Simple Roast Chicken

Simple Roast Chicken

This is the easiest roast chicken recipe I have ever done, and all it really requires is salt.

I had always thought I needed to properly brine a chicken for hours before to ensure it would stay moist, and then coat the skin in butter or oil for maximum flavor such as my super high maintenance Whole Roasted Chicken recipe.  But sometimes the simplest is the best method!  After getting a perfectly golden brown chicken with crispy skin and juicy meat in just 1 hour, I don’t think I can go back to my old recipes.

Of course this recipe would be attributed to my favorite legendary chef Thomas Keller.  Most of the recipes I have done from his cookbooks involve 10 different types of spices, 3 different kinds of salts, and other fancy ingredients, but clearly he can keep it simple too.  As mentioned, all you really need is salt for this recipe, but you can add a few easy steps such as inserting lemon wedges and rosemary sprigs into the cavity to infuse more flavor.  I also decided to zest the lemon wedges first and sprinkle the zest on the skin of the chicken.

I served this chicken with a superfood Red Rice and Quinoa Salad with Pistchios and Craisins, and a leafy Roasted Vegetable Salad.

Super Meal: Roast Chicken, Red Rice & Quinoa Salad, Roasted Veggie Salad

Simple Roast Chicken (recipe by Thomas Keller)


  • 2-3 lb chicken
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tsp minced thyme (optional)
  • 1 lemon, zested and then cut into wedges (optional)


Preheat the oven to 450°F (175°C).

The key to getting that perfect crisp skin on a roasted bird is to ensure there is no steam.  You must remove any excess moisture as that can cause steam, which will actually dry out the chicken.  Ensure the chicken is brought to room temperature and then pat completely dry with paper towels (exterior and inside the cavity).

Sprinkle salt and pepper inside the cavity.  Optionally, you can insert a few lemon wedges and rosemary sprigs inside the cavity to infuse more flavor.  Next, truss the bird.  Click here for step by step photos.  My trussing job in the photo here was a bit lazy (shouldn’t really cross the twine over the breast as will leave an indent…) but basically as long as you keep the wings and legs close to the body, that should be good enough to ensure the bird roasts evenly and prevent it from drying out.

Next, season the outside of the chicken generously with salt so it has a nice uniform coating.  Season to taste with freshly ground black pepper.  Optionally, sprinkle a little bit of lemon zest on the skin.

Place the chicken in roasting pan and put in the preheated oven.  Roast for 50 to 60 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.  Optionally, baste the chicken every 20 minutes with the pan juices and thyme.

When done, remove the twine and let rest for 15 minutes before carving.

roast the chicken for about 1 hour

2 Responses to “Simple Roast Chicken”
Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] with olives, artichokes, and bell peppers, but we also love eating them alone as a side dish to a Simple Roast Chicken.  The grilled vegetables are also a great antipasto snack when served […]

  2. […] The original recipe is below, but I improvised a bit as I was missing a couple ingredients (sad I know… considering the recipe only requires a few ingredients).  For some other fast and simple chicken recipes, try Baked Chicken with Sun-Tomatoes and Artichokes, Turkish-Spiced Chicken Kebabs, or Simple Roast Chicken. […]

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