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How to Roast a Chicken

by Lori on February 21st, 2011

Roasted chicken close up

Roasting a chicken is easy. Roasting a chicken without filling the house with smoke is another story. A better headline for this post may be, “How to Successfully Roast a Chicken Indoors without Tripping the Alarm on the Smoke Detector.”

The Story

For years, I’ve tried to roast chicken at home, but every time I try I end up filling the entire house with smoke and setting off all the smoke detectors. Instead of the nice, quiet dinner I intend to create, we end up scurrying frantically throughout the house to open windows to let out the smoke while alarms are blazing and the dog is barking at the excitement.

To make matters worse, it always seems like it is in the winter when I try to roast a chicken. So after the initial excitement we end up sitting in the cold eating dried, charred chicken. On the bright side, the chicken has a nice smoky flavor when you make it this way. Unfortunately, smoked chicken isn’t what I am going for.

Then I discovered a smoke-free recipe!

About the Recipe

The recipe is called Juicy Roasted Chicken from Allrecipes. The first thing I noticed about this recipe is the chicken is roasted at a lower temperature than the recipe I had been using. It bakes the chicken at 350, while my “smoky” chicken bakes at 425. The 350 degree recipe takes longer to roast, but it is worth the wait to not have the house fill with smoke.

The original recipe also seems a little bland. It doesn’t have too many extra spices or ingredients. So I am spicing it up a bit with the adapted recipe version I’m sharing here.

The Cast of Characters

Onion, rosemary and garlic

In my adaptation I am adding onion, tons of garlic and rosemary.

The Play-by-Play

Before you begin, preheat the oven to 350. Then rinse your chicken, pat it dry and season it with rosemary, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper inside and out.
Herbed chicken

Then grab your celery sticks, sliced onion and three tablespoons of butter.
Celery and onion on deck

Now you’ll need to roll up your sleeves and insert the celery, onion and butter inside the bird.
Chicken is stuffed

Next grab your garlic cloves and the rest of the butter.
Butter and garlic meet chicken

Gently push the butter and garlic cloves under the skin of the bird.
Garlic gets under chicken's skin

Now place your bird in a roasting pan.
Sun sets on chicken

Place the roasting pan in the oven. Bake the bird for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until it is done.
Chicken going into the oven

It’s done when the temperature of the breast is over 170 degrees and the temperature of the thigh is over 180 degrees.
Chicken's done!

Let the bird rest 10 minutes before carving.
Roasted chicken out of the oven

The Footnotes

  • About the prep work: You also can prep your bird a day ahead of time. Just place your stuffed and seasoned bird in the refrigerator until you are ready to bake it.
  • About the roasting time, temperature and method: According to my Better Homes & Gardens New Cook Book, a chicken is done when it reaches 170 degrees in the breast or 180 degrees in the thigh. The trick is getting it done in the middle without burning the outside. The original recipe I started with is for a three-pound bird and calls for baking it uncovered, at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes. I had a four-pound bird for this demonstration, and it took much longer, about two hours. During the last 20 minutes of baking, I covered the chicken and increased the temperature to 375 to help it finish. I found there was more juice in the bottom of the pan after I covered it. I continued to baste the chicken with the juices every few minutes to keep it from drying out. Next time I am going to try baking it at 375 degrees and covered for the first half hour. Then I’ll uncover it and baste it during the last half hour.
  • About serving: Let the bird rest for about 10 minutes before carving. It will be juicier if you do.
  • About carving: I don’t have any good tips on carving a chicken. I had to have Ken help when I couldn’t figure out how to remove a leg. If you have any good chicken-carving tips, let me know.
  • About the clean up: Line your roasting pan with foil before adding the chicken. This will make clean up a breeze. After baking, just throw away the foil.

The Recipe: Rosemary Garlic Roasted Chicken

Baking Time: Anywhere from an hour and a half to two hours for a four pound bird. Time will vary based on the size of the bird, if you change your baking temperature or bake it covered or uncovered. Be sure to test the internal temperature with a meat thermometer. It should be 170 degrees in the breast or 180 degrees in the thigh.

Servings: About six servings

1 whole chicken, about 4 pounds
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon onion powder
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon dried rosemary, crushed
1 small onion, sliced
2 celery stalks, cut into 2-inch sticks
10 whole cloves of garlic, peeled
½ cup unsalted butter, divided


Before you begin, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

  1. Rinse the chicken, pat it dry with a paper towel and place it in a roasting pan.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together the garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper. Spread the spice mixture all over the outside and inside the chicken.
  3. Place inside the chicken 3 tablespoons of butter, onion slices and celery stalks.
  4. Place under the skin of the chicken the remaining butter and garlic cloves.
  5. Bake for 1 ½ to 2 hours or until the chicken is done.
  6. Let stand in the roasting pan 10 minutes before carving.

What are some of your chicken-roasting tips?

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