A simple roast chicken recipe is made easy, using basic, everyday ingredients! Pair it with your favorite sides for a delicious homemade meal.
I love roast chicken! I have so many different recipes for roast chicken (like my mouth-watering roasted chicken and vegetables or my fancy holiday roast chicken recipe), and I love them all. However, when I’m pushing for time and don’t want to use a lot of fancy ingredients, I like to use this simple roast chicken recipe.
This simple roast chicken is exactly that—SIMPLE. I use a whole chicken and basic seasonings (we’ll get into those details in a bit). If you don’t want to use a whole chicken, you can use your favorite chicken pieces.
Why You Need a Simple Roast Chicken Recipe
Roasted chicken is, in my opinion, a staple. I make this just about every two weeks for my family—it’s that good! It’s easy yet still delicious and comforting.
This roasted chicken recipe is SIMPLE. There’s no extensive prep needed, no brining, no unusual cooking method, and no basting! It doesn’t matter how skilled you are in the kitchen, Cousins; even you can make this recipe.
It’s also super easy to make this a whole meal. You could easily pop some vegetables in the roaster—some potatoes, carrots, or onions with fresh herbs and butter, and you’re good to go! I love a good sheet pan meal, and a roast chicken is perfect.
Y’all also know that I am a budget-friendly girl! Sometimes, we gotta cook for our families on a budget, and this recipe pinches those pennies! I bet you have all the spices you need in your cabinet right now. Oven roasted chicken is inexpensive, healthy, and tasty. As a bonus, you can use any leftovers in other recipes! Shred up the leftover chicken or make a hearty homemade chicken broth for soup with the chicken bones.
Ingredients Needed for Roast Chicken
Like I said before, my roast chicken recipe uses basic ingredients you likely already have in your kitchen. So here’s what you need to make a delicious chicken:
- A whole chicken. I use a 4-5 pound chicken, but you can use a smaller or larger chicken depending on how many people you need to feed.
- Olive oil or vegetable oil will help the spices stick to the chicken and also help in providing perfectly crispy skin when roasting.
- Seasonings. The flavor and the spice! You will need kosher salt, black pepper (freshly ground if possible), garlic powder, onion powder, ground sage, and plain or smoked paprika. That’s it! Of course, adjust based on your personal taste, but this is a winning combination in my book.
Pro-tip for my Cousins: check out the variety of seasonings and spices from Rosamae Seasonings! We’ve got poultry seasoning (regular and salt-free), garlic pepper seasoning, lemon pepper seasoning, and oh-so-much more. You can add an extra kick of flavor with a dash of these special seasonings.
Equipment Needed to Make Roast Chicken
You don’t need much to make roast chicken, but this recipe gets even easier when you have the right tools. I recommend using the following:
- Poultry shears or kitchen shears
- A reliable roaster pan with a rack
- A digital meat thermometer
These kitchen gadgets are all multi-functional, so you will use them again and again.
How to Roast a Chicken
Okay, y’all. Let’s dive into it. My roast chicken is a one, two, three, and done recipe. You will need about an hour for this recipe from start to finish. Keep in mind that if you decide to cook vegetables along with your chicken in the roasting pan, you will likely have to cook the chicken longer. Likewise, the cooking time will vary if you use chicken pieces instead of a whole chicken.
Step 1: Prep the Chicken
To prepare your chicken, remove the giblets from the cavity of the chicken. But, do not—I repeat, DO NOT throw these away! You can use them to make gravies, chicken stock, or try my downhome Southern cornbread recipe (yes, this recipe calls for chicken gizzards, y’all).
Next, we’ll cut out the chicken’s backbone to roast it flat on the pan. This method is called spatchcocking, and it’s a great way to cut the chicken’s cooking time but retain all that amazing flavor and juiciness of bone-in chicken. Do this with your poultry shears or a sharp knife (and a LOT of caution!) At this time, you will also want to use paper towels to pat the whole chicken dry.
Step 2: Season the Chicken
Next, drizzle a few tablespoons of olive oil all over and rub it around the whole chicken; get every crease and crevice! If you notice any unwanted chicken fat, go ahead and trim that off at this time.
Mix all those delicious seasonings—salt, pepper, garlic, onion powder, sage, and paprika—and sprinkle them over the chicken. The front, back, and drumsticks–make sure it’s all covered. Rub those spices in with the olive oil.
Step 3: Roast the Chicken
Finally, it’s cookin’ time. You should preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Roasting the chicken at a higher temperature makes the chicken nice and golden brown with a perfectly crispy skin. I do not suggest roasting at a lower temperature (although I have in the past… but I have seen the light and upgraded my chicken game!); otherwise, you’ll have soggy, slippery chicken skin. Trust me, honey, you DON’T want that!
Place the spatchcocked chicken on the roasting pan rack (I also lined my roasting pan with aluminum foil for easy cleanup) and toss that baby in the oven for about 50 minutes. You should cook the chicken to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Use your digital instant-read thermometer to test the temperature in the thickest part of the thigh or chicken breasts.
Allow the chicken to rest for about 10 minutes before carving.
Pro-Tips for the BEST Roast Chicken
Want to elevate this roast chicken recipe even more? Here are some tips to take the simplest roast chicken to the next level.
- Stuff the chicken’s cavity with your favorite aromatics for extra flavor. Onions, carrots, fresh herbs, butter, lemon, and garlic cloves are popular options. If you’re spatchcocking your chicken, lay the bird over a bed of aromatics in your roasting pan.
- Use the pan drippings to make a to-die-for gravy. It’s great for veggies, mashed potatoes, and of course, to drizzle over your chicken! (I have a recipe for turkey gravy, but you can absolutely use chicken pan drippings to make it as well.)
- If you bought a frozen chicken, thaw it completely before using it. You should thaw your chicken in the refrigerator for 1-2 days.
- You DON’T have to baste this roast chicken! Basting the chicken won’t help achieve a crispy skin, and you even risk drying out your chicken by opening the oven. Trust the process; this chicken will be perfectly juicy if you follow this recipe!
Should you cover the chicken with foil when roasting?
I do not cover my roasted chicken. We want nice, crispy, golden-brown skin. Only cover the chicken with foil if it’s getting too brown towards the end of the cooking process. However, since we spatchcock the chicken in this recipe, this should not be a problem.
How do you roast a chicken without drying it out?
Some would say a brine is necessary to roast a chicken without drying it out, but I can’t entirely agree. For this recipe, using olive oil to crisp the skin, reducing the cooking time, and using the perfect temperature will keep your roast chicken perfectly juicy. Also, make sure to allow the chicken to rest once it’s out of the oven to allow those juices to soak back into the meat.
What should you do with leftover chicken?
Leftover chicken from this recipe is a blessing, y’all. Like I said earlier, you could make a delicious chicken soup broth with the leftover chicken and carcass and gravy with the pan dripping and giblets. As far as the chicken meat goes, any recipe that calls for shredded chicken (or rotisserie chicken) is a winner! Try some of these recipes with leftover chicken:
- Cheesy Broccoli Chicken and Rice Casserole
- Chicken Pot Pie with Biscuits
- Creamy Chicken Tetrazzini
- Cold Chicken Macaroni Salad
What to serve with roast chicken?
The side possibilities are endless. Serve this roast chicken with a rice side, like cauliflower rice or a rice dressing. Mashed potatoes, homemade dinner rolls, and roasted vegetables are also fantastic choices that pair perfectly with chicken. Go the Southern route with collard greens, cornbread, or Southern candied yams.
Simple Roast Chicken Recipe Card + Video Tutorial
Alrighty, y’all, it’s your turn! I am so excited for you to try my easy roast chicken recipe. It’s perfect for weeknight dinners or if you want to simplify holiday cooking. No matter your skill level, every cook should have a good ol’ roast chicken recipe on hand. And now you have mine! Let me know what you think if you try this recipe. I have a step-by-step video tutorial on my YouTube Channel to help you out as well!
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Simple Roast Chicken
- 4-5 pound whole chicken
- 2 tbsp olive oil or your favorite vegetable oil
- 1 tbsp garlic powder
- 1 tbsp onion powder
- 2 tsp ground sage
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 1/2 tsp smoked or plain paprika
- Preheat the oven to 400 F.
- Thoroughly clean the chicken, then cut the backbone out, and flatten the chicken.
- Pat dry the chicken.
- Drizzle the chicken with olive oil, and rub all over the chicken.
- Combine all of the seasonings and sprinkle all over the chicken.
- Place the roaster rack in the roaster.
- Spray your roaster rack with nonstick spray, then place the chicken on top.
- Roast the chicken for about 50 minutes.
- Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes, then cut.
- Serve & enjoy!
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