Roast Bread With Sheet Pan Chicken Dinners For Crispy, Juicy Flavor

Enjoying sliced bread or rolls with dinner is a pretty common practice. People like to use bread to slather up saucy remnants of the dish, dip pieces in olive oil, or smear slices with butter — that is, if you haven't already filled up on bread baskets served before the meal. But, if you want to mix things up, consider incorporating the bread into the recipe rather than just having it as a side, such as this tip for roasting it with sheet pan chicken.

The next time you roast chicken in the oven, add hand-torn chunks of bread in with the aromatics you'd normally add to the pan, like lemon, onions, and herbs. Rather than become soggy, the bread will actually transform into delicious, chewy, browned knobs soaked in loads of flavor that will make a great accompaniment to the juicy chicken. The best part is, you won't need a bread knife for this dish as the loaf will already be in small pieces that are ready to gobble up.

Toss the bread right into the roasting pan

This tip is a great way to use up any leftover bread you may have sitting around the kitchen, even if it's a little stale. Since it will be roasting in the oven, that will naturally soften its texture. It's best to use a sturdy, chewy type of bread, such as a sourdough loaf, ciabatta, or baguette. You probably want to stay away from typical sandwich-style bread as its thinner texture might absorb too much liquid and disintegrate in the oven. 

To prepare the meal, tear the bread into bite-sized chunks and toss with olive oil and anything you're planning on roasting the chicken with, such as garlic, thyme, rosemary, carrots, potatoes, or whatever else you'd like.

Next, place the bread and aromatics into a roasting pan and top the base with chicken legs, thighs, or quarters. As the chicken roasts, the juices will drip and soak into the bread. As the cooking progresses, the bread will brown and get crispy on the outside, resulting in chewy, toasty pieces that have soaked up the flavors of the chicken fat and juices and everything else in the pan. It's similar to a deconstructed bread stuffing, only with better texture.

Tailor the dish in countless ways

There are a lot of different ways you can prepare a dish like this, utilizing different spices, vegetables, and flavors, depending on your mood or even the season. For example, this Spanish-style roast chicken would be an excellent choice in the summer when peppers and tomatoes are at their peak season. Simply add cubed bread to the vegetable mix before roasting. Or, instead of tearing up the bread, you could also lay thick slices at the bottom of the pan and drizzle with olive oil and then place the chicken on top. Another option would be to leave the chicken whole and stuff the cavity with bread chunks and flavorings, instead of cutting up the bird.

You could also separately toast croutons, in either a skillet or in the oven, and serve pieces of roast chicken on top. In the same manner, the croutons will still soak up some of the chicken juices and turn chewy and delectable. Whatever way you prepare it, adding bread to your roast chicken is a great one-pan dinner idea that will satisfy your carb cravings in a flavorful new way.