In the summer we do not have our oven on usually so on our first 50 something fall day we have a whole chicken – every year. It is one of my favorite meals! I have to admit that it took me quite a few tries to learn how to roast a chicken and keep the breast moist, but I have been making it for years like this now.
We made stuffing and Instant Pot mashed potatoes with our chicken. I like to buy the bagged stuffing mix (seasoned bread cubes) and make our own. Usually we use our own homemade chicken broth for stuffing – I wrote a post so you can learn how to make broth from leftovers if you want to make your own. You can use the carcass from the chicken to make soup or broth this way too.
How to Roast a Chicken
On to the delicious details. I first pick out a chicken that weighs about 6.5-7 pounds. For us it is plenty and I use the leftovers to make broth. We are not affiliated with Perdue, but their chicken is our favorite. I will buy store brand too, but Perdue is the juiciest when cooked properly.
Prepping the Chicken
This is an important step. Take the chicken out of the fridge and remove all the giblets (usually they are in a bag in the rib area. Rinse the inside and outside of the bird with cool water and pat dry. Place in a baking dish – I find it turns out much better if I use my 13 X 9 glass dish. I have 3 of them because I use them for everything!
Preheat oven to 350 and have the chicken sit in the roasting dish for about 15-20 minutes before placing in oven. While is it is sitting, prep the seasoning. Melt the butter in a bowl or pan (this is one of the rare times I use my microwave.) Add the seasonings to the melted butter.
Using a brush you want to brush the melted butter/seasoning mix all over the chicken. I even put some into the cavity where the giblets were. I do not stuff the chicken for multiple reasons and do not recommend it. Cooking the stuffing and the rest of the chicken to the safe temperature dries out the chicken breast. It takes longer for a stuffing filled cavity to reach the safe temperature then it does without.
I like to tuck the wings under like in the picture. Does it help them cook better? Yes! The ends of the wings do not dry out this way.
Roasting the Chicken
I add just about 1/4 cup water to the bottom of the dish and cover very loosely with foil. I tuck the ends of the foil under the handles of my glass dish but keep the sides open. Sorry for the glare in the picture but I realized after my chicken was in the oven that I forgot to take a picture for you. Also you will see a fan in the back of my oven in the picture. My roast feature on the oven has a fan, but 350 is still a good temperature even if you don’t have the fan. Ours cycles on and off so it isn’t a constant fan.
Cook it covered loosely for an hour. Remove foil and continue cooking for until it reaches a temperature of 165 when a thermometer (my favorite kind, I prefer these over the digital) is inserted in the thickest part of the thigh. Just be sure you are not on a bone when testing temperature.
Be careful not to open the oven too often. Open it to remove foil (don’t remove roast just foil) and then close to time to be done, open again to check the temperature. The more times you open the oven, the more likely your chicken will dry out. For the cooking time, I go by 10-15 minutes per pound. This is your total time and includes the hour with the foil on it.
Serving the Chicken
Once the chicken has reached the correct temperature, remove from oven and let it stand for about 5 minutes before transferring to a cutting board (or the serving platter if you are cutting it at the table.) After removing it from roasting pan, cover with foil loosely and let stand 10-15 minutes while you make your gravy.
It is important to let it rest before cutting. You want to let the juices to go back into the fibers of the meat or it will dry out. We cut it at the table as we want it, but you may want to cut it on a cutting board and bring it out to the table already cut – the choice is yours.
What do you like to serve with your roast?
Roasted Whole Chicken
- 6½ lb whole roaster chicken approximate
- ¼ cup water
- 2 tbsp butter melted
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp rosemary dried
- ¼ tsp black pepper ground
- ¼ tsp salt see notes
- Preheat oven to 350°. Take the chicken out of the fridge and remove the giblets from cavity, they should be in a bag. Rinse the chicken in cool water, rinse inside and outside of the chicken. Pat dry with a paper towel and place in a baking dish (we prefer the glass.) I tuck the wings under the body to cook the wings evenly (they don't dry out on the ends.)
- Add the water to the bottom of the pan and allow the chicken to sit out about 15-20 minutes before placing in oven. While it is sitting out, melt your butter in a bowl or pan (I use the microwave here.)
- Add in garlic powder, pepper, salt and rosemary. With a brush, brush the butter and spice mixture generously over the chicken. Be sure to brush some inside the cavity as well.
- Cover loosely with foil. I cover from end to end but leave the sides open for a little air flow.
- Bake with foil on it for an hour and then remove foil to continue baking until the temperature in the thickest part of the thigh reaches 165 – be sure not to touch the bones while testing temperature.The total cook time should estimate to be about 10-15 minutes a pound total time – this includes the hour with the foil. Try not to test the temperature too early, the more times you open the oven the more likely your chicken will dry out. I would wait until the 10 minutes per pound mark.