How To Roast Chicken Perfectly
How to roast chicken so that it’s juicy and tender on the inside and crispy on the outside. This special technique works flawlessly every single time!
Last year I posted about how to roast pork and how to pork loin perfectly. Those posts were inspired by a post on SeriousEats.com about how to reverse sear beef prime rib. It was really cool how they slow cook the meat and then sear it with high heat at the end. That’s so completely the opposite of how I had always done it!
I tried the technique on roast beef and loved it. Then I tried it on pork butt and pork loin. I decided that it was a perfect system, resulting in that fantastic blend of juicy interior and crispy exterior every single time, without fail.
So, I wondered, “If it works so well for these meats, could it also work for chicken?” I am happy to report that, YES! It works perfectly!
Here’s a detailed step by step written guide. A printable, shorter version of these instructions can be found at the end as well.
Getting Your Chicken Ready For Roasting
1. Take your chicken out of the fridge and remove the giblets from inside.
(You can discard the giblets or you can simmer them in a bit of water to make a broth. Alternatively, you can put them in the roasting pan with your chicken when you cook it. This will add extra flavor to the liquid in the bottom of the pan, which you will use to make gravy. If you choose to do this, stir them every now and then. After the chicken has finished cooking at 300F, smoosh the giblets into the liquid a bit and then strain the liquid and use it for gravy).
2. Once you have removed the giblets from the chicken, put the chicken into a roasting pan (a 15-inch oval roaster is the perfect size for an average chicken) and let it rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
3. Preheat your oven to 300°F.
4. Truss the drumsticks by tying the end of one with a length of butcher’s twine.
Wrap the end of the twine around the other drumstick end and tie them closely together.
5. Tuck the wings underneath the chicken. This is so that the delicate, small wings don’t overcook. When they’re under the rest of the chicken, they’re more protected from the heat.
Grab a wing tip and and pull it backwards.
Then bend and tuck the wing under the chicken.
6. Season the top of the chicken with salt and pepper.
Tip: Measure out the salt and pepper into a small bowl and mix it up. This allows you to season directly from the bowl without worrying if your hands touch the chicken between rounds of seasoning. For a four-pound chicken, I recommend ¼ teaspoon of salt and 1/8 teaspoon of pepper.
7. Pour ½ inch of unsalted chicken stock or broth into the bottom of a roasting pan.
How to Cook the Chicken
8. Put the roaster containing the chicken into the pre-heated oven. Roast the chicken uncovered.
9. You want an internal temperature of 160°F. It will take between 25-30 minutes per pound to get there. Start checking the chicken’s temperature at 20 minutes per pound. So at 80 minutes for a 4 pound chicken use an instant read thermometer to test the temperature in both the middle of the breast and middle of the thigh, being careful not to touch the bone.
10. At any point, if much of the stock has evaporated add more.
Tip: Add enough liquid so that it goes back up the sides of the pan. You do this to dissolve any brownings left on the side from the previous broth round. All of this brown flavor will be essential for your gravy.
Resting the Chicken
11. Once the chicken has reached 160°F in the thigh and breast, let it rest for 30 minutes. Do not cover it during the resting time.
Tip: Take this time to start making your gravy using all of that brown liquid from the pan. I like to pour the liquid into a fat separator like this. Learn how to make perfect gravy from these chicken drippings over here.
12. Midway through the chicken resting, preheat your over to 500°F. Yes, really. That’s hot, I know. But it’s what you need to get that skin really crisp now that the meat is cooked through.
The Reverse Sear!
13. Place the chicken into a clean roasting pan or onto a baking sheet, then put it into the hot oven for 10-15 minutes until the skin is well browned and crisp.
14. Take it out of the oven.
15. Carve and serve immediately. There is no need to let the chicken rest at this point since it already did the resting thing earlier. Here is how to carve a chicken.
Who knew that you could roast chicken at a low temperature and then crisp the skin at the end? I really think you’re going to love this technique. That slow cooking yields such juicy meat and the high temperature at the end makes the skin so crisp. It’s amazing!
Here is the whole How to Perfectly Roast Chicken tutorial in printable form. Just click print below.
- 1 (4-6 lb.) whole chicken
- salt and pepper
- unsalted chicken stock or broth
- Take your chicken out of the fridge and remove the giblets from inside. Discard giblets or save for alternate use.
- Place chicken into roasting pan and let it rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 300°F.
- Truss the drumsticks tightly together with butcher’s twine.
- Tuck the wings underneath the chicken: Grab a wing tip and and pull it backwards then bend and tuck the wing under the chicken.
- Season the top of the chicken with salt and pepper. Approximately 1/4 teaspoon of salt and 1/8 teaspoon of pepper.
- Pour ½ inch of unsalted chicken stock or broth into the bottom of a roasting pan.
- Roast the chicken uncovered until internal temperature is 160°F. After an hour, if much of the stock has evaporated add more.
- Start checking the chicken temperature after 20 minutes per pound (so for a 4 pound turkey, check after 80 minutes). Test temperature in both breast and thigh being sure to not touch bone. Continue to check it every 10-15 minutes until it reaches 160F. This will take between 25-30 minutes per pound. So, for a 4 pound chicken, it will take between 100 – 120 minutes.
- Take the chicken out once it reaches 160°F. Transfer to another pan or cutting board. Use juices to make gravy, if desired. Let chicken sit for 30 minutes. Do not cover it during the resting time.
- Preheat over to 500°F.
- Place the chicken into a clean, empty roasting pan or onto a baking sheet, then put it into the hot oven for 10-15 minutes until the skin is well browned and crisp.
- Take it out of the oven.
- Carve and serve immediately.
This post originally appeared in February, 2018 and was revised and republished in March, 2020.