When you’re stuck on what to make for Sunday dinner, try Ina Garten’s roast chicken.
It’s juicy, herba-licious, and as close to perfect as a bird can get!
When it comes to cooking, I know one thing for sure – the Barefoot Contessa knows her stuff.
From her world-famous lemon chicken to that stunning devil’s food cake, Ina Garten is Food Network royalty.
If you’ve never made one of her recipes before, this roast chicken is a terrific place to start.
It’s super easy (about 20 minutes of prep) and always comes out tender and moist.
Seriously, Ina Garten’s roast chicken is the best there is – sorry, Mom!
Ina Garten’s Perfect Roast Chicken Recipe
Tasty, tender, and to die for, Ina Garten’s roast chicken is a whole meal in one.
Not only will you cook the perfect bird, but you’ll also cook the veggies right alongside it!
I’m talking sweet, herby carrots and delicious roasted onions. (I usually add potatoes to the try, too, so it’s extra hearty!)
So if you like juicy chicken with crispy skin, this is the recipe for you.
And since the prep work is minimal, you can even whip this up on busy weeknights!
Stuffing a Chicken
One of the key bits of prep work for this recipe is stuffing the chicken – and stuffing it properly.
If you do a poor job, it just won’t be quite right – or as flavorful.
So how do you do it? Easy!
- First, remove the giblets and thoroughly clean the inside and outside of the chicken.
- Pat the chicken dry and season it very well with salt and pepper – on the inside, too!
- Once you’ve done all that, it’s time to stuff the bird with:
- A whole lemon, sliced in half
- An entire head of garlic, also cut in half
- A bunch of thyme
- Tie the legs, tuck the wings, and give the chicken time to rest, so it’s closer to room temperature.
- Pop it in the oven and wait!
You can add other herbs, such as rosemary if you like. However, they aren’t necessary in this case.
Once this baby comes out of the oven, you’ll be more than happy with the results.
What Temperature to Roast a Chicken
Unless you have a finicky oven that does its own thing, 425 degrees Fahrenheit (220°C) is the sweet spot.
According to Ina, 425 degrees Fahrenheit will ensure an even roasting without adjustments.
And she’s basically a kitchen wizard, so she knows her stuff!
However, it doesn’t hurt to remove and baste the chicken about halfway through to make it juicy and more flavorful.
If you do choose to baste the bird, spin the tray around while you’re at it.
Note: If you make this recipe and the bird doesn’t come out crispy and golden, it’s worth getting an oven thermometer to check how hot your oven runs.
If it’s a little old, it might not be holding the temperature.
How Long to Roast Chicken
As you’ll see in the directions, the cooking time is 1 1/2 hours. However, that could vary depending on the size of your chicken.
So as a good rule, allocate about 15 minutes of cooking time for every pound of chicken.
For example, if you’re working with a five-pound chicken, you’ll need about an hour and 15 minutes.
A six-pound chicken will be closer to 90 minutes.
Just be sure you don’t overcook the chicken. That’s how you end up with a dry, unsatisfactory bird that no one really likes.
Remember, it will keep cooking when it comes out of the oven!
How Do I Know When It’s Done?
There are a couple of different ways to know when your chicken is ready. The easiest – and most precise – is to use a meat thermometer.
When inserting it, be sure to do so at the thickest part of the breast. If the thermometer gives a reading of 165 degrees Fahrenheit (75°C), it’s done.
(You can also check the temp in the thigh.)
The second way is to cut the leg and thigh. If the juices run clear, the chicken is likely done.
Note: That second method is less precise. To be positive, invest in a thermometer!
Tips For The Best Roast Chicken
This recipe is pretty straightforward, but I’ve still got a few tips to make sure your chicken is perfect!
1. Pick the Right Roasting Pan for The Job
Don’t just pick up any old roasting pan and assume it will work. Instead, get one that fits the chicken snuggly.
It should be just large enough to hold the bird with the veggies tucked in close. The veggies are likely to burn if it’s much larger than that.
It’ll also reduce the amount of leftover juice.
2. Let the Chicken Rest
Alright, guys, here is where Ina and I disagree.
She suggests moving the cooked chicken to a platter and covering it with foil. And if you want to do that, you can!
Just add “wrap in aluminum foil” to step eight in the directions below.
However, I prefer to let the chicken and veggies sit uncovered for 20 minutes. This gives it time to absorb all the juices, making the chicken wonderfully moist.
The reason I advise against covering in foil is exterior moisture.
You want the inside of your chicken to be succulent and juicy. However, you want to keep your skin as crisp as possible, right?
If you cover that crispy skin with a tent of foil, the warm steam will start to condense, and the skin will become soggy.
3. Save the Drippings!
As the chicken rests, it’ll absorb lots of juice. Even so, you’ll have plenty of juice and drippings left over.
Don’t toss it out or pour it into a jar.
Instead, use it to make delicious chicken gravy. It’s so easy to do, and you’ll hardly need anything extra – just a little butter and some flour.
4. Don’t Neglect the Veggies
There’s no doubt that the roasted chicken is the star of this show. However, that doesn’t mean you should neglect your vegetables.
Start by chopping them into thick chunks. If you slice them too thinly, they’ll almost certainly burn.
Don’t slack on them, either. Use plenty!
Finally, if you take the pan out mid-cook, check the vegetables too. If it seems like, despite your best efforts, they’re cooking too fast, cover them with foil.
Just be sure you don’t cover the chicken in the process. It needs to remain exposed for the entirety of its cooking time.
5. Increase the Heat for Extra Browning
As written, this recipe turns out a perfectly golden-brown bird. If it’s not browning to your liking, wait until it’s done – have faith in Ina!
That said, if it’s still not as golden as you’d like, crank up the oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit (260°C) right at the end, and roast the chicken for 5 more minutes*.
Monitor it constantly during this time to avoid overcooking it.
* If parts of the chicken are brown enough, cover them in foil. Otherwise, you’ll overcook those areas while trying to get the rest of it to brown.
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