Simple roast chicken only needs a couple sides, like steamed vegetables and brown rice, to make a meal a special occasion. Here's a basic recipe to get you started.

Whole roasted chicken on a cutting board.

Serves: 8

Serving size: 1/8 of chicken

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: Approximately 1 1/2 hours


whole roasting chicken, about 5 pounds


  1. If chicken is frozen, thaw in the refrigerator 24-48 hours before cooking. Before putting the chicken in the refrigerator, place the chicken on a pan or plate while thawing, so juices do not drip on other foods.
  2. Wash hands with soap and water.
  3. Preheat oven to 375°F. 
  4. Removing chicken from packaging. Do not rinse raw poultry. Remove necks and giblets from both chicken cavities.
  5. In a roasting pan, that has 2” tall sides, place chicken breast side up. Wash hands with soap and water after handling raw chicken.
  6. Roast for 1 1/2 hours or until meat thermometer inserted into the chicken breast reaches an internal temperature of 165°F on food thermometer. The time will vary based on the size of the chicken and the oven. The drumstick meat will feel very soft when pressed between fingers. If chicken is browning too quickly, cover loosely with aluminum foil.
  7. Let the chicken sit for 15 minutes after removing from the oven before carving.
  8. Within two hours of taking the chicken out of the oven, remove any leftover meat from carcass and refrigerate. Save the bones to make stock.

Flavor boosters:

  • Before cooking, brush chicken skin with 2 tablespoons Italian dressing, or canola oil, vegetable oil or olive oil or melted butter.
  • Before cooking sprinkle chicken skin with 1/2 teaspoon salt, garlic or onion powder.
  • Wash and cut into quarters: 1 lemon, orange or small onion and put into the cavity of the chicken.


For a juicy, evenly cooked bird, prepare chicken by folding wings across back with tips touching. Tie or skewer drumsticks to tail.
Use a V-shaped rack in the roasting pan. Put the chicken on the rack to cook.
Use the leftover bones to make a broth.
Use giblets to make gravy.
Nutrition Facts Label Roasting Whole Chicken


Adapted from:  Source: University of Illinois Extension, Illinois Nutrition Education Program.


Nutrition Connections Teacher
Health & Well-Being Teacher
Phone: (603) 536-3720 ext. 103
Office: Cooperative Extension, Taylor Hall, Durham, NH 03824