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Baked whole chicken without roasting rack

Hi Everyone. I'm hoping someone can offer me a bit of advice. I am going to bake a whole chicken, but this is the first time I will be doing so without a roasting rack.

Is there anything I should know or be aware of? Can I just place it in a baking dish? I have a very limited supply of kitchen tools to work with.

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  1. I support the whole chicken on a bed of roasting veggies, like large blocks of potatoes, onions, carrots and celery, sorta makes an edible rack.

    14 Replies
    1. re: Quine

      Thanks. I have potatoes, onions and carrots. No celery. Does it matter how I space the veggies out?

      Ok. Perfect. I was worried. I didn't want to waste, because I just became unemployed, so I want to stretch this out.

      I'm cooking only for myself and I'm taking the advice from this board. The chicken was on sale for 1.99 a pound. I plan to bake it tomorrow and use the leftovers for chicken salad. I'm also going to attempt to make my own stock for the first time.

      1. re: alliebear

        I wait for the chicken salad...

        Day One, a lovely chicken sandwich with fresh bread and newly roasted chicken. For me, this is a white meat affair.

        Day Two, second chicken sandwich, maybe with some avocado and swiss cheese with greenery or chicken salad.

        Day Three, dark meat enchilada. I love to use a green tomatillo or chile sauce, but red will do. Some beans and rice.

        Day Four, now I take the leftover chicken, beans and rice, warm and stack into a bowl. Pour on some sauce. Eat.

        Day Five, sautee some onions, carrots and celery with salt, pepper corns, thyme. Add chicken carcass and cook until browning. Then cover with water. Simmer for 2 or 3 hours.

        Day Six. Make a pasta and fagioli soup. Serve with crusty bread.

        Day Seven. More soup!

        1. re: smtucker

          I wait for the turkey sandwiches the day after thanksgiving!

          1. re: rememberme

            I can't wait. I smoke a turkey half once a month when it goes on sale.

          2. re: smtucker

            Great ideas for roast chicken, but that's either a REALLY BIG chicken or maybe just one person consuming it.

            1. re: chicgail

              For me, it's just one person. Not a particularly big chicken, but I want to stretch it out for a few days, several meals.

              Thanks for the different ideas smtucker.

              1. re: alliebear

                Sandwiches, salad and maybe a pasta dish should be workable with a small chicken. Great way to make a lot with not too much. I just smoked 3 chickens roasters 3 lbs or less, small. I'll get tons of meals with those.

                Had dinner, quesadillas tonight, a couple of salads, some chicken salad, a pasta. Lots of things to make.

                1. re: kchurchill5

                  If I cook steaks on the grill, with a little mesquite smoke, I usually am cooking a chicken, ribs or other things later. I mean it's hot...why not? I do exactly like you. Since we have about 19 out of 21 meals here I have to plan and minimize starting from scratch each and every time.
                  Last night I took a extra baked potato (I never bake potatoes just for one meal) cut it in half, put stilton in the middle and heated. I then topped it with chopped bacon and scallions. Had chili over rotinni pasta with it. I know, too many carbs, but it sure was all good together, with a Zin.

                  1. re: Scargod

                    Love the baked potato too. Oh well sometimes carbs are just a necessity.

                    Thinking along the potato thread. I dice and saute 2 slices of bacon until crisp, remove and dice. Keep some of the bacon drippings, just a teaspoon no more, and slice the leftover potatoes (2 works best) thick slices, and cook just just a couple of minutes, add 1/4 cup chicken broth or stock, a couple of scallions diced and the bacon, salt and pepper. The potatoes fall apart but no like "smashed." Sort of a different approach but I love them that way. I love this with my maple bourbon glazed chicken skewers. Easy quick dinner. I marinade the chicken skewers over night so great flavor. Probably not the healthiest but still good.

                    Hey and chili and pasta, match made in heaven. A place in MN has a dish with a very hearty ground turkey chili over pasta, different but it was quite good and healthy, lol. I figured the turkey at least sounded healthy, :)

              2. re: chicgail

                two people consuming.... small chickens. First night I have three slices of breast while husband enjoys a leg and wing. Sandwiches finishes the first breast and starts the second. Enchilada uses the other leg/wing plus a little white meat. Last meal is the leftover beans, rice and shredded breast [2-3 oz maybe?]. Then onto the stock and resulting soups.

                1. re: smtucker

                  I agree ... a great use. I love chickens and I do turkey too all the time, I love it (great meals, variety and soup from the stock and endless possibilities)

              3. re: smtucker

                Wow you really did that chicken honor! Good for you.

                I didn't too bad either, I fed 4 & 1/2 people the roasted chicken.
                This week the roasted chicken (.69lb) fed four of us & the 3yr old.
                We had a delicious supper on Sunday, all that was left was the back meat/skin and one wing.Later, I made the stock and today I made Matzo Ball soup.
                The Matzo Ball soup, which was very good, 3 out of 4 of us have colds, and we all had nice big bowls of soup loaded with matzo balls, veggies and rich broth.
                No noodles, I wasn't about to mess up that broth! There's enough left with 3 matzo balls. I just can't believe how good chicken stock is when done the slow method way. Very good old comfort food.

            2. re: Quine

              Same here. I halve or quarter the potatoes, coat them with a bit of olive oil or goose fat and nest the bird on top. I usually start the chicken breast down, then turn it breast up about halfway through cooking. When the bird is done, I take it out to rest, drain most of the fat from the pan, stir up the potatoes and return to the oven to really crisp up while the bird rests. BTW, the oven is at 450*.

              1. re: adrman

                If I'm putting the bird on top of the vegetables they don't need any extra oil. They will be drenched in chicken fat. Quite tasty I might add

            3. Yes, you can bake it without a rack, it just won't be crispy on the bottom. Just put it in a baking dish or even an oven-proof skillet (not non-stick).

              1. Are you asking about a rack substitute?
                You can sit it on a beer can (make sure its open) and stand it up in the baking dish.

                1 Reply
                1. re: porker

                  I wasn't asking that, but those sort of ideas would be welcome, too. Thanks.

                2. I roast chickens most of the time without a rack. I usually put it in an oval cazuela (earthenware dish) - so I think a baking dish would work just fine. I do sometimes also do the rack of vegetables, as suggested by Quine.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: MMRuth

                    If you choose your vegetables carefully and don't have too many, you can put them in a blender with the juices and purée to make a nice healthy gravy. If there are potatoes in the mix I'd set those aside first and use the other veges for the gravy. Or you can just eat everything as is, and the heck with it...

                  2. I must be a complete cooking dork. I never use a rack. I oil the bird fron and back and I dont have any problems with uneven cooking or sticking.
                    I have placed carrots and celery under the chicken before, but most of the time not.

                    I get a crispy nice back too. I think it's where in the oven, if your oven is working correctly, and the temperature. 425 15-20mins then 350 the rest depending on the size. 185 degrees on the probe, and you don't want any bloody liquid running from anywhere.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: chef chicklet

                      I just don't cook chicken often. And the only times I've ever baked a whole chicken, I've always used a rack. It comes out really nicely with crisp skin. I was worried about the juices from the chicken, which fall to the bottom of the pan when using a rack.

                      1. re: alliebear

                        oh, gosh I cook chicken so often, and I love it roasted. I'll either roast it in the oven like I said or on my rotisserie in the convection oven. I'm so with you when you speak of the crispy skin, I can't help it I know its bad for us!!! I did take a photo when I made the roast chicken and au gratin potatoes, I was having a problem getting them to download to my computer and I ended up having to delete them.
                        No problem, I wouldn't want the chicken to mess up for you either, I can only speak of my own experiences and honestly the rack I have is for the humungous roaster, or the rack for which I put baked goods to cool. When I used that, the skin stuck to it and It darn near killed me. So I just place it's well oiled little body on the baking dish. so far so good. Plenty of juices, but then that depends on the fat in the bird.

                      2. re: chef chicklet

                        I like yours, simple and true for me that is. Try oranges, lemon and onion in the cavity with some herbs. Really moist.

                        1. re: kchurchill5

                          That's so funny kc, are you a mind reader? I love chicken so darn much and I was thinking about the next time...Hey maybe try an orange with the lemon/I have one orange in the crisper. Sounds great!

                      3. I am preparing for economic armageddon, and I bought a 4.5 lb. Perdue oven-stuffer roaster on Saturday. I stuffed it with Pepperidge Farm stove top stuffing (with Swanson's stock, and butter and sage) and baked it in a glazed mexican clay dish w/ carrots, quartered onions, and red potatoes, at 350 for 100 minutes. I seasoned it with just spanish paprika and a bit of chipotle powder. I'm having my third meal from it tonight, without complaint. I added a little more Swanson's stock to moisten the last of it. The chicken was on sale for 99 cents per pound- a good value. Don't forget to get the "oysters" from the underside!

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: Veggo

                          I think that's smart, I picked up a couple (whole) for 69lb cents. So weird, alll of a sudden chicken is on sale. the chicken you made sounds sooo good, chipotle powder? I must get some!

                          1. re: chef chicklet

                            OMG! Don't use Chipotle powder?? http://www.thespicehouse.com/spices/c...
                            Go for it!! I buy the big bags. Good stuff. While at it buy the granulated toasted garlic powder: http://www.thespicehouse.com/spices/g.... I've bought while peppers from them, too.
                            No, I don't have stock in it or relatives working there; just good stuff!

                            1. re: Scargod

                              Hey thank you, their prices look decent enough. I won't be having a problem ordering from them at all. With such a nice selection, well be getting acquainted real soon!

                        2. There's a good video clip on roasting chicken on a bed of vegetables on www.videojug.

                          1. I placed an entire chicken in a glass baking dish in the oven for about 45 minutes and it was wonderful. Make sure to put a broth in the bottom of the dish so the chicken does not dry out.

                            1. Actually, as I recall most of the first classic French recipes I've seen, they just truss it so it doesn't go flopping around, rub it inside w/salt and sometimes lemon juice, salt and oil the outside, then cook it in a pan in the oven, giving it a quarter-turn every so often so that the juices glaze it and it gets cooked all over equally. That's a little too much oven-opening for my taste, not to mention I'd (a) have to set a timer and (b) remember what the timer is for, so I've never done that. However, if all I'm having is chicken and a salad I just might try that someday.

                              1. I've made a ring/doughnut/whatever of aluminum foil and used it as a rack. You just pull out a length, crush it along its length, form a ring. I first got this idea from CI or something that offered it as a heat diffuser on my stovetop.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: c oliver

                                  I just tried this for the first time the other day, after seeing a Chowhound video where it was done (with Leanne or something like that, I think). Quite effective.

                                2. If you roast it in a dish, make sure it's small enough that the juices don't burn. My favorite way to roast a chicken is in a cast iron pan.


                                    1. re: monku

                                      That's my preferred method since you: a) get to drink half a beer while prepping; and b) it keeps the chicken moist from the inside out. I've often thought about using a Foster's oilcan for a turkey. I'll try that when the grill is back on the porch.

                                        1. re: c oliver

                                          In the garage. I was tempted to move it out last weekend when the temps were in the 60's, but they plunged back down into the 30's, so there she will sit for now.

                                          1. re: JohnE O

                                            Oh my dear, I was afraid of that :) We live in snow country and grill then. When we lived in Oregon, we've grilled underneath an umbrella. You must not be deterred! :)

                                            1. re: c oliver

                                              Well the cold and the daylight savings time thing. Not much fun grilling in the dark with the little LED lights on my head. Of course if I repaired the electric running to the garage then I'd have lotsa light. In the end, it was just easier for March 8th to roll around so it stays light later.

                                    2. I have a glazed ceramic oval dish which a three pound bird fits in nicely. I also have a fancy French unglazed one. Sometimes I even tie the legs together!
                                      I also often use chipotle powder and garlic powder. About 45 minutes at 375-400, gets my bird a nice crispy tan and is still very juicy.

                                      1. It's not always obvious (or as stable as you might like) but I have in the past fashioned a makeshift roasting rack out of a wire cooling rack.

                                        1. The New York Times had a recipe printed last week that called for roasting the chicken on stale bread. I tried it and the bird was good and the bread yummy.

                                          Here is the article with an embedded link to the recipe:


                                          Put the chicken in a higher rack in the oven since the bread gets very toasted on the bottom.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: EdwardAdams

                                            Yes. I was about to suggest this but couldn't remember where I read it. On our list to try.

                                          2. I've never used a rack! I just plop the bird into a 9 X 13 heavy pan, breast down, and baste it every 20 min or so after the first hour. I use a spoon to skim the fat from the juice at the end, and it's lovely.
                                            Something my mother taught me: rub the bird with lots of garlic/basil/oregano/salt/pepper, put it in the pan with a little drizzle of olive oil, baste as it roasts. About 20 min. before it's done, pour a can of tomato sauce over the top and put back in the oven. While the chicken roasts, make a broth with the giblets, onion, celery, and parsley if you have it, and reduce to one cup or so. When the chicken is done, put it on a warm platter. Skim the fat from the juices in the chicken pan. Add the broth from the giblets to the pan juices, and pour all of that good stuff over lots of freshly cooked ziti. Add parmesan or romano cheese to the paste, eat it all up with the chicken. And now I'm hungry!

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: rememberme

                                              Do you turn the bird breast up at some point to get it brown and crispy?

                                            2. No, I don't. I leave it breast down. My DH and one chowpup like the breast, and it's sufficienty moist, this way, that I'll serve it to them without snarky comments. My other chowpup and I eat the wings first, and then the drumsticks, and then pick at the back. (Actually, i frequently do two small fryers instead of 1 large roaster -- more wings and legs.) I find there's still enough good crisp skin to pick at on the rest of the bird, and since I don't like the breast and DH doesn't like the skin, everyone is happy. Except the chicken.

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: rememberme

                                                we roast a chicken pretty much every sunday. i usually soak it in brine, rinse it and dry it before cooking. i'm partial to slathering a paste of olive oil and fresh herbs under the skin on the breast--and then all over the outside. we do start it breast down and flip later--the monday white meat chicken salad is moister that way. sure do agree about the lemon/veg stuffing. one advantage of a rack is that it get the bird higher in the pan so you get more roasting and less steaming. if using a carrot rack, i'd look for a pan with fairly low sides.

                                                1. re: silverhawk

                                                  Low sided pans: that's an important point to roasting a chicken without (or with), a rack. I forgot to mention that the oval ceramic ones I use are only an inch deep.

                                              2. My favorite simple roast chicken is Marcella Hazan's roast chicken with two lemons, which specifically does not use a rack (I just use a metal 9x13-inch baking pan). If you don't want the lemon flavor, you can just skip the lemons, though it's delicious, and I don't think they detract from leftovers used in whatever way.

                                                The recipe: http://www.wchstv.com/gmarecipes/roas...

                                                1. One of my family favorites: cut the back out of the chicken (save for making stock), flip it over press down on the breast to flaten the chicken (butterfly). Season with salt, pepper, garlic powder (not to much garlic powder), and paprika. Put parchment paper in the bottom of a 13x9 pan line bottom with cut up baby red potatos (bite sized) place flattened chicken ontop of potatos. Roast at 425 for 20 minutes, turn down to 375 for another 20-30 minutes. Chicken is very nice seasoned, crisp skin, moist inside (from steam from potatos), and the potatos are littlel nuggets of heaven (from cooking in all the flavorful drippings).

                                                  1. Funny, whole chickens have dropped in price here in Colombia and I've been roasting a lot more - a couple a week. So I told my ex-wife about the cheap chickens. She said she didn't have a rack. I showed her how to make the bottom of a "log cabin" out of carrots. Works as well as a rack and you don't have to wash it later. You can eat it if you dont mind the perferct roastedness sufused with the toasty chicken fat.

                                                    2 Replies
                                                    1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                      Sam, the visual of your "log cabin" made of carrots inspired me to try it last night. I used 6 carrots and employed a ruler and caliper to cut my notches so they fit together like Lincoln logs. It was a platform that could have withstood a 5.5 earthquake while the chicken was roasting. I added a dozen small red potatoes lightly coated in olive oil and rosemary, a couple quartered onions and I seasoned the chicken with chipotle powder and spanish paprika. I added coarse black pepper and kosher sea salt to the whole dish. Scargod made a good point above that a dish with low sides is important for convection and all over crisping, and the tower of carrots really enhances the convection. The whole beautiful mess started smelling delicious after 20 minutes in the oven, and made a great meal. Next time I'll include a couple quartered beets in the carrot corral, and let a little chicken fat bathe them. I think I can go up to a 7 pound chicken without risk of overcooking the veggies. Thanks for the idea, hermano!

                                                      1. re: Veggo

                                                        Man! You do chicken (seasoning), just like me! I like my carrots browned and cooked well, but you might play with foil, and remove it at some point, to not toast the veggies so much, especially with a big bird?
                                                        Don't forget chayotes. Do you think they have a very earthy odor?

                                                    2. just put the chicken breast up on a baking pan, and tie the legs up above the lower breast. Blast at a high temperature for 15-20 minutes, and then turn down the heat (if you do it long and low it falls off the bone while still having crispy skin). Make sure the chicken has been rubbed with some kind of oil first though.

                                                      1. I never use a rack either. I just plop it into a pre-heated (on the stove) cast iron pan and then shove it in the oven. I flip it around halfway through and that way both sides gets crispy. Roast chicken isn't roast chicken as far as I'm concerned without well-crisped skin!

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: PegS

                                                          I like to line the pan with slices of lemons and oranges, stuff the chicken with tons of fresh herbs from the garden as well as more citrus slices and garlic. I bake for about 20 minutes, breast side down to get it really juicy then flip it over to brown it. I baste it with butter and juices from the pan.

                                                        2. Also, a bit of a odd idea but I remember a couple of times I didn't have onions and carrots or celery. I used a 2 metal cookie cutters for my rack. I did stuff the chicken with a orange and cut up another in the pan. My pan was a cast iron skillet. Our house was getting re tiled so cooking was a microwave and the grill on the porch. We actually walked on a 2x4 sitting on a block from the porch to the bedroom, 7 days of creativity.

                                                          Anyways the chicken I roasted on the grill, I did add a little broth to my crazy set up, some herbs, s/p. After the chicken was done. I added some oj (we did have a mini fridge on the porch) and a diced onion, some corn starch to thicken and some brandy, one of those mini bottles. It was left in this basket I took on the porch with minimal supplies for the week. It was one of the best chickens I had. Roasted chicken with an orange brandy sauce.

                                                          I think I had boxed rice pilaf for the microwave and canned beets (can't be too creative when you really don't have a kitchen). I took the canned beets, cooked them in another cast iron on the grill with a few onion slices and butter. Added some oj right at the end. Just 1-2 teaspoons, some s/p and served.

                                                          CRAZY dinner, but it sure was good. I still make that dinner now and then. I do use the stove and oven but equally as good.

                                                          And there was chicken left over for dinner the next night. Creamed chicken over biscuits made in again, cast iron. It was actually fun.

                                                          I know have a roasting rack, but I still prefer veggies, but I no longer have to use my cookie cutters :)