Roast Chicken

This is a good recipe for a basic roast chicken.
Based on a recipe from The New York Times Cook Book, Craig Claiborne, Harper & Row, NY, 1961, p 185.
Prep Time12 minutes
Cook Time2 hours
Total Time2 hours 12 minutes
Course: < 30 Min Prep w/Longer Cook Time, Main Course - Chicken - Poultry
Author: Catherine Christiano


  • 1 roasting chicken (the larger the chicken, the longer the cooking time) at room temperature
  • 1/2 lemon
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 small onion peeled
  • Herbs such as 1/2 tsp thyme or rosemary, bay leaf, a sprig of tarragon or parsley
  • 1/2 cup butter melted


  • Place rack in center of oven and preheat to 350° F. Line a roasting pan with aluminum foil for easy cleanup. Place roasting rack in pan.
  • Remove the giblets and neck from inside chicken. Rub inside of chicken with lemon. Sprinkle with salt and pepper inside and out. To cavity add small onion and herbs or, if desired, fill with stuffing. Truss chicken and place breast side up in roasting pan and place in oven.
  • Bake eighteen to twenty minutes per pound, or about one hour and fifteen minutes for a four-pound bird. See note for approximate cooking times based on weight. A stuffed chicken will take longer. Baste chicken as it roasts with melted butter. Test for doneness by moving leg of chicken up and down. If it moves easily and an instant read thermometer inserted in the center of the breast reads 165°F, chicken is done.
  • Remove to carving board. Carve chicken and arrange on warm serving platter. Heat dinner plates, so food stays warm longer.
    Photo of roast chicken
  • The chicken carcass with any meat remaining on bones makes a great soup; freeze to cook later along with any juices from roasting pan and carving board.


Cooking time depends on size of chicken.
7 lb takes about 2 hr 20 minutes.
5.5 lb takes about 1 hr 50 min.
Allow about 20 minutes per pound.
Bones and unused portions of chicken and juices can be reserved to make chicken soup later on.
Serving Ideas: Roast with baking potatoes or sweet potatoes. Use cold cooked meat for picnics, salads, sandwiches.
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