How to make the ultimate roast chicken? Top-rated recipes from our food writers

From rotisserie style to stuffed with garlic, our most popular roast chicken recipes have one thing in common: they all taste delicious
How to make the ultimate roast chicken? Top-rated recipes from our food writers

The best roast chicken recipe is right here.

Marcella Hazan's roast chicken with lemons

recipe by:Darina Allen

Simpe roast chicken - that is all that there is to this recipe. No fat to cook with, no basting to do, no stuffing to prepare, no condiments except for salt and pepper

Marcella Hazan's roast chicken with lemons

Servings

4

Preparation Time

30 mins

Cooking Time

2 hours 0 mins

Total Time

2 hours 30 mins

Course

Main

Cuisine

Italian

Ingredients

  • 1.35-1.8kg free range organic chicken

  • sea salt

  • freshly ground black pepper

  • 2 small lemons

  • trussing needle and string

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.

  2. Rub the salt and freshly ground black pepper with your fingers over all the chicken and into the cavity.

  3. Wash the lemons well and dry them with a tea towel, roll on the counter and prick each of the lemons in at least 20 places with a cocktail stick or skewer. Put both lemons in the cavity.

  4. Close up the opening with cocktail sticks or with a trussing needle and string. Don’t make it absolutely airtight or the chicken may burst.

  5. Put the chicken into a roasting pan, breast side down. Do not add cooking fat of any kind. This bird is self-basting, so don’t worry it won’t stick to the pan.

  6. Place it in the upper third of the preheated oven. After 30 minutes, turn the chicken breast side up. Be careful not to puncture the skin.

  7. Cook for another 30-35 minutes then increase the heat to 200°C, and cook for a further additional 20 minutes. Calculate between 20-25 minutes total cooking time for each 500g.

  8. There is no need to turn the chicken again.

  9. Bring the chicken to the table whole and leave the lemons inside until it is carved. The juices that run out are perfectly delicious, so be sure to spoon them over the chicken slices. The lemons will have shrivelled up but they still contain some juice; do not squeeze, they may squirt. Serve immediately.
    This recipe is from Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan.

Rotisserie style roast chicken

recipe by:Currabinny Cooks

This juicy and easy recipe replicates closely the flavours and textures in a roast chicken with a hint of paprika and fresh herbs

Rotisserie style roast chicken

Servings

4

Preparation Time

20 mins

Cooking Time

2 hours 0 mins

Total Time

2 hours 20 mins

Course

Main

Ingredients

  • 1 chicken (1.7-2kg)

  • ½ lemon

  • 4 garlic cloves, bashed

  • olive oil

  • 2 tsp paprika

  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper

  • sea salt

  • black pepper

  • ½ tsp dried thyme

  • ½ tsp dried parsley

  • 60g butter

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 160°C.

  2. Place the lemon half and one of the cloves inside the cavity of your organic chicken. Tie the legs together with some cooking string if they are not already tied together by the butcher. Place in a medium to large roasting tin.

  3. In a small bowl, mix together the spices, salt and butter and smother the seasoned butter all over the chicken and inside the skin. Sprinkle over the dried herbs and place whatever vegetables you are using like potatoes and carrots, along with the rest of the garlic cloves around the chicken and drizzle with olive oil, seasoning generously.

  4. Place in the oven for 2-2½ hours. While the chicken is cooking, baste it a couple of times with the pan juices. Serve immediately with the lovely veg and pan juices poured all over.

Traditional roast stuffed chicken with gravy

recipe by:Darina Allen

Indulge in a classic Sunday roast chicken with stock, stuffing and gravy, complete with fresh herbs for enhanced flavour

Traditional roast stuffed chicken with gravy

Servings

6

Preparation Time

30 mins

Cooking Time

1 hours 20 mins

Total Time

1 hours 50 mins

Course

Main

Ingredients

  • 1.5-2.3kg chicken

  • For the giblet stock:

  •  giblets (keep the liver for a chicken liver pate), and wishbone

  • 1 carrot, thickly sliced

  • 1 onion, thickly sliced

  • 1 stick celery, sliced

  • a few parsley stalks and a sprig of thyme

  • For the stuffing:

  • 45g butter

  • 75g onion, chopped

  • 75-100g soft white breadcrumbs

  • 2 tbsp fresh herbs, finely chopped (parsley, thyme, chives and annual marjoram)

  • salt

  • freshly ground pepper

  • a little soft butter

  • For the gravy:

  • 600-900ml stock from giblets or chicken stock

  • To garnish:

  • sprigs of flat parsley

Method

  1. You may wish to make a basic brine to nehance the flavour of the chicken. Mix together 5 cups water and 105g salt in a suitable size container with a cover (stainless steel, plastic or enamel are ideal). A little sugar may be added to the brine, even a few spices. Add the bird or joint, cover and chill in a refrigerator or keep in a cool place and brine for chosen time. Drain well and dry before cooking.

  2. First remove the wishbone from the neck end of the chicken, this is easily done by lifting back the loose neck, skin and cutting around the wishbone with a small knife – tug to remove, this isn't at all essential but it does make carving much easier later on. Tuck the wing tips underneath the chicken to make a neat shape. Put the wishbone, giblets, carrot, onions, celery and herbs into a saucepan. Cover with cold water, bring to the boil, skin and simmer gently while the chicken is roasting. This is the basis of the gravy.

  3. Next make the stuffing, sweat the onions gently in the butter in a covered saucepan until soft, 10 minutes approx. then stir in the white bread crumbs, the freshly chopped herbs, a little salt and pepper to taste. Allow it to get quite cold unless you are going to cook the chicken immediately. If necessary wash and dry the cavity of the bird, then season and half fill with stuffing. Season the breast and legs, smear with a little soft butter.

  4. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Weigh the chicken and allow about 20 minutes to the 454g and 20 minutes over — put on middle shelf in oven. (One hour and twenty minutes for a 1.5kg chicken.) Baste a couple of times during the cooking with the buttery juices. The chicken is done when the juices are running clear.

  5. To test prick the thickest part at the base of the thigh, hold a spoon underneath to collect the liquid, examine the juices - they should be clear.

  6. Remove the chicken to a carving dish, keep it warm and allow to rest while you make the gravy.

  7. To make the gravy , tilt the roasting tin to one corner and spoon off the surplus fat from the juices and return the roasting pan to the stove. De-glaze the pan juices with the fat free stock from the giblets and bones (you will need 1-1 1/2 pints depending on the size of the chicken). Using a whisk, stir and scrape well to dissolve the caramelised meat juices in the roasting pan. Boil it up well, season and thicken with a little roux if you like (the gravy should not be thick). Taste and correct seasoning, serve in a hot gravy boat.

  8. If possible serve the chicken on a nice carving dish surrounded by crispy roast potatoes and some sprigs of flat parsley then arm yourself with a sharp knife and bring it to the table. Carve as best you can and ignore rude remarks if you are still practicing but do try to organise it so that each person gets some brown and some white meat. Serve with gravy and bread sauce.

  9. Use the cooked carcass for stock.

Tom Clancy’s roast Ballycotton chicken with herb and woodside bacon stuffing

With a irresistible tender texture and variety of herbs for enhanced flavour, this chicken with smooth, homemade gravy and bacon stuffing is the ideal Sunday roast

Tom Clancy’s roast Ballycotton chicken with herb and woodside bacon stuffing

Servings

6

Preparation Time

15 mins

Cooking Time

1 hours 20 mins

Total Time

1 hours 35 mins

Course

Main

Ingredients

  • 4½-5 lbs (1.5 – 2.3kg) chicken

  • For the giblet stock:

  • giblets 

  • 1 carrot, thickly sliced  

  • 1 onion, thickly sliced

  • 1 stick celery, sliced 

  • a few parsley stalks

  • 1 sprig of thyme

  • For the stuffing:

  • 110g Woodside Farm streaky bacon, cubed

  • 45g butter

  • 75g onion, chopped 

  • 75-95g soft white breadcrumbs

  • 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh herbs (parsley, thyme, chives and annual marjoram)

  • salt

  • freshly ground pepper 

  • a little soft butter

  • For the gravy:

  • 600-900ml stock from giblets or chicken stock

  • sprigs of flat parsley, to garnish 

Method

  1. First remove the wishbone from the neck end of the chicken. This is easily done by lifting back the loose neck and skin and cutting around the wishbone with a small knife – tug to remove, this isn’t at all essential but it does make carving much easier later on. Tuck the wing tips underneath the chicken to make a neat shape. Put the wish bone, giblets, carrot, onions, celery and herbs into a saucepan. Cover with cold water, bring to the boil, skin and simmer gently while the chicken is roasting. This is the basis of the gravy.

  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil or sunflower oil in a frying pan, add the lardons of bacon, and cook until crisp and golden.

  3. Next make the stuffing. Sweat the onions gently in the butter in a covered saucepan until soft, 10 minutes approx. Then stir in the white bread crumbs, the freshly chopped herbs and a little salt and pepper to taste. Allow it to get quite cold unless you are going to cook the chicken immediately. If necessary wash and dry the cavity of the bird, then season and half fill with stuffing. Season the breast and legs and smear with a little soft butter.

  4. Preheat the oven to 180°C.

  5. Weigh the chicken and allow about 20 minutes to the pound and 20 minutes over – put on middle shelf in oven. Baste a couple of times during the cooking with the buttery juices. The chicken is done when the juices are running clear. To test prick the thickest part at the base of the thigh, hold a spoon underneath to collect the liquid, examine the juices – they should be clear.

  6. Remove the chicken to a carving dish, keep it warm and allow to rest while you make the gravy.

  7. To make the gravy, tilt the roasting tin to one corner and spoon off the surplus fat from the juices and return the roasting pan to the stove. De-glaze the pan juices with the fat free stock from the giblets and bones (you will need 1½ pints depending on the size of the chicken).

  8. Using a whisk, stir and scrape well to dissolve the caramelized meat juices in the roasting pan. Boil it up well, season and thicken with a little roux if you like (the gravy should not be thick). Taste and correct seasoning, serve in a hot gravy boat. If possible serve the chicken on a nice carving dish surrounded by crispy roast potatoes and some sprigs of flat parsley. Then arm yourself with a sharp knife and bring it to the table. Carve as best you can and try to organise it so that each person gets some brown and some white meat. Serve with gravy and bread sauce. Use the cooked carcass for stock.

Roast chicken with onion sauce and couscous stuffing

recipe by:Darina Allen

Couscous is a fantastic alternative to breadcrumbs in stuffing and the ingredients in this one make a headily spiced roast

Roast chicken with onion sauce and couscous stuffing

Servings

6

Preparation Time

30 mins

Cooking Time

2 hours 0 mins

Total Time

2 hours 30 mins

Course

Main

Cuisine

Middle Eastern

Ingredients

  • 1 large chicken

  • Juice of ½ a lemon

  • 1½ tbsp olive oil

  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

  • 1kg  onions, sliced

  • 4 tbsp sunflower oil

  • Pinch of saffron (powder or pistils)

  • ¼ tsp ginger

  • 1 tsp cinnamon

  • 1 tbsp honey

  • 250g  packet couscous

  • 400ml  chicken stock (you can use 1 stock cube)

  • ½ tsp cinnamon

  • 4 tbsp sunflower oil

  • 100g  blanched almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped

  • 50g  pistachios, coarsely chopped

  • 50g  pine nuts, toasted

  • 50g  raisins soaked in water for 30 minutes

Method

  1. In a wide baking dish rub the chicken with a mixture of olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Put it breast-side down so that the fat runs down and prevents the breasts from drying out, and pour into the dish about a small teacup of water.

  2. Cook in an oven pre-heated to 200°C/gas mark 6 for 40 minutes per kilo. Turn the chicken breast-side up after about 50 minutes. Test to see that it is ready by cutting into a thigh with a pointed knife. The juices should run clear, not pink.

  3. While the chicken is cooking, make the onion sauce.Put the onions in a wide pan with four tablespoons of sunflower oil, and cook, covered, over very low heat for 30-45 minutes until they are very soft, adding salt and pepper, and stirring occasionally. They will stew in their own juice. Remove the lid and stir occasionally until the onions are melting soft and golden. Add cinnamon, saffron, ginger and honey and cook for a few minutes. In all, it should take about one hour.

  4. Put the couscous in a bowl. Warm the stock, adding a little salt (take into account the saltiness of the stock) and the cinnamon. Pour 300ml  of the stock — the same measured volume as the couscous — over the couscous, mix very well and leave for 20 minutes until the couscous has absorbed the stock. Then stir in the oil and break up any lumps with a fork. Rub the grain between your hands, to air it and make it light and fluffy.

  5. Stir in the chopped almonds and pistachios (you can chop them in the food processor), the pine nuts and raisins, and mix well. Cover the dish with foil. All you will need is to heat it through for 20 minutes in a 200ºC/gas mark 6 oven before serving.

  6. Pour the remaining stock on top. Cut the chicken into six serving pieces, remove the carcass, arrange them in a wide serving dish and pour the onion sauce on top and let it mix with the gravy.

  7. Heat through at the same time as the couscous stuffing. Serve the two separately, or the chicken and sauce on top of the couscous stuffing.

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