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Roast Chicken 101

Martha Stewart Living, September 1997

1. To ensure even cooking, let the chicken stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before roasting.

2. Discard any pop-up timers that come with the chicken; an instant-read thermometer gives a far more accurate reading.

3. Don't forget to salt the cavity of the chicken; this will season the meat more effectively than salting the skin.

4. Stuff the cavity with aromatics like fresh herbs, garlic cloves, lemon wedges, and quartered onions to perfume the meat.

5. Arrange a single layer of onion slices in the bottom of the roasting pan to form a bed for the chicken. The onion will flavor both the chicken and the pan gravy, and it will prevent the chicken skin from sticking to the pan (or rack) and tearing.

6. Let the chicken rest for at least 15 minutes before carving; this allows the juices to collect in the meat instead of in the well of your cutting board.

How to Truss a Chicken

Trussing helps the chicken keep its shape and cook more evenly during roasting. Although traditional trussing involves tying the whole body of the chicken together, it is much easier just to tie the legs together with kitchen twine.


Try some of our favorite roast chicken recipes:
Perfect Roast Chicken
Lemon Chicken
Mango and Lime Glazed Chicken
Apricot Roast Chicken with Vegetables
Chile Rubbed Chicken

Comments (16)

  • Jackayee 6 Feb, 2010

    To answer some of the above questions: cook for 1 1/2 hrs at 425 F. You can buy twine at most grocery stores. If you still can't find it, try a cooking supply store.

  • pt507 19 May, 2009

    Another fantastic chicken recipe!

  • hmayallen 6 Feb, 2009

    I make roasted chicken about once a week, I recieved a rotisserie from my father last year and it's the best, my kids ask me to make it all the time. A little butter, salt, pepper and herbes de provence and it tastes moist and delicious every time.

  • Ninamanja 23 Nov, 2008

    I love roasted chicken

  • micahcraig 15 Oct, 2008

    where can i learn more about traditional trussing?

  • bigpapi 27 Sep, 2008

    yum yum

  • tpatel 26 Sep, 2008

    Chicken looks yummy

  • preview4 12 Sep, 2008

    i want to make this tonight for dinner

  • ManicCat 10 Sep, 2008

    Where can I get kitchen twine?

  • ManicCat 10 Sep, 2008

    Where can I get kitchen twine?

  • wl90 9 Sep, 2008

    Yum--I love roasted chicken.

  • Zardoz 31 Jul, 2008

    Brining is key! 1hr per lb. Do not add any more salt after brining!!! After, rub olive oil all over bird, stuff herbs

  • Corrina 27 Feb, 2008

    I cook it at 350F for about 1.5 when you poke thru the skin, the juices run clear, that will indicate its cooked sufficiently. :)

  • scrang 11 Feb, 2008

    I am just learnign how to cook and I know nothing about roast chicken. How long do I cook and at what temperature for roast chicken?

  • KellyRN 27 Jan, 2008

    I've been brining my chicken for 12 hours before cooking, and the meat turns out so delicious!!

  • MASHEDPOTATOES 17 Jan, 2008

    Another nice recipe is marinating the chicken for a couple hours in chipotle oil with herbs, then squeeze a fresh orange over the bird and paint with orange marmalade toward the end of the baking process. Makes a wonderful taste, smell in the hourse and glaze on the skin. Foolproof and delicious, even the juice can be used as a sauce.