Perfect Roast Chicken

Perfect Roast Chicken


I like to roast a whole chicken on a Sunday afternoon.  I know, how very “1950’s women” cliche of me.  I’ve been told many times that I’m an old soul.  Really, though, don’t you want your chicken cooked by an old soul? (Just say yes, because you know it’s the right answer.)  Here’s the versatility of the roasted chicken:

  1. Eat it right away, crispy skin and all, along side vegetables and a nice salad.  (A wonderful Sunday night dinner.)
  2. Dice or shred the meat and add to casseroles, salads, soups, or sandwiches throughout the week.
  3. Enjoy chicken breast sliced on top of quinoa, pasta, or couscous for a light lunch or dinner.
  4. Make a homemade stock with the leftover carcass.  Place the leftover bones and skin in a pot and cover with cold water, add onions, celery, carrots, parsley (or other fresh herbs), whole black peppercorns, and salt.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a low and simmer for 4-5 hours.  You will occasionally want to check on the stock and skim fat off the top layer.  Remove bones, and strain stock.  Use right away, or return stock to pot and simmer for another hour or two to reduce the stock and concentrate the flavors.  EASY PEASY. Homemade chicken stock.
  5. Make chicken salad and serve in lettuce cups or on toasted sourdough bread.
  6. The options are endless!

Now onto the recipe – This chicken came out crispy, juicy, and, (OK I’m going to say it), better than any other chicken I have ever had!  Feel free to use whatever herbs or citrus you have on hand.  (I often times use rosemary.)  The key = roast at a high temperature for about 15 minutes for crispy skin, then reduce the heat to allow the chicken to cook the rest of the way through.  (It helps to have friends in culinary school who can point me in the right direction.)

I would love to hear your favorite way to use up leftover roast chicken.  Share with us by leaving a comment below.

Perfect Roast Chicken



  • 5 – 6 lb chicken, giblets removed and discarded
  • 1 lemon, quartered
  • 1/2 onion, quartered
  • 1 head of garlic, halved crosswise
  • Small bunch of thyme sprigs (approximately 20 sprigs)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • Onion and celery to make a bed for chicken (optional)


Preheat oven to 500 degrees F.

Thoroughly rinse chicken under cold running tap water.  Pat chicken dry with paper towels. (Note: It is important to thoroughly dry the chicken to ensure a crispy skin.)

Place chicken either on a wire rack in a shallow roasting pan or on a bed of sliced onions and whole celery ribs in a large saute pan (as I have done in the pictures) or a rimmed baking sheet.  It is important to keep the chicken off the bottom of the pan so it isn’t sitting in the pan drippings and juices.

Season the inside of the cavity with salt and pepper, and stuff with lemon, onion, garlic, and thyme.  At this point you can truss the chicken if you like.  Trussing the chicken helps to keep the citrus and aromatics inside the cavity of the chicken, as well as holds the chicken’s shape during the cooking process.

With a small pastry brush coat the outside of the chicken with olive oil, and generously season with salt and pepper.  Pour chicken broth into the base of your pan.  Your chicken is now ready for the oven.

Cook chicken at 500 degrees for 20 minutes until skin starts to get nice and crispy.  Remove bird from the oven, and baste with the pan juices.  Reduce temperature to 350 degrees and return the bird to the oven.  The total cook time should be 14-15 minutes per lb.  For a 5 lb bird, I cooked it at 500 degrees for 20 minutes and 350 degrees for 50 minutes.  Note: Baste the chicken every 20 minutes or so with the pan juices.  If pan juices run low, add additional chicken broth.

To test chicken, insert a thermometer into the thickest part of the chicken.  You are looking for 160 degrees when you remove it from the oven (the chicken will continue to cook and will raise another 5 degrees as it rests).  Allow chicken to rest for 15-20 minutes.

Your chicken is now ready for carving!  Serve with pan juices.

Servings: 4


6 thoughts on “Perfect Roast Chicken

  1. Whenever I roast a chicken, the intention is to have leftovers for further meals. But there have been times when my husband carves up the chicken while super hungry. Yes, eyes bigger than stomach, he carves up the chicken and then places the portions onto 2 plates. Dinner served!

    1. This often times happens to us as well. My little trick – carve one of the breasts and immediately put it aside to use in another recipe later in the week. The rest of the bird very rarely makes it to Monday!

      1. Made your roast chicken tonight. Uncle Roger is carving it up while I write to you! I’ll use the leftover chicken in Cheesy Chicken and Mushroom Lasagna! Love you sweetheart!

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