Cooking a Whole Chicken

As we spend more time at home, we have to think about new ways to cook. Eating the same bland recipes gets old. Do you have recipes you’ve meant to try? Most of us do. However, time always seems to get away from us. So, what better time to sharpen our skills. This year should be about going back to basics. Instead of buying pre-cut meat, try out new ways for cooking a whole chicken. You will be surprised at how easy it is. Not to mention, there are so many ways you can go about it.

Cooking a Whole Chicken by Hilltop Acres

Don’t shy away from the idea anymore. We are here to help answer all your questions. From where to buy, what to look for, and how to use the bones afterward, you’ll be on your way.

This month, we want to do more than give you recipes for cooking a whole chicken. However, we have those too. Moreover, we want to give you all the facts. Therefore, we decided to start with a few of the most asked questions.

When it comes to cooking a whole chicken, here is what people want to know:

What Should I Look For In A Whole Chicken?

When searching for a whole chicken, check your local farms. Here, you will find fresher products. But also, you might be able to find more options for size.

Picking Whole Chicken by Hilltop Acres

For example, at Hilltop Acres, we sell capon-sized roasters. Do you know what that means? Capon sized refers to chickens that weigh more. In comparison, you may only find 2-3 lb chickens at the grocery store. Here, you may find ones in the 6-8 lb range.

Whether you are looking to meal plan or feed a big family, you might need more than just 2-3 lbs. Additionally, you don’t have to eat the whole thing at once. Or, even cook the entire chicken at once.

For more information on cutting your whole chicken into pieces, check out this detailed guide:

How to Cut up a Whole Chicken

In terms of how the chicken should look, follow these guidelines:

  • Look for the freshest product you can. The “sell by” date is generally about 7-10 days after the product is packaged. Therefore, you can gauge when the chicken was brought in based on that. However, if the chicken is frozen, it can last up to a year. So, keep that in mind as well.
  • The chicken should be plump, with larger breasts than legs. If you push on the breastbone, it should be pliable. If so, you know the meat will be tender as well.
  • There should be no distinctive smell. Naturally, chicken has an odour. Yet, the scent should be clean.

When supporting local business, you have the option to ask questions as well. Buying and cooking a whole chicken shouldn’t be hard. Don’t be afraid to ask where the product is from. You can also ask things about its living environment and food. It makes a difference.

How Long? And What Temperature?

When it comes to cooking a whole chicken, the methods vary. With that being said, it also depends on the size. A larger chicken will need more time. In comparison, a smaller chicken will cook more quickly. Seems easy enough, right?

Chicken in Oven by Hilltop Acres

If you’re starting, cooking a whole chicken in the oven is the easiest. Generally speaking, we call this roasted chicken. Everyone has their tips and tricks, but here are a few to get you started:

First and foremost, get your oven nice and hot—Preheat to 450. Not only does high heat help with crispy skin, but it also locks in those delicious juices.

Next, give your chicken a pat-down. Use a paper towel to dry off your chicken. This step helps the skin to be crisp. In terms of flavours, all you need is salt and pepper. However, add on your favourite spices as well. Fresh herbs work great! Just remember, don’t be shy. Season the inside and outside of your chicken for the best results.

Lastly, you want to “truss” your bird. It’s quite simple. Just cross one leg over the other and tie up with kitchen twine. Not only does this make the chicken look better, but it also helps with even cooking. Don’t skip this step!

As a rule, when cooking a whole chicken, pop in the oven for around 45 minutes. Then, check the temperature. You’re looking for 165° for it to be safe to eat. If it’s any less, cook a little longer.

Let your chicken rest for around 15 minutes and then dig in!

Do I Have To Use the Oven?

Absolutely not! Today, there are lots of appliances you might reach for. For example, grilling is a fantastic alternative. Here, you used indirect heat and rotated the meat every 20 minutes or so.

Grilling Whole Chicken by Hilltop Acres

Yet, you’ll have to remember an extra step. To avoid overcooked, dry chicken, we suggest spatchcocking. This funny term refers to removing the backbone. Ask your local butcher to do it for you. Or, follow this step by step guide.

This Mediterranean Style Grilled Chicken is perfect for a family feast!

Another option is to use an instant pot or a slow cooker. These hands-off devices are helpful for people with busy lifestyles. Cooking a whole chicken in one of these appliances may not give you the same final product. However, it’s still worthy of trying out. For more chicken recipes, see our blog Easy Instant Pot Recipes.

Recipes For a Whole Chicken

Beer Can Chicken by Hilltop Acres

As promised, we wouldn’t leave you without giving up some of our favourite recipes for a whole chicken. Once you’ve mastered cooking a whole chicken, you can try out one of these delicious choices for your next meal:

Garlic Herb Butter Roasted Chicken

Beer Can Chicken

Roast Chicken with Mushroom Stuffing

Instant Pot Chicken and Gravy

Once you’re all finished, don’t forget to use up the bones. Don’t throw them away just yet. Many recipes call for chicken stock – so why not make your own? Follow our recipe here. Homemade chicken stock will keep for up to 4 days in the fridge. Or freeze for up to 6 months.

Are you looking to get started with cooking a whole chicken? Visit us at the Farm Store. We are still open! We only provide local and fresh. So, why wait? Let us help you find the quality product you are looking for today.


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Hilltop Acres Poultry Products
1501 Maple Bend Road
Bloomingdale, Ontario
N0B 1M0, Canada


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