How To Roast a Perfect Chicken
Serves4 to 6
Serves 4 to 6
(4- to 5-pound) whole chicken
Olive oil or softened butter
- 1 tablespoon
Freshly ground black pepper
Optional flavorings: lemon wedges or slices, fresh herbs, garlic cloves
Roasting pan, 10- to 12-inch oven-proof frying pan, casserole dish, pie dish, or other ovenproof dish that the chicken fits in
Preheat the oven to 450°F. Arrange a rack in the lower third of the oven, remove racks above it, and heat to 450°F. Prepare a work station with your chicken, seasonings, roasting pan, and a piece of kitchen twine nearby.
Remove the giblets. Reach inside the cavity of the chicken and remove the bag of giblets (if you can't find them, check in the neck cavity). The giblets can be discarded, saved for stock, or used to make gravy later on.
Pat the chicken dry. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels, making sure to absorb any liquid behind the wings or legs. Blot inside the body cavity too, getting the chicken as dry as you can inside and out.
Rub the chicken with olive oil or butter. Rub a thin layer of oil or softened butter all over the chicken, paying special attention to the breast and the drumsticks. Be generous here! The fat will help the skin crisp and become golden.
Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the chicken all over with the salt and pepper. Again, be generous here!
Place flavorings inside the chicken and truss (optional). If desired, stuff the cavity of the chicken with halved lemons, whole cloves of garlic, or herbs. This adds subtle flavor to the chicken. Tie the legs together with a piece of kitchen twine.
Place the chicken, breast-side up, in the pan. Place the chicken breast-side up in a roasting pan, cast iron skillet, frying pan, baking dish, pie plate, or any other shallow ovenproof dish. You can roast the chicken by itself in a pan, or lift it off the pan using a roasting rack or coarsely chopped vegetables (see Recipe Note).
Lower the heat to 400°F and roast for 60 minutes. Place the chicken in the oven. Immediately lower the oven temperature to 400°F. Set a timer for 60 minutes and let the chicken roast undisturbed.
Check the chicken. The chicken is done when it registers 165°F in the thickest part of the thigh, when the wings and legs wiggle loosely, and when the juices run clear. If the chicken is not ready, continue roasting and checking every 10 minutes until it is done. Total roasting time will be between 1 and 1 1/2 hours — exact cooking time will depend on the size of the chicken.
Rest the chicken. Transfer the chicken to a clean cutting board and let it rest for about 15 minutes. During this time, you can prepare a salad or side dish, or whisk some flour into the pan juices to make gravy.
Carve the chicken. Carve the chicken into the breasts, thighs, and drumsticks, and serve. Pick any remaining meat off the bones and save it for other meals.
Storage: Leftovers will keep for about 5 days in the refrigerator or can be frozen for up to 3 months.
Roasting with vegetables: You can also make a two-in-one meal by roasting the chicken on top of a bed of potatoes, onions, carrots, or other veggies. Take a look at this recipe for instructions and inspiration: Viking Chicken.