A simple meal like roast chicken is so easy and comforting when the cupboard is bare. All you need – besides the chicken of course – are basic seasonings, a hot oven or, if the weather is nice, an outdoor grill.
I don’t know why, but the thought of cooking a whole chicken (yes, with the bones!) can seem daunting to some cooks. For instance, my mother hardly ever served roasted chicken when I was growing up – instead, it was saved for special occasions at a restaurant.
And I know how convenient it’d be to pick up a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store, but I have a problem with those; by the time you get it home, the chicken has been stewing under a heat lamp for hours; dried out and overcooked.
I’ve been making a version of this chicken recipe for years now. Sometimes we roast it on the grill, which produces an even better chicken with crisp, golden skin and a delicious smoky aroma. The method is from Marcella Hazan’s Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking, a cookbook I consider an absolute necessity in the kitchen.
This is also a great way to make use of any leftovers the next day. Make a chicken taco with some shredded chicken, or pile chunks on some crusty bread and make a panini with basil, goat cheese and slow roasted tomatoes.
how to make perfect roast chicken
Yield 4 servings
To roast this chicken in an outdoor grill, prepare grill for indirect cooking and heat to medium-high. Place chicken breast down directly on the grill rack and cook as described.
- 1 3 1/2 – 4 pound chicken
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- 1 lemon
Optional seasonings, depending on what you have on hand:
- Handful of fresh herbs, such as rosemary, thyme, tarragon or
- One or two garlic cloves
- Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Put the chicken in a shallow roasting pan or casserole and pat the skin dry with paper towels.
- Mix together the salt and pepper in a small dish; season the chicken on all sides, rubbing over the skin into the cavity.
- Poke about a dozen holes in the lemon with a fork or a skewer and place in the cavity. Tuck the herbs and/or garlic in with the lemon, if using, and tie the legs together with a 12-inch-long piece of kitchen twine.
- Arrange the chicken breast side down and roast for 30 minutes. Turn the chicken over and roast an additional 30 minutes.
- Raise the oven temperature to 425 degrees for 10 minutes, or until the skin is golden and juices run clear from the thigh when pierced with a fork.
- Remove from the oven and let rest 10 minutes before slicing or carving. Save the juices that run out and serve with the chicken.
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Hi there! I’m Karen, a mother of two and a professionally trained cook certified in holistic nutrition.
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