How To Cook A Roast Chicken

How To Cook A Roast Chicken

If you’re a fan of succulent, tender meat with crispy skin, then cooking a roast chicken is the perfect choice for you. This classic dish is not only delicious, but it also makes for an impressive centerpiece on any dinner table. So, whether you’re a seasoned home cook or a beginner in the kitchen, here’s a step-by-step guide on how to cook a roast chicken that will have your guests coming back for seconds.

Step 1: Preparing the Chicken
To start, you’ll need a fresh whole chicken. Remove the giblets from the cavity and give the chicken a good rinse under cold water. Pat it dry with paper towels to ensure crispy skin during cooking. You also have the option to truss the chicken with kitchen twine to help it hold its shape and cook evenly.

Step 2: Seasoning the Chicken
For a flavorful roast chicken, generously season the bird with your choice of herbs and spices. A classic combination includes salt, black pepper, garlic powder, and paprika. You can also add fresh herbs like rosemary, thyme, or sage to infuse an aromatic flavor. Rub the seasonings all over the chicken, including under the skin and inside the cavity.

Step 3: Preparing the Roasting Pan
Place the seasoned chicken on a rack inside a roasting pan, breast-side up. This helps elevate the bird and allows hot air to circulate, ensuring even cooking. You can also add chopped carrots, onions, and celery in the pan to create a bed of aromatic vegetables that will enhance the flavor of the chicken.

Step 4: Roasting the Chicken
Preheat your oven to 425°F (220°C). Once the oven reaches the desired temperature, place the roasting pan with the chicken on the middle rack. Roast the chicken for approximately 20 minutes per pound (450 grams), or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C). Basting the chicken with its pan juices every 20 to 30 minutes helps keep the meat moist and enhances the flavor.

Step 5: Resting and Carving
Once the chicken is fully cooked, remove it from the oven and let it rest for about 15 minutes before carving. This resting period allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, resulting in a moister chicken. To carve, start by removing the legs, followed by the wings, and then slice the breast meat. Serve with your favorite sides and enjoy!


Q: How long should I let the chicken rest before carving?
A: Letting the chicken rest for about 15 minutes allows the juices to redistribute, ensuring a more succulent result.

Q: Can I stuff the cavity with aromatics?
A: Absolutely! You can stuff the cavity with herbs, lemon, garlic cloves, or even a quartered onion for added flavor.

Q: How do I know when the chicken is cooked?
A: The internal temperature of the chicken should reach 165°F (74°C) when it’s fully cooked. You can use a meat thermometer to check the temperature.

Q: Can I use other vegetables in the roasting pan?
A: Yes, feel free to add any vegetables of your choice, like potatoes, parsnips, or Brussels sprouts, to the roasting pan. Just make sure they are cut into similar sizes for even cooking.

Q: Can I use a different oven temperature?
A: Yes, while 425°F (220°C) is a common temperature for roasting chicken, you can adjust it slightly higher or lower depending on your preference. Just remember to adjust the cooking time accordingly.

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