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Roast Chicken on a white platter, surrounded by carrot, celery and onion. A sprig of rosemary and white jug of gravy are in the background.

Perfect Roast Chicken

The Perfect Roast Chicken - our easy to prepare recipe with a clever dry brine - is an absolute revelation! It is the ideal roast chicken with tender, juicy flesh and flavoursome, crispy skin.
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine International
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Brine Time 1 day
Total Time 1 day 1 hour 25 minutes
Servings 4 people
Calories 503kcal
Author Alexandra


  • 1.5 kg (3.3 lb) whole chicken See Notes 1 and 2
  • 1 tablespoon coarse kitchen salt See Notes 3 and 4
  • 1 teaspoon dried mixed herbs See Note 5
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 medium onions (peeled and cut into quarters)
  • 2 large carrots (washed, peeled and cut into large chunks)
  • 2 sticks of celery (washed and cut into 7cm/2 ¾ inch lengths) See Note 6
  • 2 ½ tablespoon olive oil, divided


For the Dry Brine (The Day Before Roasting):

  • One day before serving, I pat the chicken dry, inside and out, using paper towels. Remove any excess fat from the chicken’s cavity.
  • Combine the salt, herbs and black pepper. Sprinkle evenly all over the chicken and inside the cavity and rub the mixture into the skin.
  • Place the chicken on a rack which sits in a baking pan and place, uncovered, in the fridge overnight. See Note 7

Roasting the Chicken:

  • Remove the chicken from the fridge about one hour before roasting to bring it to room temperature. If it is a hot day, remove it about a half hour before cooking.
    Meanwhile, line a roasting pan with non-stick baking paper. See Note 8
  • Preheat your oven to 230C (450 F).
  • Place two of the onion quarters inside the cavity of the chicken. Pat the chicken dry. Do not rub the salt off.
  • For more even cooking, truss the chicken using your method of choice. I use a simple method. I tuck the wings behind the back of the chicken. Then, cross the legs and secure them firmly with kitchen twine.
  • Place the remaining vegetables in the roasting pan and toss with 1 ½ tablespoons of olive oil. The vegetables form a trivet on which to place the chicken.
  • Brush the chicken all over with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and place, breast-side up, on the bed of vegetables.
  • Put the chicken in the oven and reduce heat immediately to 200 C/400 F.
    Roast for about 1 hour 10 minutes. The cooking time will depend on the size of the chicken and varying temperatures of ovens.
    To check that the chicken is done, insert a sharp knife between the thigh and the chicken body. When cooked, the juices should run clear. Alternatively, use an instant-read thermometer. It should register at 75C (165 F) when inserted into the thickest part of the thigh, but not touching the bone.
  • Once cooked, remove the chicken from the oven, transfer to a warm plate and cover loosely with foil. Let rest for 15 minutes before carving.
  • Serve with the vegetables in the pan. If you wish, use the juices from the pan to make gravy.



  1. Food safety experts advise that we should not wash chicken. Splashes from the water can spread campylobacter bacteria, increasing the risk of food poisoning. The heat of the oven will kill any bacteria which may be on the chicken.
  2. If you have a large chicken you may wish to increase your herb and spice mix a little. Please also note, the size of the chicken will vary the cooking time.
  3. Use coarse kitchen salt. Fine table salt is not suitable as it will be too concentrated.
  4. The Australian tablespoon is 20ml or 4 teaspoons. In many other countries, the tablespoon is 15ml or 3 teaspoons. You may have to adjust your measurement accordingly.
  5. I used a combination of sage, thyme and marjoram but you could use herbs of your choice.
  6. For large pieces, cut the celery in half lengthways.
  7. Ideally, the chicken should sit, uncovered, in the refrigerator overnight. This will dry out the moisture in the skin and this means that when cooked the skin will be crispier. However, if you can only leave it for one hour you will notice an improvement in the flavour and texture.
  8. I line the tray with baking paper to make cleaning up easier. If you are going to make gravy from the pan juices you may prefer to not use baking paper.
  9. The nutritional information is calculated as the chicken being quartered, and one quarter considered as one serving.


Calories: 503kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 35g | Fat: 36g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 135mg | Sodium: 1899mg | Potassium: 536mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 4g | Calcium: 52mg | Iron: 2mg