Enjoy crispy roast chicken right at home. These tips will teach you how to select, prepare, cook and carve the perfect chicken.
The best chickens are free range. Even though it’s more expensive, corn-fed and organic chickens have a considerably better flavour and texture than chickens that have been kept in confined conditions.
When deciding how much chicken to buy, a 3.5 lb chicken should feed 4 people well and still allow for leftovers.
If storing the chicken before cooking, you should keep it wrapped in a disposable bag and place in a deep roasting pan in the middle of the fridge on a lower shelf. This will help prevent juices from the chicken leaking to avoid cross contamination.
Cook the chicken within 1 or 2 days, or freeze it.
Before cooking, the chicken needs to be brought up to room temperature. Remove the chicken from the fridge at least 30 minutes before roasting and leave it covered in a cool place.
If the chicken is frozen, CFIA recommends the best way is to thaw in the fridge. Whole chickens will take 1 – 2 days to thaw in this way but remember, once thawed the chicken should be cooked with 1-2 days. If defrosted in a microwave, chicken should be cooked immediately.
For a golden brown, crispy skin, rub the breast and legs of the chicken with some softened Becel® Buttery* spread.
For some extra flavour, crumble and gently warm in the microwave a Knorr® Chicken Bouillon Cube into some olive oil and rub all over the skin.
When stuffing, begin at the neck end where you’ll find a flap of loose skin. Loosen this away from the breast and pack about two thirds of the stuffing inside. Tuck the neck flap under the bird’s back and secure it with a cocktail stick.
Drizzle the chicken with olive oil and a little ground black pepper. Using a sharp knife, carefully prick a lemon all over and put the lemon inside the cavity of the chicken (with the stuffing). This will help keep the bird moist as it cooks.
As a general rule of thumb, roast 20 minutes per pound plus an additional 20 minutes, which means a typical 3lb chicken will be perfectly roasted after 1 hour and 20 minutes at 375°F. Stuffed birds can take longer so always check that chicken is completed cooked before serving.
Cook until the chicken has reached an internal temperature of 165°F/74°C, by testing it with a thermometer at the thickest part of the chicken.
To see if the chicken is cooked, use a skewer to pierce between the leg and the body of the chicken. When properly cooked, the juices will run clear and not pink, however, you should always use a thermometer to confirm before serving.
Baste the chicken halfway through the cooking process. When basting, be sure to take the chicken completely out of the oven and close the oven door rather than just opening the door. It will take a long time for the oven to regenerate the heat, which in turn will make the cooking time longer and harder to estimate.
Once the chicken is cooked, it’s important to let it rest before serving. Remove it from the roasting pan and place onto a serving plate. Cover loosely with aluminum foil and leave for at least 15 minutes.
The wings and any string from the chicken should be removed. Cut down between the leg and the breast. Once you’ve cut through the joint, you can pull the leg off. Repeat the procedure on the other side.
Divide each leg in two by cutting between the thigh and the drumstick. There should now be space to carve the rest of the chicken. Cutting along the breastbone, carve one side off, then the other. Turn the chicken over to reach all the tasty and juicy bits from underneath. *Becel® Gold in Quebec