It seems I’ve been a bit obsessed with chicken roasting lately, no? I get obsessed easily. Especially when something is insanely delicious. Here is how I do it!


I buy a chicken. Yes, it can be sort of scary.

How to Roast a Chicken I

I tend to get one that is 5-6 pounds. This means it will last approximately 15 minutes in house. Someone eats for four. Not me.


I unwrap it and immediately get the worst part over with. I use tongs to pull out the gross stuff inside – the stuff that my grandpa used to insist on eating at Thanksgiving – and I set it aside. I can’t deal with this yet. I’m too immature.

How to Roast a Chicken I

I usually pull it out and immediately place it in a large ziplock bag. Something else I normally do? Roast these chickens close to our trash pick-up day. The last thing I want it the carcass sitting in our trash for days. Bugs scare me. For real.

Then I dry the entire thing with paper towels VERY thoroughly.


I either throw it on a clean counter or a cutting board, then I coat it with salt and pepper inside and out. Lots of salt and pepper. Probably about a teaspoon each or even more? Don’t skimp.

How to Roast a Chicken I

Oh, and this may scare you, but inspect the bird for any additional feathers that need plucking. Yeah… I know. But I promise after you do this once, it gets so much easier.


Then I cover the whole thing in olive oil, rubbing it with my hands.

How to Roast a Chicken I

You may remember that I tried the butter and herb route before too. That was delicious, but this method is so simple and we actually think it tastes better. Crispier and more flavorful.


By this time I have most likely sliced 1-2 onions to throw in the pan.

How to Roast a Chicken I

I have used a larger roasting pan before, and then used a small one. I gotta admit… I prefer the small. That may be wrong for some reason or another, but it totally works for me. I just make sure the pan has a larger lip on it. Obviously this also depends on the size of your chicken.


See? Fat bird in a little pan.

How to Roast a Chicken I

I’ve stuffed it with lemons and garlic before, used different herbs and flavors, but again – this is our favorite one. We think it tastes the best. Super simple!


I’ve been roasting a 5-6 pound chicken at 425 degrees F for about 85-90 minutes. It works like a charm. While it’s roasting, I usually clean and sanitize my counter where the chicken sat.

How to Roast a Chicken I

But before you remove it, make sure the chicken is cooked through. I use a meat thermometer and also slice near one of the legs to make sure the juices are clear. I think my mom told me that too. See? Always right.


Then I slice it so we can have the white meat of the breast and the thighs/dark meat.

How to Roast a Chicken I

How to Roast a Chicken I

Don’t discard the carcass – use it for stock!

My days of discarding the skin are long gone too. Um, have you ever tasted the crispy skin from a freshly roasted chicken? It is pure heaven. Bliss. Utopia.


Then we eat.

How to Roast a Chicken I

And if there is any left over, I save it for the week for lunches and dinners.


Some of you have asked why I would roast a chicken on my own – why not just buy one and spare the extra expense and time? I used to feel the same way, but there is honestly nothing that tastes as delicious after you’ve roasted a chicken. Trust me, I have brought home a lot of chicken in my life. Do you know who I’m married to? And I also sort of like this whole cooking thing. In case you haven’t noticed.


After you eat your chicken, you must follow it with something delectable.

How to Roast a Chicken I

I didn’t forget about you – recipe coming soon!


Now who is going to roast a chicken this week?

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158 Responses to “How I Roast A Chicken.”

  1. #
    Kathy — May 1, 2011 @ 4:13 pm

    That sounds yummy, although, I have problems with raw chicken. It’s irrational, but I finally just got to the point that I can make chicken breast (It’s one of my favorites to eat though!) So.. you now have my mouth watering and I’m going to bring home one from Giant Eagle here soon!
    Maybe throw it in the oven for a few and make the hubby think I cooked it myself =)


    • Kathy — May 1st, 2011 @ 4:14 pm

      Also, on a side note I really need to try this Trader Joe’s.. I went in there once, but didn’t give it a fair shot…. Everything just looked expensive to me.


      • Sarah — May 2nd, 2011 @ 12:10 am

        I find out stuff is usually cheaper at Trader Joe’s or the same price. I used to think it was more expensive, but it reall isn’t. You usually spend more though because they have lots of delicious treats that you can’t help but buy!

  2. #
    Jeanette — May 1, 2011 @ 4:43 pm

    I agree, there’s nothing better than home made roast chicken. It’s so much easier than some people realize, and you can’t compare a freshly roasted chicken to store bought. I also love making soup with roast chicken bones, so much flavor.


  3. #
    KosherCorvid — May 1, 2011 @ 5:04 pm

    I usually roast cornish hens, since they feed the two of us so nicely, but if we’re having a party or just craving dark meat I’ll roast a whole fryer. After the rotisserie chicken I bought when we had no power after hurricane Charley, I just can’t buy pre-roasted ones anymore. Even though it’s been six years. You try getting over the memory of a houseful of people all with salmonella and no electricity for hot water or climate control!
    If you look for Kosher hens, you’ll find there’s way less of a stray feather problem, plus they’re brined and that adds a lot of flavor. I like to stuff mine with garlic, olives, and thyme.


  4. #
    Cara — May 1, 2011 @ 5:15 pm

    Love roasting chickens! They are great to have in the fridge throughout the week! Also, I agree that the skin is the best!


  5. #
    Sarah — May 1, 2011 @ 5:42 pm

    I roasted a chicken for the first time a few weeks ago and it was delicious! I basically used the same recipe as you – olive oil, salt, pepper. I also cut a lemon in half and put that inside the bird along with some thyme. Turned out delicious!

    What temperature did you cook the breast to? I took mine out when the breast was perfect (super juicy and not at all dry), but the darker meat wasn’t cooked all the way through. Any way to avoid that? Had to throw it back in for a little while longer, but I’d like to avoid that next time!

    Thanks! Love your recipes!


  6. #
    Lauren — May 1, 2011 @ 5:57 pm

    Do you use a disposable pan?


    • Jessica — May 2nd, 2011 @ 7:16 am

      Sometimes! It depends on if I have one around or not.


  7. #
    Melanie — May 1, 2011 @ 5:58 pm

    Thanks for the informative step by step process. I’ve never done it, but it seems less scary now that I’ve seen it done. I’m going to try it soon!


  8. #
    Alexa @ SimpleEats — May 1, 2011 @ 6:19 pm

    I’m wayy to scared to nervous to roast a chicken…this post might just make me do it though. Have you ever had deep fried turkey? My mom makes it for Thanksgiving. You’d probably love it.


    • Jessica — May 2nd, 2011 @ 7:15 am

      I’ve never made one but I’ve had it before – delish!


  9. #
    Kim in MD — May 1, 2011 @ 6:32 pm

    Your roasted chicken looks delicious, Jessica! There is nothing like the smell of that bird cooking in your oven, either! Beats store bought chicken any day! :-)


  10. #
    Christine — May 1, 2011 @ 6:53 pm

    This is fantastic. I was looking for dinner ideas this week- I better make this before it gets to hot to roast anything besides my bod by the pool ;)


  11. #
    Ariella — May 1, 2011 @ 6:59 pm

    Even though I just roasted a chicken on Friday, I still enjoyed reading your process of doing it. (As always!)
    I know you aren’t a big fan of vegetables but I made mine with carrots and they came out really sweet & delicious. Thought you might wanna try.


  12. #
    Abby — May 1, 2011 @ 8:02 pm

    The pictures… too.much. can’



  13. #
    Audrey Ellen @ My Scene and Herd — May 1, 2011 @ 8:37 pm

    To be honest, i have always been weirded out to the point of dry heaving by raw chicken skin.
    but i will have to tackle it at some point, and it may as well be with this simple and yummy looking recipe. looks like minimal time spent with a raw chicken, which i like.


  14. #
    Jes — May 1, 2011 @ 8:44 pm

    Thank you so much for the post. I always spend the money on a store bought one because I have no idea how.


  15. #
    Salah@myhealthiestlife — May 1, 2011 @ 11:18 pm

    i love love love roasted chicken but never really knew how to roast it honestly! thank you for sharing this post!!!


  16. #
    Lee Hock — May 1, 2011 @ 11:40 pm

    Amen sista! There is nothing like homemade roasted chicken. I would only eat a store bought one if I was desperate.
    Have you ever made beer can chicken? It is awesome!


  17. #
    Cornelia — May 2, 2011 @ 12:15 am

    What? No one mentioned brining that bird, first? ALWAYS brine your chicken/turkey/cornish hens first. Leads to moister, more flavorful, more amazing bird. Doesn’t take any skill, you just have to remember to drop it into to some salt water a few hours before you plan on cooking it. I brine a turkey for up to 24 hours but chickens I do overnight. Makes a huge difference.


  18. #
    Debi — May 2, 2011 @ 1:36 am

    I have to confess…I buy mine already cooked at Costco. Gasp! $6.99 and I have enough time to make chicken enchiladas on a week night. I do miss the smell of one roasting in the oven though…but I have to save that for a weekend.


  19. #
    Mimi — May 2, 2011 @ 7:54 am

    I have roasted my chickens for years using a ceramic vertical ‘cone’….it has holes in it to let the heat pass through but, because it ‘stands’ the chicken up there is no soggy skin (I love the above reference to it being the bacon of the poultry world!). The juices all stay inside until you are ready to carve then all the fab goodness comes out ready for gravy!
    BTW my cat and dog LOVE the giblets (yuck)!


  20. #
    Robyn — May 2, 2011 @ 8:10 am

    Count me in on chicken roasting this week! I even have fresh lemons in the house!

    I feel the same way about touching a raw chicken and it’s juices. That stuff could kill you.


  21. #
    Amanda — May 2, 2011 @ 8:33 am

    I am going to have to try the oil… I have been just using the butter but that sounds fantastic!!


  22. #
    Halle G — May 2, 2011 @ 9:22 am

    I noticed that you have the bird breast side down in the pan…I’ve never cooked one that way. What is your reasoning for that?


    • Jessica — May 2nd, 2011 @ 9:26 am

      That is the way my mom has always cooked it… how do you cook it? I did it once sitting up on the beer can too:


      • Halle G — May 2nd, 2011 @ 10:45 am

        I’ve always cooked birds breast side up…and put celery, onion and herbs in the cavity. I either smear them with butter or oil then salt and pepper like you.

        I’ve also made beer can chicken…trouble is that we don’t drink beer in a can…ever. I had to barter one from the neighbor. :)

  23. #
    Kathleen @ Kat's Health Corner — May 2, 2011 @ 10:24 am

    Oh my gosh I can’t wait for that recipe! :D


  24. #
    Molly @ Toffee Bits and Chocolate Chips — May 2, 2011 @ 10:35 am

    yumm!! Seriously a money saver too! I’ve never roasted a whole chicken before but dang!$7 for a whole chicken! Really makes it worth it! I’m thinking do it on Sundays then chicken for the next couple of days!


  25. #
    Jess — May 2, 2011 @ 11:22 am

    now i definitely want to roast a chicken this week! looks amazing.


  26. #
    Joanna@ Drizzle of Sunshine — May 2, 2011 @ 12:03 pm

    I just roasted my first chicken last week and posted it on my blog. Turned out BEAUTIFULLY! Not as hard as I thought!


  27. #
    marla — May 2, 2011 @ 12:52 pm

    We love a great homemade roasted chicken over here too. Thanks for showing me how to trim it up too – I usually pull off the meat with my hands. Hmmm. xo


  28. #
    Carol A. — May 2, 2011 @ 1:18 pm

    You are so darn funny… Never understood why I have been reluctant to roast my own but now I know… However, due to your post, I understand and now am ready to face my fears…of chicken innards, skin, carcass etc… I gotta do this soon, tonight maybe??? Thanks much!!


  29. #
    Lisa — May 2, 2011 @ 1:25 pm

    For those of you who are not quite ready to tackle a whole chicken, try this: take just two or three pieces of chicken, salt and peppper all sides, put it in a baking pan, put it in the oven. Done. Easy-peasy! Roasts in about an hour. Believe me, I know ’cause I’ve been doing this for years. My grocery store sells 10# bags of chicken leg quarters, often on sale for $0.50/pound or less. I buy a bag, divide it up into ziploc bags of 2 or 3 quarters each, toss them in the freezer, and pull out one at a time. And once you taste that crispy, salty, peppery skin, you will KNOW you need to roast a whole chicken the next time. (And I would love to find whole chickens with all the innerds still inside – we don’t seem to get those around here anymore.)


  30. #
    Ann Walker — May 2, 2011 @ 2:02 pm

    My hand is up!! (In answer to the question at the end of your post!!!)


  31. #
    Brooke — May 2, 2011 @ 2:16 pm

    I’ll admit to having never roasted a chicken before… and I was thinking of trying to do it this week or next! How could you read my mind like that??!?!? :D


  32. #
    Ang — May 2, 2011 @ 3:35 pm

    I roast chickens all the time! I love them. I used to get them in the deli but they have gluten in them so now I have to make my own! I hate touching raw meat though so through creative use of tongs I’ve got the process down with the least amount of touching possible. I’m a little bit crazy.

    Also I roast mine breast down most of the time and don’t even notice until it’s cooked. Seems that it works either way! :)


  33. #
    Samantha — May 2, 2011 @ 5:15 pm

    I roast chickens all the time! I don’t even like poultry that much, but the juice in a roasted chicken is unbeatable. Totally worth the time. I wish I could find a chicken WITHOUT the innards! Yours looks like the guts were all in a bag. Mine come just stuffed in the chicken. All willy-nilly. And once you think you’ve gotten them all, you find a stray kidney. The other week, I found 2 hearts. Gross.

    Never tried cooking a chicken breast-down, but I’ll have to try it like that next time! Thanks for the inspiration! :)


  34. #
    Kristen — May 2, 2011 @ 5:18 pm

    I cant wait to roast my first chicken now! Question, do I cover it with tin foil while its roasting and then remove it the last 20 mins or so to brown?? Or do you leave it uncovered the whole time???


  35. #
    Celia — May 2, 2011 @ 8:26 pm

    I’m roasting my first chicken right now :)


  36. #
    Lindsey @ Morningstar Project — May 2, 2011 @ 8:52 pm

    Thank you for posting this how-to! I bought a chicken at Trader Joe’s last week since I saw you were going to do a tutorial. But then you posted amazing dessert posts instead and I got distracted and let the little bird sit in my freezer. So it’s on the menu this week, and so are blueberry crips :)


  37. #
    Jolene ( — May 2, 2011 @ 10:38 pm

    I might roast a chicken this week!! I have 2 in the freezer. I will try your method for sure :-)


  38. #
    Michelle — May 2, 2011 @ 11:25 pm

    What about gravy??? You don’t make gravy??? We make gravy most of the time after roasting a chicken.

    I prefer to use sesame oil & soya sauce to coat the chicken before roasting. It also makes fantastic gravy. I have also used smoked salt to salt the inside of the chicken.

    Now, speaking of the insides of chickens. Go buy yourself a box of disposable gloves like the kind lab techs use. I use them for everything from handling hamburger to greasing up a chicken. Wonderful tools these gloves, cheap and they help to keep germs from spreading. Not very green, no, I will admit. But sometimes you just gotta bite the bullet and use something that is not green for safety sake.

    I am almost tempted to go out to my chicken coop and pick a victim, I mean chicken and have it for supper. But alas, they are not big enough yet. Give them two more weeks and we’ll be butchering. I do still have a couple left from last year though, so I could always dig one out and defrost it.


  39. #
    Simple Life Journey — May 2, 2011 @ 11:43 pm

    Oh my word! I love roasting a chicken. Great step by step pictures. I have the best broth recipe to use the carcass for:

    You will never throw away chicken bones again. You will be grabbing them out of people’s hands right before they are about to take their last bite.


  40. #
    Cass — May 3, 2011 @ 2:19 pm

    Please teach me how to cut up the chicken. My husband and I roasted one last night and I’m not going to lie we stood over the chicken just peeling off what we wanted to eat.


  41. #
    --Deb — May 3, 2011 @ 6:27 pm

    We just had this for dinner. I’ve roasted chickens often, but never before on a bed of onions and, oh God, the house smells AMAZING. So good! Even my dog is in heaven because he loves roasted poultry more than just about anything. Delicious!


  42. #
    greenbean — May 3, 2011 @ 8:28 pm

    someone may have mentioned already, but it’s no longer a good idea to wash/rinse the chicken. you spread more germs in the sink and surrounding areas that will lead to more contamination than if you just rolled with the chicken straight out the bag


  43. #
    Gramma — May 4, 2011 @ 7:37 am

    I must admit I had quite a few chuckles reading the replies. I have been roasting chickens for many years now, but I remember my first one. I called my mom and told her there was something wrong with my chicken because of all the stuff inside it. I had no clue what to do with it. However, as Mom’s always do, she calmly explained what to do with it…make a broth to use with the pan juices when making gravy. Sometimes I stuff mine with a bread dressing made of bread (of course), onions and summer savory.


  44. #
    Emily R — May 4, 2011 @ 10:27 am

    I just made you roast chicken…DELISH!!!!!


  45. #
    Yum Yucky — May 4, 2011 @ 4:37 pm

    chicken!!! I will be happy to “follow through” with something delectable. You don’t have to tell me twice…. or once.


  46. #
    Lauren — May 4, 2011 @ 5:51 pm

    Have you ever roasted a chicken in the crockpot? So easy. Oh I’m totally trying this tomorrow. Whole chickens don’t scare me :) Ground meat, however, scares me to death. I refuse to touch it


  47. #
    Clinton — May 5, 2011 @ 10:45 am

    Homemade roasted chicken dinner is by far my families favourite. Cranberries, stuffing, butter carrots, mashed potatoes, creamed corn, yorkshire puddings, my wife’s special gravy and of course the roasted chicken. It always seems we never have enough hand picked Cranberries for everyone. They go fast!


  48. #
    Jenn@The Leftover Queen — May 5, 2011 @ 12:02 pm

    I agree, once you roast your own, there is no going back!! Your chicken looks great!


  49. #
    DB — May 9, 2011 @ 2:50 pm

    I have to agree with greenbean. I’ve heard to never wash out the chicken beforehand, just pat it dry with a paper towel.

    Corlelia, I also like the idea of using a brine. What doyou use for the ingredients?

    Also, the leg quarters and the breasts will cook at different rates if you don’t truss the chicken. (You’ll have an underdone thigh and drumstick and a pink breast.) Ellie of Almost Bourdain gives a rather humorous review of Tony’s explanation on how to do this.


    • DB — May 9th, 2011 @ 2:51 pm

      That was an underdone leg quarter and a dry breast.


  50. #
    Karly — May 17, 2011 @ 10:37 pm

    So, wait a minute…you touch the chicken? With your bare hands?

    Oh, Lord.

    I think I just died.



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