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Best-ever roast chicken recipe

Best-ever roast chicken recipe

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  • Recipes
  • Ingredients
  • Meat and poultry
  • Poultry
  • Chicken
  • Cuts of chicken
  • Whole chicken
  • Whole roast chicken

Whole chicken is marinated in a spice mix of cloves, allspice, nutmeg and cinnamon then roasted. If you want an ultra-moist roast chicken, rotate the chicken by 180 degrees every 15 minutes, during the cooking time.

888 people made this

IngredientsServes: 6

  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon caster sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 (1.8kg) whole chicken
  • 5 cloves garlic, crushed

MethodPrep:15min ›Cook:1hr ›Extra time:1day marinating › Ready in:1day1hr15min

  1. In a bowl, mix the salt, sugar, cloves, allspice, nutmeg and cinnamon. Rub the chicken with the mixture. Cover chicken and place in the refrigerator for 24 hours.
  2. Preheat oven to 260 C / Gas 10.
  3. Stuff the chicken cavity with the garlic. Place the chicken, breast side down, on a rack in a roasting tin.
  4. Roast 15 minutes in the preheated oven. Reduce heat to 230 C / Gas 8 and continue roasting 15 minutes. Baste chicken with pan drippings, reduce heat to 220 C / Gas 7 and continue roasting 30 minutes, to an internal temperature of 85 degrees C. Let stand 20 minutes before serving.

Watch how!

Watch our video to see how to make a perfectly roasted chicken every time. Watch now!

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Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(1025)

Reviews in English (811)

First time I ever made a roast chicken and it turned out delightfully tender and delicious! This might be a new family recipe.-25 Dec 2016

really nice recipe! something different, flavour gets a little sicky after a while, but over all a really nice different flavour.-13 Nov 2013


This is only the 2nd time in my life making a whole roasted chicken (because I find them too dry and bland to bother), but after using *this* recipe it may just become a weekly occaision! Not only was this easy to prepare and the flavour outstanding, this was the JUICIEST chicken I have ever eaten - anywhere! I am so impressed with this recipe, I'm going to try this rub/marinade and roasting method with my next holiday turkey. I think roasting it breast-side down may be the key in retaining the flavourful juices. My only changes were to double the spices and add an onion to the cavity with the garlic. Amazing chicken!-04 Sep 2006

Perfect Simple Roast Chicken

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy.

The PERFECT Simple Roast Chicken Recipe that makes the crispiest skin, juiciest chicken with just five minutes of prep and one hour in the oven. Never buy store-bought rotisserie chicken again!

You’ll love having this roast chicken recipe in your back pocket for recipes like Classic Chicken Salad and Classic Chicken Pot Pie because you’ll have white meat for recipes and an entire rest of your bird for a delicious meal for your family. The best of all worlds.

Knowing how to roast a chicken is a skill I have taught to a number of client’s kids over the course of my time as a private chef and this exact method is the one I teach. It’s the classic American meal, the best roast chicken, a starchy side dish and roasted vegetables. You will love this recipe so much you’ll be roasting chicken every week.

The results are the same each time, perfectly crispy skin, totally juicy chicken and pan juices (once you skim the fat) that I love to spoon over Easy Mashed Potatoes for the ultimate in amazing dinners.

The method for this chicken is from Thomas Keller, a chef worthy of admiration and respect who’s kitchens are full of magic. I’ve had the good fortune to enjoy the food in his restaurants including this delicious Roast Chicken recipe and I can tell you, you can forget Costco chickens, store rotisseries and all the other methods you’ve ever used.

This is the one you want. It is the best chicken you’ll ever make.

Plus, if you want to top the chicken with the best sauce you’ve ever eaten in your life, may I humbly recommend Zankou Chicken Garlic Paste (Copycat). This is the garlic paste legends are made of in the Los Angeles area and the reason Zagat loves Zankou Chicken so much. Zagat says this of the sauce:

“Devotees ‘dream about’ the ‘ juicy, flavorful’ rotisserie chicken at this ‘popular’ Mediterranean fast-food chain cherished for its ‘glorious’ , ‘ kick-a**’ ‘ garlic sauce of the gods’ that will make you want to ‘buy a tub, take it home and put it on everything you eat for the next week.'”

Just saying, make the sauce too. You won’t regret it.

The first time you make this recipe, make it as written. Next time try new ideas. We like to sometimes add crushed cloves of garlic and wedges of lemon to the chicken cavity or use Italian seasoning on the chicken.

You can also add root vegetables to the baking dish (we sometimes even roast this chicken in a large cast iron skillet), but if you add vegetables please remember the cooking time will change significantly as the vegetables will absorb a lot of heat meant for the chicken.

Recipe Summary

  • 1 (3 pound) whole chicken, giblets removed
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder, or to taste
  • ½ cup margarine, divided
  • 1 stalk celery, leaves removed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Place chicken in a roasting pan, and season generously inside and out with salt and pepper. Sprinkle inside and out with onion powder. Place 3 tablespoons margarine in the chicken cavity. Arrange dollops of the remaining margarine around the chicken's exterior. Cut the celery into 3 or 4 pieces, and place in the chicken cavity.

Bake uncovered 1 hour and 15 minutes in the preheated oven, to a minimum internal temperature of 180 degrees F (82 degrees C). Remove from heat, and baste with melted margarine and drippings. Cover with aluminum foil, and allow to rest about 30 minutes before serving.

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How To Cook A Tender Roast Chicken

Have you ever eaten dry roast chicken? It’s not the best is it? Unfortunately, although it’s one of the meats we enjoy most it can be one of the hardest to get right. Cook it for too long, or too high, or without the right techniques can lead to a chicken which might look good on the outside but is dry and tasteless on the inside! Trust me, this chicken is not one of those! If you stick with me you’ll make a deliciously succulent roast chicken, which will impress everyone at Sunday lunch!

In addition to using a marinade, there are a number of ways you can try and avoid dry or tough roast chicken, including:

Cook It Low and Slow

This might seem like a bit more effort, as you’ve got to be near your oven for longer, but trust me it’s so worth it! Cooking your roast chicken on a lower oven temperature for longer will help all of the juices stay in the meat as the fats in many cuts of meat take longer to break down. Once they do though, you are left with a super tender dish which is more than worth an extra half an hour in the oven! This chicken was cooked for 20 minutes on a higher temperature (200 degrees) to help seal the skin and then covered with tin foil and cooked on 120 degrees for two hours to help make it super tender!

Stuff It Up

No, I don’t mean you need to ruin it! I mean you need to stuff your chicken full of moisture rich ingredients to help retain any moisture which would otherwise be lost out of the inside cavity. I’m a big fan of using onions, garlic and herbs to stuff my chickens, as I have here. But if diet isn’t a concern, then sausage meat is another fantastic option as it’s full of fat to keep your bird nice and moist. Not only does sausage meat help with your chicken cooking, it also makes a great side dish afterwards…after all who doesn’t love a bit of stuffing at Christmas right?! There’s no reason you can’t have it at your Sunday roast too!

Stuffing doesn’t just need to be for inside your chicken though…well not exactly anyway! By stuffing under your chicken’s skin with herbs as I have done in this recipe, you make sure that all the flavour isn’t just reserved for your chicken skin. After all, what’s the point in having nice tender meat if it doesn’t taste great too? You can just see the herbs under the skin on my chicken, trust me it’s worth the effort of getting your hands all the way under the chicken skin, just to get that added kick of flavour!

French Roast Chicken | Poulet Rôti

  • Quick Glance
  • Quick Glance
  • 30 M
  • 1 H, 50 M
  • Serves 4

Ingredients US Metric

  • For the chicken
  • 2 to 3 cups roughly chopped assorted root vegetables (carrots, parsnips, potatoes)
  • 2 medium yellow onions, thickly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 small lemons, preferably organic, zest grated from 1
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 teaspoons flaky sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • One (3-pound) whole chicken
  • 2 cloves garlic, unpeeled but smashed
  • A few sprigs fresh thyme
  • 4 tablespoons salted butter (2 oz), at room temperature
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons dried herbes de Provence or dried thyme
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • For basting
  • 4 tablespoons salted butter (2 oz)
  • 2 cloves garlic, unpeeled and smashed


Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C).

Scatter the chopped vegetables and onions in a roasting pan and drizzle with the oil. Add the lemon zest, thyme, salt, and pepper to the vegetables and, using your hands, mix until all the vegetables are coated and then spread into a single layer.

Using paper towels, pat the chicken completely dry, inside and out.

Cut both lemons in quarters and tuck them in the cavity of the bird with the smashed garlic and a few sprigs of fresh thyme. If all the lemon quarters don’t fit, you can pop them in the pan with the vegetables—just don’t forget to take them out when you serve the chicken.

Cut about half the butter into small pieces and place the pieces under the skin of the bird. To do this, start at the cavity end of the chicken and slide one or two fingers between the meat and the skin. Work slowly, separating the skin from the meat as far as you can reach. Squish the butter pieces slightly and fit them under the skin as best you can.

Spread the remainder of the butter over the outside of the skin. The easiest way to do this is with your hands. Season the bird with the herbes de Provence or dried thyme and a touch of pepper.

Place the bird directly on the vegetables in the roasting pan and place in the oven on the bottom rack for 20 minutes, until the skin starts to brown nicely.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter. Add the smashed garlic and place over very low heat. You will use this to baste the chicken while it’s roasting.

Turn down the oven to 400˚F (200˚C) and roast the chicken for 60 to 70 minutes more, or until a meat thermometer inserted into the high part of the thigh registers 165˚F (74˚C). Normally you can count on about 20 minutes’ cook time per pound (454 g) of chicken but to be absolutely sure, a meat thermometer is the way to go!

While the bird is cooking, baste it every 20 minutes or so with the melted butter and smashed garlic. This will season the bird even more.

Once the chicken is cooked, remove it from the oven (leave the vegetables in the roasting pan), place it on a cutting board (preferably one that has a drain ridge to catch any juices), cover it loosely with aluminum foil and allow it to rest for about 10 minutes before you carve it.

Give the vegetables a good stir and place the roasting pan back in the oven until you are ready to serve the meal. If the vegetables are not crisp enough, you can set the broiler to high (around 400˚F/200˚C, if your broiler has a temperature display) and broil them for about 5 minutes, but do keep an eye on them as they might burn.

Recipe Testers' Reviews

This French roast chicken dish has it all—tender, juicy meat bursting with flavor and wonderful, crisp skin, and the roasted veggies bathed in rich buttery-lemon-garlic-chicken juices! I'm still thinking about it!

The dish takes a bit of time from start to finish, but what a perfect meal to make for guests when all the work is done ahead, and all you have to do after guests arrive is to peek in the oven and baste every now and then while you're enjoying some cocktails with your friends.

The only accompaniment you need for this dish is a crisp salad with a bracing vinaigrette to cut through the richness of all that butter and a really good baguette.

This French roast chicken turned out to be one of those roast chicken recipes that I’ll reach for again and again. The end result was a chicken that was full of flavor with crisp skin and moist flesh, but the stars of the dish were the vegetables. The combination of lemon zest with the thyme, salt, and pepper was delicious and made me sorry there weren’t more morsels of carrot and potato to eat.

A classic and well written roast chicken recipe! It just goes to show that basic ingredients treated well can turn into fabulous meals! Don't skip the basting with the garlic butter, it helps produce a beautiful golden brown, crispy skin. And, definitely use a thermometer so you don’t overcook your bird! I made this on a Monday for lunch and am looking forward to enjoying the rest of it during the week—so many possibilities!

This poulet rôti is a wonderful dish to serve for dinner and is a big hit with adults and children. The chicken is incredibly moist flavorful.

#LeitesCulinaria. We'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Here are some ideas for roast chicken leftovers.

Catalan roast chicken, potato and pepper salad

This Catalan roast chicken, potato and pepper salad is quick and easy to make and a great way to use Jersey Royals.

Roast chicken with pomegranate and mint

Check out this low calorie, quick and simple vibrant roast chicken with mint and crunchy pomegranates. Serve this chicken recipe with a hearty salad for an easy midweek meal. Check out more healthy chicken ideas here.

Salt-roast chicken with spiced carrot slaw

This coleslaw has a warm dressing, which helps the carrot soak up the flavours of the cumin and mustard. Look out for younger, sweeter new season carrots when buying. A mandolin is useful for all the shredding.

Roast chicken and lentils with salsa verde

This quick roast chicken and lentils with salsa verde makes a comforting meal for two in just 1 hour, making it perfect midweek.

Roast chicken and Jerusalem artichokes with lemon and sage butter

This recipe for roast chicken and Jerusalem artichokes with lemon and sage butter is really easy to make and ready in under an hour. Plus, it packs in some big flavours. It's a prefect alternative to your usual roast.

6. Martha Stewart's "Perfect Roast Chicken"

WHY WE CHOSE IT: Because it's Martha! But also, her recipe allows us to use some of the same techniques from other chickens all together in combination: Herbs, garlic, and lemon inside the chicken cavity for flavor, butter on the chicken skin to crisp it, and a bed of sliced onions in the pan. The goal? A moist chicken with all-over crispy skin without a roasting rack.


  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and set aside.
  3. Use paper towels to carefully dry all sides of the chicken.
  4. Place 2 garlic cloves under the skin of each chicken thigh. 
  5. If desired, also place a pat of butter, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, and/or fresh chopped herbs under the skin as well.
  6. Make sure the chicken skin is securely pulled back over the garlic and butter/herbs, if using.
  7. Place the chicken legs in the prepared pan and sprinkle salt all over the skin, adding a bit of pepper as well, to taste.
  8. Roast the chicken for 40-45 minutes, until the skin becomes very crisp.
  9. Let rest for 5 minutes, then serve hot.

Heston Blumenthal's roast chicken

This recipe is a firm family favourite. The roast chicken is made extra juicy by brining the chicken before roasting it, then cooking it for a long time at a gentle temperature. Brining is a fantastic technique for keeping moisture in food and it is incredibly simple to do. It involves a little forethought but minimum effort and it will guarantee a juicy and succulent bird every time.



Skill level


  • 1.5–2 kg whole chicken
  • 6 % brine (300 g salt dissolved in 5 litres water)
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 bunch thyme
  • 125 g unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus extra for rubbing into the skin
  • 30 ml dry white wine

For the gravy (optional)

  • 20 ml dry white wine
  • 250 ml (1 cup) chicken stock
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 sprig tarragon
  • 1 sprig parsley

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Resting time 45 minutes
Brining time overnight
Warning In this recipe, while Heston cooks his chicken to an internal temperature of 60°C, if you want to stick to safety guidelines your chicken should reach 75°C in the thickest part of the breast.

Remove the trussing from the chicken then place it in a clean container. Pour over the brine, ensuring that the chicken is submerged, then cover the container with plastic wrap and place in the fridge overnight.

Remove the chicken from the liquid and dry well with paper towel. Remove the wishbone and place on a wire rack set over a tray.

Preheat the oven to 90ºC (about 70°C fan or gas mark ¼, but use an oven thermometer to get an accurate temperature).

Roll and pierce the lemon, then place it in the cavity of the bird with half of the thyme. Rub some butter on top of the skin.

Place the chicken on the rack in a roasting tray and place in the oven. Roast the chicken for about 3–4 hours or until the internal temperature in the thickest part of the breast is 60ºC.

Remove the chicken from the oven and allow to rest for 45 minutes. Turn the oven temperature as high as it will go.

In the meantime, melt the butter in a pan and add the wine and a few sprigs of thyme. Bring to the boil then remove the pan from the heat and use the melted butter to baste the chicken before and during browning.

Once the resting time has elapsed, put the chicken back in the roasting tray and return it to the oven for about 10 minutes or until golden brown, taking care that it doesn’t burn.

Once coloured, remove the chicken from the oven and place on a cooling rack.

To carve the chicken, remove the legs by slicing down where they meet the breast and splaying them outwards to expose the joint, which you can then sever.

Remove the breast by running a sharp knife deeply into the flesh along one side of the centre bone that extends the length of the bird, making a deep vertical cut. Then cut horizontally through the flesh at the bottom of the breast until the horizontal cut meets the vertical, separating the breast from the ribcage. Repeat the procedure on the other side of the centre bone. The breasts can then be laid cut-side down on the chopping board and sliced.

Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

If making the gravy, when the chicken has been browned and removed from the roasting tray, place the tray containing the juices on the cooktop over medium-high heat. Add the white wine and scrape and stir to deglaze the pan. Add the chicken stock and cook until reduced to a sauce. Strain into a small saucepan.

Before serving, stir in the mustard and warm through. Finish with freshly chopped tarragon and parsley and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.


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