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Ultimate Roast Chicken 5 Ways: Plus, 5 Ideas for Yummy Leftovers

Photo by Nadine Greeff / Stocksy
Photo by Nadine Greeff / Stocksy

A perfect roast chicken is a beautiful thing. It conveys love, good taste, and comfort—and fills the house with incredible aromas. We scouted out five classic and creative ways to make your own perfect chicken. Make a bird big enough for leftovers, and you’ll have meals to last for a few days with our recipe suggestions below.

Pro tip: While many roasted chicken recipes call for a special roasting rack, you don’t really need one. You can prop up the bird on a bed of chopped potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions, carrots, or other veggies. 

1. Classic Lemon Herb Chicken 

It pays to start with the basics. Master the simple, satisfying roast chicken and you’ll be ready to add your own twists to the recipe in no time. This recipe comes with a nifty trick of letting the chicken rest in the oven with the door propped open to keep the bird juicy.

2. Pesto Roast Chicken 

This recipe makes the most of a bit of prepared pesto to make a flavorful meal you’re sure to devour. Simply rub some pesto under the skin of your bird and over the meat of the legs and roast away, adding some lemons later in the cooking time. Easy peasy! This simple recipe will become a weeknight classic in no time.

3. 40 Cloves of Garlic 

This '90s gourmet favorite is still a crowd pleaser. (Now that the '90s are retro—what happened to the years!?) It sounds complicated, but because the 40 cloves are roasted in their skins, all you need to do is break up the heads of garlic, not peel each clove. Be sure to serve this tasty meal with plenty of crusty bread to soak up the garlicky goodness.

4. “Everything Bagel” Chicken 

No, this recipe doesn’t ask you to stuff your chicken with chopped-up bagels! Instead, it shows you how to recreate the seasoning on an everything bagel (poppy seeds, sesame seeds, caraway, and onion) to flavor your chicken for a tasty crunch. You can use the seasonings on a whole chicken, or use the instructions in the recipe or this video to butterfly your chicken for easy, even cooking.

5. Slow-Cooker Rotisserie Chicken 

Did you know you can roast a whole chicken while you’re at work and come home to a tasty meal? It’s true, all you need is a trusty slow cooker. The amazing part is that you don’t need to add any extra liquid—just plop the chicken on top of chopped veggies with a few simple seasonings, then set it and forget it. Delish!

5 Easy Ways to Use Leftover Roast Chicken

1. BBQ Chicken Sandwiches: Simply shred your leftover chicken and warm up with barbecue sauce, then serve on rolls with a bit of homemade slaw.

2. Roast chicken chili: Starting with leftover chicken gets this chili to the table in a flash—and the addition of avocado and a dollop of yogurt makes it a meal!

3. Easy chicken pot pie: The Pioneer Woman turns leftover shredded chicken into a classic pot-pie using a simple with a store-bought pie crust (or biscuits). Comfort food at its finest!

4. Chicken and veggie quesadillas: Who doesn’t love a quesadilla? Chicken + cheese + spices get loaded up in a flour tortilla, and the whole thing = delicious.

5. Chicken and veggie pasta: When inspiration is low, it’s always safe to make a kitchen-sink pasta. Simply sauté some veggies while the pasta boils, cube up your leftover chicken, and toss everything into one big pot. A sprinkle of Parm and you’re done.

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