This roast chicken recipe will amaze you because it’s so easy.
I used to be chicken to cook a whole chicken.
I guess I wouldn’t really say “chicken”, I just didn’t want to put in the effort. I cook our family’s Thanksgiving turkey every other year and that is easy as can be. Clean the bird out, throw some garlic or what have you inside, truss it and set it on some thickly cut onions and carrots and roast ’til it’s brown and lovely.
As a bonus for all of that hard work (preparing the side dishes) you get leftovers for weeks.
A chicken, however, seemed to require all sorts of attention for not a whole lot of meat (and don’t even get me started on Cornish hens).
According to all the recipes I’d seen if you want your chicken to be worth eating, not only do you have to baste it, you’ve got to slip butter and herbs and whatnot under its skin.
It’s not enough you’ve got to stick your hand in its guts to dry the sucker out, now you’ve got to put your hand in between the meat and skin! I cry fowl.
Here’s the good news. That’s all a bunch of hogwash. Or chickenwash, as the case may be. You can have a lovely, juicy, delicious roast chicken without a bunch of hassle and in about an hour.
You can even have it with whatever flavors you want. Garlic and tarragon? Lemon and rosemary? Cranberry and sage (who says turkeys get to have all the fun)? Done. But you don’t need them.
All you need to make the best roasted chicken is the chicken. Maybe some kosher salt if you want to make that skin really crispy.
The key is high heat. To cook a juicy chicken, you want to cook it fast. Otherwise, it dries out too quickly.
However, you do want the skin to be dry. That’s how it gets crispy.
How to make the easiest roast chicken recipe
To make the easiest roast chicken ever:
- Take any gizzards, heart, etc., out of the cavity. Put them in a pot and cover with water to make broth. You can also add aromatics like celery, carrots, onion, etc.
- Rinse the chicken inside and out and pat dry.
- For crispy skin, put a metal rack on a sheet pan. Set the chicken on top, breast side up, and sprinkle with kosher salt.
- Let it sit in the refrigerator for at least four hours. You want to give that skin a chance to dry out.
- Turn the oven to 425 degrees.
- Put the chicken in the oven. This can be on an oiled sheet pan or in an iron skillet. Add some fresh ground black pepper, if you’d like.
- Cook for about an hour, or until the internal temperature is 165 degrees.
- Let it sit for fifteen minutes or so.
Tip: chill it to take on a picnic with some bacon potato salad.
That’s it. Seriously. You don’t need to put aromatics in the cavity unless you want to. You don’t need to truss it. You don’t need to spatchcock. You don’t even need to oil/butter/season the skin. You can, but you don’t have to.
Then, after you’ve carved all the meat you can off of the chicken, but the carcass into a slow cooker. Add celery, carrot, onion, garlic, or any other kind of flavor you’d like. I often don’t add any if I want a neutral base. Fill the slow cooker with water and cook on low for a whole day. Viola! Bone broth.
This is one of the easiest entrees you can make, and with the bone broth, it’s the gift that keeps on giving.
- 4 to 5 lb roasting chicken
- kosher salt
- Pull out the gizzards, heart, etc., from the chicken and then rinse and pat the bird dry inside and out
- Put the gizzards, heart, etc. in a pot, cover with water, and simmer while the chicken cooks. This gives you broth for gravy if you choose to make it.
- Optional - Place the chicken on a wire rack and set on top of a sheet pan, breast side up. Sprinkle with kosher salt. Put in the refrigerator, uncovered, for at least four hours.
- Turn the oven to 425°.
- Put chicken in an iron skillet or on a sheet pan and cook for about an hour, until juices run clear and a meat thermometer reaches 165°.
- Take out of oven and rest for about fifteen minutes.
To make bone broth:
After you've carved the chicken, but the rest of the bird into a slow cooker with any aromatics you desire. Fill the slow cooker with water. Cook on low for about 24 hours.
Try not to gnaw your arm off. I recommend putting the slow cooker someplace you won't smell it in the middle of the night, because it will wake you up and you'll be ravenous.
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Did you make this roast chicken recipe? Let me know what you think!