Preparing roast chicken, chicken breast, and all other parts of the bird is a breeze when you know the correct cooking times. (No one wants dry chicken!) Follow these expert guidelines for how to cook chicken, including how long to cook a whole chicken and how long to bake chicken pieces. Then get ready to make some flavorful, juicy chicken for dinner tonight.

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Chicken is perhaps the easiest and most versatile main ingredient you can cook for the family. 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 as well as all the cooking times you need for meaty chicken pieces or quarters. And 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. So no matter which method you prefer, you'll find how long to cook a chicken all the ways right here.

Credit: Andy Lyons
Try Our Asian-Inspired Roast Chicken Recipe

How Long to Cook a Whole Chicken

Roast chicken is juicy and delicious. Check out our full instructions and tips for cooking a whole chicken. Knowing how long to roast a chicken is key, so here are the calculated 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 (aka poaching) and make a bonus 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 ($15, Target): 165°F for breast meat and at least 175° for thighs and drumsticks.

Get Our All-Time Favorite Chicken Recipes

Craving chicken yet? Hone cooking a whole chicken, chicken breast, or meaty pieces all the ways with an easy chicken recipe or healthy chicken dinner tonight. Make some crispy fried chicken in the oven. Roast a whole chicken with herbs or a homemade rub. Bring the heat with a spicy chicken recipe. The possibilities are endless.


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