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Perfect Roast Chicken

perfect chicken

You know how amazing roasted vegetables are? If you think you or your kids don’t like something like Brussels sprouts, please, try them roasted as soon as possible. The high heat of roasting kind of caramelizes whatever you’re cooking and brings you into some serious flavor country.

I got a copy of Gwyneth Paltrow’s It’s All Good for Christmas. Say what you want about her (and there’s a lot to say), but that chick can cook. It’s a gorgeous book filled with surprisingly accessible recipes that call for normal ingredients.

I tried her “Super Crispy Roast Chicken” and was shocked at how roasting changed the flavor of my chicken. I don’t know why I was surprised; roasted vegetables are pretty much always better than baked, so why shouldn’t chicken be the same?

I’ve tested this recipe with both local, pasture-raised chickens and store-bought hormone and antibiotic free, vegetarian fed chickens. The farm-raised birds were less fatty and needed more basting and more liquid added during cooking than their store-bought counterparts. This meal doesn’t need to be watched constantly by any means, but keep an eye on it to make sure there’s always a bit of liquid in your pan – especially if you’re using leaner, pastured chicken.

Let’s get started.

Grab some garlic, a lime (or lemon half) and a handful of herbs like parsley, chives, and thyme.

oven roasted chicken

Stuff the herbs, garlic, and lime in the chicken’s cavity. Give the lime (or lemon) a little squeeze to help get some of the juice out.

crispy chicken

Get some olive oil and liberally drizzle it all over the top of the bird. This is important – it’s the difference between crispy and not crispy, so don’t be shy with the oil.

crispy roast chicken

Grab some coarse sea salt and your pepper grinder and generously salt and pepper the bird.

easy whole chicken

In a 425 degree oven, roast, basting every half hour or so, until the deepest part of the thigh is 165 (or 170 if you’re skittish about undercooked chicken like I am). But with this high-heat recipe, I just use my eyes and pull the chicken out after about an hour and a half when it looks like this:

crispy roast chicken

A roast chicken with perfectly crispy skin and moist, flavorful meat is a beautiful thing.

perfect chicken

Yield: varies

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes

Perfect Roasted Chicken

Perfect, flavorful, and simple.


1 four pound chicken, patted dry

1 small lemon or lime, quartered

3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed

a few sprigs of fresh herbs like rosemary, thyme, chives, or parsley

freshly ground pepper and sea salt

olive oil as needed

white wine or water as needed


1. Preheat the oven to 425.

2. Stuff the bird with whatever herbs you have on hand, the citrus, and garlic. Put it in a roasting pan breast-side up

3. Liberally drizzle the top with olive oil, massaging it all over the bird.

4. Rub freshly ground black pepper and sea salt all over the top of the bird.

5. Pop into the oven. After 30 minutes, check on your chicken. Baste with the juices that have accumulated in the pan. If you don't have a lot of liquid, add a cup of wine to the pan. Baste every 30 minutes with cooking liquids, adding wine (or water) as needed. After an hour and a half, check the temperature (I plunge the thermometer in the thickest part of the thigh). If it reads 165, you're done.

6. Cover the bird with foil and let it rest for at least 10 minutes. Don't skip this step - it's worth the wait.


adapted from Gwyneth Paltrow's "Super Crispy Roast Chicken"


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