Our 15 Best Roast Chicken Tips All in One Place

Quick: What are you making for dinner tonight? Is it roast chicken? What a lucky guess on our part! That's the power of persuasion of an inimitable, classic dish.

Since roast chicken is such a staple, you probably already have a go-to recipe that's good as it is. But sometimes, perhaps you'd like to take your bird from good to really, really good? That's where we come in.

Below are our 15 best roast chicken tips. As they say, get roasting (does no one say this yet?).

  • Roasting chicken at 500° F, untrussed, for about 10 minutes per pound results in a juicy, speedy bird.
  • Put the chicken in the oven bum-first so the slower-cooking legs are closer to the heat.
  • Bathe chicken in milk for tender, pull-off-the-bone meat and, to boot, a flavorful sauce without any extra work.
  • Brine chicken in coffee to wake it up infuse the chicken with smoky flavor.
  • For extra crispy skin, pat chicken dry inside and out, then leave it in the fridge uncovered overnight.
  • If you let chicken hang out for a couple days covered in a heady spice mix, you’ll be rewarded with very crispy skin (Is it fried? No!) and tender meat.
  • If you’re in a time crunch, cut your chicken into pieces and go about roasting (using chicken stock and wine to keep the bird moist).
  • A combination of butter and olive oil (and a lot of both) for basting and roasting seems like it just might be too much. It’s not. It yields unabashedly rich flavor.
  • For chicken cooked in record time, spatchcock it (that is, take out the backbone). This way, the white meat and legs will cook at the same rate.
  • Use the chicken’s pan juices to saturate and flavor croutons.

  • As the recipe’s name suggests, stuffing basil and garlic purée underneath the skin will result in one of those “what flavor!” moments you’ll wish you’d done before.

  • Cooking chicken upright in a tube pan (yes, like the one you use for cake) serves two purposes: You don’t have to turn it and you'll get crispy skin all over.

  • Add some unpeeled garlic cloves to the pan alongside your roasting chicken. When the meat is done, you’ll have roasted garlic cloves you can mash into your pan sauce.

  • Roast chicken on a bed of bread. The bread absorbs all the chicken juices. Enough said.

  • Roast chicken in a paper bag, which locks in moisture and cooks the bird evenly.

Have a favorite roast chicken tip? Tell us about it in the comments.

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • MMH
  • ChefJune
  • creamtea
  • nancy essig
    nancy essig
  • Louis Brill
    Louis Brill
I fall in love with every sandwich I ever meet.


MMH July 7, 2018
I always spatcock my chicken. I am convinced the result is the best - on the grill or in the oven.
ChefJune February 16, 2017
I know a lot of folks swear by this tip: but I have tried it several times and have never been as pleased with the results as I am with the 350 on each side for 25 minutes and 400 breast up for 30. For me the time saved is not worth it.
Riddley G. February 16, 2017
That's really interesting! I like that insight. May I ask why you haven't been satisfied with it?
creamtea February 16, 2017
I clean it the day before (removing the pinfeathers) and salt it then let it sit overnight in the refrigerator. The next day I pour about an inch of water, plain water, in the pan, place the chicken on a rack and add whatever seasonings I am using (sometimes I squeeze a lemon over and add chopped shallot, always ground pepper, sometimes the remains of a bottle of white wine) and roast, whole on a rack or spatchcocked. The water in the pan keeps the meat juicy and creates a delicious pan sauce.
nancy E. February 15, 2017
Why would I want to absorb all the chickens juices with bread when they make a delicious reduction sauce for your finished dinner? The most flavorful part is the juices.
Riddley G. February 15, 2017
I love when bread gets all soggy with the juices. Or, perhaps, one just doesn't feel like making a sauce, but to each their own!
AntoniaJames February 15, 2017
If you put a large onion, sliced, in the pan under and around the chicken, and then add a good wineglass full of wine over the chicken about 30 minutes before the bird is done roasting, you'll have plenty of flavorful juices for making your pan sauce . . . what's stuck on the pan will be concentrated, so you'll want to deglaze with more liquid than usual. Try it! (My kids think it's one of the best things I serve them, and they are right.) ;o)
Louis B. February 15, 2017
I like 500F, but trussing is still a must in my book. Check out Chef Keller's take on it: