If learning how to roast a chicken in the oven has felt overwhelming–get ready for a big confidence boost. This recipe is super easy, takes about an hour from start to finish, and results in juicy, delicious, tender meat without a lot of hoops to jump through or fancy ingredients to keep on hand.
This recipe originally appeared in November, 2013
A couple of years ago I was standing by the oven when my husband’s grandmother pulled the Thanksgiving turkey out of the oven. It was just about as dry as the National Lampoons Christmas one–you know what I’m talking about. It was shriveled…the skin was drawn, pale and soggy– and it was DONE.
Like three hours ago done dude.
After an inspection, the women of the house decided it needed “another hour”.
Another hour?! That baby’s sandpaper already. It’s practically powder in the pan. And we bake it longer. Thank goodness for gravy. Lots of gravy.
I know you want to do better than that, and this story goes to prove that even a seasoned cook can have some trouble cooking a turkey or chicken and still keep it juicy. By the time the dark meat is cooked, the breast is ruined, they are usually under seasoned and crispy skin feels like a dream.
Can you roast a chicken from frozen?
No you can’t. Not safely at least. The meat in the center will spend too long in the danger zone and could grow bacteria that make your chicken unsafe to eat. Not to mention that the outside of the chicken will be cooked to death by the time the middle is done. It’s just not a good idea.
What is the oven temperature for a roasted chicken?
I start mine at a higher temperature–425 for half the cooking time to get the skin started crisping and then reduce the heat after 30 minutes to 400 until the chicken is finished cooking.
Where to check the temperature on a roasted chicken
Check the temperature of your chicken in the thigh meat. Make sure your thermometer isn’t touching any bones. Once the meat is at 165, it’s good to go. Take your chicken out and cover it loosely with foil and allow it to rest so the juices can distribute evenly before you slice it.
How to spatchcock a whole chicken
To spatchcock a chicken, you will need to remove the spine by cutting down either side of it (not through the center) and then turning your chicken over breast side up and pressing between the breasts to flatten it. The flatter, wider chicken will cook a lot more evenly and quickly than the uncut version does.
Pat your chicken dry several times with paper towels, then rub seasoned butter under the skin. Loosen the skin of the breasts and thighs with your fingers so you can spread the butter under more easily. Rub any leftover butter over the outside of the chicken if you have it, but concentrate on getting it under the skin.
Lay the chicken on some foil balls or up on a rack in a roasting pan to cook it. This allows air to circulate under the chicken and keeps the skin crispy.
How to ensure your roast chicken will be juicy
- If you don’t have a thermometer, get one. I like this style so you can keep an eye on the temperature of the meat while it cooks.
- Make sure to let your chicken rest for 10 minutes before slicing. If you cut into your chicken too soon, all of the juices will run out and leave your meat super dry.
- Make sure you use plenty of salt under the skin. Salt penetrates the meat and helps it retain moisture.
How to Roast a Chicken in the Oven (Spatchcock Method)
- 1 3-4 pound whole chicken
- 3 tablespoons butter room temperature
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
- 3 teaspoons kosher salt
- Preheat the oven to 425. Make 5 to 6 aluminum foil balls about the size of a baseball and place them on a large rimmed baking sheet. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, mix the butter, salt and pepper. Set aside.
- Remove your chicken from it's packaging, pat it dry with paper towels, remove the giblet bag from the cavity if there is one and discard it or set it aside.
- Holding on to the neck, cut down either side of the spine all the way to the end and remove it.
- Turn the chicken breast side up and using the heel of your hand, press down between the breasts until you hear a small crack and the chicken flattens out further.
- Using your hands, separate the skin from the meat of the chicken by sliding your hands under the skin as far as you can without tearing it.
- Pat the chicken dry again with paper towels, then using a spatula, slide 1 tablespoon of the butter mixture under the skin of each side of the breast meat and spread it out by rubbing over the outside of the skin with your hands.
- Divide the remaining tablespoon between each of the thighs in the same way.
- Transfer the chicken on top of the foil balls and roast 20 minutes, then reduce the heat to 400 and roast 25 to 30 minutes more until a thermometer inserted in the thigh reads 165.
- Allow your chicken to rest, uncut on the foil for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.