My Top 3 Reasons to Roast a Chicken

February 13, 2023 | Katy Moscoso

whole roasted chicken

Thanksgiving is my absolute favorite meal to cook. I love the smell of a roasting turkey and making multiple meals with the leftovers is the best. One downside to roasting a turkey is that it takes several hours, and whole turkeys are harder to find at the store after the holidays. Having two young kids, I need quick meals that don’t require many ingredients yet provide me with leftovers to use throughout the week. Cue roasted chicken! Roasting a whole chicken is easy and helps me create several meals from one dish. The aroma while it cooks is a bonus 😊.

Below are my top 3 reasons to roast a chicken:

  1. Great for leftovers & homemade broth– When I roast a chicken, I usually have enough chicken leftover to make 1-2 additional dishes. Some of my favorite dishes are Chicken Salad for quick lunches and the Cheesy Chicken Enchilada Bake or Chicken Alfredo Pasta for dinner. Looking to limit your sodium? Homemade broth can be lower in sodium than store bought, and certainly cheaper if you already have the bones from a roasted chicken. I like making chicken broth by boiling the bones and skin in a pot of water with carrots, celery, and onions. I let it simmer for several hours and then strain out the vegetables/bones to use in a variety of dishes like our recipe of the month, Chicken with Mushrooms.
  2. Cost effective– I decided to start purchasing whole chickens a few years ago when I realized it was more cost effective than purchasing separate cuts of chicken and containers of chicken broth. At my local grocery stores, a 3 to 4-pound chicken ranges from $9-14 compared to a pound of chicken breast for $5-7. Since I use chicken broth in quite a few of my dishes, I can get the most use out of a whole chicken while saving money.
  3. Simple ingredients– Roasting a chicken does not require many ingredients. Butter or oil and salt and pepper are the basics. Sometimes I will add lemon/lemon juice, fresh or dried herbs and garlic to change the flavor. Carrots, potatoes, and onions are great additions to add to the dish for extra flavor and to create a whole meal.

When roasting a chicken, I like to pat it dry with paper towels before seasoning it. This allows for a much crispier skin like what you would find on a rotisserie chicken. Once dry, I season the chicken and use a little butter or olive oil between the skin and the meat to keep the chicken moist. Place the chicken in a shallow baking dish or roasting pan and place it into a 425-degree oven. At my house, a 4-pound chicken reaches 165 degrees after roughly 60 minutes. To be safe, use a food thermometer to make sure the chicken is cooked completely before serving.

Not only does roasting chicken provide a delicious meal, but it gives me more time to focus on other things. Because it provides a good number of leftovers, I can quickly throw together several other meals without having to spend a lot of time in the kitchen. Who doesn’t want extra time during a busy week? I know I do!

Cheers to adding roasted chicken into your meal rotation; you won’t be disappointed!

Katy Moscoso

Katy Moscoso is a Program Specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. As a mom to both a toddler and a preschooler, Katy loves trying new recipes that are quick and versatile. Cooking meals that can provide leftovers to fill her fridge and freezer is a win during this busy season!

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