Should You Cover A Chicken With Foil When Roasting?

Quite the dinner favorite, roast chickens are delicious and easy to make as the main course. Roast chickens are known for their moist and juicy meat, and you've probably wondered how to cook it perfectly. We've looked into this question, and in this post, we will talk about the best ways to cook chicken and tips for making the best roast chicken everyone will love.

You don't have to cover it with foil when roasting a chicken. It is best to leave the whole bird uncovered while in the oven to allow the skin to crisp up and turn into a nice golden brown color. However, if you find that your chicken is turning brown even before it is close to the ideal internal temperature, you can tent foil over it to prevent the skin from burning.

Roasting a chicken for the first time can be daunting, but fortunately, we're here to help. In this post, we'll discuss ways to cook your roast chicken as perfectly as possible. Keep reading as we also talk about ways to keep your chicken moist and juicy and tips, tricks, and equipment that will make you the best roast chicken cook in the family.

Homemade Lemon and Herb Whole Chicken on a Cutting Board, Should You Cover A Chicken With Foil When Roasting?

Should You Cover A Chicken With Foil When Roasting?

Roast chickens are known for their moist, juicy meat with golden brown and crispy skin. It's always a delight to have at dinners because it's delicious and very easy to cook. It can be a little intimidating for those who are trying to roast chickens for the first time.

When looking up recipes for roast chicken, you will most likely find varying techniques on how to make this dish. However, one common technique that you will find in most recipes is cooking the chicken uncovered.

Roasting the chicken uncovered will yield an evenly browned, crispy skin with moist but chewy and firm meat. This is typically done in a high oven temperature between 375 to 500°F for 45 minutes to about 1 1/2 hours.

Whole baked golden crispy chicken in a pan cooked with potatoes

You can also roast the chicken low and slow for a browned yet softer skin but with meat falling off the bone. To get these results, roast the chickens at around 300 to 350°F for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Chicken should be done cooking when it has an internal temperature of about 165°F or until juices run clear when poked with a paring knife. However, there are situations where you might find that your chicken is browning too quickly while in the oven.

To prevent the skin from burning during roasting, you can tent a piece of aluminum foil over the chicken. This will prevent the heat from being in direct contact with the chicken skin, preventing it from turning too brown and drying out the meat.

How Do I Keep Roast Chicken Moist?

Cook taking ready fried baked chicken with vegetables from the oven

One of the major problems many cooks face when roasting chicken is dry, tough meat. This happens when too much of the juices from the meat get dried out, or there isn't enough moisture absorbed by the chicken. Here are some tips on how you can keep your chicken moist and juicy while roasting.


A great way to infuse flavor and moisture into your chicken is through brining. Brining the meat typically requires you to soak the whole chicken in a mixture of water and salt, along with other flavorings like citrus slices, herbs, garlic, sugar, etc. Soaking the chicken for 2 to 4 hours will give the meat time to absorb the brine, leaving you with a juicy roast chicken.

Season properly

A simple way to make your roast chicken flavorful and juicy is by simply seasoning it properly. A generously seasoned whole chicken inside and out will give you tender, flavorful meat that is juicy, thanks to the salt. You will enjoy your roast chicken if you season it well.

Use fat

A great way to add flavor and crispness to your roast chicken is by using fat. Slather your whole chicken with good olive oil or lots of butter, and get them under the skin of the breast and legs of the chicken. The fat will infuse itself onto the meat, and it will also make the skin beautifully brown and crisp while roasting.


Small chickens under 3 pounds generally have less fat, and they are prone to getting dry quickly. Basting your roast chicken every 20 minutes will help distribute the juices and keep the moisture locked in. It will also help brown the skin without your chicken overcooking.

Adding liquid

You've probably seen a lot of people do this at a barbecue, propping up a whole chicken over a half-full can of beer. This roasting method by adding liquid provides the extra moisture your chicken needs. Some vertical roasters now come with infusers wherein you can put liquid like beer, wine, or broth, making it easy to roast a chicken using this method.

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Roasted Chicken with Vegetables on Platter

We know we've said that the best way to cook roast chicken is by baking it uncovered in the oven. However, some chickens might need help in this department. Tenting the chicken with aluminum foil for the last 20 to 30 minutes of cooking should help retain the moisture in the meat without leaving your chicken skin soft and soggy.

What Kind Of Pan Do I Roast Chicken In?

Young woman holding roasting tin with roasted chicken

There are a number of pans that you can roast your chicken in. From roasting pans to glass baking dishes, cast iron skillets, or vertical roasters, these roasting items will help you get that moist, tender bird on the table for dinner.

In most recipes, it is quite common to use classic metal roasting pans to roast chickens in because you typically cook them with vegetables like potatoes and carrots. Roasting pans are great for conducting heat, making your chicken's skin crisp and brown.

When picking roasting pans, choose one that has quite a bit of weight to it with a flat surface to ensure that it conducts heat evenly. Get one that is big with sturdy handles because you can use it to cook not only chicken but also turkey, beef roasts, and more. These roasting pans also come with a rack, making them versatile pieces of cooking equipment.

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Another great option for roasting chicken is a cast iron pan. This versatile pan is not only great for stovetop cooking but also for roasting and baking. These heavy pans are notorious for conducting heat very well, and you will surely have perfectly browned skin when roasting in them.

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If you want to roast chicken differently, one of the best ways to do this is by using a vertical roaster. These roasters prop up your whole bird upright, allowing hot air to circulate and cook the chicken evenly inside and outside. Usually, you put these vertical roasters inside another roasting pan, but you can also get one that comes connected to a pan.

Check out this vertical roaster on Amazon.

Some vertical roasters also give you the option to add liquid to give moisture to the chicken while cooking. This method is popularized by the roasted beer can chicken, wherein a can of beer is used to prop up the chicken while cooking. The liquid is then absorbed by the meat, resulting in juicier roasts.

Get this vertical roaster with infuser on Amazon.

Another option to use for roasting chicken is the standard glass baking dish. It's typically used in many homes, and it can double as a roasting pan very quickly. The only downside is that the chicken skin that sits right atop the baking dish might not be as crisp as on top.

See this glass baking dish on Amazon.

Final Thoughts

Homemade Lemon and Herb Whole Chicken on a Cutting Board

Roast chicken will always be a dinner favorite, and you can easily make this yourself at home. Whether it's a simple salt and pepper roast or one covered with savory herbs, everyone will love a good roast chicken. Don't forget to follow simple methods to make sure that your chicken will be juicy, and you will indeed have a classic dish that everyone will love all the time.

Looking to find more techniques to cook chicken? We've got some articles that might help you:

At What Temperature Should You Bake Chicken?

How To Cook Chicken In A Dutch Oven

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