It was a bucket list item last year, learning to roast a chicken. To me, learning to execute a perfect roast chicken meant that I had achieved the next level of adulthood.
This recipe is adapted from one by Ina Garten, the queen of the perfect roast chicken. The skin comes out crispy, and the meat is moist. One of the best things about this recipe is the smell in your house while it’s cooking! Is your mouth watering yet? Let’s get cooking!
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perfect roast chicken
I usually keep a couple of whole chickens in our freezer, having stocked up when they go on sale. If you’re using a frozen bird, keep in mind that it’s probably going to take longer than you think to thaw your chicken. I let mine thaw in the fridge for three and a half days and it was perfect. Also keep in mind that you’ll probably want to put your chicken in a container in the fridge for thawing in order to catch any juices that might leak out, you don’t want chicken juice all over your fridge.
Once your chicken is thawed (or if you’re using fresh), you’ll take it out of the fridge and remove the giblets and neck from the cavity. Ina suggests washing your chicken, but you don’t actually have to do that. In fact, I suggest that you don’t do that since it’s unnecessary and you’ll end up spreading chicken juice all over your sink. Simply lay your chicken on a cutting board and pat it dry with paper towels.
Place your chicken on a rack in a roasting pan. We use this one and we love it! Salt and pepper the inside of the chicken. You can be liberal here. Don’t skimp on the salt and pepper, as they’re the simple seasonings in your kitchen that do most of the work.
Once you’ve seasoned the inside, you’ll stuff it. I use one small-medium onion, two large oranges, a few cloves of garlic (leave them whole and crush with your knife) and a bunch of thyme. *Hint: cut these ahead of time so you’re not messing with chicken guts everywhere. Stuff these inside the bird so you have about equal amounts of everything. You’ll have leftover onions and oranges. Place these in the bottom of the pan. They will roast along with your chicken.
After you’ve stuffed your chicken, you will tie the legs together using kitchen string. It’s helpful if you tie right above the joint bone at the end of the leg. Tie the legs so they overlap at the end, and don’t be afraid to make it tight and your knot secure. Next, you’ll brush the outside of the chicken with melted butter. Then, liberally salt and pepper the outside of the bird before adding bacon. Bacon? Yes, bacon! This chicken is covered in bacon to roast. How brilliant is that? Lay strips of bacon over the top of the bird.
Finally, you’ll put your bird in the lower part of a 425 degree oven. Roast for about an hour. Then remove the chicken and take off the bacon and set aside. Depending on the thickness of your bacon it may or may not be cooked through. If you plan on using the bacon for something else (mashed potatoes anyone?) make sure it is cooked through. Return the chicken to the oven for another 30 minutes until the juices run clear when you cut between the leg and thigh.
Remove your perfect roast chicken from the roasting pan to a large cutting board and cover it loosely with foil. Let it rest for about 10-15 minutes before serving. This will allow the juices to redistribute (read: no one likes dry chicken).
Need side dish ideas? Check out my 15 Summer Side Dishes post!
Perfect Roast Chicken
- 1 roasting chicken 5-6 pounds
- kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 bunch fresh thyme
- 2 large oranges
- 1 medium onion
- 4 garlic cloves crushed with your knife
- 2 tbsp butter melted
- 1/2 pound bacon
- Heat the oven to 425 degrees.
- Remove the giblets from the chicken. Pat the chicken dry.
- Liberally salt and pepper the chicken on the inside. Stuff with onions, oranges, and thyme.
- Tie the legs together with kitchen string and tuck the wing tips under the chicken.
- Brush the outside of the chicken with melted butter and liberally salt and pepper the outside of the chicken.
- Lay slices of bacon over the chicken to cover.
- Roast in the oven for one hour.
- Remove the bacon and set aside.
- Roast the chicken for an additional 30 minutes or until the juices run clear when you cut between the leg and thigh.
- Remove the chicken, set aside, and cover loosely with foil. Let rest for 10-15 minutes before serving.