Erika Wassall, the Jersey Farm Scribe here with a fabulous oven roasted whole chicken recipe.
Oven Roasted Whole Chicken Recipe
It’s amazing how many people shy away from roasting a whole chicken. I certainly did until a few years ago, when I realized how incredibly simple it is. Now it’s a regular meal (and a favorite at that!). I don’t do anything fancy, and it comes out amazing every time.
If a plain old whole chicken intimidates you then keep reading!!! If it doesn’t, GREAT! I still may have a tip or two up my sleeves that I can offer you!
First of all, the biggest cheat tip for this oven roasted whole chicken recipe is to have a meat thermometer. HOWEVER, in this post, I wanted to do roast a whole chicken without a meat thermometer, for those who may not have one. (although for less than $10, it’s a kitchen tool I certainly suggest! Affiliate link below). But yes, you can roast a chicken (stress-free!) without any fancy ingredients or kitchen tools.
First of all, unwrap and take out the insides. What you’ll usually find is they’re already in a bag, like this:
Just pull the bag out and toss it. (or you can dice up those gizzards and they really add flavor to your gravy!)
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees WITH a large oven-safe skillet or roasting pan already in there. Dry, nothing in the pan, just let the pan heat up. Don’t use glass or ceramic. It WILL crack. Use a cast iron pan or oven safe skillet. (I know mine LOOKS ceramic. It’s not.)
Rinse the chicken off and pat it dry. Pour some olive oil over the chicken, add salt and pepper and then rub it in. You can throw on some lemon pepper or fresh garlic or really any seasonings, but it’s not necessary. Just salt and pepper is enough. That’s it. Your chicken is ready!
Not a fan of that hanging fat? No problem. You CAN cut that off, as well as the little tail-like piece behind it. But it’s purely aesthetic and totally up to you. I usually leave it, but just so you can see what it would look like if you cut it off, here it is after I snipped the excess fat and tiny tail-like piece:
Yes, you COULD tie the legs together. Yes, you COULD stick a lemon or something in the cavity. They’re both great ideas. But I actually don’t do either. I never want to go get string (and just FYI, any old string will do, including NOT dyed sewing string) and unless I have half a lemon sitting around, I never put anything in the cavity.
When the oven (and pan) are preheated, put the bird breast-side up in the hot pan (be careful, the pan is HOT!). The idea here is that the breast doesn’t take as long to cook, so it gives the darker meat on the other side a little jump start.
You’re looking for about 15 minutes per pound. Mine is 6 pounds, I estimated 90 minutes. But I started checking at 70 minutes and was done at about 80 minutes.
If you have a meat thermometer, you’re looking for 175 degrees in the thick part of the thigh.
If you don’t, no worries!! Your testing is also simple:
1) Wiggle the leg bone (with gloves! It’s hot!) If it moves freely, as if it could pull out (I’ve even actually pulled it out a few times), it’s done. This is the easier and most foolproof way of testing!!
2) Poke with a knife or fork and HOLD it in there for 15-20 seconds. Then press on the meat and check out the juices. If they’re clear, you’re good.
REMINDER: Good quality chicken may still be slightly pink in COLOR by the bone. It has to do with the hemoglobin levels in a young chicken when they are pulled from the farm. It is NOT a sign that the chicken is raw. Under cooked chicken is more about texture than color. It should not be translucent or rubbery at all.
When it’s done, give it at LEAST 15-20 minutes lightly covered with aluminum foil. Let those yummy juices set back in. But that’s it. Then you can cut or carve or tear any way you want.
This is so easy (and cheap!) that I make this whole roasted chicken both for an actual Roasted Chicken Dinner and when I just want to have a bunch of chicken available for something like chicken enchiladas. It’s a no-brainer, and the meat comes out flavorful and tender.
Printable Oven Roasted Whole Chicken Recipe:
This Oven Roasted Whole Chicken Recipe is simple enough for an easy weeknight meal, and produces a beautiful and flavorful enough end-product for a fancy dinner or even a hosted event. Around here, we use this whole roasted chicken recipe a few times a month. Will you give it a try?