Roasted half chicken recipe, crispy skin, and juicy, tender meat. What would you ask more from a simple chicken?
We love chicken. I’ve been roasting, frying, poaching, sauteing chicken in so many ways over the years, I cannot even remember all the different recipes I’ve ever made. Try some potato-crusted chicken, some balti chicken curry, or some cast-iron chicken thighs, for instance.
But roasting chicken halves is something I do regularly, a recipe I know by heart. So is it a recipe after all? More of a method. Pretty straightforward: split the bird if it is not already cut in half, season and bake. That’s pretty much it!
The results are always delightful, exactly what you would ever wish when having roasted chicken: tender, juicy meat and crispy skin, a lot of flavors, and heartiness. And that expressly, you will definitely need less time for roasted half chicken than you would need for a whole chicken.
- One whole chicken of about 4.5 lb/ 2 kg or two chicken halves, each about 2.2 lb/ 1 kg.
- If you have a whole bird, cut it in half following the instructions below.
- I keep it simple most of the time: a mixture of olive oil, sweet ground paprika, salt, and pepper.
- I often add a touch of hot or smoked paprika (either sweet or hot) and some garlic powder.
- You can also use your favorite spice blend for poultry or try some curry powder for an exotic touch.
How to cut a chicken in half?
- You will need a large cutting board, a really sharp small knife, a large chef’s knife, and kitchen shears. (1)
- Place the bird breast-side down and with the neck end closest to you. (2)
- Remove the backbone by cutting it all the way down with the kitchen shears. (3)
- Turn the cutting board so that the legs are closest to you now and open up the bird. (4)
- Remove the white cartilage that joins the bones by cutting on either side of it. When you can get a hold of it, lift it with your hand and cut around it until it is released. (1,2)
- Flip the bird skin-side up and press it down with your hands to flatten it on the board. Now it is butterflied or spatchcocked, and you can use it like that for other recipes.
- To cut it in half, use a large chef’s knife. Start at the neck and cut all the way down. (3)
- Never throw away the backbone and all the rest. Use them to make stock. (4)
- Check Nando’s Butterfly Chicken to learn how to butterfly chicken breast.
How long to bake chicken halves?
- Let sit on the counter for about 30 minutes; they should not be refrigerator cold.
- In the meantime, preheat the oven.
- Brush well with the seasoning mixture on both sides and under the wings and legs as well.
- Bake in the preheated oven at 180 C/ 350 F for 35-40 minutes until golden and cooked through.
- You can turn on the grill function during the last 1-2 minutes of the cooking time, if the skin should get even crispier and if your oven allows it. In this case, keep a very close look on the bird, not that the skin becomes too dark.
- I didn’t use the grill, but you can see that the skin is as crispy and nice as it can be.
- Let the roasted half chicken rest for about 5 minutes and serve.
Let the meat sit on the counter for 30 minutes before roasting. This ensures that the bird halves will cook more evenly and that the meat will be juicier.
Season generously and change the seasoning according to taste, you can use pretty much anything you like. Always think about the salt, don’t skimp on it, it is crucial for the taste. But if you are using a bought seasoning mix, check if it already contains salt.
Always check that the chicken is cooked through before serving, the flesh should be completely white, there is no pink allowed. But don’t overcook the food either. It is best to check the inner temperature with a meat thermometer; it should be 74°C/ 165°F (Amazon affiliate link).
74 degrees Celsius/ 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
The best and safest way is to use a meat thermometer. This not only ensures that the bird is cooked through but also helps you not to overcook it.
You can also check by piercing it in the thickest part of the thigh with a toothpick; the juices should run clear.
Or cut the thigh/breast near the bone, make sure the flesh is white and not pink or bloody.
It should not happen in this recipe, the chicken is halved and that means that it cooks faster, so that the breasts don’t have so much time to dry out.
However, if you notice that the skin is getting too dark during the last part of the cooking time, cover the bird very loosely with aluminum foil.
Turn on the grill function of the oven during the last 1-2 minutes of the cooking time. Watch the bird all the time, depending on your kitchen appliance the skin can go from crispy to burned within seconds.
What to serve with it?
- Basic Polenta – I added lots of fresh chopped herbs and a knob of butter. (See picture)
- Roasted Cornmeal Potatoes
- Pan-Fried Sweet Potatoes
- Garlic Smashed Potatoes
- Sweet Chili Dip and Potato Wedges
- Air Fryer Baked Sweet Potato
What to do with leftovers?
- Leftovers can be reheated in the oven at about 180 degrees Celsius/ 350 degrees Fahrenheit until heated through.
- They can also be served without reheating.
- Use meat pieces to add to soup, make enchiladas or tortillas, stuff into sandwiches, make a chicken salad, and so on.
More baked chicken:
Roasted Half Chicken
- 2 chicken halves weighing between 1-1.2 kg/ 2.2-2.6 lbs each
- 2 tablespoons olive oil Note
- 1 ½ teaspoon sweet paprika or 2 teaspoons if using only sweet paprika
- ¼ teaspoon hot paprika
- ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika optional (either hot or sweet, to taste)
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¾ teaspoon fine sea salt
- some black pepper
- Prepare the chicken: Remove the chicken from the refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking. If you need to cut a whole chicken in half, see the instructions in the blog post.
- In the meantime, preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius/ 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Mix the olive oil and all the spices. Add a little more oil, if necessary, to obtain a mixture that is easy to brush.
- Season: Place the chicken halves on the baking tray skin-side down. Brush the chicken generously with the spice mixture. Flip the halves and brush the skin all over, including under the wings and under the legs. Arrange them on the tray, making sure that they don't touch each other.
- Roast for 35-40 minutes and check if the chicken is cooked through. It should be golden brown and crispy, and the inner temperature should be 74 C/ 165 F. You can also check by piercing the chicken in the thickest part of the thigh with a toothpick; the juices should run clear.
- Crisp: For extra color and crispiness, you can turn on the grill function of your oven for the last 1-2 minutes of the cooking time. In this case, keep a close watch; you don't want the skin to scorch.
- Rest for about 5 minutes and serve.