Reasons to Roast a Chicken

Apricot glazed chicken. Brushing your chicken with apricot jam before roasting the top makes it nice and brown.
Apricot glazed chicken. Brushing your chicken with apricot jam before roasting the top makes it nice and brown. | Source

Chicken is one of the most versatile and healthful meats you can use in your recipes.

It is high in protein, economical, low in fat (when properly skinned and trimmed), and it can be used in a wide variety of of ethnic and specialty dishes.

Almost every culture has a signature dish that can be made with chicken. Chicken and Dumplings, Coq au Vin, Chicken Tandoori, Southern Fried Chicken, Chicken Chow Mien... and dozens of other dishes from Mexico to Thailand all have their special tastes and touches.A roasting chicken from the supermarket is often a good bargain. When on sale you can get a five pound bird for about five dollars, and make several meals out of it.

Remove the liver, giblets and neck from the cavity. They are somtetimes enclosed in a paper or plastic bag. They can be simmered for soup or used in other ways.
Remove the liver, giblets and neck from the cavity. They are somtetimes enclosed in a paper or plastic bag. They can be simmered for soup or used in other ways. | Source
Apples, celery and onions  coated with softened butter and poultry seasoning.
Apples, celery and onions coated with softened butter and poultry seasoning. | Source

Seasoning the Bird

Here is a simple way to season the chicken.

Cut up a cored apple, a small onion, and a couple of stalks of celery. Pour a little melted butter or olive oil over these combined ingredients and sprinkle with about a teaspoon of poultry seasoning.

Olive oil may be used, but butter will help brown the chicken more.

Place a few pieces of apple, onion and celery inside the body and neck cavities. Do not stuff tightly. Just a few pieces will give flavor and help retain moisture.

If you do decide to make a traditional bread stuffing, you will need to cook the bird a little longer, and test for doneness.

You may want to vary the seasonings to your own taste -- for instance, you could use lemon, garlic and rosemary-- use fresh herbs if you have them.

This chicken is not going anywhere-- except into the oven.
This chicken is not going anywhere-- except into the oven. | Source

Truss Your Chicken

Use 100% cotton string to tie up your chicken into a neat package. Cotton string will not impart any flavor or chemicals. Do not use any string that has polyester or any other synthetic components.

You want to tie the bird so the legs and wings are close to the body, for more even cooking.
Tying the bird in the manner shown will also give you a place to tuck in extra pieces of onion and celery or herbs such as rosemary sage or thyme. Tying in this manner also keeps the inside ingredients from escaping

The string also gives you an easy way to handle, move or turn the bird while roasting.

Roast Chicken Upside-Down First

I usually start roasting the chicken breast side down at 425 F for about 15 to 20 minutes or until the skin is slightly browned. Position a low rack(or racks) in your roasting pan. Sprinkle a little seasoning on the chicken with a pat of butter, and tuck in some onion, apple and celery pieces around before sticking it in your preheated oven, breast down.

There are two reasons for this:

1. The back, or underside of the chicken gets completely cooked. Roasting breast side up, sometimes leave the back underdone.

2. The breast meat is less likely to dry out, as the juices run down toward the leaner white breast meat, self basting it.

Browned on the Underside

Source

Once it is browned nicely on the bottom, you want to take it out of the oven and turn it over.

You can use a clean towel or potholders to do the turning. You will see that it the breast side is slightly deformed by the rack, but the final right-side-up roasting makes that disappear.

This usually takes about 45 minutes depending upon your oven. I like to slow roast at a slightly lower temperature than recommended in many recipes -- perhaps 375 F. It depends on how much time I have, but I think slightly longer at a lower temp gives a more tender result.

The breast meat is starting to cook. It will brown as it finishes.

Halfway Done and Turned Breast Side Up

The rack marks will disappear as it finishes roasting.
The rack marks will disappear as it finishes roasting. | Source

Not Quite Done Yet

If you see that the ends of the legs or other parts are browning much faster, or drying out , you can "tent" those parts with small pieces of alumininum foil.

The best way to tell if the chicken is done is to insert an instant read meat thermometer into the thickest part of the meat without touching a bone. The bones will be hotter and give an incorrect reading.

This chicken looks a little underdone, but could be browned more by brushing on a little melted butter, fruit jam or soy sauce. You do not want your chicken to be undercooked but you also do not want it to be dry and tough.

When your thermometer confirms doneness, remove the chicken from the oven, cut and remove the strings. And let it sit in a warm place for a few minutes before cutting.

Carving a Roast Chicken

The video above shows a simple way to disassemble your chicken. You will want to do this isf you are serving several people or if you are saving part of it for later uses.

Remember to let your roasted chicken rest for about 15 minutes before cutting it, so the tasty juices are reabsorbed into the meat. You can put a piece of foil loosely over the top if you think it is cooling too fast on the surface, but it will remain hot on the inside -- actually still 'cooking'-- for a few minutes. This an important part of the process.

If you are cooking for two or three people, a roast chicken provides a lot of meat. You might want to serve breast slices for one meal. (There might be enough left for a sandwich or two the next day/). The legs and thighs might be put away for another dinner.

The bits and pieces for the rest of the carcass can go into a casserole, enchilatas or a stir fry.

The carcass and the seasoning vegetables (as well as the neck and giblets that were removed during first preparation) can be simmered to make a beautiful broth or soup.

Do you often roast a whole chicken?

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Comments 31 comments

janderson99 profile image

janderson99 19 months ago from Australia on Planet Water

Sorry, but I have stopped cooking chicken over concerns about hormones and they way they are fed and raised. Chicken is one of the few foods that health authorities warn should not be washed before being cooked, due to fears that the bacteria and pathogens over it, will be spread around the kitchen with potential risks of food poisoning. Not nice!


Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 19 months ago from California Gold Country Author

Is that a recent concern? You did recommend chicken in your "Cook Once Eat Twice" hub a couple of weeks ago.


drbj profile image

drbj 19 months ago from south Florida

I knew I never should have read this, Rochelle, on an empty stomach. Now I'm so hungry from your thorough instructions and excellent photos, that I could devour an entire chicken . . . uncooked.

Well, maybe browned a little. :)


Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 19 months ago from California Gold Country Author

Much better, and safer, cooked, drbj. Though, living in the woods, we have lost a few hens to something that didn't bother to roast any of them.


janderson99 profile image

janderson99 19 months ago from Australia on Planet Water

I recommended chicken for sheet pan cooking etc., but I also have written about the concerns I have for chicken compared with red meat, fish and seafood.


Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 19 months ago from California Gold Country Author

I'll take a look.


billybuc profile image

billybuc 19 months ago from Olympia, WA

You have no idea how much I love fried chicken. LOL Having said that, one of the first things my wife changed about my eating habits was the fried chicken...switching to roast. Sigh! I have to admit it is delicious. :)


Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 19 months ago from California Gold Country Author

Thanks for the comment, billybuc. Fried chicken can be very tasty, but there are many reasons to make it a once-in-a-while treat. Roasted chicken is very delicious when done right.

As a "backyard" chicken raiser, myself. I tend to think of mine as egg layers, too. However, as a meat eater, it think it has a lot of advantages over large animal products.


peachpurple profile image

peachpurple 19 months ago from Home Sweet Home

frankly speaking I prefer to bake and roast chicken rather than fried


Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 19 months ago from California Gold Country Author

I do too, peachpurple, but deep fried chicken with a crispy crust is an American tradition -- especially in the southern states. Baking or roasting uses a lot less fat and oil.


Genna East profile image

Genna East 19 months ago from Massachusetts, USA

I often cook chicken, so am always on the lookout for new recipes and helpful hints when it comes to roasting. This is a delicious hub in many ways. Thank you.


Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 19 months ago from California Gold Country Author

This is a basic, easy way. I usually do a turkey the same way with the same ingredients. It is a little harder to flip over a turkey of 16 - 20 lbs, but it can be done.


colorfulone profile image

colorfulone 19 months ago from Minnesota

That roasted chicken looks so yummy, Rochelle. It is better for us than fried but oh its so good that way too. We had skinless chicken breast fried in coconut oil last night, which is a health way to fry.

I'm going to have to roast a chicken sometime soon, because now I am craving it.


Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 19 months ago from California Gold Country Author

Thanks for commenting, colorfulone. It is not too hard to do, and usually you have leftovers!


ChitrangadaSharan profile image

ChitrangadaSharan 19 months ago from New Delhi, India

My family loves chicken in any form--curry, soup, minced, grilled, roasted, pakodas etc. etc. I have cooked whole chicken with dry fruit fillings and they taste great.

I loved your recipe and nice presentation. Will be trying this for sure.

Thanks for sharing the details and the pictures are really helpful. Voted up!


Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 19 months ago from California Gold Country Author

Thank you , ChitrangadaSharan. I would like to know details of your chicken curry. I'm sure it is wonderful.


poetryman6969 profile image

poetryman6969 19 months ago

The chicken had it coming...

But seriously, a tasty looking offering with some nice details. I had forgotten that thing about turning the bird over.


Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 19 months ago from California Gold Country Author

Thank you, poetryman. I try to always do the turning. It's not worth the trouble to have half the bird undercooked and the other half dried out. It is even more important with a turkey-- though a little more difficult.


Frida Rose profile image

Frida Rose 18 months ago from Maryland

I haven't roasted a chicken in a while, but your hub just inspired me. I'll be making another one soon using your recipe.


Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 18 months ago from California Gold Country Author

Hope it turns out to your liking. It is very basic, so you can use the seasonings you like best. I don't like to 'stuff' chicken or turkey with a bread stuffing. Too much trouble, and it's harder to make sure the bird is done. Thanks for commenting.


Kylyssa profile image

Kylyssa 18 months ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

My most compelling reason for roasting a chicken is to make carcass soup with the skeletal remains left after my family devours the tender, well-seasoned flesh.


Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 18 months ago from California Gold Country Author

Yes, the soup is always the bonus, and the way to get the most from your roaster.


peachpurple profile image

peachpurple 17 months ago from Home Sweet Home

do you have roast chicken like Kenny Roasters?


Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 17 months ago from California Gold Country Author

I don't know what that is.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 17 months ago from Houston, Texas

Your stuffing mixture and herbs sound delicious. I have not used apple but have used the onion, celery and carrots as well as herbs for both chicken and also turkey. Of late I seldom roast chickens because the ones at Costco are delicious and are actually less expensive than roasting one at home. Generally they are over 5 pounds and sell for less than $5. It is certainly a super buy and draws people into their stores. Up votes and happy to share.


Lady_E profile image

Lady_E 17 months ago from London, UK

It tastes better and it's healthier. Thanks for a delicious Hub and for taking time to share the photos. Happy Sunday.


Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 17 months ago from California Gold Country Author

I think the apples have a good influence-- they add a touch of natural sugar and are like little sponges that capture all of the flavors., besides I always have apples-- and if one or two get a little soft, this is a good way to use them. Thanks again, Peggy W.


Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 17 months ago from California Gold Country Author

It always produces a good result, and is not really hard to do. Thanks for commenting Lady_E.


Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 17 months ago from California Gold Country Author

Also, Peggy-- Yes, I understand that the Costco roasted chickens are wonderful. As one of their most popular items, I have heard they are dedicated to keeping the price low on them, to keep people coming in to shop there. I only get to costco three or four times a year, since the closest one is about an hour and a half away.

I stock up on a lot of things, but it isn't practical for me to buy hot or frozen things with the travel time involved.


Matty Fernandez profile image

Matty Fernandez 11 months ago from Passaic, NJ

Looks tasty. I cook mine longer for a crispier skin.


Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 11 months ago from California Gold Country Author

Yes, there are many good ways to cook a chicken. I like to cook mine so it is done and tender, and can be used for many meals.

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