Every cook swears by one method or recipe for roasting a chicken, but tricky techniques, fussy brines, and fancy rubs aside, only two things matter: crispy skin and juicy, flavorful meat. This basic method gives you both without any special pans or weird ingredients. Just rub the bird with oil, salt, and pepper, add a few aromatics, roast for a few minutes on high heat, then finish on low. Use any leftover meat in a Chicken Salad Sandwich, or use the carcass and roasted vegetables to make Chicken Stock.
Game plan: If you have the time and want crispier skin, salt the chicken the night before and refrigerate it uncovered. Let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before roasting.
Watch Lisa Lavery of the CHOW Test Kitchen prepare this easy roasted chicken in an episode of our Easiest Way video series.
1 (4- to 5-pound) whole chicken, neck and giblets removed from the cavity
1 tablespoonolive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
1 medium lemon, thinly sliced (optional)
Fresh herbs, such as parsley, rosemary, or thyme (optional)
Heat the oven to 425°F and arrange a rack in the middle.
Place the chicken on a work surface or cutting board and pat it dry with paper towels. Cut off and discard any extra fat hanging around the body cavity.
Drizzle the oil on the chicken and rub it all over the skin. Season generously inside and out with salt and pepper. Place the lemon and herbs inside the cavity, if using. Place the chicken breast-side up in a large frying pan or cast-iron skillet.
Roast the chicken in the oven for 15 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 375°F and continue roasting until the juices run clear and a thermometer inserted into the inner thigh (but not touching the bone) registers 165°F, about 50 minutes to 1 hour more.
Remove the chicken from the oven and place on a cutting board. Let it rest about 15 to 20 minutes before carving.