Chicken is easy to prepare in a variety of ways. One of the simplest preparation techniques is baking or roasting. Oven cooking times for chicken depend on its size, if it is whole or in pieces, and whether or not it is boneless. When done, chicken should have an internal temperature between 175 and 180 degrees Fahrenheit.
Whole Baked Chicken
This is the easiest way to bake chicken because it requires no cutting or carving until the chicken is fully cooked. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and adjust the rack to the center position. Place the chicken in a shallow dish that's deep enough to hold juices that accumulate during baking. A 2 1/2 to 3 lb. chicken takes 1 hour and 15 minutes to 1 hour and 30 minutes to cook, a 3 to 4 lb. chicken takes between 1 hour and 30 minutes to 1 hour and 45 minutes, and a 4 to 6 lb. chicken between 1 hour and 45 minutes and 2 hours. If you stuff the chicken, add 15 minutes to the cooking time.
Baked Chicken Pieces
If you want chicken to cook faster, cut it into pieces and arrange them in a shallow baking dish. Place the chicken into an oven preheated to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake legs, thighs and wings for 35 to 45 minutes and bone-in breasts 30 to 40 minutes, depending on the size of the pieces. Bake boneless breasts for 20 to 30 minutes, cutlets or tenderloins for 15 to 20 minutes and boneless thighs 25 to 35 minutes at 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Other Types of Chicken
Rock cornish hens look like miniature chickens and are commonly served whole. They usually weigh between 1 and 1 1/2 lbs. and take between 1 and 1 hour and 15 minutes to bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Stuffed cornish hens take about 10 to 15 minutes longer. Capons are larger, male chickens that require longer baking at 325 degrees Fahrenheit. A 5 to 6 lb. capon needs to bake between 1 hour and 45 minutes and 2 hours, and a 6 to 8 lb. one takes 2 hours and 15 minutes to 3 hours and 30 minutes. Add 30 to 60 minutes to the cooking time if the capons are stuffed.
Seasoning Baked Chicken
Sprinkling all surfaces of the chicken with salt and pepper is the conventional seasoning method that lets the natural flavors of the chicken dominate. For variety, add garlic or onion powder to the seasoning or sprinkle the chicken with a prepared chicken spice mixture.