You can roast a chicken at almost any temperature. It all depends on what you are looking for. For extremely tender, fall off the bone meat and soft skin, roast between 300 and 350 degrees. For firmer meat and crisp skin, roast the chicken around 425 degrees F. In our recipe below, we roast a 5 to 6 pound chicken at 425 degrees for about 1 1/2 hours.
If you have the time, refrigerate the seasoned chicken, uncovered, for an hour, or overnight. This is basically dry brining which will help the skin become extra crisp and the meat extra juicy.
1 (5 to 6 pound) whole chicken, patted dry
Salt and fresh ground pepper
1 onion, sliced (optional)
1/2 cup chicken stock or water
1 lemon, quartered
1 whole head garlic, halved crosswise
Small bunch fresh herbs, such as thyme, rosemary and sage, optional
Generously season the chicken inside and out with salt and pepper. If you have time, refrigerate the chicken, uncovered, for an hour, or overnight.
Heat oven to 425 degrees F. Scatter onions in the bottom of a roasting pan and cover them with the stock (or water). Place chicken breast-side up on top of the onions. Stuff the cavity with halved garlic, lemon wedges, and herbs. Use kitchen twine to tie the legs together. (If you don’t have twine, leave the legs as they are.)
Roast the chicken for 1 hour, then spoon pan juices over the chicken several times. Continue roasting until an internal thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reads 165 degrees F or when the chicken juices run clear when when you cut between a leg and a thigh, 20 to 30 minutes longer. Let rest 10 minutes before carving.