[GUIDE] How Long To Cook 5lb Chicken In Oven

how long to cooklb chicken in oven

Cooking a whole chicken in the oven is a delicious and classic way to prepare poultry. It’s a versatile dish that can be enjoyed on its own or served with a variety of sides. But when it comes to cooking a 5lb chicken in the oven, many people often wonder how long it will take to cook it thoroughly and safely. In this article, we will look at the factors that can affect cooking time, the ideal cooking temperature, various cooking techniques, troubleshooting tips, and best practices to ensure your chicken comes out perfectly cooked every time.

Quick Answer: How Long To Cook A 5lb Chicken In The Oven

The general rule of thumb for cooking a whole chicken in the oven is to roast it at 350°F (175°C) for about 20 minutes per pound of chicken. Therefore, a 5lb chicken would take approximately 1 hour and 40 minutes to cook through. However, it’s important to note that cooking times can vary based on a few factors such as oven temperature accuracy, the presence of stuffing in the chicken, and the desired level of doneness. It’s always recommended to use a meat thermometer to ensure the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) in the thickest part of the thigh before considering it fully cooked.

Key Takeaways

  • A 5lb chicken will take approximately 1 hour and 40 minutes to cook at 350°F (175°C), but cooking times may vary based on factors such as oven temperature accuracy and desired level of doneness.
  • Use a meat thermometer to ensure the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) in the thickest part of the thigh before considering it fully cooked.
  • Properly preparing the chicken, choosing the right size, and following recommended cooking techniques will help ensure a well-cooked and flavorful bird.

The Science Of Cooking Chicken


To understand how long it takes to cook a 5lb chicken in the oven, it’s important to understand the science behind cooking chicken. The goal is to cook the chicken to a safe internal temperature to eliminate any potential foodborne illnesses while also ensuring it remains juicy and flavorful.

Chicken is composed of muscle fibers and connective tissues that contain water and proteins. These proteins denature and coagulate when exposed to heat, causing the meat to become firm and opaque. The connective tissues also break down gradually with heat, leading to tender and juicy meat.

To achieve this desired result, the chicken needs to be cooked to an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) in the thickest part of the thigh. This temperature ensures that any harmful bacteria, such as salmonella, are killed, making the chicken safe to eat.

Choosing Chicken

When it comes to cooking a 5lb chicken in the oven, it’s important to choose a high-quality bird. Look for organic or free-range chicken, as these tend to have better flavor and texture than conventionally raised poultry.

Additionally, consider the freshness of the chicken. Fresh chicken will have a mild scent and firm flesh. If the chicken smells sour or has a slimy texture, it may not be fresh and should be discarded.

When selecting the size of your chicken, keep in mind that a 5lb chicken is a good option for a small to medium-sized family. If you have a larger group or want leftovers, you may opt for a larger bird. However, cooking times will vary based on the size of the chicken, so adjust accordingly.

Preparing Chicken


Before cooking, it’s important to properly prepare the chicken to ensure even cooking and enhance flavor. Here are the key steps to follow when preparing your 5lb chicken for the oven:

  1. Remove the chicken from its packaging and pat it dry with paper towels. Removing excess moisture helps the skin crisp up during roasting.

  2. If desired, truss the chicken using kitchen twine. Trussing helps the chicken maintain its shape during cooking and can result in more even cooking. To truss a chicken, tuck the wings under the body and tie the legs together with twine.

  3. Season the chicken generously with salt and pepper. You can also add other herbs and spices for additional flavor. Make sure to season both the exterior and interior of the chicken.

  4. If desired, stuff the chicken cavity with aromatics such as lemon wedges, garlic cloves, or fresh herbs. These can add flavor to the meat as it cooks.

Ideal Cooking Temperature For Chicken

To ensure the chicken cooks evenly and safely, it’s important to set the oven to the correct temperature. The ideal cooking temperature for roasting a whole chicken is 350°F (175°C). This temperature allows the chicken to cook through without drying out or becoming overly browned.

A lower temperature may result in undercooked chicken, while a higher temperature can lead to faster cooking on the outside but undercooking in the middle. It’s best to stick to the recommended temperature for the most consistent results.

Chicken Cooking Time

close up view of oven cooked chicken

As mentioned earlier, the general guideline for cooking a poultry is to roast it for approximately 20 minutes per pound of chicken at 350°F (175°C). Therefore, a 5lb chicken would take approximately 1 hour and 40 minutes to cook through.

However, it’s important to note that cooking times can vary based on a few factors including:

  • Oven temperature accuracy: Oven temperatures can often vary from the set temperature, which can affect cooking times. It’s a good idea to invest in an oven thermometer to ensure the accuracy of the temperature.

  • Presence of stuffing: If you plan to stuff the chicken, it will take longer to cook as the stuffing absorbs heat and slows down the cooking process. It’s important to calculate the additional cooking time required when using stuffing.

  • Desired level of doneness: Some people prefer their chicken to be more well-done, while others like it slightly pink. If you prefer a well-done chicken, you may need to cook it for a few extra minutes.

To ensure the chicken is fully cooked, it’s crucial to use a meat thermometer. Insert it into the thickest part of the thigh without touching the bone. The thermometer should read 165°F (74°C) when the chicken is fully cooked. This ensures any harmful bacteria are killed and the chicken is safe to eat.

Cooking Techniques

While roasting a 5lb chicken in the oven is the traditional method, there are a few other cooking techniques you can consider to achieve different flavors and textures.

  1. Spatchcocking: Spatchcocking involves removing the backbone of the chicken and pressing it flat before cooking. This technique helps the chicken cook more evenly and reduces cooking time. To spatchcock a chicken, place it breast-side down and use a pair of kitchen shears or a sharp knife to cut along both sides of the backbone. Remove the backbone and flip the chicken over, pressing down firmly on the breastbone to flatten it.

  2. Braising: Braising involves searing the chicken in a hot pan, then cooking it in a liquid (such as broth or wine) in a covered pot in the oven. This method results in a tender and flavorful chicken. To braise a chicken, heat some oil in an oven-safe pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Sear the chicken on all sides until golden brown. Add in your choice of liquid and bring it to a simmer. Cover the pot and transfer it to a preheated oven. Cook until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C).

  3. Rotisserie: If you have access to a rotisserie attachment for your oven or grill, consider cooking your 5lb chicken using this method. Rotisserie cooking ensures even browning and a juicy interior. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cooking times and temperature settings.

Each of these cooking techniques can result in a delicious and unique chicken dish. Whichever method you choose, make sure to monitor the internal temperature to ensure the chicken is cooked thoroughly and safely.

Monitoring And Troubleshooting

close up view of oven cooked chicken

As you cook your 5lb chicken in the oven, it’s important to monitor its progress to ensure it cooks evenly and without any issues. Here are some troubleshooting tips to keep in mind:

  1. Basting: Basting is the process of brushing or spooning pan juices over the chicken during cooking. While some people believe basting helps keep the chicken moist, it can actually cool down the oven and extend the cooking time. If you do choose to baste, do so quickly and minimize the time the oven door remains open.

  2. Uneven browning: If you notice that the chicken is browning unevenly, rotate the pan halfway through cooking. This will help ensure all sides of the chicken cook evenly and achieve a consistent color.

  3. Threat of drying out: To prevent the chicken from drying out, you can cover it loosely with foil during the cooking process. This will help retain the moisture and prevent the skin from becoming too dark or crispy before the meat is fully cooked.

  4. Stuffing temperature: If you plan to stuff the chicken, it’s important to ensure that the stuffing reaches a safe internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) as well. Use a meat thermometer to check the temperature of the stuffing in the center of the cavity.

By keeping an eye on these troubleshooting tips, you’ll be able to make adjustments as needed and ensure your chicken cooks to perfection.

Chicken Cooking Instructions

Follow these step-by-step instructions to cook a 5lb chicken in the oven:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).

  2. Prepare the chicken by removing it from its packaging and patting it dry with paper towels. Truss the chicken if desired.

  3. Season the chicken generously with salt and pepper, both inside and out.

  4. If desired, stuff the chicken cavity with aromatics such as lemon wedges, garlic cloves, or fresh herbs.

  5. Place the chicken on a roasting rack in a roasting pan, breast-side up.

  6. Insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh without touching the bone. Ensure the thermometer is secure and not touching any bones or the roasting pan.

  7. Place the chicken in the preheated oven and roast for approximately 20 minutes per pound of chicken, or until the thermometer reads 165°F (74°C).

  8. If the chicken starts to brown too quickly, tent it loosely with foil to prevent over-browning.

  9. Once the chicken reaches the desired internal temperature, remove it from the oven. Let the chicken rest for about 10 minutes before carving. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, resulting in a juicier chicken.

  10. Carve the chicken and serve with your choice of sides.


oven baked chicken

While a 5lb chicken can be delicious when cooked simply with salt and pepper, there are countless variations and flavor profiles you can explore. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  1. Herb-Roasted Chicken: Rub the chicken with a mixture of fresh herbs such as rosemary, thyme, and parsley. These herbs will infuse the meat with a fragrant and savory flavor.

  2. Lemon and Garlic Chicken: Stuff the cavity of the chicken with lemon wedges and whole garlic cloves. The citrusy and garlicky flavors will permeate the meat, resulting in a zesty and aromatic dish.

  3. Spicy Roasted Chicken: Season the chicken with a blend of spices such as paprika, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder. This will give the chicken a kick of heat and a smoky flavor.

Feel free to experiment with different herbs, spices, and seasonings to create a flavor profile that suits your taste preferences.

When Things Go Wrong

Even with the best intentions and preparations, things can sometimes go wrong when cooking a 5lb chicken in the oven. Here are a few common issues and how to address them:

  1. Undercooked chicken: If you discover that your chicken is undercooked despite following the recommended cooking time, simply return it to the oven and continue cooking until the thermometer registers 165°F (74°C). Keep in mind that cooking times can vary, so it’s important to rely on the internal temperature as the ultimate indicator of doneness.

  2. Overcooked chicken: If you accidentally overcook the chicken and it’s dry, consider making a sauce or gravy to serve alongside it. The extra moisture and flavor will help compensate for any dryness.

  3. Burnt skin: If the chicken skin becomes too brown or burns before the meat is fully cooked, loosely cover it with foil to prevent further browning. This will allow the chicken to continue cooking without further darkening of the skin.

Remember, practice makes perfect. Cooking a whole chicken takes a bit of trial and error, and it’s common to encounter some challenges along the way. Don’t get discouraged and learn from your experiences to improve your cooking skills.

Serving Chicken

oven baked chicken

Once your beautifully roasted 5lb chicken is cooked to perfection, it’s time to serve it. Here are a few serving suggestions to make it a complete meal:

  • Carve the chicken and arrange the meat on a platter, garnishing it with fresh herbs such as parsley or rosemary for a touch of freshness.
  • Serve the chicken alongside your favorite sides such as roasted vegetables, mashed potatoes, or a fresh salad.
  • Use the leftover chicken to make flavorful sandwiches or use the meat in salads, stir-fries, or pasta dishes.

Remember to use proper food handling and storage practices for any leftover chicken. It’s best to refrigerate or freeze leftovers within two hours of cooking to prevent bacterial growth. Leftover chicken can be safely stored in the refrigerator for up to four days or frozen for up to four months.

Best Practices For Chicken Cooking

To ensure a successful and enjoyable cooking experience, here are some best practices to keep in mind when cooking a 5lb chicken in the oven:

  1. Use a meat thermometer: Invest in a reliable meat thermometer to accurately measure the internal temperature of the chicken. This will help you avoid undercooked or overcooked chicken.

  2. Follow safe handling practices: Always wash your hands, cutting boards, and utensils thoroughly after handling raw chicken to prevent cross-contamination.

  3. Consider marinating: If you have the time, consider marinating the chicken overnight in a flavorful marinade. This can enhance the taste and tenderness of the meat.

  4. Let the chicken rest: Allowing the chicken to rest after cooking is crucial for optimal juiciness. The resting period allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat.

  5. Experiment with flavors: Don’t be afraid to experiment with different flavors and seasonings to create unique and delicious chicken dishes.

  6. Keep an eye on the chicken: While the estimated cooking time is a good guideline, it’s important to monitor the chicken’s progress and make adjustments as needed.

  7. Use quality ingredients: Choose high-quality chicken and fresh herbs and spices for the best flavor and results.

By following these best practices, you’ll be on your way to cooking a perfectly roasted 5lb chicken that is tender, juicy, and full of flavor.


Cooking a 5lb chicken in the oven is a process that requires time, attention, and proper technique. By understanding the science behind cooking chicken, choosing the right chicken, preparing it properly, and following recommended cooking techniques, you can ensure that your chicken comes out perfectly cooked every time.

Remember to be patient, monitor the internal temperature using a meat thermometer, and make any necessary adjustments during the cooking process. With practice and a bit of experimentation, you’ll be able to create delicious and flavorful roasted chicken that will impress your family and friends. So, go ahead, preheat that oven, and start cooking your 5lb chicken with confidence!


How Do I Determine The Cooking Time For A 5lb Chicken In The Oven?

The general rule of thumb is to cook a chicken for 20 minutes per pound at 350°F. Therefore, a 5lb chicken would need to be cooked for approximately 1 hour and 40 minutes.

Should I Always Rely On The Recommended Cooking Time?

Not necessarily. It’s important to always use a meat thermometer to ensure the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165°F before removing it from the oven. Adjust the cooking time accordingly if necessary.

What Is The Best Way To Ensure The Chicken Is Cooked Evenly?

It’s recommended to place the chicken in a roasting pan with the breast side up and to baste the chicken with melted butter or oil every 20-30 minutes. Also, tenting the chicken with foil for the first 30-45 minutes of cooking may help prevent the breast from overcooking.

Can I Cook The Chicken At A Higher Or Lower Temperature?

Yes, you can adjust the temperature and cooking time depending on your preference. A higher temperature (such as 400°F) can shorten the cooking time to about 1 hour and 20 minutes, while a lower temperature (such as 325°F) may require up to 2 hours of cooking time.

Is It Safe To Stuff The Chicken Before Baking?

It’s not recommended to stuff the chicken as it can increase the risk of foodborne illness. Instead, consider placing herbs, garlic, and/or lemon slices inside the cavity for added flavor.

  • Easy Whole Roasted Chicken – Family Food on the Table
  • How Long to Bake Chicken – Martha Stewart
  • How to Cook a Whole Chicken in the Oven – Better Homes & Gardens
  • About the Author Jenny

    I'm Jenny, a housewife with an unwavering passion for food. My culinary journey began with my grandmother's kitchen, and it's now a full-fledged food blog. I've turned my love for cooking into a creative outlet, sharing recipes and stories with a global community of fellow food enthusiasts. It's proof that being a housewife can also mean pursuing your passions and savoring life's delectable moments.