Perfect Roasted Chicken in Four Easy Steps

chicken-mealIt’s easy to find yourself in a rut when it comes to planning and preparing weeknight dinners.   Many home cooks are intimidated by cooking bone-in chicken because it’s not as predictable as the old reliable standby boneless, skinless chicken breast. Many chefs, myself included, prefer bone-in chicken over the ubiquitous boneless breast.  There’s more flavor, more texture and more versatility.

Here is my simple and straightforward recipe for preparing bone-in, skin on chicken pieces for a weeknight dinner with your family:


Serves 4

8 pieces of bone-in chicken (2 per person)—if using breasts, cut them in half crosswise for quicker cooking

Kosher Salt & Pepper

2 Tbsp. Olive Oil


  1. Season—Trim any excess fat or skin from the chicken pieces.  Generously season the chicken on all sides with salt & pepper.
  2. Sear—Heat a large oven proof skillet over high heat, add the olive oil and then the chicken.  Make sure you place the chicken skin side down in the pan to start with.  You want to focus on crisping up the chicken skin as much as possible.  While searing chicken, preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.

Cook Chicken on all sides to get a nice golden brown sear, about 4 minutes per side.  Adjust the flame as needed to prevent the skin from burning.  Once seared on all sides, remove the chicken from the heat, but still keeping it in the pan.  Make sure chicken is in the pan skin side down for the next step…again, it’s all about crispy skin!

  1. Roast—Place pan of chicken (skin side down) into the preheated oven.  Roast for approximately 15-20 minutes or until a thermometer inserted into the thickest piece reads 165 degrees Fahrenheit.  Other clues to whether  the chicken is done or not are:  juice running from chicken is clear, not pink or red; skin begins to tighten up and the bones start to show (especially on drumsticks).
  2. Rest—Once the chicken is cooked, it’s important to let it rest for about five to ten minutes before serving.  This ensures the chicken stays juicy and is also not screaming hot when you serve it to your kiddos.

Other Things to Consider:

  • For added fresh flavor, squeeze the juice of a fresh lemon over the chicken as it comes out of the oven
  • Try different dry rubs or seasoning in place of, or in addition to the salt & pepper.  Try to stay away from dried herbs as they will burn during the searing & roasting process
  • If you have time, marinate the chicken overnight in your favorite marinade, then pat dry, season and sear
  • Serve alongside fresh vegetables or your favorite salad for a complete weeknight meal!

Jessica James is a Millennial working mom who lives in Kansas City with her family. She cooks and eats professionally for a living. You can find more of Jessica’s amazing recipes as well as gardening tips and other fun facts on her blog Real Family Kitchen.———————————————————————————————————————————————————————
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  1. That looks so tasty and healthy!

  2. yum yum, my mom used to make the chicken like that all of the time. i haven’t got it right yet

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