Our Simple Roast Chicken is juicy on the inside and crispy on the outside. Pan leftovers create a superior tasting chicken gravy.
Learning to roast a chicken is one kitchen basic everyone should learn how to do. A roast chicken can provide a delicious meal and leftovers (my favourite part) can be turned into several new meals like Chicken Soup, Chicken Pot Pie, Tacos, Salads and more.
Roasting your own chicken tricks
Over the years I’ve roasted my fair share of chickens. In fact my first ever roast turkey was cooked when I lived in a bachelor suite in downtown Vancouver over 30 years ago. It was small quarters, with dirty dishes ending up in the bath tub, but I pulled out all stops and served up a darn good bird.
Once you roast your first chicken it will be easy for you to roast a turkey.
To keep my chicken moist, I cut slices of butter and gently push them under the skin. Note in the raw chicken photo the chicken breast skin is torn, but in the cooked chicken photo you can not even see the tear.
There is no fancy photo editing happening here. It is merely the butter under the skin keeps the chicken moist as it cooks therefore the skin does not tear any more or dry out causing it to shrink and the breast meat to show. Cool tip right?
Essential Chicken Gravy
I adore roast chicken and roasting a bird is something I could possibly do in my sleep since I’ve done it so many times. When I didn’t have a rack for my roasting pan, I improvised using vegetables.
As the chicken cooks it releases it’s juices into the pan and flavours the vegetables. The cooked vegetables become the base of an incredibly flavourful chicken gravy.
Lemons in the pan will add lemon flavour to your gravy so if you prefer more of a classic tasting gravy do not add the lemon to the roasting pan. A few simple herbs are all you need, let the chicken speak for itself. Our herb of choice is rosemary.
Ovens and bird sizes will vary so plan accordingly factoring about 1 – 1.5 hour cooking time. Your meat thermometer is your best friend when it comes to cooking poultry or any meat so have it handy for checking the bird.
- Bring your bird out of the refrigerator one hour before cooking to warm up
- Completely dry chicken with paper towel
- Ensure you have a meat thermometer on hand to check internal temperature of chicken
- The chicken is done when your internal temperature is 165 degrees Fahrenheit in the thickest part of the thigh, the drumsticks and wings wiggle easily and juices run brown
- Plan for 1- 1.5 hours total roasting time for your chicken
- We use vegetables to create a rack on the bottom of the pan, no rack required
What to do with Roast Chicken Leftovers
We love roast chicken leftovers and are always trying new recipes. Here’s a few tried and true to help you use your roast chicken leftovers.
- Crunch Asian Chicken Salad
- Chicken Pot Pie with Puff Pastry
- Chicken Tortilla Soup
- Chicken & Bacon Taquitos
- 1 4-5 lb whole roasting chicken or broiler chicken
- 1 parsnip halved lengthwise
- 1 celery stalk
- 1 carrot halved lengthwise
- 1 onion cut into thick slices + 1/2 onion skin removed
- 1 bulb garlic top cut off and left whole
- 3 sprigs rosemary
- 1 lemon halved + 1/2 lemon
- extra virgin Olive oil
- Butchers string about 3-4 feet
- 4 tbsp cold butter
- Sea salt and fresh black pepper
- Chicken stock
- Remove chicken from refrigerator one hour before cooking. Set aside.
- In a roasting pan make a rack out of vegetables as shown in one of our photos. Lay down parsnip, celery, carrot, onion, garlic, 2 lemon halves and 2 sprigs rosemary. Add a drizzle of olive oil over top. This is the base (rack) your chicken will sit on top of.
- Preheat oven to 425 F.
- Insert 1 sprig rosemary, 1/2 lemon and 1/2 onion in to the cavity of the chicken.
- Truss your chicken: tuck butchers string under legs and tie a knot to secure legs. Bring each piece of the string up along each side between the breasts and the legs then turn chicken over. Bring string around the back securing wings in place and tie into another knot. Cut excess string.
- Gently lift up skin on each breast using the back of a spoon or your finger tips for about 3/4 of the breast. Add equal amount of butter to each side under skin. If you tear some of the skin just pat it back into place.
- Place chicken on top of vegetable rack in roasting pan. Drizzle olive oil on top and season with salt and pepper.
- At about one hour start checking temperature. Many times my chickens have cooked for one hour and 15 minutes or more depending on size and ovens.
- Remove from oven when temperature reads 165F. Cover with tin foil and set aside for 10 minutes.
- While chicken is resting make your Chicken Pan Gravy.
- Serve chicken with your gravy and favourite sides.