September 11, 2014

Perfect Roast Chicken

Anyone who follows me on Instagram or Facebook might know about my obsession with Thomas Keller and finding the perfect roast chicken recipe. When I discovered Keller’s super easy recipe a few years ago, my heart melted. Three ingredients will, every time, without fail, make the best roast chicken you will ever eat. Don’t mistake my love for simplicity as a renunciation for other, more difficult, methods of chicken roasting. There is something god-like about a chicken slathered in butter, stuffed with aromatics with fresh sage or thyme delicately pressed underneath the skin for added flavor. But if you can create the best roast chicken ever with just three ingredients, would you at least try it? Would you make it at least one night a week and then use the leftover carcass for chicken stock the next day? Yes. You would. And you will.   

I made two of these simple birds last night and coupled them with asparagus, whipped butternut squash, and pan gravy. Paired with a bottle of warm and spicy Côtes du Rhône wine, it was a flawless introduction to fall flavors.

Let me make something very clear. You will be tempted to stuff this chicken with “stuff”, but you will resist the urge. You will be tempted to add “just a little butter” on the skin or “just a few vegetables” to the bottom of the roasting rack. You will resist the urge. What makes this chicken so crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside is the extreme heat from the oven and zero moisture in the air. Vegetables and butter, well, they have moisture, which is your enemy for this particular recipe. Don’t let the moisture monsters tempt you with their vapor-y ways. 

Perfect Roast Chicken (inspired by Thomas Keller)
Prep time: 10 minutes
Time in Kitchen: 70 minutes

Tools required: 
Roasting pan with roasting rack
Kitchen twine

Organic young chicken brought to room temperature
2 TB Kosher salt
½ TB freshly ground black pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees 
  2. With paper towels, dry the chicken completely, inside and out. For this recipe to work, the chicken has to be completely dry, including the cavity!
  3. Sprinkle salt and pepper in the chicken’s cavity
  4. Truss the chicken with  kitchen twine (click here for a tutorial)
  5. Slather the chicken with copious amounts of salt and pepper
  6. Place the trussed and seasoned chicken breast-side up on the roasting pan
  7. Do not, I repeat, do not put anything else in the oven while the bird cooks. 
  8. Put chicken in oven and roast for 50-60 minutes, until the thermometer registers 165 degrees. Open at your own risk. 
  9. Once the chicken is cooked, remove from roasting pan and allow the chicken to rest for 15 minutes before slicing. This is the perfect time to throw those sides in the oven to roast, and make a nice pan sauce!



  1. A true fav and standard! It's strange as the salted crisping skin puffs up creating like a broil-in-bag effect. You can see the juices bubbling underneath when it's done, so be sure to not puncture that breast skin! I know what I'm having this weekend. I often have some extra chicken necks which I toss in the roasting pan for the whole process. That pan sauce of just pure unadulterated chicken reduction? BooM goes the palate dynamite! The end result is enough perfectly cooked tender juicy chicken for several other recipes ..chicken salad ..chicken and slicks ..chicken and chicken ...well there are some bits which barely survive that first 15 minute rest ;-)

  2. When are you going to cook for me?

  3. I need to try this. I love that crispy skin! I've only roasted one chicken, and that was under close supervision by my mom. It scares me... totally irrational, I know.

  4. Looks pretty darn perfect! I am one of those people that stuff the inside with herbs, lemon and onions. Okay.. I will resist the urge and try it like this. :)


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