Raise your hand if you’ve ever seen whole chickens next to the packages of chicken breasts at the grocery store and 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. Well today I’m going to show you how EASY it is to make your own roast chicken with just three ingredients and a cast iron skillet. I have to hold myself back every time a Cast Iron 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!
The method I use for roasting a whole chicken in a cast iron skillet comes from Thomas Keller of French Laundry fame and it could NOT be simpler.
How to Make a Cast Iron Roast Chicken
- Step 1: Pat a whole chicken extremely dry with paper towels.
- Step 2: Season the chicken all over with salt and pepper then tie the legs together with kitchen twine and flip the wings under.
- Step 3: Place the chicken inside a cast iron skillet then roast.
That’s it! A 3-4lb whole chicken will feed 4 comfortably, but can easily stretch to feed 6 with accompanying side dish options.
Cast Iron Skillet as a Roasting Pan
A cast iron skillet makes a fabulous roasting pan. For one, it’s not an extra pan taking up space in the kitchen. I use my cast iron skillet for everything from roasting a whole chicken to sauting vegetables. Secondly, cast iron goes from countertop to oven seamlessly. Prep and season the chicken then plop it in a cast iron skillet, place it in the oven, and roast.
Cast Iron Skillet Options
I love my Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Skillets – they will outlive me and I plan on passing them down to my kids someday. That said, non enameled versions work just as well. Here are some “splurge” vs “save” cast iron skillet options:
- Splurge: Le Creuset 10.25″ Enameled Cast Iron Skillet (as seen in these photos.) This size skillet will fit a 3-4lb bird, and is a great all purpose cast iron skillet to have on hand for a family or household of 2 – 4 people.
- Save: Lodge 10.25″ Cast Iron Skillet
- Splurge: Le Creuset 11.75″ Enameled Cast Iron Skillet. This size skillet will fit a large bird and is a great skillet to have on hand if your family is larger, 5+. I can fit 5, 1/4lb hamburgers inside, for reference.
- Save: Lodge 12″ Cast Iron Skillet
Crispy Cast Iron Roast Chicken Skin
To ensure the skin on your cast iron roast chicken is sizzling and audibly crispy you need to pat it very, very dry with paper towels before seasoning with salt and pepper. Next, roast it uncovered. That’s it!
Step 1: Prep the Chicken
For this recipe you’ll need a 3.5-4lb whole chicken. If you can only find a bird that’s larger or smaller, that’s fine, just adjust the roasting time accordingly. Remove the chicken from its packaging, plus any giblets that might be inside. There is no need to rinse the chicken with water.
Place the chicken on a cutting board then pat the entire chicken, inside and out very dry with paper towels.
Season the chicken generously inside and out with salt and pepper. You’ll be AMAZED at how delicious this simple seasoning combo is!
Next, tuck the wings under the body so they don’t burn. Take the tip then fold it up, over, and under the wing, ensuring it’s snug against the body.
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.
Step 2: Roast the Chicken
Place the chicken inside the cast iron skillet then use a sharp knife or kitchen shears to pierce the skin on the chicken breasts in a few places. This will ensure the skin doesn’t bubble up and burn.
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. This 3.94lb chicken roasted for 30 minutes at 450 and 30 minutes at 425.
Use tongs to transfer the chicken to a carving board then let it rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing and feasting. I hope you LOVE this simple yet delicious method for Cast Iron Roast Chicken – enjoy!
What to Serve with Cast Iron Roast Chicken
- Homestyle Scalloped Potatoes
- Garlic Butter Roasted Mushrooms
- Green Bean Casserole
- Baked Potatoes
- Gluten Free Focaccia
- Stovetop Mac and Cheese
- Gluten Free Stuffing
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Cast Iron Roast Chicken
Cast Iron Roast Chicken calls for just 3 ingredients and one skillet. This simple chicken recipe is crispy on the outside and unbelievably juicy on the inside.
- 3.5-4lb whole chicken, giblets removed
- salt and pepper
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.