I'm going to kick this off with maybe the most unpopular of my unpopular food opinions: I don't really like chicken. I feel about chicken the way a lot of people, usually the ones who like chicken, feel about tofu: namely, Why? At best, it's...lacking in character. All of that is the preamble to this, the easiest and most perfect roast chicken ever, which even I must admit comes out well every time. It's so simple and foolproof, it feels like kitchen cheating. And yet people go bananas over it, the aforementioned chicken-loving types especially.
The only, slight catch is that this chicken is best timed to come out of the oven shortly before you plan to serve it. It will dry out if reheated, so it's best for Friday night or another time when you have about an hour before dinner to devote to it (all in the oven; this recipe is basically zero prep).
All you need is chicken, olive oil, and cupboard spices
Here we go: start with an 8-piece cut-up chicken (bone-in). You can also buy just breast or legs if you prefer, as long as they're bone-in and skin-on. I freeze the parts we like less and save them up for making chicken soup or stock (in this case, the wings and the neck). Arrange the chicken in a baking pan.
Drizzle your chicken with olive oil. Dab the olive oil over it with a brush (or a paper towel; or, don't bother, often enough I just drizzle and season).
Season the chicken with salt, pepper, and any or all or none of the following: paprika, garlic powder, onion powder. You can add rosemary or thyme or any other herbs you're in the mood for. (Not sure? Sniff the jar and see.) Add a little heat if you like it, maybe a bit of hot paprika or cayenne or harissa.
Stick the chicken in the oven at 375°F / 190°C for 45 minutes to an hour. (We like it done to a bit more than the recommended minimum of 165°F / 75°C for both white and dark meat.) When you pull it out, it'll look like the top photo!
If you cut up some veg after you've got the chicken in the oven, and roast it right alongside your chicken. Or serve with mashed potatoes or a favorite grain and a green salad. In-an-hour Shabbat dinner, challah notwithstanding.
Simple Roast Chicken (meat)
- 1 bone-in, skin-on chicken, cut into eights* - about 3 lbs / 1.5kg
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- ¼ tsp freshly-ground black pepper
- 1 tsp sweet or hot paprika - optional
- ½ tsp garlic powder - optional
- ½ tsp onion powder - optional
- Preheat the oven to 375°F / 190°C. Lightly grease a baking pan.
- Place the chicken parts in the prepared pan so they are in one even layer.
- Drizzle the chicken with olive oil. Brush the oil over the chicken skin with a pastry brush (or paper towel).
- Sprinkle the salt and pepper over the oiled skins of the chicken. Evenly sprinkle on any other dry spices you wish to use.
- Roast for 45- minutes to 1 hour, until the chicken is nicely colored on top and reaches an internal temperature of at least 165°F / 95°C.