There's nothing quite like a perfectly roasted whole chicken straight out of the oven, and with the right tips and tricks, cooking a whole chicken is easy! We'll take you through all the steps -- including prepping, seasoning, carving, and serving your beautiful roasted chicken -- and teach you how to bake a whole chicken in no time.
I??m Lauren with Better Homes and Gardens Test Kitchen. Roasting a chicken is a technique every cook should master, and with our Secrets to Success, you can cook it to perfection every time. Let me show you what I??m talking about. The really interesting secret is to roast on a bed of vegetables like thick slices of onions, stalks of celery or big chunks of carrots. The whole idea is to elevate the bird off of the bottom of the pan, so the air circulates and it doesn??t steam in its own juices. Of course a roasting rack works fine too, but if you don??t have one or don??t want to mess with cleaning one, this vegetable rack is a flavorful solution and you can even eat the rack. This secret isn??t just for chicken. It works for turkey, pork and beef roasts too. Since air circulation is so important in roasting, tent the chicken loosely with foil before putting it in the oven. The foil will trap heat of it and keep the temperature around it more even. But be sure the foil is loose or steam will get trapped inside and make the skin soggy. One last thing to keep in mind, always let the roasted chicken rest for at least 15 minutes before carving. Now, this is critical. The rest period allows juices to redistribute and will help ensure tender, juicy meat. Better Homes and Gardens has the secrets to success for a perfect roasting every time.
How to season and truss a chicken
How to bake a whole chicken
After baking, follow these tips for how to carve a whole chicken:
1. Remove the legs
Holding the chicken firmly with a fork, use a sharp knife to cut through the leg joint and completely remove the leg from the body. Repeat with the other leg.
2. Cut the breast
Turn the knife blade sideways and cut horizontally into the breast half until you hit the breastbone. Repeat on the other breast half.
3. Divide the breast
Carve down through each breast to divide it into serving-size slices. You can also make a cut right next to the breastbone to remove a breast half and keep it in one piece.
4. Clip the wings
Cut off the wing tips with a sharp knife, then cut the wing pieces away from the body of the bird.
5. Cut the legs in two
Cut through the joint between the drumstick and the thigh to separate the two. Repeat with the other leg.
How to Make Chicken Gravy
Some recipes call for cutting up a whole chicken into its parts and/or deboning the chicken before cooking. Learn about the best ways to cook each part of the chicken.
Breast: The breast is the most ample part of the bird -- a whole chicken has two breasts, one on each side of its rib cage. Many people prefer its juiciness and mild flavor to other parts. But white meat is also more susceptible to drying out and getting stringy. Skin-on, bone-in breasts are best roasted or baked, while skinless, boneless breasts are best cooked quickly at high heat -- grilled, stir-fried, or pan-fried.
How to Cook Chicken Breast
How to Boil Chicken Breasts
Thigh: The two chicken thighs, at the tail end of the bird, contain large hunks of dark meat -- known for its moist, tender qualities. Skinless, boneless thighs can be cooked in much the same way as skinless, boneless breasts -- grilled or pan-fried. Because dark meat doesn't dry out as easily as white meat, chicken thighs are also good candidates for longer cooking methods, such as baking or stewing.
How to Grill Chicken
How to Saute Chicken
Drumstick: Drumsticks make up the lower part of the chicken legs and are encased in a ball of dark meat. Drumsticks are delicious baked, deep-fried Southern-style, oven-fried, or grilled. The skin and dark meat can withstand the high heat of the grill without drying out.
How to Bake Chicken Legs and Quarters
How Long to Grill Chicken
Wing: The two chicken wings along the top part of the rib cage (near the breasts) don't have much meat, but what's there is dark meat and tender. Wings are best cooked quickly at high heat -- grilled, broiled, roasted, or deep-fried -- to make the skin crispy.
How to Broil Chicken
How to Make Fried Chicken