How to Bake Chicken in the Oven

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Oven-baked chicken is a low-fat entree choice.
Oven-baked chicken is a low-fat entree choice. (Image: David De Lossy/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Baked chicken is a healthy choice for a main dish because white-meat chicken is low in fat, especially compared to red meat. Baked chicken is also a versatile entree that can easily be paired with your favorite side dish, whether you prefer mashed potatoes and gravy or grilled asparagus. Baking a whole chicken in the oven is often called roasting because the chicken is typically cooked in a roasting pan. You can bake chicken in a regular baking dish if a roasting pan is not available.

Things You'll Need

  • 1 whole chicken
  • Roasting pan
  • Butter
  • Knife
  • Cutting board
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Seasoning of your choice
  • Kitchen twine
  • Instant read thermometer

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Remove the giblets and the kidneys from the body cavity of the chicken. Insert your hand into the body cavity until you feel the bag of giblets. Pull firmly to remove the bag. Set the giblets aside for another use or discard the bag. Check if the chicken’s kidneys are in the body cavity near the tail end of the chicken. They are red in color. If they have not been removed, pull them out of the cavity with your hand and discard them.

Rinse the chicken inside and out under cold running water. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels.

Cut half a stick of butter into 1 tbsp. pats. Slide the pats of butter under the skin of the chicken. Rub 1 tsp. of salt and 1/2 tsp. of pepper under the chicken’s skin. Add additional seasonings, such as chopped fresh herbs, if you like. Rub them under the chicken’s skin just as you did with the salt and pepper.

Truss the chicken’s legs by holding them together against the chicken’s body and crossing them in an “X” shape. Wrap them with kitchen twine and tie the twine in a knot.

Place the chicken breast side up in the roasting pan and slide it into the preheated oven. Cook the chicken for 20 minutes per pound plus an additional 15 minutes.

Check the chicken’s temperature by inserting an instant read thermometer into the meaty part of the thigh. The chicken is done when the thermometer reads 165 degrees.

Let the chicken stand for 10 minutes before carving so it will retain its juices and flavor.

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