How to Bake Chicken

Whether you're looking to roast a whole bird or bake just chicken breasts, thighs, or wings, these tips will help you do it right.
How to Bake a Whole Chicken

Step 1: Prepare the chicken

Chicken, Goats Cheese, and Greens

You don't need to wash the chicken before you cook it. However, sometimes the cavity of the chicken is packed with gizzards or other internal organs; remove this packet before cooking. Set the chicken in a roasting pan, breast side up.

Step 2: Preheat the oven and season the chicken

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. While the oven is heating, brush the chicken with olive oil or butter and season with salt, pepper, and desired herbs and/or spices.

Step 3: Roast the chicken

Place the chicken (in the roasting pan) in the preheated oven. Cooking times vary by weight:
2-1/2- to 3-pound chicken: Roast 1 to 1-1/4 hours
3- to 3-1/2-pound chicken: Roast 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 hours
3-1/2- to 4-pound chicken: Roast 1-1/4 to 1-3/4 hours
4-1/2- to 5-pound chicken: Roast 1-1/2 to 2 hours

Step 4: Remove chicken from oven

The chicken is done cooking when the juices run clear, the chicken is no longer pink, and the drumsticks move easily in their sockets. The internal temperature -- measured by inserting a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh (the thermometer should not touch bone) -- should be 180 degrees F.