Simple Roast Chicken

Preparation info

  • Servings:


    , or 2 pounds shredded chicken
    • Difficulty


    • Ready in

      1 hr 30

Appears in

Love Your Leftovers

Love Your Leftovers

By Nick Evans

Published 2014

  • About

When it comes to selecting a chicken, pick the best bird you can afford. Free-range and organic chickens not only have an ethical advantage over the factory-farmed birds but also tend to have more flavor and, in my opinion, will be healthier for you and your family. For a few extra bucks, you really can’t go wrong.


  • 1 (4-pound) chicken
  • 1-2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • Olive oil
  • Freshly cracked pepper and salt to season


    1. If time permits, it’s best to salt the chicken the day before you plan to cook it. For best results, rub the bird with the kosher salt and then wrap it in plastic wrap. This will result in a juicier and more flavorful finished product, though I’ve definitely skipped this step with fine results.
    2. When you’re ready to cook the chicken, preheat oven to 400°F. Whether or not you salted your chicken, rinse it under cold water and pat it dry. Drizzle with olive oil and rub salt and pepper all over the chicken. Be sure to get inside the cavity as well.
    3. For a more pleasing presentation, tuck the wings under the body and tie the drumsticks together with a bit of kitchen twine so they stay snug to the body. No need to do anything fancy. Again, I’ve skipped this step with fine results, but if you don’t tuck the wings back, they will burn.
    4. Roast the chicken, breast side up, until the juices run clear and the chicken registers 170°F in the thickest part of the thigh. (In actuality, I always pull mine around 165°F because it will continue to cook after you take it out, but my lawyers say I should specify 170°F.)
    5. This roasting will probably take about 90 to 100 minutes for a 4-pound bird, but I recommend using a meat thermometer to ensure that it’s done. Baste the chicken with the juices and rotate the pan every 30 minutes.
    6. When the chicken is done roasting, cover it loosely with foil and let it rest for 10 minutes before slicing into it.