Get 5 Secrets to Make Homemade Taste Food Better + New Recipes Weekly!
Published February 18, 2020. This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
Easy whole roast chicken is the perfect weeknight or weekend 3-ingredient meal that is exceptionally tender, juicy, and flavorful.
It’s one of the most fundamental recipes out there, and it only takes 60 minutes. There is absolutely no reason to ever buy a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store again once you realize how easy this is to make.
Do You Need Butter or Oil to Roast Chicken
Believe it or not, fat is not needed to make this recipe. There’s enough oil in the skin of the chicken to help keep it juicy and flavorful. In addition, not-too-worry. The skin will also be plenty brown when it is done baking.
What’s the Best Temperature to Cook At
The absolute best temperature to roast chicken is 400°. This will allow your chicken to be golden brown on the outside while being cooked throughout at 165° internally while being juicy. In addition, this temperature will allow your chicken to be done in 60 minutes. Here are some other temperatures that work well:
- 375° – this will take an additional 15-20 minutes to roast in the oven and will not be as browned on the outside.
- 425° – This temperature will decrease the time by about 10 minutes, and the skin will be very dark, and it will be cooked throughout. It will not be quite as juicy.
How Long Does It Take
Here are the basic guidelines for a whole roasting chicken that weighs 3 ½ to 4 1/2 pounds. There will be some variation in time depending on the weight of the chicken.
- 375° for 80 minutes
- 400° for 60 minutes
- 425° for 50 minutes
It is imperative that the thigh of the chicken be cooked to 165°.
How to Roast a Chicken
Season the cavity of the chicken with sea salt and cracked black pepper, and make sure the giblets and neck are removed.
Truss the chicken to ensure it seals in all the juices and holds its shape.
Place the chicken in a 10” frying pan, a cast-iron skillet, or a cookie sheet tray lined with parchment paper, and generously season the outside with sea salt.
In addition, generously season the outside with cracked black pepper.
Roast in the oven at 400° for 60 minutes on the middle rack or until the thigh reaches an internal temperature of 162° using a thermometer. Then let it rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving. During this time, the chicken will carry over to 165°+.
Crispy Skin Roast Chicken
The key to delicious crispy chicken is the temperature in the oven and ensuring it is completely exposed to the cooking elements in the oven. While 400° is a great temperature to roast the chicken, you also need to ensure that it is not covered in any way. You want to ensure all the chicken not lying on the pan is exposed to that heat.
How to Make Sure It’s Juicy
To ensure this recipe is juicy, I recommend pulling it out of the oven when the thigh of the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 162° and then letting it rest on a plate or cutting board for 5-10 minutes before serving.
When you pull the roast chicken at this temperature, it will come up to that 165° after removing it from the oven due to carry overcooking. The key to always making anything juicy is slightly undercooking before removing it from the oven.
The other important factor is letting it rest. When you do this, all the juices soak back into the chicken while it cools down slightly, making it extremely juicy. If you cut into it when it’s hot, all the juice will leak out.
Roast Chicken in a Crockpot
Place the trussed seasoned chicken in a slow cooker and cook on high for 4 ½ hours or until the thigh reaches 165° internally. The chicken will not have as crispy skin as one that is baked in the oven, but it will be browned, juicy, and cooked throughout.
Reheat and Storage
How to Reheat: Place the chicken in a pan with ½ cup of water. Cover with foil and bake in the oven at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until hot.
How to Store: Place covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
How to Freeze: Place covered in the freezer for up to 2 months. Thaw for 1 day in the refrigerator before reheating.
chef notes + tips
More Chicken Recipes
Easy Roast Chicken Recipe
- 1 4 to 4 ½ pound roasting chicken
- Sea salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 400°.
- Remove the neck and giblets from the cavity and season the inside of the cavity well with salt and pepper.
- Truss the chicken and place in a 10” frying pan, cast iron skillet or cookie sheet tray lined with parchment paper.
- Generously season the outside of the chicken on all sides with salt and pepper.
- Place on the middle rack of the oven and cook at 400° for 60 minutes or until the thigh reaches an internal temperature of 162°.
- Remove the chicken from the pan and place it on a plate or cutting board for 5 to 10 minutes or rest before serving. During this time, the chicken will carry over to 165°+.