How to Bake a Half-Chicken

Chicken is a versatile meat that can be cooked numerous ways to achieve different flavors. You can either cook the whole chicken, half of the chicken or chicken pieces. It is a nutritious, low-fat meat that delivers high protein, niacin, potassium, folate and vitamin A, and baking it is one of the healthier ways to prepare it. Baking a half chicken is ideal for one or two people, when you are not interested in having leftovers. You can either buy a half chicken or a whole chicken that you halve yourself. Store the other half of the chicken in the freezer for later use.

Woman placing food in oven.
Credit: moodboard/moodboard/Getty Images

Step 1

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Step 2

Clean the half chicken under water and pat dry with paper towels.

Step 3

Grease the baking dish by drizzling olive oil or rubbing butter on the bottom of the dish.

Step 4

Rub or brush olive oil or softened butter onto the entire half chicken.

Step 5

Prepare the chicken with your favorite seasonings or rub. Leave the skin on for a juicier piece of meat. Thoroughly coat the chicken.

Step 6

Place the half chicken into the baking dish, open cavity side down.

Step 7

Bake in the 400-degree oven for 15 minutes to brown the skin. Reduce the heat to 350 degrees F for the remaining time.

Step 8

Cook the half chicken for approximately another 20 minutes per pound.

Step 9

Test the half chicken with a meat thermometer, placed into the thigh. The internal temperature should reach 165 to 180 degrees F.

Step 10

Take the half chicken out of the oven when it is done and let it rest for 5 to 10 minutes before cutting into it. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat so it remains moist.

Things You'll Need

  • Baking dish

  • Olive oil or butter

  • Seasonings

  • Paper towels


A glass baking dish will cook the meat quicker.

The drippings on the bottom of the baking dish can be used to make gravy. If you buy a whole chicken, use the extra pieces, such as gizzards, heart and neck, to make a chicken stock.


Wash your hands thoroughly after handling raw chicken and clean your work area well. Beware of cross-contamination and be mindful of what the raw chicken touches.

Do not keep opening the oven door to check on the chicken; this will alter the cooking temperature of the oven and the chicken will take longer to cook.

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