cut veggies to create an even layer on the bottom of your pan. This creates a bed for your chicken.
  • Remove any wrapping from around your chicken and drain out the blood and other juices. It’s recommended to do this over your sink and not the trashcan because a spill could be rough to clean up.
  • Reach inside your chicken and remove its giblets. Keep or discard these as you like.
  • Wash your chicken and clean out its cavity well. This can help prevent the spread of Salmonella.
  • Dry the chicken by patting it with paper towels. Also get inside the cavity to absorb any remaining juices.
  • Rub your chicken with butter – or two teaspoons of olive oil if you prefer that route. Pay careful attention to its legs and wings.
  • Sprinkle the bird, inside and out, with salt and pepper.
  • Combine the ingredients listed [A] through [F] in a bowl with your remaining olive oil. Add in any additional herbs you want to use to this mixture.
  • Rub or baste your chicken with this herby mixture.
  • Take your quartered lemon and put it inside the cavity along with some of your herby mixture and any additional garlic or whole herbs.
  • Place the chicken on its vegetable bed with the breast facing up.
  • Close the opening in your bird with toothpicks.
  • Once the oven is ready, place the chicken in and set a timer for one hour. If you’re making sides that take a long time you can make them now.
  • After the hour, check on your chicken. Insert your thermometer in a thick, meaty part of the chicken’s leg and make sure it reads at least 165 degrees. If it hasn’t hit that temp, keep checking it every 7 to 10 minutes. Some birds may take up to an hour and a half, but make sure you cook it thoroughly for at least an hour.
  • Once ready, take the chicken out and set it on your counter. Wait 10 minutes and then remove the lemon and other items from the cavity. During this waiting time you can make small sides.
  • Your bird is ready to carve and serve.

Roasting Tips and Tricks

There are some alterations you can make to the process in order to give your bird a little bit of a different flair. When trying any of these, make sure you still get the bird’s internal temperature to at least 165°F. It’s safe to aim a little higher just to make sure your guests stay healthy.
  • Always allow your chicken to stand for at least 10 to 15 minutes after you pull it out of the oven. This allows the juices to distribute throughout your bird and will give you especially great-tasting meat.
  • If your oven doesn’t heat evenly, be sure to test both the leg and breast with the thermometer to make sure it has been fully cooked.
  • If you’re unsure about the thermometer reading, watch the juices that run from your bird through a hole you create. When juices are clear your bird is likely done.
  • If you want to freeze some of the chicken for later, let those pieces sit for a full 30 minutes to cool and then wrap them in wax paper. Put this in a freezer bag and press our as much air as possible. These can last for about three months.
  • For an extra-juicy bird, preheat your over to 350°F and use this temperature for the first 60 minutes of cooking. At the 60-minute mark, turn up the heat to 450°F and start watching it closely after 10 minutes. The chicken will brown nicely but stay juicy inside. Be sure to use your thermometer and pull the chicken out of your oven once it goes above the 165°F.
  • If you want to cook your bird for slightly longer and have it come out a little crispier, preheat your over to 450 °F. Put your chicken in and after one minute turn the oven down to 350°F. Cook it 20 minutes per pound.

Roasting your chicken adds a lot of great flavor and can feed your family like kings. Just be sure to always check the temperature and serve meat that’s been fully cooked.

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