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Roasting a chicken tonight

I've been looking at recipes online and they are super confusing about the temp and time to roast a whole chicken. Seriously, they range from 325 and 30 min a pound to 400 and 1.5 hours or 2 hours-- for the same size bird!

The chicken I have is 4 lbs. I don't want to spend all night cooking this thing, so I am leaning towards going for a higher temp. Maybe 375-400?

Any suggestions? I am going basic, just some unsalted butter on the skin and an onion and sprig of rosemary on the inside.


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  1. High heat gives you that crispy crust on the skin. Since I've used the Zuni chicken technique, I haven't gone back to any other one. It calls for a dry brine for a day or two (but you have to omit this part). Here's the recipe:


    1 Reply
    1. re: chowser

      Agreed. This is about the simplest meal I make, yet I get the most compliments from it. The high heat is faster and the meat is so juicy and flavorful, I wouldn't do it any other way. Please try this.

    2. I roasted a 4.5 pound chicken last night in about 50 minutes (maybe a little extra time due to combination of a sip of red wine and a cough that resulted in spattering on the cream walls, seemingly permanent at this point). Our tried and true method - 20 minutes at 550, 30 at 425. Perfect every time. I slathered this one w/ olive oil, then, for good measure, since some soft butter was right there in front of me, slathered on some of that. The crispiest skin ever. Stuffed the bird with some leftover lemon and onion quarters, a couple of garlic cloves, thyme and rosemary, salt and pepper. Voila - dinner in less than an hour.

      Edit - this was my husband's tried and true method for many years, but I refused to go along w/ it, and made roasted chickens many other ways, turning, etc., but these come out perfect.

      1. 10 minutes per pound in a 500 degree oven, with about 10 or 15 minutes rest afterwards, and you will have a perfect chicken every time:


        1. I wholeheartedly agree with high heat method.

          But line your pan with sliced potatoes or otherwise you'll have a LOT of smoke/odor.

          1. Ok...this was the method that a local butcher gave me. However, I wouldn't do this with just any chicken. I would make sure it's a high-quality, organic one or it may end up being way too dry.

            Anyways, 4 hours at 250 degrees. Low and slow, baby. The result was an absolutely amazing melt-in-you-mouth chicken with a lovely, crispy skin.

            1. I bought a oven ready roasting chicken with no instructions for roasting. Called Perdue hotline and was informed to set oven temperture at 325 and allow 18 minutes per pound. My method is set cut rooted vegetables on a pam sprayed aluminum foil, cover with rack and place seasoned chicken on top. Result a well browned chicken and very tender.

              1. I do 400, at 15 minutes per pound, breast side up. For a beginner, the best way to tell when it's done is with a meat thermometer in the "armpit". Hopefully someone will jump in with the right temperature for poultry, but I believe it is...160-165?

                1 Reply
                1. re: yamalam

                  That's right: there's no reason to cook any meat more than 165. A lot of sources indicate 180 for poultry, which is ridiculous and explains why white meat is so often dry.

                  The poor original poster complained about the wide range of times and temps she'd heard, and then we gave her ... a wide range of times and temps. Since she expressed a desire for this not to take all night, I'll just say that the short-time high-heat methods really do work (I just roasted one at 450 for 50 minutes, although mine was smaller than four pounds), so that's probably the best choice for her.

                2. agree with everyone 100% the secret is definitely brining and cooking the bird for a short time at a high heat.

                  I also like to stuff butter, herbs, garlic, and lemon zest under the breast's skin and holy crap does it make the whole house smell good

                  1. You don't need to overthink this. Salt and pepper, place in a 350 degree oven. done in 1hr 15min, or so. That's it. Use a thermometer in the thigh to check. when the thermometer reaches 170, you are done. Perfect every time.