Serve up a simple, juicy masterpiece, crusted with herbs.
A good roast chicken recipe cannot be beat. This recipe makes a deeply flavorful, moist roast chicken on a bed of vegetables for an easy, sophisticated one-pan dinner.
In Praise of a Basic Roast Chicken Dinner
There is no more perfect dinner than a simple roast chicken, especially one crusted with herbs like thyme, sage, parsley, and rosemary. Warm and homey, impressive yet uncomplicated, roast chicken works as Sunday dinner with guests, or as a make-ahead midweek meal.
Yet something about making a whole roast chicken can intimidate people. But that is only because homemade roast chicken looks like a big deal. In fact, it is downright easy.
Herbes de Provence may sound, well, foreign (because it is), but it is simply a widely-available dried herb blend featuring some combination of thyme, marjoram, rosemary, fennel seed, lavender, and savory available at almost any grocery store.
How to Brine Chicken for This Roast Chicken Recipe
First, you must brine this chicken. Do not skip this step.
This recipe — like all good roast chicken recipes — should be brined between eight and (ideally) 24 to 48 hours in advance. Coat the roast chicken in a generous amount of salt, then give it time to penetrate deep into the meat.
Brining dries out the skin, which will make it nice and crispy brown. Brining also makes the meat tender and flavorful. Plus, your work is already finished by the time you’re ready to put it in the oven.
Salt, pepper, olive oil, and a liberal sprinkling of fresh herbs and herbes de Provence are all you need. The herbs are optional; salt and pepper alone makes a great roast chicken. But the herbes de Provence create something woodsy and well-rounded.
Bake the Chicken in a Hot Oven
Roast chicken should be baked in a hot oven. Some recipes call for different temperatures. However, I firmly believe that a hot oven (here, 425 degrees Fahrenheit) serve two purposes:
- Makes the skin brown and crisp, and
- Cooks the chicken more quickly without the meat drying out
How do you make roast chicken? Tell us in the comments, below.
You may also like these great recipes:
Easy Roast Chicken With Herbs
- 1 5 lb. whole roasting chicken, preferably air chilled, giblets and neck removed
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 rounded tablespoon Kosher salt
- 12 turns freshly-ground pepper (about 1 teaspoon)
- 1 tablespoon herbes de Provence
- ½ bunch fresh, flat-leaf parsley, bottom half of the stems removed
- Remove any giblets and the neck from inside the chicken, if included, and pat the chicken nice and dry with a few paper towels, inside and out.
- Place the chicken in a greased or parchment-lined casserole pan, and drizzle with olive oil. Spread the olive oil over the entire chicken using your fingers or pastry brush.
- Generously sprinkle the salt over the entire chicken, top and bottom -- especially the breast and legs. Nestle the chicken breast-side up in the casserole. Add the pepper and herbes de Provence, and stuff the cavity with the parsley so that the leaves poke out. NOTE: This may seem like an egregious amount of salt. It is not. By brining over eight to 48 hours time, the salt will soak into and distribute throughout the entire bird, and not just stay on the surface. Put the entire casserole into the refrigerator, uncovered, and let brine for a minimum of eight hours, preferably between 24 and 48 hours. (Make sure the chicken doesn't come into contact with any other food.)
- Preheat the oven to 425°F. You have the option here to put the chicken directly on a bed of root vegetables, such as thick-sliced onions, carrots, potatoes, and so on. They will cook along with the chicken perfectly.When the oven is fully heated, roast the chicken, uncovered, on the center rack for approximately 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours, or until a thermometer inserted into the dense meat on the side of the breast next to the thigh tests 162°F and the juices are clear.PRO TIP: Poultry should be cooked to 165°F. I remove the chicken at 162°; the temperature will continue to rise a few degrees even once the chicken is removed from the oven because of carryover cooking. Cook's Illustrated has a great article on carryover cooking.
- Remove from the oven, loosely tent with foil, and let rest for 10 minutes so the juices settle into the meat. Spoon some of the pan juices over the chicken. Serve immediately, adding more pan juices as desired.
Lately I’ve been spatchcocking my chickens for roasting because it cooks so fast and evenly. I usually do lemon and parsley but next time I’ll try this herb combination. Sounds delish!
Spatchcocking is definitely a smart way to go, and lemon and parsley sounds perfect! Let me know if you make the roast chicken…it’s great.
This is really good. I let mine brine for 2 days in the fridge and it was the most flavorful chicken.
Sally Louise Prangley says
This was my first roast chicken and it was so delicious and simple that I’m making another one tonight Thank you for simplifying a mystifying process to someone who eats very little meat!
Hi, Sally! Thanks so much and I am very glad you enjoyed it.
low and slow says
I have all the herbs de provence fresh except for the lavender,would I just equal parts of all?
Hi! Very good question. How lovely to have all of the herbs fresh! The general rule of thumb is to double your amount of fresh herbs, which you should do here. This is because fresh have greater volume from moisture; dried herbs have more concentrated flavor. Let me know how it turns out!
Susan DeMarco says
Sally, this recipe for roast chicken is delicious. In the picture where you show the prepared plate, may I ask what the side dish is? It looks so good.
Hi and thanks! So glad you liked it. The side dish is the Harvest Kale and Butternut Squash Salad — also one of my favorites. Here’s the recipe: https://unpeeledjournal.com/harvest-kale-squash-salad-cider-vinaigrette/
Sally Louise Prangley says
I am thrilled to have a roast chicken recipe that doesn’t scare me! It is easy to do and results in a truly delicious and not dry chicken! I’ve found that allowing it to brine for 2 days is preferable to 1 day– the flavor is even better! I’d like to roast my turkey this way, too! Would you recommend any adaptations for a bigger bird? I’ll be looking to get a small turkey because it’s just my son and myself (10-12 pounds)- so any advice will be greatly appreciated! Thank you Lisa!
Hi, Sally! I am so glad. Yes, I agree: If you have the two days, it is the best result. For a turkey, I would just about double the salt, and roast it at 400 degrees, and not 425. Turkey will take longer to cook, so at such a hot temperature, you want to make sure the skin doesn’t get overly browned. We’re having a small Thanksgiving as well this year 🙂
Would cooking the chicken at 350 or 375 change the texture or flavor of the chicken? I’m concerned that cooking the chicken at 425 will result in dry stringy drumsticks.
Hi, Lori! You can definitely roast the chicken at a lower temperature. I do a high oven because it gets the skin extra brown and crispy. And in my experience, the drumsticks will stay moist (those are my favorite, so I definitely wouldn’t want a dry one) thanks to their fat content, brining, and because they will end up partly submerged by the chicken jus as it roasts. I hope you enjoy no matter what.
Guy Gervais says
Please excuse my ignorance but when do you add these:
12 turns freshly-ground pepper (about 1 teaspoon)
1 tablespoon herbes de Provence
1/2 bunch fresh, flat-leaf parsley, bottom half of the stems removed
Guy! No problem. See direction #3: Add the herbes de Provence, pepper, and parsley after you salt the chicken. That way, it’s all ready to go right in the oven after it finishes brining. Enjoy!
Anyone reading over this recipe,and considering leaving out the brining process,do not!!! It’s a huge game changer.!!! The 48 hour brining will produce the very best roast chicken ever-seriously.
Roast chicken is one of my fall dinners I rely on at least once a month. I also look forward to the leftovers for homemade stock,soup,etc. Now w/the brining part of the picture,everything will be even more flavorful!
So simple & cost effective- thank you Lisa for another out-of -the -park recipe!!!
This is unbelievably good & so easy,..(I already have another chicken in the fridge brining).
Please,please,write a cookbook!!!!!
Lisa D’Abramo says
Lisa I have a question:
I do not have parsley, but can I substitute a whole yellow onion, celery stalk w/leaves attached,and carrots. Can I substitute a small quantity of those items in place of the flat leaf parsley?
I’ve made roast chicken using that combo before,but have never done a brine including them (hope that makes sense ).
Hi, Lisa! The effect of the brine is mostly the salt (the parsley is more for aesthetics), so just omit the parsley and proceed! I like to lay a bed of chunky onions, carrots, and celery sometimes, which then cook in the chicken juices and taste delicious.
Lisa D’Abramo says
Thank you Lisa for responding so quickly!!!
Me too,I like to lay the chicken on a bed of carrots,sweet potatoes, onions & russets….
But, just wasn’t certain about placing vegetables in the cavity while the brining process is going on …
Now I know!?
Thank you !
Hi, Lisa! Do you recommend bringing the chicken to room temp prior to roasting, or do you put the casserole dish in the oven straight from the fridge?
Hi, Liz! Sorry for just getting back to you on this. I just put the bird straight into the oven from the fridge. Always works just fine. I hope you enjoy!
Sandra B says
try Kosher chickens – for this recipe because they are already ‘brined’
Absolutely delicious!! I roasted mine on a bed of carrots, onions, baby potatoes, and mushrooms. I also brined for 48 hours and was a little leary of the high baking temp but it was perfectly cooked in the time frame given in the recipe!
Wonderful, Carol! Yeah, 425 does seem like an abnormally high temperature, but it does help get that nice browned crust.