This is the best simple whole roasted chicken recipe. The skin is perfectly crisp and crackly, there’s no basting, and it results in a lovely pan gravy at the finish. Easy enough for a weeknight dinner!
I have a couple other whole chicken recipes in the oven on this site, a Chinese Roasted Chicken with Soy-Lime Dipping Sauce and a Roasted Spatchcock Chicken with Potatoes & Cabbage. But this super simple roast chicken recipe is the one that I make the most often. It’s fuss free, a crowd pleaser, and if you happen to have any leftovers, they’re great for making White Chicken Chili, Chicken Soup or Sesame Noodles.
Roasting a whole chicken has always been a bit of a feat for me. It’s one of those classic dishes that everyone has to make at least once I think. I finally found a recipe that I will repeat over and over again!
It’s so easy just to go to your grocery store and pick up a rotisserie chicken that’s cooked and hot and ready for you. However, it’s much more fulfilling to make one on your own. To get just the right crispy skin, brown color and drippings to create a yummy pan gravy! Yep – The pan gravy is where it’s at with this easy roasted chicken recipe!
I’ve tried several recipes for roasted chicken in the past. One called for using baking bags from Reynolds. That was a bit of a failure. The skin never got crispy and the color was just not there. Others called for stuffing lemons inside of the chicken and roasting with vegetables. Again, not quite what I was looking for. The chicken was somehow dry and the skin not crispy.
This easy roasted chicken recipe starts your chicken off at a high temperature (450 degrees). Pop the chicken into the scorching hot oven and then immediately turn the heat down to 375 degrees for the duration of the roasting time. That high heat at the outset is what makes this the best roast chicken recipe and gives it that great, crackly skin. And, by not stuffing the bird, or roasting with veggies, you cut down on any added moisture in the oven, providing that perfect environment to keep the skin dry and crispy. Because you’re roasting the chicken with no added accompaniments, you’ve got the base for great, quick gravy at the end.
How to Roast Chicken
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Rinse chicken and dry well with paper towels.
Rub spice mix under the skin and on the outside of your chicken.
Tie up the chicken legs and wings using kitchen twine.
- Here’s a great resource for learning how truss a chicken. However, if you don’t have kitchen twine on hand, feel free to skip this step.
Place in your preheated oven and immediately reduce the heat to 375 degrees.
How Long to Roast a Chicken
- Roast chicken cooking times will depend on the weight. Roast for approximately 20 minutes per pound.
How to Check Roast Chicken for Doneness
Place the temperature probe in the thickest part of the breast, being careful not to touch the bone. A roast chicken internal temperature should register at 165-degrees.
If you don’t have a meat thermometer, you can check if the chicken is done by piercing the meat with a knife – if the juices run clear, it is done. If they are pink, continue cooking. You can also cook into the chicken when the meat is the thickest. It should not be pink inside.
- Don’t have a meat thermometer yet? This is my favorite meat thermometer, and it’s under $15!
How to Make Gravy
The gravy couldn’t be simpler, and it cooks in just the right amount of time to let the roast chicken cool on your cutting board for a bit to let the juices redistribute.
- Place that cast iron skillet with the pan drippings over a burner set to medium-high heat.
- Add in some white wine (or dry vermouth) for amazing flavor.
- Make a slurry of cornstarch and water by shaking them up together in a small jar.
- Add the slurry to the pan and let it all cook together for a minute or two, until it thickens up.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper.
How to Carve a Roasted Chicken
- Let the roast chicken rest for at least 15 minutes before carving. This allows the juices redistribute in the meat, meaning they won’t go all over your cutting board when you carve into it.
- Pull the legs slightly away from the rest of the bird and carefully slice through the leg meat and skin, removing the leg and thigh from the rest of the body. (Here is a handy step-by-step with photos.)
- Slice the breast meat from one side of the center breastbone at the front of the breast cavity. Move your knife from the front to the back of the chicken while simultaneously pulling the breast meat away from the bone. Repeat with the remaining breast.
- Be sure to save the bones from your roasted chicken to make a simple, nutritious bone broth with the help of your slow cooker or instant pot!
How Do I Prepare a Chicken for Roasting?
- Rinse the chicken and be sure to remove any giblets, etc. from the cavity.
- Season by rubbing spices under and over the skin. Use your index finger to gently separate the skin from the meat and rub some spices in there to be sure you are not only flavoring the skin, but also the meat.
- Truss. This is a great resource for learning how tie up a chicken. However, if you don’t have kitchen twine on hand, feel free to skip this step.
What Do You Stuff a Chicken Cavity With?
- I prefer not to stuff my bird, because it provides the dryest roasting environment. However, if you would like to add additional flavor, you can stuff the cavity with garlic cloves, lemon halves, or fresh herbs.
What is the Difference Between Roasting and Baking a Chicken?
- Roasting is done at a higher temperature than baking (400-degrees and above). This roast chicken temperature starts at 450-degrees, then is immediately turned down to 375 degrees. This is what gives you that golden, browned crust on the outside of the chicken, but a moist and flavorful inside.
Do You Roast a Chicken Covered or Uncovered?
- You want to roast your chicken in an uncovered pan so that the air can circulate around it, giving you that crispy exterior. A covered pan would cause the chicken to steam, leaving you with soggy skin.
How Long Does it Take to Roast a Chicken at 375-degrees?
- Roast your chicken for 20 minutes per pound. A normal sized 5-pound chicken will take 1 hour 40 minutes.
Do You Put Water in the Pan When Roasting Chicken?
- Do not add water to your roasting pan. This will cause the chicken to steam, rather than allowing the skin to get nice and crispy.
What is the Best Temperature to Cook Chicken?
- This chicken starts in a preheated 450-degree oven. Once the chicken goes in, the heat is immediately turned down to 375-degrees. The roast chicken internal temperature should register at 165-degrees before removing it from the oven.
Can I Roast Chicken with Vegetables?
- Sure! Just add some chopped up veggies like carrots, potatoes, celery, etc. underneath your chicken. They should cook in the same amount of time as your chicken without overcooking.
What Herbs & Spices go Best with Roast Chicken?
Feel free to stray from the recipe below and use your favorite seasonings. Here are some spices that are great with chicken:
- Chili Powder
- Garlic Powder
- Onion Powder
- Turmeric (careful – it stains)
How to Reheat Roasted Chicken:
- Oven: Heat oven to 350-degrees (convection preferred). Place chicken in oven safe baking dish and add 1 cup chicken broth or water. Cover with foil and bake 25 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking 5 minutes to crisp the skin.
- Air Fryer: Heat air fryer to 350-degrees. Add chicken to basket and cook 4-5 minutes until heated through.
Wine Pairings for Roasted Chicken:
- A Viognier or unoaked Chardonnay would pair nicely with this dish.
- If you would like to go the red route, I’d suggest a Pinot Noir, or other light bodied red. Avoid hard, oaky tannic reds and they can overwhelm the delicate flavors of the chicken.
If you loved this Crispy Roast Chicken recipe I would appreciate it so much if you would give it a star review! Also, be sure to snap a picture of your finished dish and share it with me on Instagram using the hashtag #platingsandpairings and tagging me @platingsandpairings.
What to Serve with Roasted Chicken:
- Mashed Potatoes
- Instant Pot Baked Potatoes (with Crispy Skins)
- Apple Slaw with Celery Root
- Grilled Broccolini with Apple Cider Vinaigrette
- Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic Reduction & Cranberries
- Miso Roasted Cauliflower
- Instant Pot Sweet Potatoes
- Southwest Chicken Salad with Pico de Gallo
- Chinese Roasted Chicken with Soy-Lime Dipping Sauce
- Roasted Spatchcock Chicken with Potatoes & Cabbage
- Peruvian Grilled Chicken with Creamy Green Sauce
- Instant Pot Chicken Breasts (+Gravy)
- Harissa Chicken
Easy Roasted Chicken
- 4-6 pound whole chicken (neck and giblets removed)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 3/4 teaspoon McCormick Grill Mates Montreal chicken seasoning (or poultry seasoning)
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup dry white wine or vermouth
- Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.
- Rinse your chicken with cold water inside and out and dry well with paper towels.
- Combine olive oil with spices in small bowl and mix well. Rub half of your spice mix under the skin of the breast side and back side. Rub the remaining spices on the outside of your chicken.
- Using some kitchen twine, tie up the chicken legs and wings. This makes for more uniform cooking.
- Place your chicken breast side up in an oven safe skillet or roasting pan. Place in your preheated oven and immediately reduce the heat to 375 degrees.
- Roast your chicken for approximately 20 minutes per pound, or until the temperature of the breast meat registers at 165 degrees.
- Remove the chicken from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes in the pan. After the chicken has cooled, remove to a cutting board and let rest for an additional 10 minutes before carving (reserve the pan drippings in the pan to make your gravy).
- While the chicken is cooling on the cutting board, defat your pan drippings by skimming the top with a spoon and reserving only the solids in the pan. Place your pan on your stove burner over medium-high heat, add 1/4 cup white wine or vermouth. Reduce this mixture by about half.
- Combine the cornstarch and water in a small mason jar or Tupperware and shake well to combine. Add this mixture to your reduced drippings and heat until the gravy has thickened. Serve over your carved chicken.
This recipe was originally published in January 2018. It was updated in November 2020 to update the content and add an instructional video. The original recipe remains the same. Enjoy!