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Perfect Roast Chicken calls for just 3 ingredients: chicken, salt, and pepper! This simple recipe is crispy on the outside and unbelievably juicy on the inside.

Perfect Roast Chicken with vegetables

Raise your hand if you’ve ever seen the whole chickens next to the packages of chicken breasts at the grocery store and totally loved the price, but had no idea what to do with it?

Maybe you waved it off saying “next time” or even purchased a rotisserie chicken instead. Totally fine, but I’m going to show you not only how EASY it is to make your own whole roast chicken at home with just three ingredients (spoiler alert: it’s just a whole chicken, salt, and pepper) but also how insanely DELICIOUS it is! I have to hold myself back every time a Perfect Roast Chicken comes out of the oven – skin audibly crispy, and meat tender and juicy. This is a must-have chicken recipe to keep in your back pocket.

Photo of chicken and vegetables in cast iron skillet

The method I use for roasting a whole chicken with just salt and pepper comes from Thomas Keller of French Laundry fame. Ben and I have been roasting chickens using his method for years – it’s a weekly staple during the fall and season that shall not be named, especially. Thomas is known for using simple techniques to turn good ingredients into great dishes, which couldn’t be more evident in this recipe.

Photo of knife cutting into chicken

What To Know:

  1. Value: I purchased the chicken you see here for $2.29/lb. That’s over 50% less than I pay for a package of TWO CHICKEN BREASTS. Buying a whole chicken is incredibly economical – you get way more bang for your buck – plus you can use the bones to make your own homemade chicken stock.
  2. Versatility: One of the best things about roast chicken is that the possibilities for using the meat are endless. Chop or shred the cooked chicken then add it to soups, salads, wraps, casseroles, tacos, etc. I’ll give you 10 ideas for using the chicken meat at the end of this post.
  3. Crispy skin tip: To ensure you get SUPER crispy skin, pat the entire chicken – inside and out – with paper towels before seasoning and roasting. The dryer the chicken, the crisper the skin!

Photo of whole chicken in package

How to Make Perfect Roast Chicken:

Start with a 3.5-4lb whole chicken. If you can only find larger or smaller, that’s totally fine, just adjust the roasting time accordingly. Remove the chicken from the packaging then any giblets that might come inside (I find organic chickens tend to come with the giblets, while regular chickens do not.) Pat the entire chicken, inside and out very, very dry with paper towels. This will ensure a super crispy skin.

Lastly, season the chicken generously inside and out with salt and pepper. That’s it! Nothing else needed. You’ll be AMAZED at how delicious this simple seasoning combo is!

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Next step is to tuck the wings under the body. If you left them hanging there, they’d burn. So, take the tip then fold it up, over, and under the wing, making sure it’s snug against the body.

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Last step is to tie the legs together with kitchen twine. You can buy kitchen twine in the baking aisle at the regular grocery store, or at any specialty grocery store.

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Place the chicken inside an oven-safe skillet (this is enameled cast iron,) roasting pan, or on a cooling rack set atop a large, rimmed baking sheet then use a sharp knife or kitchen shears to pierce the chicken breast skin in a few places. This ensures the skin doesn’t bubble up and burn.

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Double Temperature Roasting:

My biggest tip for getting a perfect roast chicken, besides patting it very dry before seasoning, is to roast the chicken at a super high heat first, to get the skin crispy, then lower the heat and continue roasting until cooked through. That said, roast the chicken at 450 degrees for 25-30 minutes, or until the top is deep golden brown, then turn the heat down to 425 and roast for an additional 20-30 minutes or until a digital thermometer reads 165 degrees when inserted into the thickest part of the breast. I love my Thermopen!

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Let the chicken sit for 10 minutes before carving, then watch your family feast! I hope you enjoy this super simple yet super delicious recipe!

Closeup photo of roast chicken with vegetables in cast iron skillet

10 Ways to Use Roast Chicken:

  1. Make Homemade Chicken Enchiladas with Gluten-Free Enchilada Sauce for an easy dinner.
  2. Shred then combine chicken with BBQ sauce and layer with shredded cheddar cheese in tortillas. BBQ Chicken Quesadillas, anyone?!
  3. Chop chicken then make Mayo-Free Chicken Salad for a quick lunch.
  4. Add the chopped chicken to my Black Bean and Sweet Potato Chicken Enchilada Skillet to get dinner on the table in minutes.
  5. Make Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup even easier.
  6. Make homemade chicken stock: remove all the meat from the bones then add the carcass to a large soup pot with a handful of garlic cloves, 2 stalks celery, 1 carrot, 1 chopped onion, salt, pepper, and a bay leaf. Cover with water then simmer for 4-5 hours. Skim fat from the top after it’s cooled then chilled.
  7. Toss chopped chicken with Caesar dressing, sliced cherry tomatoes, romaine lettuce, and shredded parmesan cheese then pile onto a wrap and roll.
  8. Add chopped chicken to this healthy, delicious Kale and Wild Rice Bowl.
  9. Shred or chop chicken then add to Fried Rice or stir fries.
  10. Toss chopped chicken with buffalo sauce then add to lettuce wraps with chopped bacon, tomatoes, and avocados.

Perfect Roast Chicken

Description

Easy Roast Chicken calls for just 3 ingredients - chicken, salt, and pepper - yet is the most tender and juicy roast chicken you'll ever eat.

Ingredients

serves 4-6

  • 3.5-4lb whole chicken, giblets removed
  • salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Pat entire chicken, inside and out, very dry with paper towels. Season chicken generously with salt and pepper inside and out (use more salt than you think you should - trust me!) Tuck the wings underneath the bird (refer to picture in post) then tie legs together with kitchen twine.
  2. Place chicken breast-side up in an oven-proof skillet, roasting pan, or onto a cooling rack set atop a rimmed baking sheet then use a knife or kitchen shears to snip the skin in a few places on the breasts (this ensures the skin doesn't bubble up and burn.) Roast until the skin is deep golden brown on top, 25-30 minutes, then reduce heat to 425 degrees and continue roasting for 20-30 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer reads 165 when inserted into the thickest part of the breast. Let chicken rest for 10 minutes before carving.

Notes

  • My 3.94lb chicken roasted for 30 minutes at 450 and 30 minutes at 425.
  • Easy side dish idea: Toss chopped potatoes with extra virgin olive oil, garlic salt, and pepper then spread onto a foil-lined, nonstick-sprayed baking sheet and place into oven with the chicken after turning heat down to 425 degrees. Roast for 25-30 minutes, stirring/flipping once.

This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats, http://iowagirleats.com.

Perfect Roast Chicken photo collage