The Kitchn Cookbook: Skillet Roasted Whole Chicken

Since September is back to school, Cindy and I have been using the Kitchn to try and learn to cook basics like grilled cheese..and risotto (well, maybe risotto isn’t a basic exactly, but it’s something that based on my recent experience is easy, once you learn to do it),…and nothing better than to cook up a good ol’ roasted chicken for the blog.  I mean, you can’t get more basic than a roast chicken…unless you are talking about Pumpkin Spice Lattes, amirite? #basic

I used to find the idea of roasting a chicken to be rather intimidating…but after a whole lotta practice (I cooked a lot of them before hosting my first ever, entirely self cooked,Christmas dinner with 40+ members of my extended family), I feel like I have it relatively down…though as I say that, it’s clear I’m not perfect as things got a bit ummm…”extra crispy” pretty quickly! Oops!


The recipe was SO, SO, simple and I liked that the prep and ingredients needed were simple, too.  One interesting thing about this recipe was the “drying” of the chicken even after I put on olive oil and the crazy easy to prepare rub.  I will definitely remember to do this the next time I cook up a turkey, too as I’m confident that it is one of the reasons why, aside from the extra crispy bits, the skin on the chicken was pretty much perfect.


How gorgeous is this rub?!


The chicken itself tasted wonderful.  It sort of reminded me of this lovely poultry wet rub that I buy from William Sonoma during my annual fall trip to Minneapolis to watch the Minnesota Vikings play.  A nice blend of citrus, savoury and a hint of sweet.

The dark meat was delish as was the wing I snagged while my dear old dad was carving (so nice of him to do that).  Even the white meat was moist (yes, I hate this word, but…).  I cooked down the juices (which is my new favourite thing for any meat I cook that has drippings), and deglazed the pan with stock leftover from my risotto last weekend and it made for the most flavourful sauce imaginable.

I think the only thing that really threw me in terms of the directions in the recipe is how not to tear the skin when you flip the chicken over…or even flipping over a hot bird without making a mess/dropping it..etc.  Admittedly, it probably would’ve been a little easier to flip if I had used a proper cast iron skillet (mine is not currently seasoned) instead of my dutch oven.

This recipe is definitely a keeper and I would make it again and again. I give all the props to those lovely folks at The Kitchn!

Recipe Rating: 5 knives out of 5

Om, nom, nom,



The Kitchn Skillet Roasted Whole Chicken

Serves 4

1 tablespoon coarse salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Zest of 1 lemon

1 tablespoon (packed) dark brown sugar

1 3- to 4-pound fresh whole chicken

Olive oil or butter

Lemon halves, garlic cloves, and fresh herbs (such as thyme, rosemary, or sage), for stuffing the cavity of the bird (optional – I would recommend this)

Place a 10- to 12-inch skillet, preferably cast iron, on the middle rack of the oven and heat it to 475° F.

In a small bowl, mix the salt, pepper, lemon zest, and brown sugar. Set aside.

Remove any packaging from the chicken and drain any juices or blood trapped in the plastic. Reach inside the chicken’s body cavity and remove the bag of giblets. The giblets can be discarded, saved for stock, or used to make gravy later on.

Pat the chicken dry very thoroughly with paper towels or a kitchen rag reserved for handling raw meat, making sure to absorb any liquid behind the wings or legs and inside the body cavity, too. Massage the outside of the chicken with olive oil or butter, and then coat it with the spice rub. If desired, stuff the inside of the chicken with halved lemons, whole cloves of garlic, or herbs. Again, gently pat the chicken dry.

Carefully remove the hot skillet from the oven and place it on top of the stove. Place the chicken breast-side up in the skillet. You should hear it sizzle. Transfer the skillet back into the oven and roast for 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes, check the chicken; the skin should have started to bubble and blister. If the chicken appears to be burning or smoking (NB! I didn’t notice any smoke or burning smell…yet, well…see above! So WATCH your chicken closely!), reduce the oven temperature by 25 degrees before returning the chicken to the oven.

After 10 more minutes, remove the skillet from the oven and place it on the stove top. Carefully turn the chicken over, taking care not to tear the skin (mine tore…I have no idea how not tear it). This is best achieved with two wide, flat wood spoons or spatulas.

Return the chicken to the oven and roast for another 10 to 20 minutes, depending on the size of the bird. Finally, turn it back breast-side up and roast for another 5 to 10 minutes to crisp the skin.

Check the chicken for doneness by inserting a meat thermometer into the meatiest part of the breast. It should register at least 165° F. If the chicken is not quite done, it will have to roast a while longer. But if the skin is already browned, cover the chicken with foil before returning it to the oven.

When the chicken is done, transfer it from the skillet to a large plate and tent with aluminum foil. Pour off the clear fat from the skillet and reserve it for another use. To make a sauce from the pan drippings, add a few spoonfuls of water, stock, or white wine and put the skillet on a burner over low heat, using the back of a spoon to scrape up any crusty brown bits from the bottom of the pan.

Let the chicken rest for 10 to 15 minutes. Carve the chicken and serve with the pan-drippings sauce. The cooked chicken will keep in the refrigerator, tightly wrapped, for up to 3 days.


3 thoughts on “The Kitchn Cookbook: Skillet Roasted Whole Chicken

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