Cooking chicken in the oven is not hard to do. Many people, new cooks especially, are often overwhelmed by the thought of it, but the truth is that cooking chicken in the oven is one of the simplest and most satisfying meals you can make.
Basic Instructions for Cooking Chicken in the Oven
The good news it that cooking chicken in the oven is very basic..
- You will need a roasting pan, or a pan that is at least a couple of inches deep. Even a deep casserole will do. Anything that is large enough and deep enough to fit the chicken, preferably with an inch or two all around it (if it touches the sides, the skins will end up sticking as it cooks).
- You will either want a cover for the pan or to cover the pan or casserole dish with tin foil (tented up so it also does not stick). The covering should not touch the top of the bird.
- Figure the roasting time for cooking chicken in the oven according to the weight of your chicken, which can usually be found on the tag (if not, simply weigh the bird; in a pinch, weighing yourself without the bird and then holding it and subtracting will give you a decent enough weight estimate).
- Plan the cooking time for cooking chicken in the oven by multiplying the weight of the bird.
- Cook a stuffed chicken for 25 minutes per pound at 325 degrees Fahrenheit. You can go as high as 350 F; this may speed the roasting time a bit.
- Cook an unstuffed chicken for 20 minutes per pound at 325 to 350 F.
- Double-check that the chicken is really done with a meat thermometer. The internal temperature taken in the breast should be 170 F. A pop-up thermometer, which often comes on commercial chickens, will work, too.
This is really all there is to cooking chicken in the oven, but for even better (still simple) success, see the tips below.
Tips For Flavorful And Moist Meat
- Place a cup of water in the bottom of the roasting plan to steam and prevent drying out.
- Rather than water, use beer or a lemon-flavored seltzer water, which lends added moisture and flavor.
- Coat the chicken skin with butter or oil prior to cooking, which will add a little fat and moisture, and also flavor, color, and crispness at the end.
- Remove covering in the last 15 to 30 minutes of roasting for a nice, brown, crispy skin.
- Rub herbs of choice over the skin prior to cooking for flavor (sage, marjoram, and thyme are some popular choices, but experiment with what you like).
- If you are not stuffing your bird, placing apples or onions or garlic in the empty cavity can enhance flavor, too. Use the cooking time for an unstuffed chicken when cooking chicken in the oven this way.