How to cook a whole chicken

Updated February 21, 2017

Roasted chicken straight from the oven is delicious and nutritious. Not only is it easy to prepare, you will have leftovers for sandwiches and salads, too. Although it does require a while to roast, with a roaster the chicken practically cooks itself.

Check the body cavity of the chicken for the giblets and neck. Remove these and refrigerate for future use. Rinse the entire chicken with cold water. Be sure to rinse the body cavity, as well. Pat dry with paper towels.

Pour the breadcrumb mixture from the package of stuffing mix into a large bowl.

Follow the amount specified on the stuffing mix package, then prepare and sauté onions and celery in margarine until soft and translucent.

Pour the sautéed veggies over the stuffing mix.

Add the specified amount of water and stir thoroughly. Let the mixture set for 5 minutes.

Fill the body cavity with stuffing using a large spoon. Pack lightly as it will expand upon cooking. Excess stuffing mixture can be inserted into the neck cavity. Be sure to pull the loose skin tight over the stuffing. It is not necessary to pin the skin closed on a small chicken. Any leftover stuffing can be wrapped in aluminium foil and cooked in the oven.

Place chicken in a roaster, breast side up. Bake at 177 degrees C (350 degrees F) for 20 to 30 minutes per half kg. A 5 kg chicken will cook in 2 to 2 1/2 hours. A meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast should read 73.9 degrees C (165 degrees F).

Baste the chicken every 20 to 30 minutes with the cooking juices. A turkey baster works great, but a big spoon will do. Simply scoop up the juices and pour them over the chicken to create a nice juicy chicken filled with flavour.

Remove the roaster cover 15 to 20 minutes before the end of cooking time to brown the chicken.

Remove the chicken from the oven and let it rest for 15 minutes before carving.

Serve with mashed potatoes and fresh vegetables.


To add flavour, rub the chicken breast with margarine and salt and pepper before roasting. You may wish to add your own selection of herbs to create a unique flavour, but it is not necessary.


Always work with clean utensils and a clean work area. Thoroughly wash and clean any items that come in contact with raw chicken to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria.

Things You'll Need

  • Whole chicken
  • Meat thermometer
  • Roaster
  • Baster/Large spoon
  • Stuffing mix (optional)
  • Margarine
  • Small onion (diced)
  • 3 stalks celery (chopped)
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About the Author

Nannette Richford is an avid gardener, teacher and nature enthusiast with more than four years' experience in online writing. Richford holds a Bachelor of Science in secondary education from the University of Maine Orono and certifications in teaching 7-12 English, K-8 General Elementary and Birth to age 5.