Savory rotisserie chickens are a staple in so many family meal plans. And with good reason! Chicken is so versatile, you can roll it into meals all week without feeling like you’ve been eating the same food for days. Hot and cold, soup and salad, sandwiches and casseroles, hearty weeknight dinner or light workday lunch, rotisserie chicken has got your back. In a lot of ways, it’s the perfect food.
But you can do one better.
You don’t need an enormous rotisserie oven like the one in the deli of your favorite grocery store. You don’t need a grill or smoker. You don’t even need a specialized contraption that will suck up space in your cabinet when it’s not in use. All you need is your oven and a regular baking dish. Your kitchen is already set up to produce better-than-the-deli home-roasted rotisserie-style chicken in just two hours.
Oven-roasting your own birds is a serious meal prep upgrade. The DIY route makes this humble main ingredient even more flexible. Tweaking the seasonings lets you change up your dinner plans or add some international flair to the flavor. Baking at home means you get all the delicious pan drippings to roll into homemade stock or whip up some homemade gravy.
You’ll also have complete control over the ingredients. It’s about more than just flavor. Deli-roasted chicken tends to be injected with salt or another bringing agent, which seasons the meat and helps it retain flavor while it’s hanging around in the hot case. That’s good for the taste buds but bad news for the sodium content. According to EatingWell magazine, a store-bought bird can have up to three times as much as one roasted at home.
Don’t worry about your home-roasted bird being bland, though! A few aromatics tossed into the cavity of the chicken will infuse the meat with a flavor that’s delicious and healthy.
Finally, healthy habits that stick are all about small improvements. Cooking at home makes food hands-on and inspires curiosity. It can help you shrink your grocery bill, move away from sugary convenience foods, and reduce packaging waste. Once again: Serious upgrade.
Read on for a simple base recipe for homemade oven-roasted rotisserie chicken and a few foolproof tips to make sure you’re successful every time. Delicious home-roasted chicken is coming to your table!
Tips for Preparing Your Perfect Bird
Rest and truss your chicken for even cooking. Letting a chilly chicken sit at room temperature for around 30 minutes helps it cook more evenly. Tie the legs together with cooking twine and tuck the wings in once it’s in the pan to make a more compact package and keep the heat distribution central.
Season enthusiastically and dress with a little fat. Salt and pepper go a long way, but there’s more to life! A rainbow of global flavors awaits in your spice cabinet. To replicate the savory deli flavor, go for onion, garlic, pepper, and a little thyme. Gently work butter or oil in between the skin and the meat, and sprinkle heavily with your spice mix inside and out.
Stuff it! No, not like a Thanksgiving turkey. An onion and a lemon, quartered, will do you just fine. With aromatics working inside the bird and spices on the outside, every bite of tender meat will steam with flavor.
Rest it after cooking, too. Good things — and juicy chickens — come to those who wait. Letting your roast chicken cool for 15 minutes after cooking allows the juices to absorb back into the meat and spares your fingers from scalding once it’s time to carve.
Homemade Oven Baked Rotisserie Chicken Recipe
Ready to get roasting? Follow these easy steps to delicious homemade rotisserie-style chicken. See below for a bonus cooking variation. Double this recipe to stock up on cooked chicken to add to healthy lunches and dinners for your family.
- 1 whole chicken (approximately 5lbs)
- 1 medium onion, peeled and quartered
- 1 lemon, quartered, rind on
- 2 tablespoons butter or oil
- 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon thyme
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Mix salt and spices.
- Prepare the bird after resting by removing giblets, if present, and rinsing it inside and out with cold water. Pat dry with paper towels and place the breast-side up in your roasting pan.
- Season liberally, sprinkling some extra salt into the cavity and rubbing the oil or butter under the skin.
- Stuff onion and lemon pieces into the cavity, tie the legs together with kitchen twine and place in the heated oven.
- Roast for two hours*, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the inner thigh reads 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Baste once or twice throughout the roasting process. If the bird browns too much, tent it with aluminum foil for the rest of the cooking time.
- Remove from oven, rest for 15 minutes, and discard aromatics from the cavity before carving.
- * If your chicken is bigger or smaller, adjust the cooking time based on roasting 15 minutes per lb.
Nothing beats coming home to a hot meal. You won’t have crispy skin, but the set-it-and-forget-it method is ideal for extra busy days, prepping meat for future meals, or for those trimming calories by discarding the skin. Meat tender to the bone and you don’t even have to be there for it? Kitchen bliss.
While there’s no denying that picking up a rotisserie chicken from the deli on your way home is a shortcut, you’ll get more out of your time and money cooking from scratch. The flavor is out of this world and you can be confident about avoiding additives and excess sodium. A little planning pays big and tasty dividends.