Making a whole roasted chicken is a great way to practice using your oven while also creating a lot of food without much effort. The meat can be eaten right away or stored for leftovers. It can even be frozen for future use. This recipe is simple, takes about 10 minutes worth of work, and lets the oven do the rest.
Cast-iron skillet or roasting pan
Preheat oven to 500°F with cast-iron skillet inside
Pat chicken dry with paper towels
Rub or brush chicken with olive oil & sprinkle generously with salt & pepper
Place chicken in the hot pan (be careful). Tuck in wings so they don't burn
Tie legs together with twine (optional)
Roast for 15 min, then turn down oven to 350
Roast until golden brown or inside of thigh reaches 155-165 degrees
Let chicken rest ~10 min. Serve & enjoy!
📝 Notes, Tips & Tricks
Size does matter! A smaller chicken is younger and more tender. Around 3 lbs is typically the tastiest size.
Because a roasted chicken can be repurposed into so many meals, it's worth spending extra on a higher quality chicken (e.g., organic, free-range, local). For a single person, a roasted chicken can easily create five or more meals (two from the breasts, two from the thighs & one or two from the drumsticks).
Dark meat and white meat cook through at different temperatures. The trick to roasting a chicken well is ensuring the dark meat is done without overcooking the white meat. Use a thermometer and stop cooking when the center of the breast is between 155 and 165°.
For crispier skin, salt the chicken and leave in the fridge for an hour (or overnight) uncovered. This helps the skin dry out. Wet skin will not crisp.
Remember to let medium or large cuts of meat rest for 10-20 minutes after they exit the oven. If you cut the meat too soon, the juices rush out, and the meat becomes dry.
To cook a chicken faster and more evenly, consider spatchcocking. This is an advanced method of cutting open a chicken and removing some bone to lay it flat. This exposes more surface area & makes it cook more evenly. Learn how here.
Chicken will keep in the fridge after roasting for about 4 days, in the freezer for 3 months.
To freeze, remove flesh from the bone. Tear meat into bite-sized pieces for faster defrosting later.
Raw chicken shouldn't sit in the fridge for more than a few days. If you don't plan to cook it anytime soon, pop it in the freezer (even a whole one) & defrost the night before cooking.
Defrost chicken in the fridge overnight or in a cold water bath for ~30 min to 1 hour.
🎓 Further Study