How to Roast a Chicken

By: Jeremy Glass  | 

Roasted chicken
Roasted chicken with vegetables is simple and straightforward if you know how to do it properly. fcafotodigital/Getty Images

It's hard to beat the amount of comfort and joy you get watching a perfectly browned, roasted chicken emerge from the oven. Whether you're a home cook or fancy yourself the next "Top Chef," a crispy roasted chicken will set you apart from the rest of the culinary-inclined.

The problem is, roasted chicken is a hard fish to fry, so to speak. There's a lot more to just putting the bird in the oven and letting it cook. You need to consider herbs and spices, cook time, oven temperature, to baste or not to baste, and so much more.

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So if you still haven't quite figured out how to make your roasted chicken fly, here's a sure way to roast a chicken like a pro.

Method to Roast a Chicken

  1. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit (232 degrees Celsius). While the oven is preheating, remove the giblets from the chicken's cavity.
  2. Use a few plain paper towels to dry the chicken's skin as much as possible. The drier you get the skin before you roast the chicken, the crispier it'll get. Pro tip: You can remove the chicken from its packaging up to 24 hours ahead and let it dry out in the refrigerator.
  3. Generously butter (or oil) and salt and pepper the chicken inside and out. For a 3-pound (1.3 kilogram) bird, between 2 and 3 teaspoons (1 tablespoon) of salt should do it.
  4. For roasted chicken, you should feel free to season to your palate, but any combination of rosemary, thyme, sage, tarragon, paprika and garlic powder is common. Make sure to season the inside of the chicken cavity, too. And including a lemon (quartered) inside will also add flavor, as well.
  5. Kill two birds with one stone by roasting your chicken over potatoes and carrots. The drippings season the vegetables, giving you an entree and side dish all at once. Chop up potatoes, carrots and any other root veggies, and place them in evenly across the bottom of your pan — it can be a Dutch oven, roasting pan or cast-iron skillet.
  6. Roast at 450 degrees Fahrenheit for about 90 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit (73 degrees Celsius) at the thickest part of the thighs, and wings and legs twist loosely and the juices run clear.
  7. Remove the chicken from the oven and let it rest covered with foil for about 15 to 20 minutes. The chicken will continue to cook and redistribute its juices. It will also be cool enough when it's ready to be carved.

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