How to Bake Chicken in the Oven

Updated April 17, 2017

Baked chicken is a healthy choice for a main dish because white-meat chicken is low in fat, especially compared to red meat. Baked chicken is also a versatile entrée that can easily be paired with your favourite side dish, whether you prefer mashed potatoes and gravy or grilled asparagus. Baking a whole chicken in the oven is often called roasting because the chicken is typically cooked in a roasting pan. You can bake chicken in a regular baking dish if a roasting pan is not available.

Preheat the oven to 176C.

Remove the giblets and the kidneys from the body cavity of the chicken. Insert your hand into the body cavity until you feel the bag of giblets. Pull firmly to remove the bag. Set the giblets aside for another use or discard the bag. Check if the chicken's kidneys are in the body cavity near the tail end of the chicken. They are red in colour. If they have not been removed, pull them out of the cavity with your hand and discard them.

Rinse the chicken inside and out under cold running water. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels.

Cut half a stick of butter into 1 tbsp pats. Slide the pats of butter under the skin of the chicken. Rub 1 tsp of salt and 1/2 tsp of pepper under the chicken's skin. Add additional seasonings, such as chopped fresh herbs, if you like. Rub them under the chicken's skin just as you did with the salt and pepper.

Truss the chicken's legs by holding them together against the chicken's body and crossing them in an "X" shape. Wrap them with kitchen twine and tie the twine in a knot.

Place the chicken breast side up in the roasting pan and slide it into the preheated oven. Cook the chicken for 20 minutes per pound plus an additional 15 minutes.

Check the chicken's temperature by inserting an instant read thermometer into the meaty part of the thigh. The chicken is done when the thermometer reads 73.9 degrees C.

Let the chicken stand for 10 minutes before carving so it will retain its juices and flavour.

Things You'll Need

  • 1 whole chicken
  • Roasting pan
  • Butter
  • Knife
  • Cutting board
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Seasoning of your choice
  • Kitchen twine
  • Instant read thermometer
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About the Author

Jeris Swanhorst is a writer and English and literature instructor at the college level, and owner of SwanJay, a knitting and crochet business. She earned a master's degree in English from Minnesota State University in 2007.