Roast chicken is simple and delicious. Here are recipes for basic but divine oven-roasted chicken, plus how-to tips to help you make it.
The aroma and crackle of a chicken roasting in the oven promises a delicious meal to come. Follow our step-by-step instructions for roasting chicken to perfection. We'll give you tips and recipes for seasoning it, too.
To get started, decide how you'd like to flavor the chicken. There are many wonderful options for seasoning chicken, from herbs and spices to sweet and savory marinades. For inspiration, try this chicken recipe that's spiced with fresh thyme, onions, sage, celery, and bay leaves.
Using a rub is a simple way to infuse chicken with bold flavor. To prepare a rub, process the ingredients until almost smooth, scraping the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula as necessary. Loosen skin on chicken. Push paste under skin, smoothing as evenly as possible. Cover chicken tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Dilled Honey Mustard: In a food processor combine 1/2 cup snipped fresh dill; 1/2 cup sliced shallots; 1/4 cup snipped flat-leaf parsley; 3 tablespoons Dijon-style mustard; 2 tablespoons softened butter; 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed; 1-1/2 teaspoons salt; and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper.
Barbecue Bacon: In a food processor combine 4 slices bacon, crisp-cooked and crumbled; 4 chopped green onions (white and green parts); 1/4 cup ketchup; 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley; 1 to 2 canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce; 1 tablespoon molasses; 2 teaspoons chili powder; and 1 teaspoon salt.
Citrus Herb: In a food processor combine 1/2 of a Vidalia onion, coarsely chopped; 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil; 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley; 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint; 2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage; 1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper; 1-1/2 teaspoons salt; finely grated zest of 1/2 of a lemon; and finely grated zest of 1/4 of an orange. Pulse to finely chop. With processor running, add 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil in a slow, steady stream.
Moroccan Spice: In a food processor combine 1/2 of a yellow onion, coarsely chopped; 1/4 cup toasted slivered almonds; 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley; 3 tablespoons fresh-squeezed orange juice; 2 tablespoons brown sugar; 2 teaspoons orange zest; 2 teaspoons ground cumin; 1-1/2 teaspoons salt; 1-1/2 teaspoons ground turmeric; 1 teaspoon ground coriander; 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon; 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves; and 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper.
Spiced Apricot: In a small bowl soak 1/2 cup chopped dried apricots in 2 tablespoons bourbon, brandy, or orange juice. In a food processor combine soaked apricots and bourbon; 1/4 cup chopped red onion; 2 tablespoons softened butter; 1 tablespoon lemon zest; 1-1/2 teaspoons salt; 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon; and 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice.
Preheat the oven according to the recipe directions (typically 375 to 425 degrees F).
Do not wash the chicken before you cook it. However, sometimes gizzards or other internal organs are stuffed in the cavity of the chicken; remove this packet before cooking. Set the chicken in a roasting pan, breast side up.
Follow the recipe directions for seasoning the chicken. Or for a simple roasted chicken, brush the chicken with olive oil or butter and season with salt and ground black pepper.
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
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 (thermometer should not touch bone) -- should be 180 degrees F.
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.