This easy, foolproof method for roasting a chicken or turkey produces the most delicious, juicy results every time. The perfect roasted chicken recipe!
- assorted fresh herbs such as thyme, rosemary and/or sage*
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling
- freshly cracked black pepper to taste
- 3 tablespoons butter, softened to room temperature
- 1 fresh whole chicken, any size
- aromatic vegetables and herbs for stuffing, such as carrot, celery, shallot, onion, garlic, lemon, parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme**
- 1–2 tablespoons olive oil (eyeball it)
- kitchen twine
- instant read thermometer
- Remove the tough stems from the herbs, then chop them up so you have a little over 1 tablespoon. Add 3/4’s to a bowl, reserving the rest of the herbs for later. Eyeball it – it doesn’t need to be exact. Add 1 teaspoon of salt, freshly cracked pepper to taste, and the butter. Mix until the herbs are evenly distributed.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the chicken breast side up on the rack of a roasting pan. Remove the giblets from inside the cavity, and place them in the pan below if desired (once roasted they will help flavor a fantastic gravy or pan sauce). Use several paper towels to pat the chicken dry on all sides – being as thorough as possible. This will help the skin get golden brown and crispy.
- Rub the inside of the cavity with a generous amount of salt and pepper, then stuff the aromatic vegetables and herbs inside until you can’t fit anymore.
- Use your fingers to go underneath the skin and separate it from the breast meat, being careful not to let it tear (be mindful of your rings, ladies).
- Using a spoon, take half of the herb butter and stuff it underneath the skin on one side of the breast as far as it will go, then use your fingers to press and spread it out. Repeat with the other side.
- Pull the flaps of skin up to cover the cavity, then criss cross the legs and tie it all together with a piece of kitchen twine. No fancy technique – just a simple knot will do.
- Drizzle the chicken all over with olive oil, then use your hands to rub it into every nook and cranny. Sprinkle with a light dusting of salt, pepper and the remaining chopped herbs.
- Place the chicken in the oven on the middle rack, then stick the thermometer in the thickest part of the breast, being sure to aim it for the center of the meat.
- When the chicken reaches 140 degrees F, crank the heat up to 400 and continue cooking until it reaches 160. Remove it from the oven immediately, as it will continue cooking as it sits. The chicken should reach at least 165 degrees F while it sits.
- Let the chicken rest for at least 15 minutes. Use a sharp knife to remove the legs and wings, then use the breast bone as a guide to remove the entire breasts, one at a time. Slice the breasts into pieces, and separate the legs into drumsticks and thighs. Serve immediately.
*Dried herbs may be substituted for fresh, but since they are much stronger in flavor you need to use less.
**You don’t have to use all of the vegetables listed here. I usually just use whatever odds and ends I have in my refrigerator to stuff the cavity – a piece of an onion, half a lemon, a few garlic cloves, etc.
Keywords: whole roast chicken, oven roasted chicken, how to cook a whole chicken