I am a firm believer in buying whole chickens instead of chicken pieces. Not only do you get more meat for your money and crispy skin, but you also can then make your own chicken broth– saving even more money. Usually when whole chickens go on sale I stock up! They will keep in the freezer for 6 months to 1 year if they are tightly wrapped.
Let’s start with how to roast a chicken. This is so intimidating at first! But once you get the hang of it, you won’t go back! The first very important step is to remove any packaging inside the bird (normally organs). Also, make sure it is completely defrosted to ensure the inside reaches the right temperature in cooking.
I have two tricks that I always swear by for roasting a whole chicken.
- Roast it breast side down. The breast are much leaner than the legs, so they have a tendency to dry our faster. Roasting the bird breast side down allows all of the juices and fat to run from the legs down into the breast meat. It gets locked in by the skin, which allows the breast to stay moist.
- Start the oven on 400F. Cook it at 400F for the first 25 minutes and then turn it down to 325 for the remainder of time. This crisps up the skin quickly and traps all of the juices in with the meat– resulting in juicier meat. Usually, my chickens will cook on 325 for another 1.5 hours, but this depends on the size of the bird. Check for an internal temperature of 165F. It will continue cooking after being removed from the oven.
Roasted Whole Chicken
- 1 whole chicken
- 3 stalks celery
- 2 whole carrots
- 1 onion
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp onion powder
Preheat oven to 400F. Roughly chop carrots, celery, and onion. In a deep baking dish, scatter vegetables so that they cover the bottom of the dish. Place whole chicken breast side up onto dish. Season with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder. Flip chicken over so that is is breast side down. Season backside of chicken.
Bake on 400F for 25 minutes then turn temperature down to 325F. Roast until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165F, typically 1.5 hours depending on the size of the bird.
Remove from oven and allow to cool. This is important to keep the juices with the meat and allow them to re-enter the meat before breaking the skin.
I typically shredded the breast meat to use in another recipe or for salads/ lunches. Then use the thighs, drumsticks, and wings as the main protein in meals throughout the week.
Removing the breast meat, legs, and wings will leave you with the carcass of the bird. The base of the stock! If you still have the pan drippings from roasting the chicken, throw those in the crockpot, too.
Homemade Chicken Stock
- Bones/ carcass of chicken
- 2 whole carrots
- 3 celery stalks
- 1 onion
- 3 cloves garlic
- fresh or dried herbs (parsley, thyme, rosemary, bay leaf)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1.5 quarts of water
Add chicken carcass/ bones to the crockpot. Roughly chop vegetables. Add vegetables, herbs, spices, and water to crockpot. Water should come to the top of the dish.
Cook on high for 24 hours. Strain to remove all large food bits.
Can be stored in the refrigerator for 1 week or frozen for 6 months. I typically like to freeze it in either a freezer-grade plastic bag, old quart sized yogurt container, or ice cube trays (then store in plastic bag).
Throwing together homemade soup is super easy and delicious. Drinking the broth straight is also an excellent way to warm up in the fall and winter!