How to Cook: Roasting a Whole Chicken

Finished chickens should be 160 at the breast, 180 at the thigh.

How to Roast a Chicken

Roasting a whole chicken seems like a complicated process reserved for special occasions. Here’s the secret: it’s really easy. Another secret: I always make two at a time and store the leftover meat for later use in salads, sandwiches, enchiladas or whatever else might come to mind.

This recipe makes a moist chicken that isn’t greasy.


  • 1-2 chickens, between 5-6 lbs each (Note: if making two, make sure that they’re approximately the same weight.)
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper


Preheat your oven to 450. Clean your chickens, then dry thoroughly with paper towels, inside and out. Place the bird breast side up (if you’re not sure which side is which, the pointy ends of the wing tips will be sticking up). Coat the skin with olive oil and kosher salt for a nice, crisp skin. Add pepper, too, if you’re feeling fancy.

I’ve found that two chickens — about 5.5 pounds each — take slightly longer than one hour to roast to perfection. You want the temperature to read 160 degrees in the breast or 180 degrees in the thigh. I set the timer for 60 minutes and add time from there, if necessary.

Let the chicken rest for at least 10 minutes before carving.

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