How to Roast a Chicken Recipe

Photo of How to Roast a Chicken

How to Roast a Chicken

Serves 4 to 6

Roasting a whole chicken is a simple way to make a delicious, satisfying, and aromatic entrée. The key is to salt it the day before, allowing time for the meat to become perfectly seasoned, inside and out. Storing it uncovered in the refrigerator overnight also allows the skin to dry. This will enable it to become golden and crisp when roasted.


  • 1 whole chicken, neck and giblets removed (about 4 pounds total)
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste
  • Sprigs of fresh herbs (thyme, rosemary, parsley, and/or sage)
  • Half a lemon


  1. Generously sprinkle salt all over chicken, inside and out. Use about 1 teaspoon salt per pound of chicken.
  2. Place chicken on a rack set inside a rimmed baking sheet or roasting pan. Alternatively, place chicken in a cast-iron skillet. Refrigerate, uncovered, overnight.
  3. Remove chicken from fridge. Tuck wing tips under bird. Use string to tie ends of drumsticks together. (Keeping all parts of the chicken compacted together will result in more even cooking.) Sprinkle all over with pepper. For additional flavor, stuff cavity of chicken with sprigs of herbs and half a lemon.
  4. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  5. Roast chicken about 1 hour, rotating pan once halfway through. Remove when chicken is golden, fragrant, and the internal temperature registers 165°F on a probe thermometer inserted into thickest part of chicken without touching bone.
  6. Allow chicken to rest 10 minutes before carving. Season, to taste, with additional salt and pepper before serving.
  7. Cook's Tips:
  8. A whole roasted chicken will continue to cook from carryover heat while resting. Some cooks opt to remove chicken from heat source when internal temperature reaches 160° F and allow it to reach the recommended proper temperature of165°F while resting outside the oven.
  9. Some chickens come pre-brined, eliminating the need for salting ahead of time. Check the ingredients for salt on the chicken package before beginning.


Amount Per Serving (based on 6 servings)
Calories: 340 undefined
Fat: 20 g
Saturated Fat: 5 g
Trans Fat: 0 g
Cholesterol: 125 mg
Sodium: 860 mg
Carbohydrates: 0 g
Fiber: 0 g
Sugar: 0 g
Added Sugars: 0 g
Protein: 39 g
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