Sometimes when I need chicken meat for something else I want to make, which is often the case, I just lazy out and buy a precooked whole chicken from the grocery store.
Cooking a whole chicken is something I only do two or three times a year for some reason. I really should do it more often though, because it comes out so juicy and delicious every time. Oddly, whenever I think about making one I talk myself out of it because it sounds like too much work. But every time I just do it, it isn’t hard at all. A few minutes of prep and in the oven it goes. It is actually much easier than other meals that I make way more often.
So, today I will share with you my easy oven baked whole chicken recipe. I cooked my most recent whole chicken the day before yesterday, and it came out so great I thought I should write about it. And my next article will be about what I am doing with the leftovers tonight. I can’t wait!
One thing that does hold me back at times is the cost of the chicken. Many times I have gone to the store with the intention of buying and cooking a whole chicken, and then quickly changed my mind when cooking my own chicken costs more than buying the store’s precooked chicken. In those instances I either buy a cooked one, or just change my dinner plans altogether.
But when everything aligns… I am in the mood to cook one and the price is right, we get to enjoy one awesome chicken!
This last one I bought was $1.59/lb. Which is still a bit higher than I prefer, but I really wanted one, so I went for it. As I have mentioned in other articles, I have set prices in my mind for different products. It doesn’t seem to matter that inflation occurs, or that my perfect price is probably based on my ideals from 15 or more years ago. I just don’t feel good about spending certain amounts on certain things. I am weird that way. I have almost completely stopped buying cereal because of this self induced phenomenon.
- First thing you want to do is rinse the chicken and get the gizzards and things out of the middle.
- Then it is best if you pat it dry.
- Put it in a baking pan. I typically use a 9 x 13 glass baking dish, but this is pretty flexible. You just want the chicken to fit comfortably and make sure it is at least an inch or too deep, so that the juices don’t overflow.
First I start with the inside cavity of the chicken:
- I always take some softened butter (or margarine will work if that’s what you have) and rub it all over the chicken for flavor, moisture, and help with browning, and put about 1/4 stick of butter inside the chicken.
- I add a good amount of salt and pepper to the inside of the chicken.
- Depending on the size of my chickens cavity, I put 1/4 to 1/2 of a lemon inside (you can give them a little squeeze as you are putting them in there.
- Also inside goes 1/4 to 1/2 of a yellow onion and
- 3-5 halved cloves of garlic
Then I do the outside of the chicken:
I try to season the bottom of the pan while holding the chicken up so that the bottom gets seasoned too. Then while holding the bird with one hand by cupping the edge of the cavity I season the top and sides as best as I can. Don’t get all crazy trying to get every nook and cranny, unless you want to. It isn’t worth stressing yourself out. Here are the seasonings I use, and I always do it in this order.
- Garlic powder
- A little lemon pepper if you have it
I typically leave tiny lumps of butter above the legs (or wings depending on how it is positioned) and push half a clove of garlic into the butter for good measure. I am sure this is not necessary, and may not actually do anything, but it’s my thing and I always do it.
Cook Upside Down?
You can’t really discuss cooking a chicken (or a turkey) with out mentioning which way to position the bird…Breast side up or down?
It really comes down to preference. Personally, I am a dark meat girl. So, in general, I prefer the breast on top so that the dark meat is as juicy and flavorful as possible. But since I am not cooking for just myself anymore, the past few years I have typically put the bird breast down.
One other reason I prefer the breast up is so that the skin on the breast gets crispier. I think it makes bites of the breast taste better, but many people would disagree with the importance of that, and want the naturally dryer white meat on the bottom to add some juiciness.
But, honestly, either way, it will be delicious.
I cooked this chicken for 15 minutes at 450 degrees then for 20 mins per pound at 350 uncovered.
Spicing it Up
You could easily give this some spice by cutting up your favorite hot pepper and adding it into the cavity before cooking. Because I am the only person in my house that likes spicy food, I used hot sauce to spice up my plate after it was cooked.
My favorite hot sauces for chicken are tangy types like Franks original or Ol’ Delta. Also, if I am in a BBQ sauce mood, I sometimes dip my chicken in my favorite BBQ sauce Kinders Exxxtra Hot. Mega good BBQ sauce!
Oven Whole Baked Chicken- Eat Up!
Now you can go ahead and dish it up along with your favorite side dishes. We typically eat the legs, thighs, wings, and a little of the breast meat. We save the rest for a different meal in days to follow. I will be doing a follow up article on one of my favorite things to make with leftover chicken.
I hope this article was helpful and you enjoy your juicy, delicious, oven whole baked chicken! If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions I would love to hear from you. Please leave a comment below, or in the contact form in the main menu above. I will back to asap…See you soon!