This classic roast chicken is incredibly easy to make. Simply tuck an onion, some thyme, and some parsley in your bird, rub with olive oil, and roast until tender, and the skin is crisp. Simple, classic, and timeless.
Classic Roast Chicken
- Quick Glance
- 10 M
- 1 H, 55 M
- Serves 4
Remove the packets in the cavity of the chicken and reserve them for another use or discard them. Remove and discard any pockets of excess fat from around the cavity. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels.
Brush or rub the chicken all over with oil and season it inside and out with salt and pepper. If using the onion, parsley, and thyme, cram them inside the cavity. Tuck the wing tips under the back. If you like, truss the chicken by tying the legs together with kitchen string. (Please note that trussing the hen will increase the roasting time by a few minutes since the bird is held in a more compact mass.)
Oil a V-shaped roasting rack or a wire cooling rack and place it in a roasting pan or baking dish just large enough to hold the chicken. Place the chicken on the rack and let it stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 450°F (232°C) and position an oven rack in the lower third of the oven. [Editor’s Note: You do, of course, know that anytime you crank the oven past 400°F it’s an invitation for the remnants of last week’s apple pie and last summer’s barbecue ribs to smolder, yes? Best take an honest look at your oven before roasting this hen and, if need be, scrub any splotches or chances you’ll find yourself flinging open some windows and fanning towels at some smoke detectors.]
Roast the chicken until the juices run clear and a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of a thigh away from the bone registers 165°F (74°C), 50 to 60 minutes.
Remove the pan from the oven. Slip the handle of a long wooden spoon or a pair of tongs in the chicken cavity and carefully tip the bird slightly, draining the liquid from the cavity into the pan. Transfer the chicken to a platter or carving board and tent it with aluminum foil. Let the hen rest for 10 to 15 minutes.
If you trussed the hen, snip the string and discard it. Remove any contents from the cavity and toss them in the trash. Carve the chicken and serve it at once, trying not to surreptitiously snitch any of that crisp skin before sitting down at the table. Originally published December 20, 2011.
Recipe Testers' Reviews
This recipe is simply divine. Simplicity at its best! The only suggestion is to check the internal temperature of the chicken after 40 minutes of cooking…for me, it read 170°F after 43 minutes. So just know your oven and have that meat thermometer ready! This is the perfect roast chicken!
This is the easiest roast chicken I have ever made. The preparation came together in a snap. I placed the chicken in the oven, set the timer, and walked away. About 35 minutes into the roasting, I heard sizzling sounds coming from the oven. Since there were no flames, I didn't worry about, it but continued to let the chicken roast. It only took 40 minutes for the chicken to register the required temperature. The skin of the chicken came out golden and crisp. The chicken itself was moist, tender and surprisingly full of flavor.
This is an easy go-to recipe on those crazy long days. Roast chicken in less than an hour—that is pretty cool.