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How Do You Convection Roast a Chicken?

I understand, sort of, how a convection oven works and that it's supposed to save time, but I just roast a small chicken in a porcelain dish with the convection roast setting and it didn't quite work the way I wanted. I cooked the chicken breast side up and the top of the bird cooked very nicely, thank you, but the back (bottom) was underdone at the same time. Do you have to roast things on a rack when you use convection roast? Would using a rack have made a difference? Any advice is most welcome.

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  1. When roasting a single chicken with convection I use my 12" SS All-Clad frying pan and I don't use a rack. It's easier to clean than a large roasting pan. No surprise that the bottom side of the chicken was underdone while the breast was perfect. The optimal internal temperature after resting is 160 for the breast, and 180 for the thigh. I believe your problem is the vessel and/or too low of a roasting temperature. I use 425 for 30 - 40 minutes depending on the size of the bird.

    1. Throw some onionsmor carrots,celery....ya know the standby on the bottom instead of rack and place chicken on top....roast for 425 for 40 minutes for a three lb chicken or so making sure juices run clear....cook mine all the time in my convection toaster oven....convection is just circular heat instead of directly from top or bottom for more even cooking....hey throw a lemon inside;)

      1. Yeah, the chicken should be on a rack, or failing that propped up on a bed of vegetables or something.

        When roasting a chicken in a non-convection oven, it will cook faster and more evenly on a roasting rack than sitting low in a pan, because the part of the bird sitting low in the pan gets surrounded by a sort of 'cushion' of cooler air.

        My educated guess is that using a convection oven can in some ways exascerbate this problem, because, counterintuitively, the cushion of cooler air is still there, still buffered by the sides of the pan, while the top of the bird gets even more air circulation than it would in a regular oven. The effect would be that the top of the bird cooks even faster than it would in a regular oven while the bottom of it cooks much as it would in a non-convection oven.

        1. I convection roast in a cast iron skillet. The chicken has been spatchcocked

          2 Replies
          1. re: scubadoo97

            This has become my favorite configuration for roasting a chicken.

            That, or this variation. Have you tried the panfried chicken method where you use two cast iron skillets? Heat the two skillets in a hot (450) oven for 1/2 an hour or so. Place the spatchcocked chicken in one, as in your photo, and put the OTHER cast iron skillet, blazing hot, on top (right side up). Put the whole 2-pan mess in the oven for about 1/2 an hour.

          2. I've never had trouble convection roasting a chicken in a low-sided roasting pan. I take the chicken out of the refrigerator about an hour before cooking, set the oven at 325 and roast until a thermometer in the breast reads between 160-165. Then I take it out of the oven, tent it with foil, and let it rest for 10-20 minutes.

            1. I roasted a 16 lb turkey for thanksgiving in 2hrs 15. mins. My range has a "convection roast" mode on it. Turkey browned quickly and sealed in the juices yielding very moist meat. Awesome! Will definately will do this again.
              Rinse, dry turkey and season with salt, pepper and spices that have been mixed in olive oil. Let turkey rest at room temp. for one hour or so. (330 degrees oven)
              Place turkey on a rack of a shallow pan so the turkey is completely exposed above the pan so the air from the convection can completely circulate around the entire bird. I used my broiler pan with a wire rack on top instead of the broiler pan rack. This allowed more room for air to circulate around bird. If part of the bird is inside the pan it will not be able to get completely cooked. Hope this helps with your chicken. All convection ovens cook differently so oven temp and time may vary from my Dacor Convection Oven. Bon Appetit

              1 Reply
              1. re: ehcinsc

                Just a point of interest:

                There's not really any such thing as 'sealing in the juices' in a piece of meat via any cooking process. Moisture in the meat is mostly related to the meat's final internal temperature (though some methods like brining can help meat retain more juice).

                Browning or searing does not seal in juices, and this can be easily demonstrated by either weighing pieces of meat before and after browning or by comparing the results of slower cooking methods that don't involve browning to quicker methods that finish at the same temperature (sous vide-cooked meats, slow roasted meats, etc).

              2. Unless you start with a preheated skillet, or use a vertical roaster, you'll never get an evenly-roasted chicken, with crisp skin all around, unless you spatchcock, butterfly (or otherwise reconfigure the bird), or flip it. You need maximum heat getting to the spine side of the bird for a good chunk of the roasting time. A rack would have helped, but not by much unless you flipped the chicken at least once. My preferred method is to start it on its side (drumstick up) for a third of the time, the opposite side for another third, then finish breast up.

                I assume you do not have a roasting rack. The "raft" of carrots and celery is better than nothing but doesn't allow much heat access. It does flavor the drippings and it's a good idea to throw onion, carrot, and celery into the pan before placing the rack. Another approach is to use a cake-cooling rack over a pan (frying, baking, casserole - whatever is big enough that the chicken won't hang over beyond it, but small enough that the rack perches over the pan rather than fitting down into it. This gets you more heat to the underside.

                If you don't have a vertical roaster, you can shove the chicken onto an angel food or bundt pan. Use foil to cover the opening of the tube so nothing drips through to the floor of the oven. You won't need to turn the bird, and can still put veggies in the pan. Though the neck opening is small, if you push you can get it onto the tube beck down. This works best because the juices running down baste the breast, and the breast meat, which needs less heat than the legs, is somewhat protected by the wall of the pan.