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How to Make a Perfect Roasted Chicken Every Time

Learn the secrets to making the perfect roasted chicken each and every time. This dry-brined chicken is hands down the best chicken you will ever make. Perfect for a Sunday meal or as part of a weekly meal prep, you’ll love this juicy and flavorful easy to make chicken.

Gaaaaaaah. This chicken. I’m sorry. Let me collect myself. I need to act like a professional here.

Gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah! It’s so freaking good, you guys. Assuming, of course, you have a thing for perfectly roasted chicken that makes you feel like you’re a complete boss in the kitchen. Oh, you do? Excellent.

Roasted chicken on a platter with lemons and fresh rosemary

This recipe is based on the Very Classic Dry Brine Roast Turkey recipe from Bon Appetit which makes the best turkey you have ever truly had. I’ve adapted it to our tastes and for making a much smaller bird. It is legit easy to make and creates the juiciest chicken with the crispiest skin you’ve ever made.

If you have tried to roast chicken before and were disappointed with the results, this is the recipe for you. You’re going to freaking rock this chicken.

Bawk, Rockin’, Meats <—- little known Chemical Brothers song.

What Is Dry Brining?

Dry brining is a painless method for ensuring the juiciest chicken/turkey ever. You use salt to draw out the moisture in the meat. At first glance, that seems like a guaranteed way to serve dry chicken, but stay with me here!

You allow the salt to sit on the chicken for at least 12 hours. It initially will pull the moisture up to the surface of the chicken…but then something magical happens.

That moisture then mixes with the salt and goes back down into the meat. You’re essentially marinating this bird in a continuous cycle of awesome food science. You can read more about the nitty gritty details of this process in this article on The Kitchn.

Why Dry Brine?

Brining is a way to prevent dry meat from happening over a long roasting process. A popular method of brining is mixing aromatics (garlic, herbs, peppercorns) with liquid (chicken or vegetable stock or water), sugar, and salt and submerging the bird into this mixture for 12ish hours.

I used this method while prepping for the first Thanksgiving I ever hosted. It was a lot of work and there was stress in making sure I would be able to keep the turkey at a low enough temperature for safe handling. Thankfully, it froze the night before Thanksgiving so I simply put my giant five-gallon bucket on our covered deck.

But what if it hadn’t frozen or you live in a warm climate? The hassle of constantly adding ice to keep it cold is the last thing you want to have on your mind while in holiday prep mode.

As an aside, have you ever tried to flip or remove a raw turkey from a bucket of liquid? I’d rather put a cat in a carrier and try to take it to the vet.

How long does it take to roast a whole chicken?

Each oven is different, but on average it takes me about 65-75 minutes to roast a chicken in my (very basic, low grade) oven. A roasted chicken is fully cooked when a meat thermometer reaches 165 degrees in the thickest part of the thigh.

Where Do You Get Affordable Organic Free-Range Chicken?

I’m blessed that we have a local butcher for buying organic meat, but we also have a monthly Butcher Box subscription. Butcher Box sources only organic and free-range meat for their customers and ships them to your home once a month.

The meat is super high-quality and we’ve always had an amazing selection sent each month. In addition to what they pick for you, you’re able to add specific cuts and types of meat to your box. They even have Whole30 compliant bacon!

Even with our local source, we still look forward to our monthly Butcher Box delivery.

Do you cover a chicken when roasting in the oven?

For best results (read: crispy, juicy skin!) cook the chicken uncovered in the oven. If your oven tends to run hot and the top of the chicken is getting too crispy, loosely tent a piece of foil over the top in the final stages of cooking.

Can you roast chicken in a slow cooker?

Absolutely! Follow the dry brine prep steps listed in the recipe card below. Place halved potatoes, cabbage, carrots, and/or other veggies in the base of the slow cooker. Place two tablespoons of butter in the cavity of the chicken. Add 1 cup of stock/water to the slow cooker and place the chicken on top of the veggies.

Cook on low for 5-6 hours or until the internal temp of the chicken is 165 degrees. All slow cookers are different so this is a recipe best made the first time when you are home to monitor. Baste occasionally with the juices in the crockpot if you so choose.

You can transfer to a baking sheet and place under the broiler on low for 3-5 minutes (watch closely!) to crisp the skin up.

Can you roast chicken in an Instant Pot?

Yes! But please understand that the Instant Pot does a great job cooking things but a poor job in giving you crispy and brown skin. If you want a whole chicken cooked for soup meat or sandwiches, the Instant Pot is an awesome choice.

For a tender Instant Pot roasted chicken, follow the dry brine prep steps listed in the recipe card below. Set your Instant Pot to Saute and add 1 tsp of butter/ghee/or oil to the pot. Place chicken breast-side down in the pot for 3 minutes. Remove from pot. Either place the trivet or veggies in the bottom of the Instant Pot, add 1 cup of chicken broth or water to the pot, and the chicken on top of the trivet/veg. Cook for 25 minutes on manual high pressure. Use a natural release (15 ish minutes) instead of a quick release to lock the moisture in the meat.

You can transfer to a baking sheet and place under the broiler on low for 3-5 minutes (watch closely!) to crisp the skin up.

Can I Make This Roasted Chicken Whole30 Compliant?

Yes! Use ghee or olive oil instead of butter. It’s that freaking easy.

How to Make Perfect Roasted Chicken – step by step

  1. Remove all parts that may be in the cavity of your chicken. Rub the whole chicken down with the kosher salt. Place in a bowl or roasting pan and loosely tent with foil. Place in the fridge for at least 12 hours, or up to two days.
  2. One hour prior to cooking, remove the chicken from the fridge and carefully rinse all the salt from the body. I prefer to keep my water running low so as to not splash the raw “chickenness” around my sink. Let sit at room temperature for 50 minutes.
  3. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  4. Place chicken in a dutch oven or roasting pan. Tuck some fresh rosemary around the legs for an extra special flavor. If you have a small rack that fits in your baking pan, rest the chicken on it. If you don’t, you can simply use two rings from mason jars to prop up the neck side of the chicken. The goal is to make sure the heat hits the chicken the same at all points for perfect even roasting. Bake for 35 minutes.

    process shots for making the perfect roasted chicken

    Someone needs to do some lady scaping…

  5. While the chicken is roasting, mix butter (or ghee), herbs, and garlic in a small saucepan. Heat on low until melted.
  6. After 35 minutes, reduce oven temp to 350 degrees. Pour the butter and herb mixture over the chicken and place back in the oven. Baste in 10 minutes.Liquid basting process shots for making the perfect roasted chicken
  7. Continue to cook the chicken until a meat thermometer reads 165 degrees in the fattest part of the thigh keeping the tip off of the bone. (That’s what she said). For me, it means a total of about 20-30ish minutes after the oven temp has been reduced.
  8. Allow the chicken to rest 10 minutes before carving.

Pro Tips/Recipe Notes For Perfect Roasted Chicken

  • Need to make more or less of the recipe? Click and slide the “servings” number on the recipe card and the ingredients will adjust as needed. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.
  • Feel free to nestle some potatoes, carrot chunks, or other veg in the roasting pan while the chicken is cooking. This makes it an awesome one-pot meal!
  • If you want to be a total meal prep boss, cook two chickens at once. Not only will it give you extra food for the main meal, but you’ll have loads of extra cooked chicken for other recipes like Leftover Turkey, Rice, and Black Bean Bake (sub turkey for chicken obvs), Chicken Gnocchi Soup, Easy Chicken Parmesan, or Chicken Salad With Greek Yogurt and Dill. Not to mention you’re going to totally crush your homemade chicken stock making game!
  • I know 2 tbsp of kosher salt sounds like a lot, but it will all be rinsed off prior to cooking!a chicken being carved

Other chicken recipes you may like

One year ago: Apple, Brie, and Ham Stackers
Two years ago: The $2.99 Living Room Storage Solution
Three years ago: Why I am Talking About Christmas in May
Five years ago: A Quilt For Violet
Six years ago: Homemade Cottage Cheese

Save this Perfect Roasted Chicken recipe to your “Chicken dinners” Pinterest board.

Let’s be friends on Pinterest. I’ll help you find loads of other recipes like this one!

Making this recipe or others?

Post a photo on my Facebook page, share it on Instagram, or save it to Pinterest with the tag #sustainablecooks. I can't wait to see your take on it!

Roasted chicken on a white platter with rosemary and fresh lemons
Print
5 from 1 vote
How to Make a Perfect Roasted Chicken Every Time
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
1 hr 15 mins
Total Time
1 hr 25 mins
 

Learn the secrets to making the perfect roasted chicken each and every time. This dry-brined chicken is hands down the best chicken you will ever make. Perfect for a Sunday meal or as part of a weekly meal prep, you'll love this juicy and flavorful easy to make chicken.

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chicken dinner, roasted chicken, sunday dinner
Servings: 5
Calories: 371 kcal
Author: Sarah
Ingredients
  • 1 whole chicken, 4-5 pounds
  • 2 tbsp kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp butter or ghee or olive oil
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme optional
  • 1 sprig fresh sage optional
Instructions
  1. Remove all parts that may be in the cavity of your chicken. Rub the whole chicken down with the kosher salt. Place in a bowl or roasting pan and loosely tent with foil. Place in the fridge for at least 12 hours, or up to two days.

  2. One hour prior to cooking, remove the chicken from the fridge and carefully rinse all the salt from the body. Let sit at room temperature for 50 minutes.

  3. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place rack in lower third of the oven.

  4. Place chicken in a dutch oven or roasting pan. Tuck some fresh rosemary around the legs for an extra special flavor. If you have a small rack that fits in your baking pan, rest the chicken on it. If you don't, you can simply use two rings from mason jars to prop up the neck side of the chicken. The goal is to make sure the heat hits the chicken the same at all points for perfect even roasting. Bake for 35 minutes.

  5. While the chicken is roasting, mix butter (or ghee), herbs, and garlic in a small saucepan. Heat on low until melted.

  6. After 35 minutes, reduce oven temp to 350 degrees. Pour the butter and herb mixture over the chicken and place back in the oven. Baste in 10 minutes.

  7. Continue to cook the chicken until a meat thermometer reads 165 degrees in the fattest part of the thigh keeping the tip off of the bone. For me, it means a total of about 20-30ish minutes after the oven temp has been reduced.

  8. Allow the chicken to rest 10 minutes before carving.

Recipe Notes

Need to make more or less of the recipe? Click and slide the "servings" number on the recipe card and the ingredients will adjust as needed. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.

 

Feel free to nestle some potatoes, carrot chunks, or other veg in the roasting pan while the chicken is cooking. This makes it an awesome one-pot meal!

 

If you want to be a total meal prep boss, cook two chickens at once. Not only will it give you extra food for the main meal, but you'll have loads of extra cooked chicken for other recipes

Nutrition Facts
How to Make a Perfect Roasted Chicken Every Time
Amount Per Serving
Calories 371 Calories from Fat 243
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 27g 42%
Saturated Fat 9g 45%
Cholesterol 126mg 42%
Sodium 150mg 6%
Potassium 287mg 8%
Total Carbohydrates 0g 0%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Sugars 0g
Protein 28g 56%
Vitamin A 9.3%
Vitamin C 3.8%
Calcium 2.2%
Iron 8.2%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

This post contains affiliate links and we may earn a commission at no additional cost to you if you click through and make a purchase. This allows me to continue to provide free content, and I only share products that I use and love myself.

How to Make a Perfect Roasted Chicken Every Time was originally published in January 2013. It has been retested, updated with reader feedback, and a printable recipe card and new photos were added.

Learn the secrets to making the perfect roasted chicken each and every time. This dry-brined chicken is hands down the best chicken you will ever make. Perfect for a Sunday meal or as part of a weekly meal prep, you'll love this juicy and flavorful easy to make chicken. #sustainablecooks #chicken #chickendinner #roastchicken #roasted chicken

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16 comments on “How to Make a Perfect Roasted Chicken Every Time”

  1. You’re not going to believe this. Besides the smoked paprika, this is exactly how I make a Roasted chicken. I also gring up a clove of garlic and smear it under the skin.

  2. I have tried a ton of different recipes for roast chicken but it sounds like this is the one that I am making this week!! Thanks for the great idea 🙂 I am saving it right now!!!

  3. Like the first post, I make my chicken like this too, except for the smoked paprika part! Yum. Will try immediately!
    I have to say though, I snickered a little at your suggestion to save the leftovers for another meal AND soup! Leftovers????? Never heard of them!!
    Ah, the joys of growing children…..

  4. I made it tonight and it was great!!! I have the bones in a container to make my chicken broth tomorrow. We had a very small container of leftovers so that I can make some fried rice and a chicken pizza 🙂 Thanks for the great recipe!! I know that I am going to try it again soon.

  5. If I left this in the oven for 2 hours, do you think irreparable damage would be done? I’m looking for more “Sunday dinner” recipes I can put in the oven before leaving for church, and they’re all roasty and deliciuos when I get home. (Like my grandma’s roast beef!)

    • I think it would be ok. Perhaps a little dry, but ok. Our oven has a “cook time” function, where the oven turns off after the timer that you set goes off. If you have that option, it might work out.

  6. Haha! Chemical Brothers. Many years ago, my husband tried to induce labor by blasting Chemical Brothers at my belly. He hope the low end rumblies do it’s thing and the kid would magically be born on Halloween. The kid duly ignored the request and did her own thing almost 2 weeks later.

    • Hee hee, I was wondering if anyone would pick up on that! You get a gold star.

      Was her due date on Halloween or was he just trying to be cute with a desired birthday?

  7. Sounds delicious! I always brine my pork chops but forget about brining chicken.

  8. I made the perfect Roast Chicken about a week ago. I had bought the organic chicken (2) from Costco because I wanted to use all the chicken and make broth also. Fanny-tastic turnout…. I have been using the chicken all week in different recipes also. Still tastes fresh… Great post and thank you Sarah for sharing the recipe …. gonna keep on making it this way.

    Steph