If you’re new to cooking, don’t fret. You can make these tried-and-true basics with limited equipment and space.
Remove the chicken from the packaging. Look inside the cavity for a bag containing the giblets (not all chickens are sold with giblets) and remove it to use for another purpose. Pull out and discard any large pieces of yellow fat near the opening of the chicken.
Combine sugar and salt in a bowl or pot large enough to hold the chicken.
Add 4 cups water and dissolve. Place the whole chicken in the pot so that it’s completely covered in brine. Add more water if you need to. Let this sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Remove chicken from brine and dry thoroughly with paper towels. Rub all over with olive oil. Place chicken breast side up (the wider, fattier side should be on the top) in the pan and place in the hot oven. Roast for 50-60 minutes. If you have a probe thermometer, the temperature at the fattest part of the thigh should be about 160 degrees. The skin will be a rich brown.
Transfer the chicken to a serving platter. Let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes before serving. Use a sharp knife to cut off the wings and legs at the joint. Slice off the breast meat. Use a spoon to transfer some of the juices from the pan and drizzle on the breast meat to keep it juicy.