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How to roast a chicken (the easy way)

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By Will Godfrey

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Ah, the humble roast chicken – a classic Sunday roast favourite and an all-round crowd pleaser. It’s all about crispy, golden skin and tender, succulent meat (served with all the trimmings, of course). And if you’ve got any leftovers, you can keep them in the fridge to rustle up some speedy weeknight meals. Basically, it’s the gift that keeps on giving. 

But when it comes to cooking a whole roast chicken (rather than just breasts or thighs), for some it can seem like a daunting task. You might be wondering how long you should cook it for, or how to know when it’s done. But with a few simple tricks and a fool-proof recipe up your sleeve, it’s nice and easy.

First things first: it’s a good idea to take your chicken out of the fridge half an hour before you pop it in the oven. That way it’ll have time to reach room temperature and you’ll get a more even, golden finish. There’s no need to wash it (raw chicken should never be washed) – instead, just pat it dry with kitchen towel, untie any strings and you’re good to go.

How long to roast a chicken

When it comes to cooking times, it couldn’t be easier to calculate – you’ll need 45 minutes per kg, plus an extra 20 minutes to finish. If you want to, you can baste your roast chicken once or twice during cooking to help keep it moist. Just grab a spoon, or better still a baster (if you have one), scoop up the fat and drizzle it over the skin.

If you want a fuss-free Sunday lunch to impress your family and friends, this simple roast chicken recipe will make your kitchen smell delicious and you’ll have a juicy bird in just over an hour. Follow our step-by-step method and you won’t go wrong.

If you want a fuss-free Sunday lunch to impress your family and friends, this simple roast chicken recipe will make your kitchen smell delicious and you’ll have a juicy bird in just over an hour. Follow our step-by-step method and you won’t go wrong.

Roast Chicken Recipe

Cook time: 2 hrs 15 mins

Serves: 4

Ingredients

  • 1 chicken (1.8-2kg)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 50g softened butter
  • 20g thyme
  • 1 lemon

Method

  1. Pre–heat your oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7.
  2. Zest the lemon and chop the garlic and thyme leaves finely.
  3. Combine the softened butter with the lemon zest, chopped garlic and thyme. Season with a generous pinch of salt and pepper and give everything a good mix up.
  4. Place the chicken in a roasting tin and stuff the garlic, lemon and thyme butter under the skin. stuffing chicken skin
  5. Drizzle the chicken all over with a little olive oil, then cut the lemon in half and pop them inside the chicken. stuffed skin roast chicken
  6. Season generously with salt and pepper inside and out.
  7. Cook the chicken for 20 mins (it’ll crisp up the skin nicely). half-cooked roast chicken
  8. Turn down the heat to 190C/170C fan/gas 5 and cook for another 1 hour. time lapse roast chicken
  9. Take out of the oven and make sure the juices run clear by piercing a thigh with a knife. Rest for 15 minutes and start carving.
  10. It’s ready to serve with all the trimmings!

Do you have any top tips for cooking roast chicken? And what are your favourite dishes to serve with it? Let us know in the comments!

Oh, and if you want some more top tips for how to cook perfect meat, or you’re interested in tackling a roast turkey – the Gousto blog has loads of other useful recipes to help you out.

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