For some reason, the concept of roasting a WHOLE chicken can seem intimidating. At least that was the case for me when I was first learning how to cook.
How do I know if it’s cooked all the way? Will it be dry? Won’t it take forever in the oven? And what do I do with the pesky little wings? Don’t I have to bend them or tie them up? I’d rather just buy one from the store.
Fear no-more! It’s actually quite simple to roast a chicken. In fact, this NO-THINK recipe doesn’t require twine, nor any fancy techniques to bend back the wings (although you are always welcome to do so). The objective is to show how easy and tasty it really is to make it yourself without worrying about fancy techniques.
Our Top 6 Reasons to Roast a Chicken Yourself
Before I dive in, here are our top 6 reasons you should really consider adding this to your weekly (or bi-weekly) meal planning repertoire.
- It’s much healthier than store bought versions. Hard to pass the $6 roast chicken at the grocery store? You might want to think again. Most stores will roast their chicken with poor quality, not-so-good for you oils, modified food starch, sugar, MSG, and other preservatives/flavor enhancers. Using the recipe below, you’ll know EXACTLY what’s going into your food.
- It’s cost effective (aka – cheap). Buying a whole chicken is much more affordable than buying 2 breasts, 2 thighs, and 2 drumsticks individually. Plus you get to keep the carcass – which can be easily thrown into a pot with water for chicken stock.
- It’s fast and easy. The basic steps require nothing but 5 minutes of your time to prep the chicken and about 30-45 minutes in the oven. (I bet you can check a few things off your “to-do” list when it’s roasting).
- It makes for great leftovers. Roasting a whole chicken will not only last for dinner, but also leftovers. Shred up the rest and add it to a chopped salad, or throw it into a wrap for lunch the next day.
- It’s flavor flexible. As you’ll see below, you can really flavor your chicken any which way you’d like. Using different spices and herbs can convert the traditional salt & pepper roasted chicken into something much more ethnic-inspired. Download the 8 Easy Spice Combos when you sign up for our newsletter here.
- It helps with weight-loss goals. Ok the roasted chicken itself doesn’t directly help with weight-loss and strength goals, but the protein does. More often than not, many folks that are trying to lose weight, can probably reduce their intake of starchy carbohydrates and increase their intake of fibrous greens and lean protein.
- 1 whole chicken, preferably organic around 4 pounds
- 1 tablespoon sea salt, plus more
- 1 tablespoon fresh ground pepper, plus more
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
- 1 lemon
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. (If using a cast-iron skillet, place it in the oven to warm while preparing the chicken.)
- Rinse chicken and pat dry with a paper towel. If the chicken comes with a bag of organs, remove that first. (You can use the neck and boil it with the leftover carcass for a homemade stock.)
- Using a sharp knife, remove any extra skin/fat that is hanging.
- Create a paste with the salt, pepper, coconut oil, and any other additional ingredients (i.e. - garlic, ginger, spices, herbs).
- Using your hands, rub the salt mixture all over the chicken and between the skin and flesh of the breast. Sprinkle with additional pepper and salt, making sure to massage the inside of the cavity and all parts of the bones/flesh.
- Place in the pre-warmed skillet or a roasting dish. Squeeze the lemon over the top and place the rind in the cavity.
- Add about ¼ cup water to the bottom of the pan (enough to cover the surface) and roast in the oven for 30 minutes. Rotate the pan and cook for another ~20 minutes (or until done - see below for tips). Let rest for 10 minutes before carving to keep it juicy.
Additional Flavor Ideas
- 2 tablespoons garlic, chopped
- 2 tablespoons ginger, chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh/dried herbs (i.e. – thyme, rosemary), chopped
- 2 tablespoon spice mixture. (Click Here to Subscribe to our newsletter and download the Spice Chart)
Here’s how you can tell the chicken is done:
- the thickest part of the chicken should be about 165 degrees F, OR
- when you cut between the leg and the thigh, the juices should run clear, OR
- when you slice into the thickest parts (usually the breast), it should be moist but not pink
Kale. All Day. Err Day.
Kale. All Day. Err Day.