How to Bake Raw Chicken

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Baked chicken provides an impressive main course with minimal effort.
Baked chicken provides an impressive main course with minimal effort. (Image: Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

Baking locks the juices into a chicken so the meat comes out of the oven tender and flavorful. Whole, raw chickens require minimal preparation before you bake and are suitable for a variety of dishes after cooking. Serve a whole roast chicken as a main course, or shred the meat after baking for use in pasta, salads or sandwiches. Although it requires an hour or more to bake a whole chicken, the hands-on preparation time is minimal.

Things You'll Need

  • Towel
  • Roasting pan
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Meat thermometer

Remove the neck and giblets from the cavity of a whole chicken. Rinse the chicken in cold water then pat dry with a clean cloth.

Place the chicken, breast side up, in a roasting pan. Rub salt and pepper on the outside of the chicken.

Place the chicken in a preheated, 350 degree Fahrenheit oven. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes per pound of chicken. For example, bake a 4 lb. chicken for an hour and a half.

Insert a meat thermometer into the fattest part of the chicken thigh, taking care not to touch the bone. The chicken is done when the thermometer reads 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

Remove the chicken from the oven. Allow it to rest for 10 to 15 minutes before cutting and serving. The resting periods allows the meat to relax, resulting in a tender and juicy bird.

Tips & Warnings

  • Bake chicken pieces as you would a whole chicken. Use boneless or bone-in chicken, as desired.
  • Experiment with different herbs and rubs when baking the chicken. Rub butter, olive oil or honey over the skin for added flavor or tenderness. Thyme, tarragon or oregano also complement the flavor of baked chicken.
  • Do not under-cook chicken. Meat not brought to 165 degrees Fahrenheit is more likely to harbor illness-causing bacteria.
  • Wash your hands and any cooking utensils that come in contact with the raw chicken to prevent the spread of harmful bacteria from the raw meat.

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