Which Oven Rack to Place Chicken On


The other day I wanted to make a simple roasted chicken in the oven for my family. I was excited to try something new so I looked all over for the perfect recipe, but it seemed like I could not find any information about which rack to place the chicken on. It made me wonder if the rack you use really matters so I decided to do some research to find out.

Where to Place Chicken in the Oven (Which Rack)

As a general rule, the chicken should be placed in the middle of the oven for even cooking. When using a conventional oven, place the chicken on the rack that puts the chicken directly in the middle, most likely the lower third rack. Avoid putting the chicken on the top rack in a conventional oven. Heat rises from the element at the bottom in a conventional oven so it will be the hottest at the top. In a convection oven, the chicken can be placed on any rack because heat circulates evenly throughout the oven, but putting the chicken in the middle is best.

Where to Place Chicken in a Conventional Oven

For a conventional oven, place your chicken on the lower third rack of the oven. Natashas Kitchen says that will position the chicken directly in the middle of the oven which will cause it to heat most evenly. In a conventional oven, heat rises to the top from the heating element at the bottom. The upper half of the oven will be much hotter than the bottom half. Avoid putting the chicken on the top rack of the oven to prevent burning the top before the bottom cooks.

Where to Place Chicken in a Convection Oven

In a convection oven, you can place your chicken on any rack because it has a fan in the back that circulates heat which will cook the food evenly. Use the bottom rack if you want to roast the chicken in a deep roasting pan and use the middle rack if you want to use a shallow pan. Professional Chef, Michelle Karam from cookingguide says a good rule of thumb is to cook your food at about 25 degrees lower than you normally would with a conventional oven. She says your food will cook about 25% faster than it would in a conventional oven because the air that is circulating creates a hotter atmosphere in general.

Tips For Cooking Chicken in a Convection Oven

When cooking chicken in a convection oven, use a pan with low sides so the heat will cover the food evenly says Professional Chef, Michelle Karam from cookingguide. A pan with high sides will block the heat from reaching your food. Use pans that are light or bright. Dark pans could cause the food to crisp on the bottom faster than the top. Fat will render quickly which seals in the juices and leaving the skin brown and crispy all over the chicken.

How to Roast a Chicken in a Conventional Oven

Roasting a chicken in a conventional oven is simple, but there a few things you can do to elevate the flavor and texture. Here’s a great roasted chicken recipe from Natashas Kitchen. She says first, thaw the chicken in the refrigerator completely beforehand. Remove the gizzards from the cavity and neck of the chicken. Pat the chicken on the outside and inside with a paper towel. Season the chicken with a pinch of salt and pepper on the inside and outside. Place the chicken in a roasting pan and place it on the lower third rack at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for 80 to 90 minutes. Take the chicken out of the oven and let it sit for at least 15 minutes before serving it. Lift the chicken out of the roasting pan with two sturdy utensils and place it on a serving plate. Arrange vegetables around the chicken for a colorful presentation.

How to Make a Vegetable Side for Chicken

To add flavor to your dish and make a meal out of your chicken, cut two large carrots into one-inch pieces, quarter six red potatoes or Yukon gold potatoes, and peel and chop one medium yellow onion into one-inch pieces. A white or red onion will work too. Onions will add flavor to the dish. Cut one head of garlic in half and place half of it with the rest of the vegetables and set the other half aside to put inside the chicken. Put all of the vegetables in a bowl, add some rosemary, and drizzle some olive oil on top. Season with salt and pepper and mix the veggies together to coat them all evenly. Place the vegetables in a roasting pan under a rack with the chicken on it. Check out the full recipe from Natashas Kitchen.

How to Cook a Chicken on a Wire Rack

Cooking chicken on a wire rack over a roasting pan allows the hot air to circulate around the entire chicken. This will make the chicken cook faster and give it crispy skin on all sides. Meridith Laurence, Blue Jean Chef says to create a base for gravy, put liquid in the bottom of the roasting pan such as chicken stock or water. You can also add vegetables you would like to cook such as onions, yellow squash, zucchini, and potatoes. Juices from the chicken will drip into the pan and mix with the liquid to create the gravy base.

Can you cook chicken on the oven rack?

You can cook a chicken directly on the oven rack which will give it crispy, brown skin on all sides. This method works best with convection ovens because there is a consistent temperature everywhere inside the cavity of the oven. Place a pan underneath the chicken to catch the juices on the lower third rack. Place the chicken on the middle rack above it. Add water or chicken stock and an assortment of vegetables to the pan to make a delicious meal out of the chicken.

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