How To Roast The Perfect Whole Chicken

star pooley Recipe

By star pooley starryrose


Find out how to roast a chicken to juicy perfection.

pinch tips: How to Season and Care for a Cast Iron Skillet


whole chicken
-roasting pan
-meat thermometer

Directions Step-By-Step

Roasting Tools:
All you need is a roasting pan (or a baking sheet in a pinch) and an instant-read thermometer.

Using a roasting rack set over the pan will help the chicken cook more evenly, since air can circulate freely. With a roasting rack, the chicken won't be resting in its own drippings, which will give you crispier skin. For easier cleanup, you can line the pan with aluminum foil.
Dress it up:

A chicken roasted with nothing but salt, pepper, and butter is very tasty indeed. But it's also easy to build on these basic flavors. Chop up fresh herbs and tuck them under the chicken's skin along with a few pats of butter, or stuff sprigs into the chicken cavity along with quartered onions and cloves of garlic. Wedges of aromatic fruit such as lemons or oranges will perfume the bird as it roasts, infusing the meat with extra flavor.
Rub It Down:

Many cooks use a dry rub: a blend of dried and ground spices, rubbing them under the chicken's skin and inside the cavity. Since they're under the skin, the flavorings won't burn; plus they'll infuse the meat. This is a great way to add some spice if you'll be discarding the skin.
•For a Southwestern flavor, try chile powder or pureed fresh chiles, cumin, and sage.
•For an Indian-inspired bird, mix together equal parts ground coriander and cumin, plus turmeric and a pinch or two of cardamom or garam masala.
•To give the chicken a Thai flair, try a paste of ginger, lemon grass, green chilies, cilantro and lime juice.
Skin is in:

Crispy, fragrant roast chicken skin is delicious. It is a bit fatty, though. But whether you eat it or remove it, always roast with the skin on, as it holds in moisture and keeps the meat from drying out.
A Bird You Can Truss:

If you like, truss the bird before roasting it--that is, tie it with butcher's twine to keep the legs close to the body. This is not an essential step, but it does make the chicken slightly easier to handle, and it helps hold the stuffing in if you've stuffed the chicken.
•To truss a chicken, cut about a 3-foot length of heatproof butcher's twine.
•Lay the chicken on a clean surface with the breast facing up.
•Hold one end of the string in each hand, and loop the center of the string underneath the chicken's tail.
•Catch the ends of the legs inside the string, then cross the string over the chicken's breast, making an X.
•Loop the string under and around the wings, then tie the string snugly in a knot across the middle of the breast. Make sure that the ends of the wings are tucked in.
Roasting Methods:

There are two methods for roasting a whole chicken:

Regular method:
•Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
•Roast whole (thawed) chickens for 20 minutes per pound, plus an additional 15 minutes.

High heat method (this creates a crispy, darker skin):
•Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C) and cook whole (thawed) chicken for 10-15 minutes.
•Then reduce the temperature to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) and roast for 20 minutes per pound. (Do not add the extra 15 minutes to the cooking time as with the regular method.)
Is it Ready Yet?

Regardless of the method used, a whole chicken is ready when a meat thermometer inserted into the inner thigh (close to but not touching the thigh bone) reads at least 165 degrees F (74 degrees C).
•The temperature of the meat will continue to rise slightly when you pull it out of the oven (this is called "carryover cooking"), so if the thermometer shows a few degrees below the target, give it a few minutes--the internal temperature might still rise to at least 165 degrees F (74 degrees C).

•When you remove the chicken from the oven, cover it loosely with a doubled sheet of aluminum foil, and let it rest for 10 minutes before slicing. This redistributes the juices and results in moister chicken.
Use this chart to determine how long to roast your chicken: (high heat method is the second time listed)

--2.5-3lbs=1 hour/15 minutes=1 hour
--3-3.5lbs=1 hour/25 minutes=1 hour/10 minutes
--3.5-4lbs=1 hour/35 minutes=1 hour/20 minutes
--4-4.5lbs=1 hour/45 minutes=1 hour/30 minutes
--4.5-5lbs=1 hour/55 minutes=1 hour/40 minutes
--5-5.5lbs=2 hours/5 minutes-1 hour/50 minutes
--5.5-6lbs=2 hours/15 minutes=2 hours
--6-6.5lbs=2 hours/25 minutes=2 hours/10 minutes
--6.5-7lbs=2 hours/35 minutes=2 hours/20 minutes
--7-7.5lbs=2 hours/45 minutes=2 hours/30 minutes

NOTE: These times are for unstuffed birds. Add 15 minutes to the total cooking time if you're roasting a stuffed chicken. And as with the chicken itself, make sure the stuffing reaches a temperature of at least 165 degrees F (74 degrees C).

About this Recipe

Course/Dish: Chicken, Roasts

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Stephanie Servis sljs2004
Oct 7, 2011
I am making my first roast chicken tonight, and this was exactly what I was looking for! Step by step, and exactly what to do! Thank you so much! I am making 2 chickens, however, so do I use cooking time for the entire weight of both chickens, or just cooking time for the weight of one chicken? May sound like a silly question, but I don't want to over or undercook!
star pooley starryrose
Oct 8, 2011
Sorry, I just read your post. Hope the chickens turned out okay. You would use the cooking time for the weight of each chicken. If 1 chicken weighs 3 lbs, you would cook it 1 hour/15 minutes. If the second chicken weighs 5 lbs, you would continue to cook that one 40 minutes longer because it says to cook it 1 hour/55 minutes. Hope this helps.
Stephanie Servis sljs2004
Oct 8, 2011
It does! I ended up cooking both for about 2 hours, total, using the high heat method for crispy skin! They turned out great! I made them each a little different. One I took veggie oil and mixed it with some steak seasoning(I love the pepper and garlic in that on almost anything, and I don't have to put any additional salt in) and a bit of onion powder. Then brushed the chicken--under the skin, in the cavity, and on the skin. And the second, I took room temp butter and mixed it with some garlic powder, onion powder, and a bit of pepper(my kids don't like pepper as much as I do!). I have to say, they were both delicious, and my family raved! It was so easy, and I have a million ideas about how else to season them, and they are inexpensive to make. So it'll likely be something on our menu every couple weeks! Thanks so much! It was really easy, and I realized I had nothing to be afraid of!
star pooley starryrose
Oct 8, 2011
Congratulations! If I can help you with any other cooking issues, feel free to ask.
amelia wade millyw
Dec 9, 2011
how about stuffing it with cornbread stuffing?
Tayelor Blanchard nikeice_23
Oct 11, 2012
These look great! I made my first one over a coke can a few months ago on the grill, but now that it's cooling off, I will use the oven to heat the house. Thank you for showing so many varieties of spice options! Will let you know how it goes!
Linda Beers bowlingmama2
Oct 21, 2012
Have a chicken roasting now using your method and have to say it smells really good in here and can't wait to try it.
Linda Beers bowlingmama2
Oct 21, 2012
This turned out perfect and my family said more than once, "mom, this is really good!" Thanks for sharing.
Terry Ann Seale terryseale
Dec 24, 2012
We usually made Christmas lasagna for the main meal Christmas day. But now, we have a grandson who is extremely allergic to eggs, dairy, and nuts.

So I am trying for the first time in my life to roast a chicken, using your recipe. Wish me luck!
Rebecca Anderson tigersb
Jan 29, 2013
I tried this recipe and say it's Family Tested & Approved!
Tiffany VanWinkle Tiffany_VanWinkle
Jul 2, 2013
I followed your directions aboved. My first time roasting a chicken and it looked just like your pic, give or take a few minor adjustments. :) I used the "high heat method" and my chicken turned out crispy, darker skinned, and very juicy. I got some herb and chicken marinade, injected it into the chicken, using an injector, then poured the rest of the marinade over the chicken. Then I sprinked mined onion, garlic powder, and a couple of different Mrs. Dash seasonings. Then placed foil over the sides and top of the chicken. Started out at 450 degrees F for 15 mins, then I turned temp down to 350 degrees F and baked for about an hour and 45 mins longer. It turned out so good! My family went bonkers over it and said that it has so much flavor and is very juicy and tender. Awesome! Thank you for helping me make such a delicious chicken!
Tiffany VanWinkle Tiffany_VanWinkle
Jul 2, 2013
Awesome receipe! I give it a "five star rating"!
JoAnn Broadway browayjo
Sep 20, 2013
Thank-you so much for the baking times. I bought a 6.5 lb. roaster for supper, and no-one seemed to be able to tell me times to roast it. I really appreciate the info.
Penny Eisenberger YummyPenny
Jan 5, 2014
Made this today using the high heat method. I seasoned the chicken with rosemary, thyme, and sage olive oil rub and sprinkled lemon pepper inside the cavity before stuffing it with onion, fresh rosemary, thyme and garlic. Came out excellent!