Why You'll Want To Use A Wire Rack When Roasting Chicken

Roast chicken is a simple, satisfying meal that's a go-to choice for everyone from home cooks to professional chefs. Though it might be simple to make, it can take a lifetime of cooking to perfect. One of the best tips to up the quality of your bird is as simple as adding a common piece of kitchen equipment: a wire rack.

The principle is straightforward enough for cooks of all experience levels to understand. By elevating the chicken off of the pan or baking dish, you allow the oven's hot air to circulate freely around the meat instead of letting it sit in its own juices. This creates a crisper, more evenly browned exterior, no matter if you're making breaded cutlets, leg quarters, wings, or a whole bird. It speeds up the cooking process, helping you get your chicken onto the table faster.

In many cases, you may not even need to buy any extra equipment. As long as it's oven-safe, you can use the same grid-style rack used for cooling baked goods. Just ensure it fits inside of the cooking vessel you plan to use for your chicken.

Rack alternatives for better chicken

Not using a wire rack is one of the most common mistakes everyone makes when roasting chicken, alongside missteps like coating the skin in too much oil and cooking at too high of a temperature for too short of a time. Still, those without a rack can improvise something to enjoy some of the same benefits.

One popular strategy is elevating the chicken on chunks of sturdy chopped vegetables like potatoes or carrots, which provides some of the same separation from the pan while also cooking a tasty side. Another alternative is setting the chicken on top of crumpled balls of foil, a disposable solution for proper air circulation.

One of the best things about this roast chicken tip is how universal it is, regardless of your preferred style of this classic comfort food. So, whether you're making a simple copycat Costco rotisserie chicken recipe or a sophisticated spatchcock chicken and balsamic peaches recipe, remember your rack (or similar alternative) for the best possible bird.