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What is the Best Roast Chicken Recipe ?

Note: This recipe was similar to the Balthazar instructions below. The bed of vegetables used was potatoes and leeks. With 5 minutes left fresh thyme and parsley was sprinkled over the chicken and vegetables.

Did you ever wonder why there are so many roast chicken recipes? It seems so many people including famous chefs have a 'favorite roast chicken recipe'. Roast chicken is easy to cook but is also very easy to experiment with and tweak someone else's recipe. It's actually a fun dish to cook and if you enjoy drinking wine with dinner this is one of those foods that seems to pair well with both red and white wine.

We take a look here at some of the best recipes for roast chicken found in both cookbooks and on the Web. The table below is for comparison to distinguish how chefs make the chicken, e.g., how much heat, how the chicken is prepared ahead of time, and whether they truss the chicken. For most recipes a link to the complete recipe is given in the Reference section below. Using the table allows the user to create their own recipe by taking various components from different chefs (See our own version below).

Roast Chicken Recipes

Comparing How the Best Chefs Roast a Chicken

Chef Prep Work For the Cooking After Cooking and Chefs Comments

Thomas Keller

My Favorite Simple Roast Chicken

Preheat oven to 450F

Remove the wishbone before cooking

Salt and pepper the cavity.

Truss the bird

Salt the chicken from high over chicken with 1 T salt.

Place chicken in sauté pan or roasting pan at 450F. Roast until done -- 40 -50 minutes.

Do not move the chicken during cooking. Thomas does not baste or add butter.

Chicken can be roasted on a bed of vegetables.

Add thyme, baste chicken with juices and let rest for 15 minutes.

Remove the twine. And, cut up chicken

Comments: "I like to take off the backbone and eat one of the oysters... I take the chicken butt for myself."

Optional-- Slather the chicken with butter, and serve with mustard on the side.

Brining- Chef Keller notes that they brine their chicken first in the restaurant version.

Daniel Humm -- Eleven Madison Park chef

Preheat oven to 350-400F

Prepare a mixture of butter, foie gras, truffles and ground brioche bread.

Stuff the softened mixture under the breast and leg skin. Put back in refrig for 1 hr. (see video below for methods).

Place chicken in preheated oven 350-400 and cook for 45 minutes or till done. Eleven Madison Park chef Daniel Humm prepares the best roasted chicken ever -- see video link below

Ina Gartner

Perfect Chicken Recipe


Preheat oven to 425F

Rinse chicken and pat dry. Remove excess fat. Salt and pepper inside of chicken.

Stuff cavity with thyme, lemon cut in half and 1 garlic head cut in half.

Brush outside with 2 T butter then salt and pepper

Tie legs together with twine, tuck under wings

Add thickly cut carrots, onion, fennel tossed with 20 thyme stems, and salt and pepper to bottom of pan. Place chicken on top

Roast chicken 1 1/2 hours till juices run clear.


Rest for 20 minutes covered with foil

Jamie Oliver

Roast chicken with lemon and rosemary and roast potatoes


Rub the chicken a few hours before cooking with salt and pepper and return to the refrigerator.

Preheat oven to 375F

Parboil coarsely cut peeled potatoes with a whole lemon and garlic cloves. Drain and reserve.

When ready to cook take out chicken, dry with paper towel and rub with olive oil

Take lemon and stab with holes. Add lemon garlic and thyme to chicken cavity.

Rest potatoes and rosemary on roasting tray, set chicken on top at cook 45 minutes or till done. Comments: Jamie like to put a parboiled lemon into the chicken cavity

Balthazar Cookbook

Riad Nasr
Lee Hanson

Preheat oven to 450F

Mash, thyme, rosemary parsley and softened butter into an even mixture and going through the neck, slide under the skin of both breasts

Stuff the cavity with chopped herbs and 1 garlic bulb split. Season cavity with salt and pepper.

Truss the chicken.


Heat olive oil until it starts to smoke in a saucepan and sear each side for 4 minutes (breast and leg) untouched turning only when bird is burnish brown. Then do top and bottom of chicken.

Add diced vegetables to roasting pan and sauté for 10 minutes to rendered chicken fat. Add olive oil if needed.

Spoon out excess fat set chicken on vegetables and cook for 40 minutes or until done basting occasionally (cook till temp= 155F). If chicken begins to burn cover with a foil tent.

Comments: Trussing is necessary to hold the chicken together for proper browning in this technique especially when first searing the chicken on the stove top.

Tom Colicchio

From Colicchio -- Think like a chef

Heat oven to 375F

Wash and dry thoroughly the chicken. Season inside and out liberally with salt and pepper. Place rosemary and thyme in cavity and then truss the chicken.


Heat oil in pan till very hot, place chicken on its side and brown for 7 minutes. Repeat with other side.

Place chicken breast-side up and transfer to oven. Roast for 20 minutes then add butter. Continue roasting for 30 more minutes occasionally basting.

Remove chicken.

Let rest out of oven covered loosely with aluminum foil for 10-15 minutes.
America's Test Kitchen

Brine chicken in solution of 1 cup kosher salt (or 1/2 cup table salt) and 1/2 cup sugar to 1/2 gallon water for 1 hour. Pat chicken dry. Cut out backbone and press down to butterfly chicken.

Prepare a compound butter containing mashed garlic, Dijon mustard, minced fresh thyme, salt and pepper.

Add butter mixture under skin of breasts. Brush chicken with olive oil.

Line a grilling pan with aluminum foil and add 1/4" sliced potatoes. Place a grilling rack over potatoes and place the chicken.

Place grilling rack over potatoes. Arrange butterflied chicken on top. Fold the drumsticks inward so they cover part of the breast. Roast at 500 degrees for 20 minutes, turn pan around, roast for another 20 minutes or until internal temperature in breast is 160.

See References below for more details

Zuni Cafe

Roasted Chicken

**Use a small bird

**Salt the chicken 1-3 days ahead of cooking--

Remove the lump fat inside the chicken. Rinse and thoroughly dry the chicken till it is very dry.

Using your fingers slide a small amount of fresh herbs under the skin of the breast, and the thickest part of the thighs. Salt both inside cavity and outside then cover loosely and refrigerate chicken for 1-3 days

Preheat oven to 475F.-- Note: This recipe uses high heat.

Preheat your pan over medium heat. Wipe the chicken dry and set it breast side up in the pan. As the chicken sizzles, place it into the hot oven and cook side down for 30 minutes, watching that it does not burn.

Remove the chicken and dry both the pan and chicken. Repeat the procedure on the uncooked side for 20 minutes. Then flip one more time to crisp the other side for 5 minutes.

Remove the chicken and rest it on a plate.

Use a small bird since it favors the high heat -- high ratio of skin to meat.

This recipe does not truss the chicken -- trussing prevents some of the skin to caramelize.

No additional fat is added in this recipe.

Note: Resting a chicken in the refrigerator for a day or two loosely covered results in a crisper skin.

Culinary Institute of America -- Culinary Boot Camp

Prepare an elevated rack or a bed of vegetables can be used to elevate the chicken

Preheat oven to 450F. Season inside and out with salt, pepper only inside.

Rub the skin with butter or oil if desired.

Insert an instant read thermometer into the chicken in the thick part where the thigh meets the breast.

Heat chicken at 450F for 20 minutes, then lower temperature to 325F.

When the internal temperature reads 140F add any vegetables to the pan beneath the rack.

Continue to roast until an internal temperature of 160F.

Remove chicken and rest.

Discard all but 3 T of fat from the roasting pan. Add tomato paste and flour and make a roux, whisk in herbs and some chicken stock till smooth. Simmer gravy till proper thickness and consistency. Strain the gravy through a fine sieve and season with salt and pepper.

Joel Robuchon

From: The Complete Robuchon

Remove chicken and butter 20 minutes ahead.

Season inside and out chicken.

Grease roasting pan with 2 T butter

Truss chicken and using a pastry brush coat chicken with butter

Place chicken on its side , thigh and wing down (not on back or breast)

Chop giblets and put around chicken not under it

Heat oven to 410 F and cook for 25 minutes. Then remove chicken and cook on its other side with other thigh and wing down.

Pour 3 T of water over the chicken and return for 25 minutes.

Remove the dish from oven again. Put chicken on its back and rotate a quarter turn. Put in oven for 10 more minutes. Turn chicken on its breast and cook 5 more minutes

Remove chicken prick to see done.

Season with fleur de sel and pepper. Tent loosely and let chicken rest for 20 minutes with legs propped up so juices from legs flow into breast.

Placing the chicken on its side (thigh and wing side down allows this part of chicken to cook faster -- this is the thickest portion of the chicken and needs more heat)

Alain Ducasse

THE CHEF; Ambition and the Bird

herb butter slipped under the skin --optional can also use mushrooms.


Truss chicken

Sear chicken in pan on stove with butter

Heat oven to 400F. Brown chicken pieces to be used as rack for chicken and flavor sauce.

Place chicken in oven breast side up and roast 20 minutes.

Place whole chicken on its side on top of chicken pieces, return to oven and roast 10 minutes. Turn chicken and roast 10 minutes. Turn chicken breast-side up and roast about 15 minutes longer, until done and juices are no longer pink.

When the chicken is done set it on its end with the legs in the air so the fat from the dark meat will seep into the breast and keep it juicy.

Tips before Cooking a Roast Chicken.

Here are a few tips that chefs agree on.

1) Use a small chicken -- around 3 pounds.

2) Bring the chicken as close to room temperature as possible before cooking it. This can take 30-40 minutes. This will allow the chicken to cook more evenly.

3) Truss the chicken or at least tie the legs together with twine. Trussing the chicken tightens or pack it together and protects the breast from drying out. Note: If you don't know how to truss a chicken take a look at these videos on How to Truss a Chicken.

4) After cooking tent the chicken with foil, but prop the chicken with legs up so the juices from the legs will flow into the breast. Rest the chicken for at least 15 minutes. We find this to make a major difference in the quality of the final product. The chicken continues to cook, and propping the chicken with legs up enhances the moistness of the breast meat.

5) Try brining if time permits--- a simple brine does make for a nicer chicken.. A dry brine can be done simply by adding salt, returning to the refrigerator for a day and then dry off the chicken. For a wet brine see reference below.

To Truss or Not to Truss

What are the Advantages of Trussing a Chicken?

Trussing keeps poultry in shape
Bird can be stuffed and better perfumed from stuffing
Bird is easier to pre-sear on top of stove
The chicken will have a juicier breast
Trussing allows for a nice presentation

What are the Disadvantages in Trussing a Chicken?

A trussed bird will take more time to roast, and the skin will not crisp evenly.
The skin folded up between the legs and the body won’t brown at all
Trussing adds extra work if you have never tried it before


Our Version Roast Chicken

--We choose the Balthazar Chicken as a starting point, but:

1) Brine the chicken (for roasting with high heat and a 3-4 pound chicken use 1 gallon of water 1cup Diamond Kosher Salt, 8 T sugar) see brining table here.

see below in reference.

2) Smash 3 cloves of garlic in skin instead of using split garlic bulb in cavity. If using lemon, poke with a fork and microwave for 30 seconds before putting in cavity.

3) Take out wishbone (Note see video by Thomas Keller below)

4) After searing all four sides of chicken reserve 1 T of liquid to sauté selected root vegetables -- roast vegetables in separate to prevent extra fat dripping on vegetables.

5) Roast the chicken in the oven in a V-tray instead of on bed of vegetables allowing for more even roasting of chicken.

6) 5-10 minutes before cooking is finished rub chicken with 1 T of butter and sprinkle with thyme leaves. Return to oven for 7 minutes at 500F.

7) Remove from oven, tent chicken with legs pointing up so juices run into breast.



Americas test kitchen recipe from Chowhound site -- America's Test Kitchen roast chicken - the best! (long)
Zunni Roast Chicken -- Zuni Roast Chicken with Bread Salad From Judy Rodgers, "Zuni Cafe Cookbook"
Jamie Oliver -- roast chicken with lemon and rosemary roast potatoes
Balthazar Chicken Recipe --From Straight no Chaser
My Favorite Simple Roast Chicken -- VIDEO HERE -- Thomas Keller
THE CHEF; Ambition and the Bird --Alain Ducasse
How does Brining work?
How to Truss a Chicken
Time-temperature Tables for Cooking Ready to Eat Poultry
How to Remove the Wishbone (video)
Eleven Madison Park chef Daniel Humm prepares the best roasted chicken ever (video)

Science of Cooking

Science Behind Food and Cooking in the Kitchen

Culinary News

Culinary Schools


U.S. Culinary Schools

Farmers Markets around the World



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