I am a huge fan of a whole chicken. Most of the time, I cheat by getting the pre-roasted chicken (shhh!) and just make my own fresh sides. But sometimes, when I’ve got the spirit of Ina Garten coursing through my veins, I roast my own. Homemade or store bought, doesn’t matter, it’s always a win.
Maybe it’s the versatility, the white meat/dark meat combo, guaranteed leftovers for tomorrow’s salad, or that crispy browned skin you only get on a really well-cooked roast chicken. Whatever it it, whole roasted chicken is a weekly staple in my kitchen.
Honey-Paprika Whole Chicken
Makes 4-6 servings*
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: about 1 hour 30 minutes*
*depending on size of chicken
4-6 pound whole chicken
1 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon flaky sea salt
1-1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 lemon, juiced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons honey
Prepare honey-paprika paste
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
In a small bowl, combine olive oil, sea salt (I know 1 tablespoon seems like a lot, but it’s results in more flavorful, tender and juicy chicken), black pepper, juice of 1 lemon, crushed garlic, paprika, honey. The consistency should resemble a paste more than a rub.
Using paper towels, completely pat the chicken dry inside and out. Transfer the chicken, breast-side up, to a roasting rack, large cast iron skillet or Dutch oven. Tie the drumsticks together using kitchen twine, if you have it. Tying the drumsticks help keep them moist and even. I don’t always have twine on hand in my kitchen, so I’ve definitely roasted a chicken without tying the legs and it’s turned out just fine. If you’re worried about the drumsticks cooking too quickly, you can cover them with foil to help.
Season the chicken with your honey-paprika pasta, making sure to get all the nooks and crannies and maybe even the inside. Insert the juice lemon remains into the cavity, along with any other fresh herbs you may have in the fridge. If you don’t have fresh herbs on hand, you can absolutely skip ‘em, but they never hurt to include.
Roast the chicken at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for at least an hour. You’ll need to roast about 15 minutes per pound of chicken. Some people may suggest 20 minutes per pound, but I like to err on the side of caution here because you can always cook it longer, but if you overcook that chicken…let’s just say you’ll need something to help wash it down. Wine is just fine. But not for the kids, duh.
After about an hour, check the doneness of your chicken. There are a few ways to do this, but a meat thermometer is the most accurate and reliable technique. Your meat thermometer should be read 165 degrees Fahrenheit when inserted into the thickest part of the thigh. You can also insert a knife into the area where the breast meets the thigh, checking to see if the juices run clear. Another test is to see if the drumsticks are wiggly. If so, it’s probably a good indicator that your bird is finished. But again, meat thermometer always wins.
Once out of the oven, give your chicken a little rest, about 15-20 minutes, before carving. Serve with your favorite sides!