How to Roast Chicken in Convection to Perfection
Updated: Apr 8
Just thinking about a roast chicken is enough to make your mouth water. It’s such an easy delicious meal to prepare, and like so many other foods, roasting a chicken in Convection makes it even more delicious.
Why is Convection Better for Roasting
When you use the Bake or Roast mode in an electric oven, you are using Radiant or Thermal heat. This type of heat is drying in nature which works well for baking; however, who wants to eat meat or poultry that has dried out? Before ovens had a Convection mode, brining meats was considered the best option for preserving moisture during roasting. Brining, infuses flavor and moisture into the meat helping keep it moist when it's cooked in radiant heat.
When you use Convection Bake or Convection Roast in an electric oven, the oven still uses the Top and Bottom heating elements, but because the fan circulates the heat evenly around the food the natural moisture in the food is preserved. In fact, when you roast a chicken in Convection you will see moisture bubbling away under the skin. Basically, the chicken is self-basting itself as it cooks.
Another advantage is of course that when you roast in a Convection mode you can also cook several other dishes at one time.
Gas ovens, with their heated moving air, have a natural Convection but many do feature a Convection mode that should be used if you are planning to cook side dishes along with the chicken.
What Type of Pan is Best for Roasting a Chicken?
The best way to roast a chicken in Convection is to roast it on a rack in a shallow pan. Since shallow-sided roasting pans with a rack are hard to find the best solution is to use a rimmed baking sheet with a rack.
There are several reasons why the rack is so important.
Using a rack allows the chicken to sit proud so the heated air can easily circulate around it, cooking it evenly from the edge to the center.
Elevating the chicken from the pan stops the hot pan from leeching moisture out of the chicken. This way the moisture stays in the chicken instead of being splattered all around the oven. Fat will render into the pan but it will not fill with juice from the chicken so using a shallow pan is perfectly safe.
Because the standard size of ovens is so much larger nowadays, large rimmed baking pans known as ¾ sheet pans, are a good option for roasting. The chicken can be roasted on a rack, (available from a cookware store) in one of these pans and there is plenty of room to add vegetables to the pan as well. or you can use a shallow roasting pan with a rack and roast the vegetables in a separate pan.
Cooking on multiple racks is one of the best features of Convection because you can time the cooking to have the meat come out first and rest before carving and time the vegetables to be ready when the meat is ready to serve.
What is the Best Temperature for Roasting a Chicken?
Starting the cooking at a high temperature of 425 degrees for 15 - 20 minutes gets the chicken off to a good start, but remember Convection cooks food from the edge to the core, so if you keep the temperature too high you risk overcooking the edges and the center may not be cooked through. So a combination of high heat for a short period of time and moderate heat, 350 degrees for the remainder of the cooking will yield the best results.
Most of the chickens available for roasting nowadays are between 4 - 5lbs and cook in one hour. Root vegetables generally take 40 minutes to cook, while less dense vegetables will cook in 20 - 25 minutes. Ideally, you want the chicken to come out of the oven and rest for at least 10 minutes before you carve it and that may take another 8 - 10 minutes. So plan to add the vegetables to the oven so they will be ready to serve once the chicken has been carved.
Why Does My Chicken Have Red Bone?
If you notice some redness around the chicken bones as you are carving the bird, don’t be alarmed. This is a characteristic of cooking with more moisture. Have a close look at the meat and as long as it is cooked through you are fine, however, if the meat is still fleshy looking then cover it and put it back in the oven.
I no longer bother to truss my chicken for roasting, I thread a skewer between the legs to balance the chicken and find it cooks evenly this way. If you tie the thighs tightly to the body the heat may not penetrate into that area during the cooking time which will cause uneven cooking.
Have a Rimmed Cutting Board Handy
As soon as you begin to carve the chicken, the preserved juices will begin to flow. If you don’t have a rimmed cutting board then try carving on a board placed in a rimmed baking sheet to capture the juice.
Even though this post does a lot of explaining, roasting a chicken in Convection is easy, it just takes a little planning. Remember a recipe will give you a flavor profile for your chicken, but if you roast your chicken in Convection, following these steps as outlined will I promise yield the most succulent roast chicken you have ever cooked.
Stay tuned for my next post which will outline how to cook an easy Convection meal featuring Italian Meatloaf, with Roasted Vegetables and a Blueberry Peach Cobbler.
In the meantime, visit my Convection Recipe page for my recipe for Roast Chicken and other recipe ideas for your next meal. Recipes are organized in categories and provide detailed instructions for success when cooking in Convection.
Larissa, Your Convection Enthusiast