Make Ahead

Thanksgiving Roast Chicken

December  2, 2021
2 Ratings
Photo by Samantha MacAvoy
  • Prep time 5 minutes
  • Cook time 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

Quick and easy, incorporates all the best Thanksgiving flavors with none of the hassle. Great for a small crowd or as an extra main dish. —American Home Cook

What You'll Need
  • 4-5 pounds whole chicken
  • 4 teaspoons Diamond Crystal kosher salt (or half as much Morton)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly cracked black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon plus 3 Tbsp (packed) light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons neutral oil (such as vegetable, peanut, or canola)
  • 1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed and peeled
  • 2 strips orange zest
  • Small handful of hardy herbs (such as sage, rosemary, bay leaves, and/or thyme)
  1. Break down the chicken into parts, leaving the breast, wings, and legs whole. It's just like carving the chicken, except it hasn't been cooked yet. You can ask your butcher to do this for you.
  2. Add salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and 1 teaspoon brown sugar and stir to combine.
  3. Place chicken pieces, skin side up, on a wire rack set inside a rimmed baking sheet lined with 2 pieces of foil. Pat the salt mixture all over the chicken. Chill bird, uncovered, overnight and up to 24 hours.
  4. Before cooking, take the chicken out of the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for about a half hour—this helps it cook more evenly.
  5. Place a rack in the middle of oven; preheat to 425°F. Rub chicken with oil and pour 1/2 cup water into baking sheet. Roast chicken, rotating baking sheet halfway through, until skin is mostly golden brown, 15-20 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, in a small pot, combine soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, orange zest, herbs, and remaining 3 tablespoons brown sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar is dissolved and glaze thickens slightly (it will continue to thicken as it cools), 8–10 minutes. Remove glaze from heat.
  7. Reduce oven temperature to 300°F and continue to roast chicken, brushing with glaze every 10 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast registers 160°F, and 175°F when inserted into the thickest part of the thighs, 30–40 minutes longer (total cooking time will be 45–65 minutes). Start checking after 10 minutes (when you go in to glaze), as the smaller pieces will cook more quickly. The breast will take the longest.
  8. Transfer chicken to a cutting board. Let rest 10-20 minutes before carving. Drizzle on any additional glaze, don’t let that stuff go to waste.

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