Back to the Kitchen: Foolproof Recipes for Roasting Gourmet Chicken

Print This Post Print This Post


Roasting a whole chicken is a wonderful quick way to create a beautiful family dinner and have leftovers to make chicken salad for lunch or a stir-fry for the next evening meal. I tend to take all of the meat off of the chicken after the first meal and freeze the carcass to use to make soup. A whole chicken comfortably feeds four  so if you need more servings or just want more leftovers place two birds in a large roaster. This is the basic step-by-step and some of my most popular variations.

Roasting a chicken is simple with an incredible taste factor.

Step One: Preheat your oven to 500 degrees. Take the whole chicken out of the fridge and let it sit a room temp for about 15 minutes or so. (When cooking anything it helps the cooking process if your food is not super cold coming right out of the fridge).

Step Two: Select a roasting pan. Then it’s time to clean the chicken. First take it out of its wrapping, remove any of the goodies for the cavity (if you have a special way you like to use these then do so. I like to use them for chicken soup stock or gravy; again you can freeze them for a later use). Rinse the whole chicken in cold water and pat dry with paper towels.

Step Three: Take one medium onion, two carrots, and two celery stalks and give them a quick rough chop and toss them in the bottom of the roasting pans.

Step Four: Place the whole chicken in the pan on top of the chicken goodies and veggies. This lets air get under the bird and fat drip down. (You can also use a roasting rack or a cooling rack placed in the pan) Brush the whole chicken with a little bit of olive oil or melted butter and sprinkle with a little sea salt, cracked black pepper, and a little fresh or dried thyme. (Make sure to get some seasoning into the cavity).

Step Five: It’s time to put the whole chicken in the oven.  Turn the temp down to 375 degrees and roast until the chicken’s internal temperature  taken in the breast is 165 degrees. Depending on the size, figure about 1 ½ to 2 hours cooking time.

Step Six: Once the whole chicken reaches 165 degrees, pull it out of the oven and allow it to rest for at least ten minutes before cutting into the chicken. Cutting it right away will let the all the juice run out before they can settle back in and leave you with a not so appetizing dry chicken

Enjoy while entertaining or when ever you want a quick simple meal!

Roast Chicken with Pears

1 roasting chicken

1 very ripe pear

2 sprigs fresh rosemary

2 sprigs fresh thyme

3 cloves garlic

2 onions



Melted butter for basting

Peel the onions and slice them in thin circles. Separate them slightly and line them in a roasting pan. Rinse the chicken with cold water and pat dry removing all the neck and liver. Sprinkle the skin with salt and pepper. Place the whole pear the garlic, rosemary and thyme into the cavity of the chicken. Place the chicken on top of the onions and baste with the melted butter. Roast at 425 for 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Lemon Herb Chicken

1 roasting chicken

1 lemon, halved

1 onion, halved

4 rosemary sprigs

4 thyme sprigs

6 garlic cloves, crushed

1 cup chicken stock

Juice of one lemon

1/4 cup white wine

1/4 cup chopped chives

1 tablespoon cornstarch

Pre heat oven to 350. Remove giblets and discard or freeze for another use. Rinse chicken in cold water and dry with a paper towel. Arrange lemons, onion, rosemary thyme and garlic in the body cavity. Place chicken, breast side up in a Pyrex or roasting dish. Pour stock and lemon juice over chicken and roast for about 1 1/2 hours, basting occasionally. Transfer chicken to cutting board. While chicken is resting, pour pan drippings into a small saucepan, reserving about 3 tablespoons liquid to dissolve the cornstarch. In a small bowl whisk cornstarch with the reserved liquid. To the saucepan add 1/2-cup water and chives and bring to a boil. Reduce to low and whisk in cornstarch mixture and stir until thickened, about 3 minutes. Carve the chicken and serve with sauce.

Five Spice Chicken

1 roasting chicken

2 teaspoons Chinese Five Spice

3 tablespoons molasses

1 tablespoon honey

4 tablespoons butter (melted)

1 tablespoon soy sauce

Pre- heat oven to 450. Remove giblets and neck from chicken and wash and pat dry. Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon 5 spice into the cavity of the chicken. Place the chicken in a roasting pan. In a small bowl mix the molasses, honey, butter, and soy sauce and remaining 5 spices in bowl. Brush half over the chicken. Roast for 30 minutes. Brush remaining glaze over the chicken and roast 45 minutes to one hour longer.

Cranberry Chicken

2 tablespoons olive oil

6 shallots, finely chopped

2-teaspoon thyme

2 teaspoon sage

1/2-teaspoon white pepper

3 cups chicken stock

1 bag fresh cranberries (12 ounces)

1/2-cup sugar

1-teaspoon cornstarch

1 whole chicken

Sautee shallots over medium heat until tender. Add sage and thyme and sauté for one minute. Add stock and simmer for 10 minutes. Add cranberries and sugar and boil until cranberries burst, about 10 minutes. In a small bowl whisk together the cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of the sauce. Whisk it in and return to a boil and cook for 5 minutes longer. Add white pepper. And serve over chicken. (To roast the chicken I slather with butter, thyme and sage. Cook at 400 for about 1 and ½ hours until cooked through and golden. Let rest for 10 minutes. Pour a generous amount of sauce over the chicken.

Curried Roast Chicken

1 3 1/4-pound whole chicken, skinned

1/4-cup lemon juice

1 2-inch piece peeled ginger, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

3 small fresh green chilies, chopped

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon curry powder

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

Freshly ground black pepper

Cut two deep diagonal slits, down to the bone, in each chicken breast and one in each leg and thigh. Place chicken, breast side up, on a sheet of heavy-duty foil large enough to enclose it. Place in a roasting pan. Place lemon juice, ginger, garlic, chilies, salt, oil, cumin and coriander in a blender and process to a thick puree. Rub puree over chicken, inside and out, and into slits. Set chicken aside for 30 minutes.
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Dust chicken with chili powder and black pepper, enclose in foil and crimp to seal. Roast for 1 hour. Open foil and baste chicken. Return, uncovered, to oven for 15 minutes, basting twice more. Transfer chicken to serving platter. Pour juices from foil into a small dish and serve alongside chicken.

Forty Cloves and a Chicken

1 roasting chicken

6 thyme sprigs

3 rosemary sprigs

2 heads garlic (remove loose papery skin but do not peel)

1 stick butter, melted

Preheat oven to 450. Remove giblets and neck and rinse chicken and pat dry. Place chicken in a roasting pan and place rosemary and thyme and 5 cloves garlic in the cavity. Brush with butter. Roast for 30 minutes. Brush with remaining butter and add the rest of the garlic cloves to the pan. Roast about 45 minutes longer. Remove from the oven and place chicken on a platter and let stand. With a slotted spoon transfer garlic to a small bowl and discard the skin. Serve with lots of warm crusty bread.

Roast Chicken and Stuffing

1 chicken

Melted butter for brushing

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/4 cup butter

1/2 teaspoon dried leaf thyme, crumbled

2 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

2 cups soft breadcrumbs

1 beaten egg

1/3 cup milk

Salt and pepper

In a skillet, melt 1/4 cup butter over low heat; sauté onion for 3 minutes. Add thyme, parsley, and breadcrumbs. Stir in egg and enough milk to make dressing moist. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon stuffing into cavity of chicken. Brush chicken with butter. Place chicken breast side up on rack in a shallow roasting pan. Roast stuffed chicken at 375° for about 60 to 70 minutes, basting several times. Let chicken stand for about 15 minutes. With a spoon remove the stuffing and serve.

Fig and Orange Chicken

This is one of my most popular chicken dishes! It is so simple and is really a one-meal dish.

1 red onion, coarsely chopped

1/2-cup currants

10 Black Mission figs or 8 of the larger, amber-colored Calimyrna figs, cut into halves

1 1/2 cups orange juice

4 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

1-tablespoon curry powder

1-tablespoon soy sauce

4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 large roasting chicken

10 new potatoes, quartered

4 carrots, sliced

Salt and pepper to taste

Place washed chicken, carrots and potatoes in Pyrex or roasting pan. In a medium bowl mix the rest of the ingredients. Pour over chicken and bake at 400 for 1-½ hours basting at least twice during cooking.

Gwen Kenneally is the owner of Back to the Kitchen, Full Service Catering and Party Planning. She is the co-founder and master baker at Magpie Gourmet Mini Pies. Check out her websites and  She wrote a weekly food column for the Sun Community Newspapers.

Share this:
Facebook Twitter Pinterest Plusone Digg Linkedin Stumbleupon Email

About Karen Young

Karen Young is the founder of My Daily Find.

  • Leslie Elkan

    These recipes are wonderful! I have been making delicious roast chickens for many years and thought I knew everything about it, but Gwen’s recipes gave me some terrific new ideas and twists on my recipes. Yummy! Thanks, Gwen!

    • Gwen Kenneally

      Thanks so much! Enjoy! All the best, Gwen

  • Elaine Doran

    So excited to try this yummy recipe. Two questions. Should I use a frying or roasting chicken? Do I cover chicken @ anytime which it is roasting?
    Thanks for making cooking such a joy. You are brilliant….

    • Gwen Kenneally

      Hi there-
      I am so happy you are enjoying the recipes! If you can use a roasting chicken it is better than a frying chicken which is meant to be chopped and fried! It does work in a pinch, but better a roasting chicken.
      I don’t cover unless I am stewing. You want a crispy skin and tender meat!
      Hope that helps and we will talk soon! Gwen

More in Featured, Food, My Daily Find, Recipes
Suck It Sweets and Treats Opens in Studio City

BY KAREN YOUNG Kaileigh Brielle is a self professed foodie who loves sweets. The only problem is that she lives on...