Roast chicken: the ultimate recipe

Roast chicken is a staple that's easy to master and delicious to eat

roast chicken
(Image credit: Getty)

Roast chicken in the easiest Sunday roast main to make, and we say that having tried making all sorts of dishes. Unlike beef or lamb, chicken can only be served well done, which means you don't really have to keep checking on it too much. Most standard chickens take an hour and a half in the oven, et voila, your Sunday roast is ready. 

For best results, we recommend buying high-welfare free range or organic chicken. 

For more brilliant recipes, visit our hub page. 

How long does a chicken take to cook per kg?

You’ll need to do some simple maths. Weigh the chicken and allow 45 minutes per kg plus 20 minutes on top of that. Cook at 200°C. Unlike with some other roasts, you don’t want pink meat and the juices must run clear when you insert a skewer into the thickest part of the thigh. If you need to, put the bird back into the oven for 15 minutes then you can repeat the test. Got a meat thermometer? You’re looking for a temperature of 75°C.

Roast chicken: the ultimate recipe


To make juicy whole roast chicken, you will need:

  • A whole raw chicken, cleaned and ready for roasting
  • Butter, a generous wedge (about 25 grams)
  • Salt, to taste
  • Chicken seasoning (optional)
  • One lemon, sliced in half (optional)
  • Two large carrots, roughly chopped
  • One onion, roughly chopped


1. If using, put the halved lemon inside the chicken. 

2. Line a baking tray with the chopped vegetables. Sit the chicken on top of the vegetables. It should be snug in the tray.

3. Rub the chicken with butter all over. Season with salt and/or seasoning.

4. Roast for one hour and a half. Take out of the oven and pierce the flesh with a knife or skewer. The juices should run clear. 

5. Take out of the roasting tray and transfer into a serving dish. Rest for at least 15 minutes before carving. 

How do you make chicken skin crispy?

The final but vital must is resting the chicken for 20 minutes, but put it somewhere warm to keep the skin crispy.

How to cook roast chicken like Jamie Oliver 

roast chicken

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Apparently, this is the roast chicken that Jamie Oliver cooks every weekend, though he does try and switch up the recipe with different herbs. So if it's good enough for Jamie and brood, it's good enough for us. Read the full recipe below:

1. Jamie Oliver begins by preheating the oven, along with a roasting tray, to 220ºC/425ºF/gas 7.

2. Jamie Oliver then recommends finely chopping any soft fresh herbs you may have to hand – anything from basil or flat-leaf parsley to marjoram – slicing a lemon and selecting a few bay leaves.

3. For the next step, you'll need to get your hands a bit dirty. Jamie Oliver suggests rubbing the inside chicken cavity with sea salt, and gently loosening the skin on the chicken breast to achieve a small 'pocket'. Makes you a bit queasy? You can just about manage this manoeuvre with a spoon (we have).

4. You'll want to rub some sea salt and a little olive oil in this area between the skin of the chicken and the flesh. It can then be stuffed with your chopped herbs.

5. Push lemon into the inside cavity, along with some sprigs of rosemary.

6. Cover the whole of your chicken with a little olive oil, as well as the remaining herbs and a generous helping of salt and pepper.

7. Jamie Oliver also suggests slashing the thighs of your chicken three or four times, as this allows for more even cooking.

8. Place the chicken on the pre-heated tray, along with a good glug of olive oil. Then, transfer to the oven for an hour, or until golden and thoroughly cooked through. If the skin is crispy, you know you're ready to go.

Check out the full recipe on Jamie Oliver's website