I’m going to be honest: cooking a roast chicken can be a bit intimidating. What if it’s undercooked? Or worse, what if it’s overcooked? It’s not as simple as pouring some oil and spices on the bird and sticking it in the oven. It takes careful timing and prep work to get just right! But don’t worry: you’re not alone! We’ve put together this guide for how long to cook a chicken so that you’ll never have to worry about under- or overcooking your bird again.
Preheat the oven.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. If your oven does not have a temperature setting, you can use this method:
- Turn on your oven and allow it to preheat for at least 15 minutes before putting in your roast chicken (if using an electric stovetop, turn off when ready). This allows time for hot air to circulate through all parts of the oven cavity so that everything warms up evenly when you place food inside later on.
- If using gas stoves, light one burner–you’ll want only one burner going at a time so as not to overload your pilot light or gas line with too much demand! If using electric stoves, simply turn on all coils by pressing “High” button two times consecutively (or until red indicator light shows).
Place the chicken in a roasting pan.
Place the chicken in a roasting pan.
The chicken should be breast side up, and its legs should be hanging over the sides of the pan. Make sure that it does not touch any part of the roasting pan or rack. The size of your chicken will determine how large your roasting pan needs to be–if you have a small one-pounder, you may only need a baking sheet; if you have an extra-large bird (or several), go ahead and invest in some kitchen equipment designed specifically for this purpose!
Set the oven temperature to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Set the oven temperature to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Make sure the oven is fully preheated before placing your chicken in it. This will help prevent uneven cooking, and make sure that everything comes out perfectly cooked–no dry spots or undercooked areas!
- Take care not to let your bird get cold during this time; ideally, you should remove it from its packaging after purchase and let it sit out until close to room temperature before cooking (about 45 minutes). If necessary, use a meat thermometer inserted into its thickest part without touching bone or fat as an indicator of doneness; when ready for roasting at 400 degrees F: 165 F = completely safe; 170 F = just undercooked/still safe with some pink showing through here and there; 180+ = definitely overcooked!
Allow the chicken to rest for 15 minutes before serving.
Once you’ve removed the chicken from the oven, allow it to rest for 15 minutes before serving. This allows the juices to settle in the meat and helps keep them from running out when you cut into it. You can use this time to make a sauce or gravy with your pan drippings, if desired.
Cooking a whole chicken takes about an hour, but you can speed things up by starting it in a hot oven before putting it in the fridge
Cooking a whole chicken takes about an hour, but you can speed things up by starting it in a hot oven before putting it in the fridge. You can also speed things up by cutting the chicken into parts.
For example, if you want to cook two breasts and two thighs, just cook each breast for 15 minutes at 450 degrees (or until brown), then put them on a plate and cover with foil while you do the same thing with one thigh and set aside both pieces of meat until they’re cool enough to handle. Then slice each breast into three pieces (so that they’ll look like small fillets) and cut each thigh into two pieces–four total portions!
To cook a whole chicken, preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, place the bird in a roasting pan and allow it to rest for 15 minutes before serving. This will ensure that your meal is both juicy and flavorful!