Perfect roast chicken with juicy tender meat all around and addicting crispy skin is easier than you may think! Let me share my tips and tricks for roasting a perfect chicken every time.
Nothing screams comfort food like a roast chicken. Even though a roast chicken wasn’t a part of my childhood, it quickly became one of my favorites since I moved to America.
I’ve avoided roasting a whole chicken for very long time. I don’t know why, but it seemed so intimidating!
But since my mother-in-law raises chickens on the ranch and supplies all of our chicken needs (I know, she’s pretty awesome!), I had to push through my resistance and learn to roast a whole chicken.
And guess what? It turns out it’s not all that difficult after all!
Now, a perfectly roasted chicken is one of my favorite comfort foods and it’s a family favorite dish!! My youngest son, George, is a huge fan of drumstick. And my older son, Grant, is obsessed with crispy skin!
Today, I’m going to share with you my tips and tricks for the juiciest chicken you’ll ever make!
INGREDIENTS FOR CRISPY ROAST CHICKEN
When it comes to roast chicken, you can season it however your heart desires. Roast chicken is such a versatile dish. You can keep it simple for a casual family dinner, or dress it up for a company.
Today, I’m keeping it simple with just olive oil, salt and salt-free chicken seasoning. And because I had some fresh rosemary, I’m throwing it in as well along with a head of garlic. It’s going to be so aromatic!
TIP: I prefer salt-free seasoning, because I can control the amount of salt.
As for vegetables, I love adding root vegetables. As you may have suspected, carrots and potatoes are the most common sides to cook with the chicken.
They absorb all the delicious juices from the chicken while roasting and it’s just so easy!
HOW TO MAKE THE PERFECT ROAST CHICKEN
The tricky part of roasting a whole chicken is to cook the whole bird evenly without overcooking the breast. And by the time chicken thighs cook perfectly, chicken breasts tend to dry out.
To solve this problem, we’re cooking the chicken breast side down for the first 30 minutes. Then we’ll flip it over, add vegetables and continue roasting until the entire bird is cooked through!
- Step 1. Prepare the chicken by thoroughly drying it with paper towels. Oil the entire bird and evenly sprinkle the seasoning all over, including the cavities. Finally, tie the legs with a kitchen twine.
- Step 2. Place the chicken breast side down on a baking dish, lined with a small piece of parchment paper. This will prevent the breast skin from sticking to the pan. Roast the chicken in a preheated oven at 400°F for 30 minutes.
- Step 3. Using a pair of kitchen tongs, carefully flip the chicken breast side up and add vegetables. And continue roasting until the chicken is cooked through.
- Step 4. Once the chicken is cooked through, take it out of the oven, loosely cover it with a foil and rest for at least 15 minutes before serving.
TIP: Oil/butter and seasoning doesn’t stick well onto a wet skin. So make sure to dry the chicken well with paper towels before applying oil and seasoning.
TIP: To check the doneness of the chicken, insert a meat thermometer (this Thermapen Mk4 is my favorite! <- affiliate link) into the deepest part of breast and thighs. Internal temperature for chicken breast should be at least 165°F, and for thighs – 175°F.
It’s ok if the thigh meat registers way over 175°F. Dark meats are pretty forgiving, and they don’t dry out as much as chicken breast.
FAQ ABOUT PERFECT ROAST CHICKEN
Now let me answer some of your burning questions about roasting a perfect chicken.
How do you know when a whole chicken is done without a thermometer?
- If you don’t have a thermometer, cut the skin between the legs and body. If the juices are running clear, that means your roast chicken is done!
How long do you roast a chicken per pound?
- It takes roughly 20 minutes per pound at 400°F.
What temperature should a whole chicken be cooked to?
- The internal temperature at the thickest part of breast should register 165°F, and over 175°F on thighs. And it’s totally ok if the thighs reach over 190°F. However, try not to let the chicken breast reach over 175°F.
TIP: When inserting the meat thermometer, be careful not to hit the bones, because bones tend to have cooler temperature.
I found this helpful article on how to properly measure the internal temperature of the chicken.
When roasting a chicken do you cover it?
- No, I don’t recommend covering the chicken while roasting, because you won’t get a nice crispy skin. However, if the skin is browning too much, you may loosely place a small piece of foil on top, which should be sufficient to prevent the browning.
What you don’t want to do is to cover the bird with foil all over, because then it’ll accumulate moisture inside and make the skin soggy. And that would be so sad.
Do you add water when roasting a chicken?
- You don’t need to add water to the pan when roasting a chicken. The chicken will release some juices, which is enough to make a nice gravy.
By the way, never ever add cold water into a glass baking dish while roasting a chicken. I’ve seen some horror images of shattered baking dish when someone decided to add cold water into a hot glass baking pan.
What is the difference between roasting and baking a chicken?
- When it comes to chicken, I don’t believe there’s much difference between roasting and baking. However, I think, term “roasting” applies to high heat cooking (over 400°F), whereas baking is usually done at a lower temperature, and often covered.
How do you keep chicken from drying out in the oven?
- Use my method of cooking the chicken breast side down first, which helps cooking the chicken evenly.
- Use a meat thermometer to keep a close eye on doneness and prevent overcooking.
There you have it – everything you need to know to make a perfect roast chicken!
Perfect Roast Chicken
- 1 3-5lbs whole chicken (Note 1)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3-5 teaspoons coarse kosher salt Note 2
- 1 tablespoon salt-free chicken seasoning
- 1 head of garlic cut in half horizontally
- 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
- Carrots optional
- Potatoes optional
- Bring the chicken out of the fridge about 1 hour before roasting.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F (or 375°F convection). Adjust the rack to 2nd from the bottom.
- Thoroughly dry the chicken with a few paper towels.
- Drizzle olive oil all over and evenly spread salt and seasoning.
- Using a kitchen twine, tie the legs, as pictured.
- Put a small sheet of parchment paper on baking sheet and place the whole chicken breast side down. (TIP: Make sure to align the chicken breast on the parchment paper. This will prevent the skin to stick to the bottom of the pan.)
- Arrange garlic and rosemary around the chicken. Place loose garlic cloves and some rosemary inside the cavity too.
- Roast for 30 minutes.
- Flip the chicken breast side up and add carrots and potatoes, if using.
- Continue to roast the chicken for another 30-50 minutes, or until the internal temperature at the thickest part of breast registers 165°F, and over 175°F on thighs. If notice that the skin is browning too much, you may loosely place a strip of foil on top. (This Thermapen Mk4 is my favorite! <- affiliate link)
- Remove from oven and let it rest for 10-15 minutes before carving and serving.