This roast chicken recipe is really easy. Basically, it just involves taking the chicken in and out of the oven but a few tips and tricks will guarantee it comes out perfect every time. The key is to have a little bit of patience and your chicken will be juicy and delicious!
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Tips for Making the Perfect Roast Chicken
- Allow the chicken to come to room temperature before roasting. This ensures the outside doesn’t cook faster than the inside. So, you’re less likely to dry out the chicken breast.
- Place the chicken with the legs towards the back of the oven. The back of the oven is hotter because some heat will escape through the door. Because the legs take longer to cook, the chicken will cook more evenly if the legs are in the hotter part of the oven.
- Let the chicken rest for at least 20 minutes or up to an hour before carving. The juices will redistribute in the meat making it really moist and juicy instead of spilling out all over your carving board. It’s also easier to carve the chicken if it isn’t piping hot.
Frequently Asked Questions
Tying the legs of the chicken together prevents air from circulating inside the breast cavity. This means that the breasts are only being cooked from one side and so take longer to cook. Some people say that trussing the legs together makes the chicken cook more evenly. Personally, I don’t notice much of a difference. So long as the juices run clear and the chicken has had time to rest, I find that the breast is moist and the legs are cooked.
You do not need a special roasting rack for this recipe. The rack is designed to allow air to circulate under the chicken and promote even cooking. It also prevents it from burning to the bottom of the pan. If you don’t have a rack you can arrange place the chicken directly on the vegetables at the bottom of the pan. This will keep the meat off the bottom of the pan.
It takes one hour and ten minutes to cook a 1.5kg/3lb chicken. Add another 10 minutes per 250g/8oz. The FDA recommends that all poultry be cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 165F/75C.
You can use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature. Insert it into the inner thigh near the breast but not touching the bone. If it has reached 165F/75C or higher then it is cooked. I like the instant-read digital thermometers (like this one) but you can also get leave-in meat thermometers that stay in the chicken while it cooks.
You can tell the chicken is cooked when it is brown all over and the juices run clear when you insert a knife down to the bone between the leg and the thigh. You could also use a disposable pop-up poultry timer.
The chicken will not get stone cold while it rests for 15-20 miunutes. The bones absorb a lot of heat during cooking and release it into the meat and that helps keep the chicken warm. If you are worried about it getting cold, you can create a foil tent to cover it and keep more heat in. However, the crispy skin might go soft if too much steam condenses on it.
Allowing the chicken time to rest gives the juices time to redistribute in the meat. This means that they make the meat nice and juicy instead of spilling out all over the carving board.
First, remove the wings and then separate the legs from the body at the hip joint. Slice off each breast then cut against the grain. Cutting across the fibers of the muscle makes the meat more tender because there isn’t so much to chew through. Don’t forget to turn the chicken over and take the meat from the underside too. There are two little medallions that are delicious. You can see them in the picture below to the right of the chicken breast. Present the various cuts on a serving platter with a few springs of thyme or rosemary.
Make gravy! This is the best gravy you will ever have. The juices are basically the essence of roast chicken and taste incredible. Simply put the roasting pan over a medium heat with water and scrape up all the brown bits. Add cornstarch to thicken it and there you have it! This also makes the roasting pan a lot easier to clean.
The nutritional value of roast chicken will depend on the quality of meat that you can get. The best kind is pasture-raised. The chickens are allowed to roam free outside and have access to a varied diet. Corn-fed chickens have been fattened quickly before slaughter. They do not have the same nutritional value as chickens who eat an omnivorous diet and get lots of exercise.
There are studies that support a direct correlation between broiler chickens and PCOS. Chickens which have been injected with Bovine growth hormones increase insulin-like growth factor if they are eaten by humans. Ovaries respond to insulin by producing excess androgens and this is directly linked to many of the symptoms of PCOS. Therefore, you should avoid chickens that have been treated with antibiotics and growth hormones.
Easy roast chicken can be paired with so many things! When the chicken is in the oven you can prep a few trays of vegetables to roast. Asparagus is a great choice in the springtime. In the summertime squash, beans, and peppers are good choices. And in the fall/winter Brussels sprouts, beets, and carrots make a wonderfully colorful combination. You can also serve it with low-GI Boiled Baby Potatoes.
Another wonderful thing about this easy roast chicken recipe is that there are always leftovers. The next day try adding the chicken to a chicken burrito bowl or mix it with some homemade mayonnaise to make a delicious chicken salad.
For a special occasion, you could make pate as an appetizer and Vegan Flourless Chocolate Cake as a showstopping dessert.
If you make this recipe, please let me know in the comments below! I love hearing what people think and what changes or additions you make. Please share this recipe with your friends and family!
Easy Roast Chicken
- Roasting pan and rack
- Chopping board
- Sharp knife
- 3 lb /1.5 kg whole chicken
- salt and pepper to season
- 1 onion chopped into large wedges
- 3 carrots cut into one-inch pieces
- 4 cloves garlic peeled
- 2 cups /500 ml water or chicken stock
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 tbsp cold water
- Season the chicken the night before roasting for best results. This allows the salt time to work its way through the meat so it is evenly seasoned. Loosely cover and place in the refrigerator overnight.
- Remove from the fridge one hour before you plan to put the chicken in the oven to allow it to come to room temperature.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C and arrange the shelves so there is space for the chicken in the center of the oven. Place the onion, carrot, and garlic in the bottom of the roasting pan with one cup of water and place the rack on top.
- Check the chicken cavity for giblets. Sometimes they are inside in a plastic bag. Truss the chicken if you choose and pat dry to ensure crispy skin.
- Place the chicken on the rack or you can place the chicken directly on the vegetables if you don't have a rack. This is to allow the air to circulate under the chicken and to prevent it from burning on the underside. Put the chicken in the oven with the legs towards the back.
- Roast for one hour and ten minutes (if your bird is larger add another 10 minutes per 8oz/250g). The chicken is cooked when it is golden brown all over. If you insert a knife between the leg and the breast the juices should run clear. The internal temperature should register 165°F/75°C in the thigh near the breast but the thermometer should not touch the bone.
- Allow to rest for 20 minutes before carving. You can tent it with foil to keep the heat in.
- To make the gravy, remove the vegetables from the roasting pan. These can be served with the chicken or you can discard them. Add the remaining cup of water or chicken stock.
- Place the pan over medium heat and bring the liquid to a boil. Scrape up any brown bits with a wooden spoon.
- In a cup, mix together a tablespoon of cornstarch and a tablespoon of water. Slowly drizzle this into the gravy, stirring the whole time.
- Cook for a further 5 minutes until the gravy turns from a milky light brown to a dark brown and it thickens. Taste and adjust the seasoning. If the chicken was liberally seasoned, the gravy might not need to be seasoned much.
- To carve the chicken, remove the wings and separate the legs from the body at the hip joint. Slice off each breast then cut against the grain.
- Serve the chicken with gravy and vegetables.