How to roast a chicken

One of the joys of September is that besides sending the kids back to school (no more camp fees!), you go back to using the oven again. One of our favourite Sunday meals is roasted chicken. Nothing is cozier than the great smell of roasting chicken in your house!

Although I serve roasted chicken a million different ways, I always make it using the same method. If you want to try your hand at roasting a chicken this weekend, I hope you’ll print out my step-by-step instructions and give my method a whirl:

1. I prefer open pan roasting for creating a juicy, tender, evenly golden brown roasted chicken so I use a rimmed baking sheet as my roasting pan.
2. Rinse the chicken inside and out with cold running water then pat dry with paper towel.
3. Brush chicken skin lightly with oil and season all over with salt and pepper. Lately I’ve been using salish smoked salt to add deep rich flavour to the bird.
4. Fill the large cavity with a halved lemon, a few cloves of garlic, a peeled, quartered onion and some fresh herb sprigs.
5. Truss the legs together using butcher’s twine. (One clever person I know thought using an elastic band was a good idea but I strongly caution against using one. After all, they evacuate neighbourhoods when there’s a tire fire since burning rubber is TOXIC.)
6. Place the prepared chicken on a rack in the rimmed baking sheet. If you are roasting more than one chicken, make sure there is an inch or two of space around each bird.
7. Wash all cutting boards, your hands, tools and other surfaces that come into contact with the raw chicken and its juices thoroughly in hot water using antibacterial soap.
8. Roast the chicken in a preheated 375 °F (190 °C) oven for about 1.5 hours or until an instant read thermometer inserted into the thigh of the bird registers 185°F (85°C).
9. Before carving, let the hot-from-the-oven chicken rest on a cutting board for 10 to 15 minutes to allow the juices to recirculate throughout the meat.


16 Responses to How to roast a chicken

  1. Beth says:

    I usually just pick up deli roast chickens for convenience during the week but I know what you mean: when you roast the bird at home it’s always a treat. And, so much cheaper than a red meat roast. Thanks for the reminder to pop a bird in the oven!

  2. danamccauley says:

    So I guess the image of a raw chicken doesn’t inspire much comment! Thanks for coming out Beth – it’s good to have your company!

  3. Cheryl says:

    Not so, Dana, not so. Raw chickens don’t quease me out, though I must admit I couldn’t prepare them when I was pregnant. Just an aversion, I guess. Now, though, I love making roast chicken, and there’s nothing like making one in your own oven precisely as you describe.

  4. farida says:

    Stuffed chicken is always good to me:) In Azerbaijan we stuff the chicken with walnut filing or dried fruit and rice filling and it is very delicuious! Thanks for your tutorial. Very useful and helpful!

  5. Ivonne says:

    I love putting a lemon in the chicken cavity! It makes such a difference.

  6. danamccauley says:

    Farida, I like a stuffed bird, too. I usually make a bread stuffing since that’s what my family expects but I think a walnut filling sounds divine!

    Cheryl and Ivonne, glad to have your buy off – consensus among the experienced cooks will hopefully breed confidence for any newbies who happen along this post. Thanks for your comments.

  7. Laurie says:

    I agree, I adore the smell of oven roasted chicken. One of my favorite preps is with shallots, cloves and oranges.. oh the smell is divine!! Yah for fall! 🙂

  8. Christine says:

    Roasted chicken is a huge hit in my house. I love rubbing oil and herbs or butter and herbs under the skin to give it more flavor. I am lucky that if I roast two chickens I can usually get more then one meal out of it or makke amazing chicken salad! Wonderful pictures!

  9. danamccauley says:

    Christine, sounds like your family is about the size of mine. I usually roast 2 birds for the three of us and have two dinners easily.

    Thanks for popping in with your kind words!

  10. Rosa says:

    I love a good roasted chicken! It perfumes the whole apartment while it’s cooking!

    Generally, I brush mine witha mixture of butter and sweet mustard and at the bottom of the deep dish, I place sliced onions and garlic. Towards the end, I add white wine (bottom of dish), then I transfer the juices to a pan and add some tarragon, lemon juice, salt and pepper…



  11. I haven’t roasted a whole chicken in years. Because there’s just two of us, I usually buy chicken pieces. This has got me thinking that a nice roast chicken might be perfect for the next family gathering.

  12. yumm says:

    Mmm I bet the lemon and fresh herbs give it a wonderful taste.. I prefer to go the purist route, maybe just out of repetition’s sake

  13. Sharon says:

    Thanks for the recipe. I didn’t have all the ingredients for stuffing, but it still came out absolutely delicious.

    Do you have ideas for what to do with the leftover bird?

  14. R Becklund says:

    This is such a nice recipe. Simple, yet tasty chicken like this is so great.

  15. […] 1. I totally roasted a chicken for the first time ever! It turned out like this. It was so so easy. Now I have dinner for most of the week and can make chicken soup when all is said and done. You can find directions in any cookbook, but here’s a tutorial that fits the bill. […]

  16. […] 1. I totally roasted a chicken for the first time ever! It turned out like this. It was so so easy. Now I have dinner for most of the week and can make chicken soup when all is said and done. You can find directions in any cookbook, but here’s a tutorial that fits the bill. […]

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