5 Tips for Juicy Roast Chicken

by heidi on May 15, 2012

Post image for 5 Tips for Juicy Roast Chicken

Why would a little old bird seem so intimidating to me? Maybe because the little clucker has inspired more failed recipe attempts for me than any other recipe I’ve tried to master.

Am I alone here?

Roast chicken is supposed to be easy. It’s not like you need new technology or fancy schmancy ingredients. It’s one of the basics and cooks have been roasting birds for, like, forever.

So what was my problem?

I attempted various recipes, most of which turned out a bird that was undercooked with juices that were far from running clear and which on the next go ’round resulted in my overcompensation and a dry, sinewy meat that nobody in the family enjoyed.

My roast chicken attempts were actually becoming a family joke that I found no humor in.

I finally concocted a recipe scheme from multiple recipes but primarily inspried on this one. I was so thrilled with my long awaited success that I made this recipe 2 nights in a row to be sure it wasn’t a fluke.

I’ve discovered a few tips along the way that create a juicy, tender and superbly flavored chicken that’s good enough to serve for Sunday supper or easy enough for a quick weeknight dinner.

Foodie Crush Spring Roast Chicken

1. Play with your veggies. By creating a natural roasting surface on the bottom of the roasting pan, layered veggies not only keeps the skin on the bottom of the bird from becoming a sloppy, soggy mess but imparts flavor throughout the bird and an amazing base for pan drippings. Use a variety of seasonal veggies to gear the taste to different flavors throughout the year.

2. Season generously. Most rotisserie chickens(my default is most always Costco) taste good because the basic chicken meat has been pumped with salt or other brining devices. I’m not a big fan of the Arnold Schwarzenegger “Pump You Up” method, but I do believe in generously seasoning the bird inside and out with a hearty dose of kosher salt and cracked black pepper.

If table salt is all you have on hand use a little less since processed salt has more iodine and will result in a slightly bitter or metallic flavor. And don’t think you have to limit yourself to the seasoning basics. Think about trying Smoked Paprika, Truffle salt, coriander, garam masala, cumin or other flavorful variations to give your clucker a unique flavor.

Foodie Crush Spring Roast Chicken

3. Add fat. Slather the bird with a butter blend or olive oil, both work equally well here and will turn your bird into a bronzed Brazilian bombshell from the beaches Rio de Janeiro with a crackin’ crispy crust.

4. Get under its skin. Gently work your fingers between the skin and the meat of the breasts and legs, separating the two from one another and work in another layer of flavor with additional butter or oil. Add other flavor enhancers such as lemon slices, herbs, garlic or onions whose flavor will saturate the meat as the chicken cooks.

5. Add another flavor layer and stuff it. I’m not talking Stove Top or even anything reminiscent of a traditional Thanksgiving turkey. Simply stuff the cavity with lemon halves, onion, garlic and a big bunch of thyme or other favorite herb to deliver a lovely flavor from within that permeates every juicy bite of the chicken meat.

5 Tips for Juicy Roast Chicken

5 Tips for Juicy Roast Chicken


1 4-5 pound chicken, at room temperature giblets and neck removed from cavity
4 carrots
6 Mexican spring green onions
1 head of garlic, cut in half
3 lemons, 2 cut in half and remaining half sliced into thin slices
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1 bunch fresh thyme sprigs
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
½ cup white wine
½ cup chicken stock or broth


  1. Preheat the oven to 425° and position a rack in the lower third of the oven. Mix the butter with lemon zest, salt and pepper.
  2. Pat the chicken dry and rub half of the butter and lemon zest mixture under the skin and the rest over the chicken. Work 4-6 lemon slices under chicken skin and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Generously season cavity of chicken with salt and pepper and stuff with lemon half, ½ head of garlic, 3 onions and thyme sprigs. Truss legs with cooking twine and tuck wings under bird .
  4. Arrange remaining vegetables on bottom of roasting pan and set the chicken breast-side-up on top of vegetables in roasting pan. Add ½ cup of white wine. Roast for 30 minutes or until the breast is firm and just beginning to brown in spots. Using tongs, turn the chicken breast-down, baste with juices and roast for 20 minutes longer, until the skin is lightly browned.
  5. Using tongs, turn the chicken breast-side-up and baste again. Add a ½ cup of water. Roast for about 20 minutes longer, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the inner thigh registers 155° to 160° and juices are running clear.
  6. Transfer the bird to a cutting board and tent with foil. Remove vegetables from roasting pan. Set the pan over high heat. Add the stock and cook, scraping up any browned bits. Press the lemon to release the juices. Carve the chicken and serve with lemon jus and roasted vegetables.
I’ve been receiving some great new recipes for the summer issue of Foodie Crush and can’t wait to see what you fab food bloggers are stirring up. Do you have a frozen sweet treat recipe from one of your  favorite food bloggers that you think should be shared? Let me know!

There’s just 2 weeks left to submit your frozen treat recipe from you or your favorite food blogger. Thanks for all the amazing work you do.

Related Recipes
Chinese Chicken Salad with Sesame Dressing
5 Updated Chicken Salad Sandwiches
Vinegar Braised Chicken
Blackened Chicken Buffalo Drumsticks
Matzo Ball Soup with Chicken Meatballs

Thanks for reading and please keep in touch.  Subscribe to Foodie Crush and follow me on TwitterFacebook and Pinterest and check out Foodie Crush magazine and Cookie Cravings


Posted in: chicken and turkey,entrees,recipes

{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Kathryn May 15, 2012 at 2:41 am

A perfectly roasted chicken is probably my absolute favourite meal albeit one that I very rarely cook for myself – thanks for some useful tips, your chicken looks wonderfully juicy and flavourful.


Ali @ Gimme Some Oven May 15, 2012 at 6:04 am

Wonderful tips! There is nothing better than delicious, golden, flavorful roast chicken!

(And that’s one of my favorite wines in the background — yay, Cupcake!)


simonaskitchen May 15, 2012 at 7:45 am

Chicken, turkey and also some kind of fishes aren’t easy to cook, at all! Expecially if you desire to have a tender result instead of a stringy meat! (is stringy a good translation?)
Yours in the picts, makes me remember my Grandmo’s Sunday Supper Chicken, tasy, roast and tender!


Bev @ Bev Cooks May 15, 2012 at 8:32 am

Is it wrong to be turned on by that bird?


Jennifer May 15, 2012 at 8:38 am

Thanks for the helpful tips! My chickens are always hit or miss. It’d be nice to know I’d have a consistent hit!


Mimi May 15, 2012 at 8:40 am

I still maintain the best roasted chicken is one cooked on a vertical roaster. I have been cooking them this way (after seasoning) for years and nothing beats the crispy skin and moist meat. I graduated to a ceramic roaster from the flimsy metal one and cook at 350 for 15minutes/pound plus 15 minutes for the chef. I am a skin fan and am not a fan of the soft skin that is on the back of a bird that is roasted horizontally. Man, now I’m craving roasted chicken!


Barbara @ Barbara Bakes May 15, 2012 at 11:47 am

What a gorgeous meal. I need to give it a try.


Cassie May 15, 2012 at 12:07 pm

These are great tips! Roasted chicken is a favorite because I love to use it in so many different recipes. This looks wonderful!


kelley May 15, 2012 at 2:29 pm

Great tips. I’d have to agree with all of them! You can’t season enough and don’t be afraid of some fat! This is my go to meal. I roast a chicken a few times a month. It’s great for leftovers and I love all those veggies that cook in the salty fatty drippings.


Barbara M. Hanlon May 16, 2012 at 7:13 am

This looks very healthy and delicious! And it really fascinated. I want to try one of these at home.


Deborah May 16, 2012 at 1:32 pm

I just ate lunch, but this seriously has my mouth watering!!


RecipeNewZ May 16, 2012 at 1:46 pm

I just saw this recipe on Pinterest and followed the link. Your chicken looks so juicy and perfect with that beautiful golden crust! Love this recipe!

I would like to invite you to share this post (and other posts :-) ) on a new photo based recipe sharing site that launched only last week. The idea is simple: all recipe photographs are published within minutes of submission. And, of course, the images link back to the author’s site.

It’s called RecipeNewZ (with Z) – http://recipenewz.com

I hope you get a chance to visit and to share some of your delicious posts with our viewers. It would be a pleasure to have you on board :-)


Rocky Mountain Woman May 16, 2012 at 3:31 pm

Roast chicken is my go to answer when nothing else sounds good for dinner.

Thanks for the tips! Gorgeous birds!!!


John P. Manning May 20, 2012 at 10:47 pm

The both of us really enjoyed your article. It appears like you’ve put a lot of effort into your article. Thanks for sharing.


Julia May 25, 2012 at 10:04 am

I spy with my little eye, a bottle of ‘Cupcake’ wine. This may mean I drink too much of it ;) Also, I love that you used ‘fancy schmacy.’ I over use that word in my daily vocabulary. And last, this looks terrific, and is reminding me to get off my bum and make a roast chicken!


Lynn at Order in the Kitchen May 28, 2012 at 4:57 pm

roasted my first whole chicken tonight using this step by step plan and it was SUPERB!!! Thank you so much… I altered it a wee bit, but really didn’t change much because it was amazing…loved putting lemon slices under the skin, that was such a great touch… and I felt really silly massaging the bird but it was fun haha


Ana December 11, 2012 at 5:44 am

At last, a roasted chicken I can be proud of! I was amazed at how tender and flavorful this was, and my parents loved it too! Thanks for posting :)


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