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How to Roast a Chicken (With Recipes)

Updated on March 17, 2016
Gordon Hamilton profile image

Gordon has been cooking since childhood. He loves above all to take fresh ingredients and combine them in tasty and hopefully original ways.

Whole roast chicken stuffed with lemon and herbs
Whole roast chicken stuffed with lemon and herbs

Can there be any greater smell known to mankind than that of a chicken roasting in the oven? The smell is so inviting and appealing that one of the most difficult parts of roasting a chicken can be waiting until it is actually cooked. This is true whether we are roasting a whole chicken, chicken wings, or even chicken legs and thighs.

This page will look at different ways in which it is possible to easily roast chicken, both whole and in its various component parts. Hopefully, at least one of the roast chicken recipes featured here will appeal enough to ensure the smell of roasting chicken is soon filling your kitchen and tantalising your tastebuds.

Butterflied Whole Roasted Chicken on Assorted Root Vegetables

The backbone is carefully cut out of the whole chicken
The backbone is carefully cut out of the whole chicken
The chicken is laid on top of the roughly chopped root vegetables
The chicken is laid on top of the roughly chopped root vegetables

This may be best described as a partially butterflied chicken, as it is only actually the backbone which has been removed. Begin by sitting the chicken on its broad end, its back facing towards you. If you are unfamiliar with this process, feel your way down the backbone and where you are going to cut either side of it. Using a large cleaver, (which makes the job much easier than even the sturdiest and sharpest of knives,) cut straight down either side of the bone, holding the chicken steady with your free hand, well away from the blade of the cleaver. Pull the backbone free and discard.

The root vegetables used in this recipe are simply one pound of whole, unpeeled, baby new potatoes, one red onion, one large carrot and one large parsnip. The carrot and parsnip should be scraped or peeled and cut in to large wedges. The red onion should be peeled and quartered. Put all the veg in to a large baking tray, season with salt, pepper and a large pinch of both dried rosemary and dried thyme. Give them a quick stir around with a wooden spoon. Lay the chicken on top as shown in the photograph to the above right and season the chicken with salt and pepper.

Preheat your oven to 375F/190C and cook the chicken for one hour. Remove it from the oven and pierce the thighs at the thickest part with a metal skewer to ensure the juices run clear in both instances. Cover with foil and leave it to rest for fifteen minutes.

This is an excellent recipe for when you are having an outdoor grill party and space on the grill is at a premium. Simply put your chicken in the oven in this way, forget about it for an hour while you attend to other things and then take the tray to the outdoor table to serve the dish.

Roasted Chicken Leg Portions with Mediterranean Vegetables

Mediterranean vegetables are roughly chopped and scattered in a baking tray
Mediterranean vegetables are roughly chopped and scattered in a baking tray
Chicken leg portions are laid on top of the vegetables
Chicken leg portions are laid on top of the vegetables
Chicken leg portions are beautifully browned and crsiped, while the vegetables are succulent in the chicken juices
Chicken leg portions are beautifully browned and crsiped, while the vegetables are succulent in the chicken juices
Each chicken leg portion is served on a bed of Mediterranean vegetables
Each chicken leg portion is served on a bed of Mediterranean vegetables

Ingredients

4 chicken leg and thigh portions
1 large red onion
1 yellow bell pepper
1 courgette/zucchini
12 small cherry tomatoes
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
6 black olives (pitted)
1 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley

Method

Put your oven on to preheat to 375F/190C.

Peel and quarter the red onion. Deseed and roughly chop the yellow bell pepper. Top and tail the courgette (zucchini), slice in half lengthwise and roughly chop. Make a small cut in the top of each of the cherry tomatoes, to prevent them bursting during cooking. Place all the vegetables in to a baking tray and gently stir them around. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil.

The chicken leg and thigh portions should be laid on top of the vegetables and seasoned with salt and pepper. Place the tray in to the oven for thirty minutes and test the chicken portions to ensure the juices run clear. Cover with foil and leave to rest for at least ten minutes.

Slice each of the black olives in half and use them to garnish the dish, along with the parsley, immediately before service.

This dish is delicious served simply with a chicken leg and thigh portion per person, on top of a generous spoonful of the vegetables. You may wish to consider serving it, however, with some fresh, crusty bread, or even some simple and basic bruschetta, which can easily be prepared from scratch while the chicken portions are left to rest.

Orange, Lemon, Honey and Thyme Roasted Whole Chickens

Halved orange and lemon are mixed with honey and thyme
Halved orange and lemon are mixed with honey and thyme
Chicken is rested and carefully carved
Chicken is rested and carefully carved

The whole chickens in this instance are firstly stuffed with lemon and orange which have been coated in honey and thyme. One small orange and one lemon are placed in to a pot of boiling water and allowed to simmer for ten minutes. Remove them to a chopping board with a carving fork and carefully quarter them before adding them to a mixing bowl with one tablespoon of honey and a teaspoon of dried thyme. Mix gently but well with a wooden spoon, before stuffing half of the mixture in to the cavity of each chicken.

Place the chickens in to the oven, preheated to 375F/190C, for one and a quarter hours. Check that the chicken juices run clear, cover with foil and rest for twenty minutes. The legs, wings and thighs should be removed from the chicken. Carve off the whole breast fillets and slice. Serve the chicken in a large dish, perhaps with the salad accompaniments suggested below.

The skins are gently rubbed off the boiled potatoes
The skins are gently rubbed off the boiled potatoes
Simple mixed, fresh salad
Simple mixed, fresh salad

For Four Servings

Potato Salad

24 small new potatoes
3 tbsp low fat mayonnaise
2 tbsp sweetcorn
Salt and white pepper

This potato salad is incredibly simple but very tasty, one of the big factors being the use of white pepper as opposed to black. Place the potatoes in a large pot of cold water and bring the water to a boil. Simmer for thirty minutes. Drain the potatoes and submerge them in cold water to cool. Rub the skins off the cooled potatoes, half them and add them to a mixing bowl. Add the sweetcorn, mayo and seasoning and stir thoroughly. Cover with clingfilm and refrigerate until required.

Fresh Salad

3oz fresh rocket leaves
3 medium tomatoes
6” cucumber
½ red onion

Half the tomatoes and deseed them with a teaspoon. Cut in to wedges. Half the cucumber lengthways and scrape out the seeds. Slice in to crescents. Slice the red onion and mix all the ingredients together in a serving dish.

An optional final garnish of chopped black olives may be added to the plate in this instance if desired.

Salt and Spicy Chicken Wings

Chicken wings are coated in sunflower oil, chilli powder and salt
Chicken wings are coated in sunflower oil, chilli powder and salt
Ready to eat salt and chilli chicken wings
Ready to eat salt and chilli chicken wings
Simple rocket, tomato and pineapple salad
Simple rocket, tomato and pineapple salad

Roasted chicken wings are very popular and absolutely delicious, especially when cooked salt and spicy. This recipe could not be simpler and contains none of the chemical additives that may be likely in wings purchased from a fast food outlet.

Mix one tablespoon of sunflower oil, one teaspoon of salt and one teaspoon of hot chilli powder to a paste in a large bowl. Add twelve whole chicken wings and mix thoroughly to evenly coat. Leave to marinate while your oven preheats to 400F/200C.

The foil over the base of the baking dish in this instance is purely to make it easier to clean up afterwards and is entirely optional. Lay the wings on the tray in a single layer and put them in to the oven for thirty to thirty-five minutes until beautifully crisp. Cover and rest for ten minutes.

The wings may be eaten and enjoyed as they are but serving three of them on a bed of a handful of fresh rocket leaves, one medium chopped tomato and a chopped pineapple ring makes a very appealing and tasty starter or appetizer. The tomato and pineapple give a hint of Chinese sweet and sour, without the MSG and other potential, less than healthy additions. It can also be prepared in minutes, while the chicken wings are resting.

Comments or Feedback

Thank you for visiting this page and for spending time reading through it. Hopefully, you will have found at least one recipe which appeals and which you intend to make. Any comments or feedback which you have may be left in the space below.

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    • Gordon Hamilton profile image
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      Gordon Hamilton 12 months ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom

      Thanks, Carly. That's good to hear and nice of you to say so.

    • CarlySullens profile image

      CarlySullens 15 months ago from St. Louis, Missouri

      Congratulations on Hub of the Day. This looks incredible!!! I have always loved your Hubs because they are so thorough and helpful for those who need all the extra pointers.

    • TheGutterMonkey profile image

      The Gutter Monkey 15 months ago

      Getting a real poultry Hustler vibe from that intro picture.

    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 15 months ago from Northeast Ohio

      Gordon, congrats on HOTD! Delicious recipes, though I love my chicken bone-less and skinless for the chicken breasts. All looks great and easy to follow, except for the part about the chili powder. Well done my friend!

    • Gordon Hamilton profile image
      Author

      Gordon Hamilton 3 years ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom

      Thank you very much, Minnetonka Twin. I really hope you enjoy these roast chicken ideas :)

    • Minnetonka Twin profile image

      Linda Rogers 3 years ago from Minnesota

      I am so excited about all these great recipe's. You did a fabulous job on this hub. Great information and helpful photo's. I can't wait to try these recipe's out. I 'm putting these in my recipe box. Hit all buttons but funny and voted up.

    • Gordon Hamilton profile image
      Author

      Gordon Hamilton 5 years ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom

      Thank you,vere. That was a name I was unfamiliar with.

    • profile image

      vere 5 years ago

      I know, kind of late, but rocket is known as ruccola as well. Coming from Italy, I think.

    • Gordon Hamilton profile image
      Author

      Gordon Hamilton 5 years ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom

      Glad you tried it and enjoyed it, 50! Saw, cleaver, or knife - whichever you are more comfortable using, so long as the job is done safely and well is all that matters.

    • 50 Caliber profile image

      50 Caliber 5 years ago from Arizona

      Aye, Gordon great way to go, I used my band saw to make the cuts on the chicken, I'm a better shot with it than my cleaver. cooked at 220 in the smoker, fine meal! thanks 50

    • Gordon Hamilton profile image
      Author

      Gordon Hamilton 5 years ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom

      Thank you, Francesca. Hope you try out some of these ideas and enjoy them.

    • Francesca27 profile image

      Francesca27 5 years ago from Hub Page

      Well written hub. Great pictures and recipes. Francesca27

    • Gordon Hamilton profile image
      Author

      Gordon Hamilton 5 years ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom

      Thank you for the visit and the comment, 50. I hope the hunt and the meal were both successful and that you enjoyed the food.

    • 50 Caliber profile image

      50 Caliber 5 years ago from Arizona

      Excellent! great recipes and laid out beautifully I'm hungry now and thinking about chasing a couple down and try the butterfly a "new to me" method. A feller learns something every day, thank you, 50

    • Gordon Hamilton profile image
      Author

      Gordon Hamilton 5 years ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom

      Thank you, Jeanette. Yes, it is amazing the different ways in which you can roast a chicken. Chicken roasted on top of the veg is really delicious - the flavours it imparts to the veg are amazing. I hope you like it.

    • profile image

      Jeanette 5 years ago

      Roast chicken is so versatile - I love both roasting both whole chickens and chicken parts. Great idea roasting chicken right on top of vegetables - an easy one dish meal!

    • Gordon Hamilton profile image
      Author

      Gordon Hamilton 5 years ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom

      Thanks, Tony.

      The smell of roast chicken always makes me hungry, even when I wasn't before. The dog was also driven crazy by the cooking required for this Hub! :)

    • tonymead60 profile image

      Tony Mead 5 years ago from Yorkshire

      wow, another culinary marvel, you are right about the smell, it drags you in.

      cheers tony

    • Gordon Hamilton profile image
      Author

      Gordon Hamilton 5 years ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom

      Thank you, nancynurse. I hope you found something which you are going to try for yourself.

    • nancynurse profile image

      Nancy McClintock 5 years ago from Southeast USA

      Awesome hub very helpful

    • Gordon Hamilton profile image
      Author

      Gordon Hamilton 5 years ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom

      Ah, thanks, Susan. I've learned something today as well! I've never heard of arugula before.

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Okay got it now. I call rocket leaves arugula. When I went to the link and read it I had to go to Wikipedia to make sure. Thanks so much.

    • Gordon Hamilton profile image
      Author

      Gordon Hamilton 5 years ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom

      Hello, Susan

      Thank you for the visit and the comment. I very much hope you enjoy some of these suggestions.

      Rocket is technically a herb and the leaves are a bit like long, narrow lettuce leaves. It is dark green in colour and has a fresh, peppery taste. I am not aware of any other name that may be in use in English, other than salad rocket; there may well, however, be one. I am going to add a hyperlink to the first time it is mentioned in the Hub, which includes photos. Hope that helps :)

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I am salivating :) I have never seen a whole chicken butterflied like this. This entire hub is fantastic! I have bookmarked it to try your recipes. Have one question though What are rocket leaves? Oh and what time is dinner?

      Up useful and awesome!

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