Preparing Iron Skillet Roast Chicken

Whole roasted chicken is often saved for special occasions or holiday meals—it seems like a process to make and can take hours in the oven. Because of its small size and clever cooking method, however, this juicy and delicious chicken is a snap to cook and will be ready in less than an hour.

Ingredients

  • 1 (4-pound) whole chicken
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning inside chicken
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning inside chicken
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Raw chicken
  2. Preheat oven to 450 F. Put a well seasoned 10-inch cast-iron skillet in oven to heat.

    Chicken with salt
  3. Sprinkle cavity of chicken with salt and pepper.

    Put sauce on chicken
  4. In a small bowl, combine 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, onion powder, thyme, paprika, garlic powder, and olive oil. Rub all over chicken.

    Chicken in pan
  5. Using oven mitts, carefully remove hot skillet from oven. Put chicken in skillet and return to oven. Reduce oven temperature to 400 F.

    Roasted chicken
  6. Roast chicken for about 50 to 60 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer or oven probe registers at least 165 F in the thickest part of a thigh.

    Chicken on a plate
  7. Let chicken stand for about 10 minutes before carving.

    Chicken in dish

Tips

  • The secret to making this chicken is using an everyday cast-iron skillet that you preheat in the oven.
  • If your whole chicken is frozen, it is best to thaw it in the refrigerator; a 4-pound bird will take about 24 hours so you need to plan ahead. If you didn’t remove it from the freezer the night before, you can defrost it in a water bath, but you need to make sure the water stays nice and cold. Place the chicken (still wrapped) in the sink or large container and fill with cold water; change the water every 30 minutes. Thawing takes about 30 minutes for every pound. And although it may seem obvious, there are times this step is overlooked: don’t forget to remove the package of giblets from inside the bird once your chicken is thawed.
  • In order to get the crispiest skin, you need to make sure the chicken is completely dry before adding seasonings and placing in the oven. One way to do this is to remove the wrapping from the chicken the day before and rinse the bird inside and out and pat dry. Then place the chicken in a roasting pan in the refrigerator (without any covering) overnight; this will allow the bird to dry out and eliminate any moisture. (You can do this with turkey as well.)
  • To speed up the cooking time even more, you can spatchcock (butterfly) the chicken, which simply means removing the backbone so the bird will lay flat in the pan. Cut down the cooking time by 15 minutes, checking for doneness after 30 minutes or so.