The Ideal Oven Temperature For Roasting Chicken

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Roasted chicken is such an easy and delicious main dish. It's perfect for entertaining and for weeknight dinners with the family. It goes with everything from roasted potatoes to steamed asparagus. And while it's easy to prepare, there are a few things to consider. 

First of all, roasting is a dry heat cooking method and as such is usually done at high temperatures (per Land O'Lakes). That way, the oven heat dries out the surface of the food so it can brown well. And the high heat cooks the chicken quickly and evenly so the bird stays juicy. But most recipes for roasted chicken call for oven temperatures around 350 to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. In fact, per Food Network, you can roast a chicken from 325 to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

That temperature range is puzzling — with such a large range, how can a beginning cook know what recipe to trust? What is the ideal oven temperature for roasting chicken?

Set your oven to this temperature for perfect chicken

Professional chicken roasters like Michael Ruhlman say that a temperature of 450 degrees Fahrenheit is best. In fact, Barbara Kafka, whose book "Roasting: A Simple Art", which was released in 1995, changed the way many cooked, says she roasted her chicken at 500 degrees Fahrenheit, per The Washington Post (just make sure your oven is perfectly clean before you try this). Most roasting chickens weigh about 3 to 5 pounds, and at 450 degrees Fahrenheit, the chicken will roast to crisp perfection in about an hour.

Of course, you can't just throw the chicken in the oven immediately after purchase. It's important to start the process the night before. Pat the chicken dry (never rinse it according to the USDA), and let it sit, uncovered, in the refrigerator overnight for the crispiest skin. For an average-sized bird and with the high cooking temperature, trussing really isn't necessary. In fact, trussing the bird can make the thighs take longer to cook, which means the breast will probably overcook. But if you like the way a trussed chicken looks, go ahead. 

MasterClass recommends starting out roasting the chicken at a high heat, then turning the temperature down. This is more important if you have a chicken that weighs more than 6 pounds.

Enjoy your perfect roast chicken

When the bird is done, it will reach 165 degrees Fahrenheit on a food thermometer. That's the safe final internal temperature, according to the USDA. Now let the chicken rest. As the Washington Post points out, this lets the meat relax and the juices redistribute so every bite will be juicy and tender. In the meantime, you can follow Better Homes & Gardens, which recommends making a velvety gravy from the pan drippings. Now carve the chicken – Delia Online recommends anchoring your bird with a serving fork – and dig in.

Try this recipe for perfect roasted chicken to fill your home with the most comforting and wonderful aroma. If you want something with a little more spice, check out the "Game of Thrones" dragon roasted chicken, which adds lots of veggies for a one-pot meal along with mustard, rosemary, thyme, and chives. Tarragon roasted chicken is fragrant and savory. The recipe for everything bagel chicken, roasted with potatoes and smoked paprika, is a great change of pace. And then, the best part: leftovers! Why not make a perfect roast chicken sandwich the next day?