I know that sometimes cooking a whole chicken can feel less convenient than just picking up chicken breasts at the store, but stick with me while I try to convince you it’s worth the little bit of extra effort and time.
This is the first step in making many meals out of a whole chicken. First comes roasting day which is a special meal in itself. The crackling chicken comes out of the oven making your entire house smell like Thanksgiving. I like to make a whole chicken on Sunday or Monday getting our weekly meals off to a great start. The next day I pick any leftover meat for topping on salads or tacos, before throwing all the bones into a pot with carrots, onion, celery, herbs, and cold water. I bring it to a gentle simmer for 30 minutes and strain. Voila, chicken broth!
Now I go through the strained bones again, and while they are still warm but cool enough to touch, I pick more meat off the bones to make a soup. When you chill the strained broth, the chicken fat will naturally rise and solidify on top of the stock. You can skim this off with a spoon and use this for sauteing potatoes or veggies.
This utilization of the whole chicken is no small thing. When we roast a whole chicken it easily feeds us for 3-5 meals by doing the roasted chicken-picked chicken-some kind of chicken soup method. It makes meal planning easy for the week–Roasted chicken! Tacos! Soup! It’s also incredibly cost-effective. Let’s say I go to the farmers market or store and pay anywhere from $15-$30 for the whole chicken depending on the size and if it’s organic, pastured, etc. Even though we will add other ingredients to our meals, it’s still the star of the show.
Let’s look at it conservatively though and say my family of four gets only three meals out of it (we always get more if we make soup) and we pay $25 for the chicken. That comes to about $2.00 per meal worth of chicken and/or broth. Have I convinced you yet?
There are a million delicious recipes out there for roasted chicken. After many years of trying all kinds of methods, I found that the most simple method–dry cooking, is my favorite. It’s also the easiest. I came to this conclusion one night when I had run out of time for anything else aside from throwing the chicken in the oven as fast as humanly possible. Essentially it involves seasoning the chicken with just salt and pepper, resulting in a crispy skin and loads of flavor. Recently I fell in love with adding smoked paprika to this mix, but any dry spice or herbs will do.Print
Simple Oven Roasted Whole Chicken
The easiest dry cooking method for oven roasting a well-seasoned, juicy, crispy-skinned whole chicken.
- Prep Time: .5
- Cook Time: 1
- Total Time: 1.5
- Yield: 1 chicken
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Roasting
- Cuisine: meat
- 1 whole chicken
- 1 large red onion, peeled and sliced into 5 rounds (if you are not using a roasting rack pan)
- kosher salt
- freshly ground pepper
- kitchen twine
- Preheat the oven to 450 F. If your oven has a convection setting, this is the perfect time to use it. The more air, the crispier the skin.
- Place the slices of onion in a large oven-safe dish if you are not using a roasting rack pan. I have roasted chickens in all kinds of oven-safe dishes, dutch ovens, and cast iron skillets. The slices of onion act as an edible “roasting rack”, lifting the chicken off the bottom of the pan and allowing for a bit more air circulation. The onion incorporates a little moisture, but it also results in the most flavorful morsels to eat alongside the chicken so in my opinion it’s worth it and the chicken still comes out crispy.
- On a clean surface dry chicken with paper towels, inside and out. Make sure to remove the bag of giblets before roasting. The neck is sometimes included in the bag and is a great addition to throw into the stock later put it off to the side in your roasting pan. It’s also important to note that whenever you are handling raw chicken, it’s important to clean all surfaces, utensils, and hands thoroughly with hot, soapy water.
- Sprinkle around one tablespoon of kosher salt inside the chicken. Place chicken on top of onions or roasting rack.
- Cut a piece of kitchen twine and slide it under the tail skin (found directly under the drumstick area). Bring the twine up and around the drumsticks, tying them together tightly. This is the abridged version, so I’d recommend watching a video if you want to learn the more comprehensive technique. Trussing a chicken helps it cook evenly and prevents the breasts from drying out. If you don’t have twine, don’t worry. It’s still going to be delicious.
- Generously season the outside of the chicken with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.
- Cook in the oven around an hour or until the chicken reads 165 F. The time completely depends upon the size of the chicken. Insert a kitchen thermometer in the thickest part of the thigh without touching the bone. If you don’t have a thermometer, you can also check to see if the chicken is done by making sure the juices run clear when pierced with a knife and if you twist one of the drumsticks, the bone should twist easily and feel loose. Keep in mind the chicken will continue to cook for a few minutes after it is removed from the oven.
- When it’s completely cooked, remove the chicken from the oven and let rest for 15 minutes before serving.