Roasting a Whole Chicken

I heard someone recently stress about cooking a whole chicken one night for dinner.  Then I saw someone on Facebook say the same thing – stressing because they were going to roast a whole chicken.  And, in a conversation, someone else mentioned that they don’t do anything with chicken other than boneless/skinless, because doing the whole thing just is too stressful.

These conversations all happened within a week or so of each other.  They intrigued me only because roasting a whole chicken is my “I don’t want to put effort into dinner so I’m going to roast a whole chicken” fallback.

Preheat your oven to 425° F (220° C).

The first thing you do is wash your chicken.  Check the cavity and pull out the package of organs that the butcher put in there.  (You can use those another time or now to make gravy.  Discard or place in the fridge.)  Once it’s washed, pat it dry with a paper towel.

Now you can put anything you want in the cavity.  You can put a sprig of fresh rosemary, or garlic, or thyme, or oregano.  You can put some butter, or an onion, or some garlic.  Or, you can leave it empty.  Any way is fine.

Truss the chicken.  For a Hallee the Homemaker vLog on how to truss, click here.

Note: If you do not want to truss the chicken, cut a lemon in half, and put both halves and a halved onion into the cavity.  This will help keep the breasts from drying out too bad while the legs are still cooking.

Once it’s trussed or stuffed or both, then I spritz the outside with olive oil.  You can also rub it with butter.

Now, season it.  I have personally found that simple seasoning of salt and pepper is wonderful.  But you can use any seasonings you want or a blend of seasonings.

I realize at this point that some people like put their chickens into oven bags.  I don’t personally use them.  I try to avoid plastic when I cook.

Place it in a pan.

Roast it, uncovered, in the 425° F oven for the following times:

Chicken Roasting times (unstuffed)
2½ – 3 lbs –
3½ – 4 lbs –
4½ – 5 lbs –
5 – 6 lbs –
1 – 1¾ hrs
1½ – 1¾ hrs
1½ – 2 hrs
1¾ – 2½ hrs
Chicken Roasting times (stuffed)
2½ – 3 lbs –
3½ – 4 lbs –
4½ – 5 lbs –
5 – 6 lbs –
1½ – 2 hrs
1¾ – 2¼ hrs
2 – 2½ hrs
2¼ – 2¾ hrs

Here is the important part: check the temperature before removing from the oven.  If you don’t have a meat thermometer, purchase one when you purchase your chicken.  You want chicken to reach 180° F  (I let it reach 170-175° F then pull it out of the oven — it will continue cooking after it’s out.)

If you don’t have a meat thermometer but still want to roast the chicken, then you can check it by piercing the leg near the thigh.  If the juices run clear and not pink, then it’s cooked through.  You can also check by wiggling the drumstick.  If it moves freely and wiggles easily, the chicken is ready to come out of the oven.

When you remove it from the oven, let it sit for about 15-20 minutes so that all the juices settle.

Remove the trussing string and place on a platter.  Serve and enjoy this delicious, tender, moist meat.



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