Roasted Chicken

Quick Look_______________

Roasted chicken isn't anything special or exciting, but it's easy, tastes good, and dirt cheap to make.

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: about 1 hr
  • Difficulty: intermediate- overcooking will make it dry, undercooking will make it raw. The bone makes it a bit tricky. Pierce through to the bone to check for blood.
  • Labor Intensity: could do alone
  • 30 servings, adjust by 1.5x if your group tends to eat multiple servings.


  • 20-25 lbs Chicken quarters, thighs, drumsticks (on sale currently: 0.69/lb, avg sale price 0.99/lb) [$14.00-$25.00]
  • very little olive oil (or any other veg oil will do)
  • paprika
  • Salt (coarse kosher salt is the best)
  • Pepper
  • some kind of herb (oregano or rosemary...etc)
  • Rice
    Total: $14.00-$25.00


    • Rinse and dry
    • Pre-heat oven to 500F or as hot as it will get
    • Rub chicken with oil
    • sprinkle salt and pepper generously, not all of it will stick on
    • sprinkle with paprika and herbs (maybe a tablespoon per chicken quarter)
    • Place chicken pieces upside down in tray and bake for 30 minutes
    • Take out chicken and flip over, rotate pans, top tray to bottom tray..etc
    • Bake for 15-30 mintues, check by piercing through center. If blood comes out, it's not fully cooked, if clear juice comes out, it's ready.

    Tom's Tips and Tricks_______________

    Safety lesson: wash all things that come in contact with raw chicken. Make sure the chicken is not bloody inside. If it is, microwave for 45-60 seconds or until steaming in microwave. Salmonella could be transmitted through raw chicken. Nothing can spoil a small group dinner or kgroup dinner like food poisoning :(
    Chicken with bone may cook unevenly. The bone is an insulator and as a result, the outside may look good but it may be raw near the bone. Pierce through to the bone to check for blood.
    Serving size note: Each drumstick is approx. 1/3 lb and each thigh is about 1/3 lb [in general]. It really depends on the size of chicken you buy. The quarters are about 2/3 lbs. College guys can eat 1-2 quarters (2/3-1.5 lbs) with rice. College girls eat about 0.5-1.5 quarters (1/3 lb-1lb). This is a general one size fit all recommendation: guys=2/3lb, girls=1/3lb meat, adjust accordingly to your group.
    Placing the chicken face down and flipping it over will help cook evenly, but more importantly will keep it moist. All the juices will drip out and soak the bottom of the pan. When you flip it over, the "soggy" wet part is now on top. The juices will flow from top to bottom, back into the meat, keeping it moist. Dry chicken makes me sad....
    You can also re-season the meat when you flip it over if you wish.
    [optional] you can use your day old, leftover, stale rice and fill aluminum trays halfway and bake with the chicken on top. Add 1/2 cup of water and cover with aluminum foil tightly to retain steam. The rice will insulate the chicken from the heat so it's important that the steam stays inside to cook the chicken. The juice from chicken will drip into the rice, making it flavorful. Each large aluminium tray will hold about 6-10 chicken quarters.
    Tastes good, finish by broiling for 5-10 minutes before serving- make sure it doesn't burn!
    [Alternate variation] add 1-2 cups green thai curry to rice instead of water before placing in oven. You can also soak chicken pieces in thai curry for a few hours before cooking to marinate!
    Since a large aluminum tray can hold about 6-10 chicken quarters, you will need 3-4 trays. Each oven holds about 2 trays so you may need 2 ovens for this meal...something to consider. Or you could stack the chicken if you really need to (would not recommend)
    [optional] you can broil the chicken for 3 mintues before serving if you want a darker, crispier looking skin. This is mainly for aesthetics, but it does make food look more appealing. It's just an extra step if you have time for it. Make sure it doesn't burn, check every minute!
    [Another variation] instead of oil and herbs to coat the chicken, you can make a sauce using honey and crushed red peppers and brush this on the chicken.
    [Possible side dish] mashed potatos, corn, potato wedges


    kevan said…
    Tom, this looks yum. Question: can we convert this recipe into barbecue chicken of some sort? I have a ton of barbecue sauce from Texas and really want to use it. Any advice?
    tomkim said…
    My experience is that the surface of cooked chicken is not very permeable to sauce. It doesn't cling on very well. You can brush it on before serving. Texas style BBQ sauce is a bit thinner and may form a very light coating. I would use this sauce on pork or beef.
    kevan said…
    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
    Anonymous said…
    someone made this dish and brought it over to my apt and i was really impressed at how tasty it was. she said it was very simple. thanks tom!
    Unknown said…
    I'm making this right now for a potluck at my work. I've made it for my co-workers before and they asked me to make it again. So glad to have a dish that they enjoy. Thanks!

    I suggest you make it pretty clear that if they cook with rice, it takes significantly longer.

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