Classic Baked Chicken

If you can bake chicken, you can make dinner over and over again. This is a simple recipe with salt, pepper, and olive oil, but so versatile.

If there is one recipe that every home cook should know, it’s this baked chicken recipe. All you need is chicken, olive oil, salt, and pepper (and maybe some stock or white wine for gravy).

We usually buy whole chickens and either cut them up ourselves or have the butcher do it for us. It’s cheaper that way and we get giblets for gravy. You can do that or just use a package of whatever chicken parts you like—make baked chicken breasts for white meat, and baked chicken thighs and legs for dark.

This way of cooking chicken couldn’t be more straightforward, and is especially welcome on days when you’re busy and just want to put good food on the table.

Making Gravy from a Whole Chicken

If you bought a whole chicken to start with, the chicken may have come with the neck and gizzards (often in paper in the cavity of the chicken). Use the chicken back and these giblets to make stock for gravy.

Chop up the back a little, and put the back, gizzard, and neck into a small saucepan and cover with water by a half inch or so. Bring to a simmer and let simmer while your chicken is baking. Then strain and use the stock for making a richly flavored gravy.

Heat the drippings from the roasted chicken with some stock or white wine for a simple gravy.

Pro Tip About Baking Chicken with the Skin On

This recipe works best with chicken with the skin ON. Even if you intend to eat the baked chicken without its skin, leave the skin on for baking because it prevents the chicken pieces from drying out while they bake.

What to Serve with Baked Chicken

My mother made this baked chicken at least once a month when I was growing up, and still does! It’s terrific with her Spanish rice and a little mango chutney on the side. We also love serving it with a garden lettuce side salad and some easy steamed broccoli.


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