How Long to Cook Chicken, Whether It’s Whole or in Pieces

Follow these expert guidelines to cook flavorful, juicy chicken, including how long to cook a whole chicken and how long to bake chicken pieces.

Chicken is perhaps the easiest and most versatile main ingredient you can cook for the family. So if you arrived on this page and already have a chicken recipe in mind or want to simply bake chicken for weekly meal prep, you're in the right place. Here you'll find out how long to roast a chicken and all the cooking times you need for meaty chicken pieces or quarters.

We don't stop at just roasting—we've got the full breakdown of how long to cook chicken in a skillet, under the broiler, and even by boiling. No matter which method you prefer, you'll find how long to cook a chicken.

how long to cook a whole chicken illustration

BHG / Joules Garcia

How Long to Cook a Whole Chicken

Roast chicken is juicy and delicious. Check out our complete instructions and tips for cooking a whole chicken. Knowing how long to roast a chicken is key. Listed here are the exact cooking times by weight. The chicken is done when a meat thermometer reads 175°F in the thigh muscle or until drumsticks move easily in sockets.

How long to roast a chicken at 375°F:

  • 2½- to 3-pound chicken: Roast 1 to 1¼ hours
  • 3½- to 4-pound chicken: Roast 1¼ to 1½ hours
  • 4½- to 5-pound chicken: Roast 1¾ to 2 hours

Fire up your grill and cook a whole chicken with these times and weights in mind:

  • For a 2½- to 3-pound chicken, grill for 1 to 1¼ hours
  • For a 3½- to 4-pound bird, grill for 1¼ to 1¾ hours
  • For a 4½- to 5-pound chicken, grill for 1¾ to 2 hours

You can also cook a whole chicken by boiling (poaching) and make a stock from the bones using our recipe.

How Long to Cook Chicken Breast and Other Meaty Pieces

In addition to chicken breast, meaty pieces include drumsticks and thighs. Doneness should be determined with an instant-read thermometer 165°F for breast meat and at least 175° for thighs and drumsticks.

Craving chicken yet? Practice cooking a whole chicken, chicken breast, or meaty pieces using any method with an easy chicken recipe or healthy chicken dinner tonight. You can make some crispy fried chicken in the oven or roast a whole chicken with herbs or a homemade rub. Bring the heat with a spicy chicken recipe if you like a little kick in your meals. The possibilities are endless.

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