March 3, 2021

Classic Roast Chicken

Perfectly browned roast chicken in a baking dish

Classic Roast Chicken

There is something almost romantic about a roast chicken, the aromas that will fill up your home are as delicious as the meal itself. It's an interesting dish because it seems fancy, but it's simple to make, and the possibilities with leftovers are endless. Roast chicken is also a delicious alternative to chicken nuggets, and a dish the whole family can enjoy. I learned this easy version in the south of France, and it is easy enough for anyone to cook.

  • Author: Caterina De Falco
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45-50 minutes
  • Total Time: 52 minute



1 whole chicken

1 lemon

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

1 bunch of fresh thyme

5 tablespoons finely minced fresh herbs, preferably a mix of chervil, tarragon, chives, and parsley. Any combination will do.

Celtic salt and fresh ground black pepper


1. Preheat the oven to 425°

2. Some chickens will have gizzards on the inside, remove these and discard them.  Sprinkle sea salt or celtic salt and fresh ground pepper in the chicken cavity.  Poke the lemon with a knife several times.  This will allow the juice to flow out and season the chicken. Place the lemon and several sprigs of thyme in the chicken.  

3. Finely chop the herbs.  Add them to a bowl with 4 tbsp of softened butter, sea salt, and pepper. Mash with a fork and blend.

4. Lift the skin on the chicken breast side of the chicken and place the herbed butter mixture under the skin, pressing it to move it evenly around.  ( If you aren't sure what side in the breast side- guess - it will be fine! ) 

5. Spread the remaining tablespoon of butter on the top of the chicken and sprinkle with sea salt and fresh ground pepper- or use olive oil. 

6. Easy Method- Place the chicken in a baking dish. Bake at 425 degrees for about 25 minutes- until the skin is nicely browned.  Then reduce to 375 and cook for about 35 more minutes or until done.  That's it! 

7. Fancy Method- Using kitchen string, truss the chicken to close the cavity's opening. Place the chicken on a roasting rack in a roasting pan ( or the baking dish is still fine)—roast at 425 for 25 minutes. Turn the chicken to the other side and roast for 20 minutes more. Turn the chicken again and roast for 15 minutes or until done.  

Listen to the end of the video to get serving ideas for leftovers. 

Tip- Do not baste. The skin will be crispier.   Let the chicken rest covered with foil for 10-15 if possible to allow the juices to settle.  

Slice the chicken and serve with the juices from the pan.  If you bake it in a roasting pan, the juices may be caramelized to the pan, and you may need to deglaze it with wine or stock to loosen the juice.  Even a splash of water can do the trick. 

Many recipes I share have guidelines rather than exact measurements since I often cook "au pif" as we say in France, meaning by feel.
Your intuition is the magic touch to make something amazing. So read between the lines and make it yours   Write to me anytime if you have questions.

Copyright 2019-2022, Return to the Table by Caterina De Falco, All Rights Reserved

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