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Crispy Roast Chicken

Crispy Roast Chicken

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The best roast chicken you will ever encounter!

Crispy Roast Chicken

One of the first and best (and most primal) things I learned to do in the kitchen was to roast a chicken. In high school, it was also one of the few experiences that my sister, Nicole, and I could share without a fight.

We’d push a few pats of butter under a chicken’s skin, stuff a bunch of fresh herbs in the cavity, and roast it in a hot oven until golden brown, by which time the smell drove us crazy. We’d devour it standing up, burning our fingers and tongues as we pulled at the hot, crackling skin, eating it right down to the nubbins.

Click here to see 101 Ways to Cook Chicken


  • 1 2- to 4 1/2-pound chicken
  • 2 Tablespoons butter, at room temperature
  • 1 small bunch fresh herb sprigs (such as thyme, basil, parsley, or any combination)
  • Kosher salt, to taste

Crispy Roasted Garlic Chicken

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One of my new endeavors of the year is learning how to coupon. Yes, the verb – coupon. As much as I love to cook, and as tiny as my food budget is, this has probably been a no-brainer for years. But somehow I’d never really given it a try…

So, I’ve spent the last 9 or so months learning the art of store coupons, manufacturer coupons, “matching”, doubling, pairing….you name it! And, of course, learning how to smile and thank your cashier and the patient people behind you as you figure it all out. :D Thankfully, it has been beyond worth it. Thanks to internet coupons, and especially to coupon blogs, I’ve saved a fabulously significant chunk in my grocery budget. Hoorah!

Anyway, all that to say that I’m totally proud to say that on a recent grocery trip, I was able to swing three whole frozen chickens for $1.50 each. Holla! Thus, one of the lucky birds turned into this delicious, simple roast. I know there are about five zillion different methods for roasting. But for this recipe, decided to go with a crispy-roasting method I learned about awhile back from Cooks Illustrated. Look out — it calls for heating up that oven to 450 and 500 degrees. But hey — when it’s snowing and dropping into the ‘teens here in KC — a toasty kitchen sounds just about perfect. :)

I ended up just going with a super-simple garlic, garlic, and more garlic recipe. But feel free to sub in your favorite fresh herbs, honey, or whatever may float your boat. This is definitely more of a “method” sort of post… Enjoy!!

How to make the BEST roast chicken!

The best roast chicken has garlic herb butter under and on the skin, is stuffed with lemon and herbs, roasted until it’s crispy and deep golden on the outside, and juicy on the inside.

It’s really easy to prepare a whole chicken for roasting. The trick is to use an upside down dessert spoon to loosen the skin – the shape hugs the curves of the chicken and it doesn’t tear the skin.

Then simply spoon the garlic-herb-butter under the skin then spread it from the outside. OR hold it upright and drizzle in (see photos below) – whatever you find easier!

TIP: Use most of the butter under the skin, that’s where you get the most bang for your buck. Plus, garlic burns on the skin so you don’t want too much on the surface.

After the chicken is all buttered up, place it on a bed of garlic and onion. This serves two purposes:

Elevates the chicken off the base of the pan for more even cooking (otherwise the underside sits in the pan juices and will cook faster) and

Adds extra flavour into the pan juices used as the sauce for this recipe. OR used for gravy!

  1. Slaughter the chicken. Dress, eviscerate, and rinse. Pat dry and keep it vertical to drain off the water in the cavity. Let it stands for two hours.
  2. Carefully separate skin from breast meat by inserting the fingers or a small knife in between the skin and the breasts.
  3. Combine the salt, honey, light soy sauce and applied to the entire surface of the chicken.
  4. Apply the salt and Szechuan peppercorn mixture to the cavity of the chicken.
  5. Refrigerate the chicken in an upright position. Leave it uncovered for at least 12 hours or up to 24 hours until the surface is completely dry.
  6. Apply additional salt plus some baking powder to the surface. Hang the chicken upright and allow the chicken to drip dry for an hour.
  7. Truss the chicken.
  8. Place the chicken on an oven rack. Rub some oil on the surface. Roast in the preheat oven at 220 degree Celsius for 20 minutes.
  9. Hold the chicken carefully to drain off any juice on the skin and inside the cavity.
  10. Reduce the heat to 160 degree Celsius for another one and a half hours.
  11. Cut the chicken into pieces and served with Szechuan peppercorn salt 椒盐.

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Nutrition Information:


Serving Size:

This data was provided and calculated by Nutritionix on 5/28/2019

    1. Place a rack in lower third of oven preheat to 450°F. Place a 12" cast-iron or stainless-steel skillet in oven.
    2. Pull off excess fat around cavities of chicken discard. Using paper towels, thoroughly pat dry chicken inside and out. Arrange chicken breast side up on a cutting board. Gently loosen skin covering breasts and thighs. Tuck 4 thyme sprigs under loosened skin, 1 sprig for each breast and thigh.
    3. Combine 1 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper in a small bowl. Pat dry cutting board and chicken again, then tie legs together with kitchen twine.
    4. Using a metal skewer or paring knife, poke 20󈞊 holes all over chicken, paying special attention to fatty (thickest) parts of skin. Season chicken with salt mixture, placing a pinch inside cavity, but primarily covering outside of bird.
    5. Cut remaining thyme sprig crosswise into 3𔃂 pieces and place in a large bowl. Add potatoes, onions, oil, 1/2 tsp. salt, and a generous pinch of pepper. Toss to combine.
    6. Carefully remove skillet from oven. Transfer potato mixture to skillet (mixture will sizzle), then place chicken, breast side up, on potato mixture. Return skillet to oven (remember, handle is hot!). Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of breast registers 160°F and thickest part of thigh registers 175°F, 45󈞣 minutes.
    7. Remove skillet from oven. Using tongs or a large wooden spoon inserted into cavity, transfer chicken to a large plate. Give potato mixture a stir, then return to oven. Let chicken rest about 5 minutes.
    8. Using a sharp knife, slash stretched skin between thighs and breasts to let steam escape. Carefully tilt bird and plate over a large bowl to drain juices reserve juices. Let chicken rest until potatoes are fork-tender, 15󈞅 minutes more.
    9. Tilt chicken and plate again over bowl with juices to drain any last bits, then transfer chicken to a cutting board and carve. (If juices have cooled and congealed, gently rewarm over low heat or for 10 seconds in the microwave.)
    10. Arrange chicken on a platter. Serve with roasted potatoes and onions alongside, spooning juices over.
    11. Cooks’ Note: If time allows, after patting dry and salting chicken, place on a wire rack set in a rimmed baking sheet, or on a V-rack set in a roasting pan, and chill, uncovered, at least 12 hours or up to 2 days. This ‘dry brine’ will result in a flavorful juicy chicken with even crispier skin.

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    Recipe Summary

    • cooking spray
    • 8 bone-in chicken thighs with skin
    • ¼ teaspoon garlic salt
    • ¼ teaspoon onion salt
    • ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
    • ¼ teaspoon ground thyme
    • ¼ teaspoon paprika
    • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray.

    Arrange chicken thighs on prepared baking sheet.

    Combine garlic salt, onion salt, oregano, thyme, paprika, and pepper together in a small container with a lid. Close the lid and shake container until spices are thoroughly mixed. Sprinkle spice mixture liberally over chicken thighs.

    Bake chicken in the preheated oven until skin is crispy, thighs are no longer pink at the bone, and the juices run clear, about 1 hour. An instant-read thermometer inserted near the bone should read 165 degrees F (74 degrees C).

    Keller's roast chicken didn't even need extra seasonings or toppings

    This bird's intoxicating aroma filled my kitchen, and it also tasted as good as it looked.

    It was juicy and moist with a touch of natural sweetness, and I particularly loved dipping the meat into the pan juices, which added an extra umami kick.

    The recipe suggested added optional thyme, butter, or mustard to the final product, but the chicken was so flavorful on its own that it didn't need any of that.

    My favorite element of the dish was probably its wafer-thin and crispy salt-kissed skin, which wonderfully contrasted the sweet and satisfying meat.

    More techniques to get the crispiest roast chicken

    Millard told Food & Wine to get the skin perfectly golden, she lets the meat cure and dry out for 48 hours. She also suggests leaving the chicken uncovered and not wrapped in anything, making it easier for it to dry out. However, Millard admitted she hasn't always been an expert at cooking a flawless roast chicken. "I think it's something that you have to do over and over and over again," she said. "But it's also the test of a really good cook."

    Another tip from the Food Network for mouthwatering crispy chicken is placing it on the top rack of your oven, which is the hottest portion. If you're feeling bold, you can also remove the skin and put it in a frying pan or convection oven to crisp it up. Bonus tip, if you love the taste of rotisserie chicken try putting it on different entrees like casseroles or even macaroni and cheese. Trust us, you won't be disappointed!

    How to Get Perfect Crispy Skin on Roast Chicken With Negligible Effort

    In the hands of the uninitiated, a roast chicken can be genuinely terrible: gummy skin on chalky, flavorless meat. But done well? Oh man, a roast chicken can be everything—unctuous and lush and luxurious and sexy. It's filling and nourishing and, maybe most importantly, it's impressive when you whip a golden bird out of the oven and let it cool off on the counter. As you pour your companion a glass of wine and casually throw together a side dish, that chicken tantalizingly awaits, perfuming the house with its chickeny aromatic bliss.

    There is a reason why chefs routinely select roast chicken as their hypothetical death-row meal, and why everyone from Julia Child to Action Bronson to Thomas Keller has their favored way to roast a chicken.

    Roast chicken can be incredibly easy to make, although it doesn't have to be. If you prefer, it can turn into a multi-day, complex procedure involving a seemingly unending combination of advanced culinary techniques, from stuffing to trussing to flipping to spinning to skinning to brining to basting.

    While there are millions of options for roasting a chicken out there on the Internets—a crucial ingredient in any roast chicken recipe appears to be good SEO—when I roast a chicken every Sunday night, I want two things: tender, flavorful meat, and crunchy skin that crackles between my teeth. With this recipe, and with just a minor bit of prep, these two goals can be achieved simultaneously, and relatively quickly. Your guests (and your stomach) will thank you later.


    One chicken, about 3 pounds

    1. Assess your bird. Sure, a three-pound chicken is on the smaller side. But size ain't everything, particularly when we're talking about those ridiculous 6-pound robofrankenchickens you sometimes see at the grocery. A three-pounder is plenty big enough to feed two people and leave leftovers. Weirdly, a smaller chicken may be more expensive than a larger one. You're paying for quality. Spend the money. Oh and most importantly, the smaller the chicken, the faster the cooking time.

    2. Unwrap the chicken and pat it dry with paper towels. (Ideally, do this next part the night before. If you forget or don't have time, you can do this the morning of, or at least a couple of hours ahead of time. But once you try the results after prepping it the night before, it's hard to go back.) And know that there are usually surprise gifts inside the chicken! Take whatever's in there—probably a gizzard, a liver, even a neck if you're lucky—and set them to the side for later use.

    3. To save more cooking time, butterfly your bird. This is also known as "spatchcock"ing your chicken. This all sounds way harder than it actually is. (There are 28 million examples of how to do this on YouTube, if you're a visual learner. Here's a fine example.) Find the backbone with your fingers and, using either kitchen scissors or a big-ass knife, cut down each side of the backbone and save it with the gizzard and other bits you set aside earlier. Flip the chicken over and press down on the breast until you hear the bones crack underneath, and the chicken lays mostly flat like, well, a butterfly. (You can now take all your leftover parts and put them in a plastic bag and freeze them for the next time you make stock. Or, if you're lazy, just throw them away.)

    4. Season both sides of the chicken liberally. Like, democratic socialist from Vermont liberal. I probably use close to a tablespoon of kosher salt on each side of the chicken, and maybe half as much black pepper and garlic powder. Whatever you do, make sure that skin is well coated with seasonings.

    5. Clear out some space in your fridge. Throw away that barely-used jar of jelly that's been in there for a year. Same with the Vitaminwater with one sip left. Put the chicken on a plate, skin-side up. Point the knees at each other and tuck the wing tips underneath the wings so that it appears to be flexing. Leave your chicken uncovered in the fridge to dry out until cooking time.


    7. A day later, when it's time to cook, take the chicken out of the fridge. It should look different. Depending on how long you let it chill out, the color will have deepened, the skin will have tightened up a bit, and if you touch the skin, it will feel a little gummy. (And, frankly, kinda gross.) That's the salt drawing out the juices, making for a more succulent bird.

    8. Turn on your oven to 400 and put a rack near the top. The temperature at which you roast your chicken is not concrete. I find 400 to be the magic number: hot enough to give you crispy skin and cook the meat quickly not so hot that the skin burns or the oven gets smoky. Of course, this is all relative. If 400 degrees makes your chicken spit grease and your kitchen look like the scene from Black Sheep with Chris Farley backstage at the Rock The Vote concert, back it down to 375 and increase the cooking time by a few minutes.

    In the Oven

    Remove the chicken from the refrigerator about ½ hour before you&rsquore ready to roast. Recipes may recommend roasting on a rack, a vertical roaster, or directly in a shallow pan. Whichever you use, make certain there is adequate airflow all around the bird. For example, the sides of a Dutch oven are too high, blocking airflow and trapping steam, so choose a shallow, metal-handled skillet or roasting pan instead. If using a vertical roaster, put the bird on upside down so the juicy dark meat will &ldquobaste&rdquo the white meat keeping the breasts moist. If using a rack, start roasting breast side down for the first 30 minutes, for the same effect.

    The crispiest skin comes from a convection oven, then an electric oven, and lastly a gas oven. For gas ovens, we recommend roasting at a high temperature. Anywhere between 400 degrees F and 450 degrees F will lend the best results. Just be certain to use your exhaust fan.

    Crispy skin is the goal but don&rsquot overcook the meat in the process! Always check the internal temperature with an instant-read thermometer and pull the chicken out of the oven about 10 degrees before it hits the recommend early. Residual cooking will continue as the bird rests.