The first meal a guy ever cooked for me was roast chicken. I was so impressed, which shows I was also incredibly naive. Roasting a chicken is stupid-easy: you don't even need a roasting pan.

Using a cast-iron skillet, it only takes an hour to cook a juicy, tender bird with crispy, salty skin. You already have all the equipment you need. Just go get a bird. And also someone you can impress who hasn't read this yet.

Drew Swantak/Thrillist

Pat it dry

Buy a 5-pound chicken with giblets removed (or shove your hand up there and remove them yourself). If you have time, salt the chicken the night before and refrigerate it uncovered. This helps get the skin extra crispy.

Heat the oven to 375°F. Place the chicken on a work surface or cutting board, and pat it dry with paper towels.

Drew Swantak/Thrillist

Trim it

Snip off any loose skin around its butt.

Drew Swantak/Thrillist

Season it

In a small bowl, combine 1 tablespoon of softened butter with 2 cloves of garlic (minced), 1 ½ teaspoons minced fresh thyme, and 1 teaspoon paprika.

Drew Swantak/Thrillist

Butter it up

Starting at the neck, insert fingers under the skin to loosen it from the meat. Be careful not to tear the skin. Rub the butter mixture in between the flesh and loosened skin.

Drew Swantak/Thrillist

Stuff it

Stick two lemon halves and a few rosemary sprigs into the chicken cavity.

Drew Swantak/Thrillist

Grease it up

Drizzle olive oil on the outside of the skin and rub it all over. Season generously with salt and pepper.

Drew Swantak/Thrillist

Truss it

Place the chicken, breast-side up, on a rack in a roasting pan or large cast-iron skillet. Cross the legs and tie them together with kitchen twine. Tuck the wings under the body.

Roast it

Roast in the oven for 45 minutes, then crank the temperature to 450°F (do not remove chicken) and roast for another 15 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the inner thigh (but not touching the bone) registers 165°F.

Drew Swantak/Thrillist

Give it a rest

Remove the chicken from the oven and place on a cutting board. Loosely tent it with aluminum foil and let it rest for 15-20 minutes before carving.



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