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How to Make A Perfect Roasted Chicken

I have been meaning to do this post for a long time. Mostly because it’s one that I WISH I had seen on someone else’s blog back when I first got married and was getting used to cooking for the two of us. It can be tricky to make a roasted chicken that looks AND tastes completely perfect!

But after lots of practice, I am happy to share tips for those of you that might be looking for some. I make a roasted chicken about every other week. Jason and I typically eat the dark meat for dinner the night I make it, eat the white meat for salads and sandwiches in the days following, and I make stock with the carcass! Nothing goes to waste, and we enjoy every single bit of it.

My top tips for making a beautiful and delicious chicken:

#1- Buy a good chicken.

This seems overly obvious, but it’s not. Good doesn’t have to mean expensive, but the best chickens are generally going to be organic or kosher. If you have a local farm where you can get them, even better! Make sure the skin is intact everywhere and there’s no discoloration.

#2- Start with a dry chicken…

Make sure that you pat your chicken dry completely before you season it. Water on your chicken keeps it from browning properly!

#3- …Then lube it up!

I make a mixture of olive oil, lemon juice, and other seasonings and then rub it all over the entire chicken. For deliciously moist chicken breasts, gently lift up the skin of the breasts and rub the olive oil mixture underneath.

Some minced garlic under there makes it especially tasty! But I avoid putting fresh garlic or fresh herbs on the actual skin of the chicken because it can easily burn and make things a lot less attractive (though sometimes I do it anyways if I don’t care about the skin being a little ugly).

#4- Keep things tight.

This is a trick I learned from Barefoot Contessa. To keep any pieces of the chicken from drying out, everything needs to stay cozy and close together. Tuck the wings under the chicken by pulling the tip of the wing up…

then pushing it toward the backbone of the chicken…

and tuck it underneath the chicken.

And tie the drumsticks together with butcher’s twine the same way you would tie your shoes.

#5- Start the oven temp high.

I start at 450 to really get the skin browning, then lower the temperature to cook the chicken through. Then I keep an eye on it and make sure to rotate the pan in the oven a few times during cooking so that all the sides brown evenly.

Too much information at once? Haha, I apologize. But I put it into a handy Recipage entry for your convenience!  I promise that this recipe doesn’t disappoint. Time tested and made with love.


Perfect Roasted Chicken

by Lauren

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Keywords: entree American


Ingredients (1 chicken)

  • 1 whole chicken
  • 1 T. salt
  • 1/2 t. pepper
  • 1 t. garlic salt
  • 2 t. balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 c. olive oil
  • 1 lemon


Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Whisk together the seasonings, olive oil, vinegar, and the juice of half the lemon.

Rinse and pat your chicken dry.

Rub the entire chicken with the seasoning mixture. Pour a little of it inside the cavity and under the skin of the breasts.

Place both lemon halves inside the cavity of the chicken. You can also put whole cloves of garlic, or your favorite fresh herb, inside the cavity for extra flavor.

Drizzle a roasting pan with a little oil and place the seasoned chicken in the pan.

Tuck the wings under and tie together the legs with kitchen twine.

Sprinkle with a little extra salt or other all-purpose seasoning. I like to use a little Adobo.

Place the chicken in the preheated oven and cook until some parts of the chicken have turned golden brown.

Lower the heat to 375 for the remainder of the cooking time. Rotate the pan in the oven every 15 minutes to ensure even browning.

Cook until the juices run clear and the skin is all browned.

Remove from the oven and transfer the chicken to a cutting board. (You might want to put a kitchen towel underneath the board–things will be very juicy!)

Loosely cover the chicken with aluminum foil and let the chicken rest for 20 minutes.

Cut and enjoy!

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Along with the roasted chicken we had some sauteed zucchini and white wheat rolls. Rolls are something that I don’t get to make as much lately because of our school schedule! Quick diners have been saving my butt this semester, but ones like this that take more time are always SO worth it.

Tonight I made some gravy from the chicken drippings to go along with the meat. SO GOOD!

I also tried a new hard cider, which was amazing. I’ll definitely be repurchasing this!

With all the fun we were having this weekend, I delayed my usual grocery trip and meal planning to today.

I don’t know what it is…a stocked pantry or something…but I have been able to get our weekly groceries for SO CHEAP lately! I’m giving myself a pat on the back over here. This week’s groceries were only a little over $50, and that’s even WITH some splurge items like organic chicken and a mix-and-match six pack of beer and cider! Here’s our meal plan for the week.

Monday- roasted chicken, zucchini, white wheat rolls

Tuesday- Indian night: Royal Chicken, spiced brown jasmine rice, palak paneer

Wednesday- roast beef, crockpot potatoes, salad

Thursday- salmon with pan asian sauce, fried brown rice, broccoli

Friday- leftovers

We still have ONE MORE DAY left of fall break and I plan to take advantage of another great night of sleep before we have to go back to school.

Thanks for reading!



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{ 4 comments… add one }

  • Athena R October 16, 2012, 8:11 am

    I love roasting chicken, and this one looks so pretty and quite tasty. Lately, I’ve been roasting my chicken spatchcock style and it seems roasts quicker.

    • Lauren October 17, 2012, 1:19 am

      I’ve seen it done that way on the grill but never tried it for roasting! Sounds like a great idea.

  • Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table October 16, 2012, 4:10 pm

    Great tutorial! I would love to roast a chicken – I’ve never tried it and the WF ones are always dried out. Maybe i’ll brave this next week…
    Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table recently posted…Work It Out Beyond FullsMy Profile

    • Lauren October 17, 2012, 1:18 am

      You should totally try it! Nothing beats one freshly roasted at home. :)

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