Simple Roast Chicken

For something that’s considered to be an easy, bung in the oven recipe, roast chicken is notoriously easy to get wrong. It’s always a battle to achieve perfectly crispy skin and delicately tender meat. All too often it’s one or the other. I’ve gradually learnt that perfecting ones roast chicken has more to do with understanding the quirks of ones oven than anything else. That aside, there are a few little tips I’ve picked up for a good roast chicken

  1. Always buy the best quality bird you can afford.
  2. Always make sure your chicken is at room temperature before you start cooking.
  3. Lather the chicken with oil or butter, and season generously.
  4. Try very hard not to over-cook your bird. A thermometer is useful.
  5. Don’t under-estimate the importance of letting the chicken rest after cooking.
    Any other tips are most welcome!


Ingredients (serves 4)

1 x Whole free range chicken
1 x lemon, halved
a bunch of thyme
1 X garlic head, halved
Olive oil
Salt and Pepper


Remove the chicken from the fridge an hour before cooking to allow it to come to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 190°C.

Place the chicken in a large roasting tray. Put the lemon and garlic into the cavity, followed by the bunch of thyme. Drizzle the chicken all over with olive oil, rubbing it into the skin and making sure it reaches all the corners. Season generously with salt and pepper.

You will need to cook the chicken for 20 minutes per pound, and an extra 15 minutes for luck. If at any point during cooking it looks like the skin is getting a little too burnt, cover the chicken loosely with tin foil and continue cooking.

The chicken is ready when the juices run clear between the leg and the body. Lately I’ve taken to using a thermometer, just to be sure. It should be over 72°C.

Cover the chicken with foil and leave to rest for at least 20 minutes before serving. Reserve the drippings for gravy.