How to Cook a Roast Chicken

Roast pic edited

For some reason, the idea of making a roast chicken makes a lot of people think that it’s very time consuming and involved. It’s very easy and this tutorial is geared for those of you who have just started to cook.

There are so many recipes on the internet and lots of posts of how to make a roast chicken but there is a  lack of simple and basic step by step instructions. My goal is to make it simple and easy for you to try on your own. I am a home chef but I have cooked from scratch for years. My biggest stipulation of the food I feed myself and my family is the quality of the ingredients of which I cook with. I will only use excellent quality products and I strive to support local farms as much as possible.  I have recently discovered Central Park Farms here in Langley B.C. This family run farm prides itself in raising humanely raised, non-medicated poultry and pork to folks throughout the Fraser Valley. You can find out more about them in this link.

A Roast chicken dish is one of my very favourite to make because you just place everything in the oven and just check on it every once in a while. I also love the fact that I can use the leftovers for other meals and use the bones for making stock. I will follow up this post with a tutorial on how to do that as well.  Making your own roast chicken is very budget friendly and versatile and it’s also very nutritious. I use the left overs for other meals (pot pies and sandwiches etc.) and I use the bone broth for making casseroles, soups, crackers and even biscuits for my dogs!

Preheat your oven to 350C

Make sure that you have an idea of how much the bird weighs. Poultry takes 20 minutes to the pound to cook. For example, a  5 pound chicken will take 100 minutes which is 1 hour and 40 minutes. Take this into consideration when you are wanting to plan at what time you would like to eat. The weight is usually marked on the label or you could always use a kitchen scale. Worse comes to worse, eye ball it and just ensure you keep an eye on it in the oven.

Remove any packaging from the chicken. If you are using from frozen, I would suggest that you plan ahead and take it out at the very least, 2 days prior to use and thaw it out in the fridge. Why not thaw it on the counter? Because the temperature of your home is so variable, the only sure way to avoid bacterial growth and food borne illnesses is to be vigilant about temperature control and cleanliness when handling uncooked poultry. Wash your hands immediately after you have touch uncooked poultry and immediately wash out the sink and any cutting boards or knives that the uncooked poultry may have had come in contact with hot soapy water and rinsed and dried immediately. I’m pretty laid back about a lot of things but food safe handling is the rule in the kitchen here.

I always wash the chicken in the sink thoroughly and also remove any innards that may or may not be included inside the cavity of the bird. Some people utilize them for dog food which I think is a great idea. After a wash, I then dry it well  with a paper towel  and place it in a baking dish or roasting pan. I then coat the bird with oil ( I used Avocado Oil, you can use whatever oil you choose)  and then season it with my secret flavor weapon, Keg seasoning salt. This seasoning makes every thing taste fantastic. I get the big bottle of it from Costco so check out your local store for it.

To the baking dish, I added roughly cut and quartered onions. I usually add carrots or another type of root vegetables but I was out of carrots so I just left them out. My Husband and kids are allergic to celery so I left that out, but I would highly recommend adding it if you don’t have a problem with celery. When it bakes down it becomes very soft and is wonderful for adding a flavour profile to either a gravy you can make with the drippings of this roast or for the soup stock I’m going to teach you how to make. Just tuck your veggies around the side of the bird.


Place the dish into your preheated oven. If you are just cooking just the chicken, place the rack in the middle of the oven. You can add your sides as well later on or a little later on keeping in mind the timing of each item you are baking alongside. As you can see from the picture below, I put in the potatoes and brussels sprouts and kept them warm until the chicken was fully cooked. You can wait and put them in later. Potatoes will take about 40 to 50 minutes depending on their size and the brussels sprouts take about 30 minutes.

oven pic

Make sure that you check on your chicken about every 30 minutes or so. Use a baster, or if you don’t have one, a large spoon to take the juices that collect on the bottom of the baking dish and spread it all over the bird to ensure that the skin turns nice and brown and that the meat doesn’t dry out.  To test the bird to see if it’s done, take a fork and pull one of the legs away from it’s body, it should pull away quite easily and the juice of the bird should run clear, not pink and the meat should also not be pink in colour, but a nice light beige. If you do happen to overcook the chicken a bit, don’t worry too much about it, you could just make some gravy from the drippings (or from a package if you prefer) so all is not lost.  Once the bird is done, remove it from the oven and let it sit for a about 5 minutes or so to let it rest. If you carve it too early, all the juices will run out and dry out your meat. Serve with your sides and remember to keep the rest for leftovers. Save the carcass by either putting it in the fridge if you want to make stock the next day or put it in the freezer and you can make stock when you have the time to do so.

See, easy wasn’t it? No fuss, simple food that you can dress up as simply or as fancy as you are comfortable with. I hope this post has helped you take the step to buy local and make your own. Let me know in the comments if you have any tips on roasting a chicken.

Tell the fine folks at Central Park Farms that Mrs Localvore sent you.

See my next post on how to make your own chicken stock.


Please note that I only endorse products that I use and love. I have not received any compensation for this post and the items used were purchased by myself. Support local farmers folks.



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