Weekend cooking: The perfect roast chicken

It came to my attention this week that I do not have my roast chook recipe on my blog! I KNOW. I was just as shocked. I always seem to answer questions about this simple and delicious meal that has become a firm favourite and it will hit our table every few weeks without fail.

The thing about a humble roast chook is that it’s not that expensive. Leftovers can be transformed into lots of different things, a stock can be made from the leftover bones and for me it’s the kind of dinner you can start and forget about (which when you have homework and feral toddlers to deal with is ideal). Once you have the roast sorted you can whip them up for lunches with salads, cooked for sandwiches during the week or just eat as a lovely, simple roast dinner that is the kind of stuff that childhood dreams are made of.

I thought I would give you a run down on a normal roast chook for our family of 5. We rarely many leftovers (a little for sambos) but it’s usually all eaten. Hopefully this step by step and timed version will help those that aren’t so down with roasts and can be overwhelmed at the end when it all has to come together at once.

I always buy an organic chicken since we visited a chicken farm a number of years ago and I was educated on the process that normal birds go through when they are processed. The organic chicken tastes like chicken, retains the flavour, isn’t full of water or oversized on hormones. They are more expensive though so use what you can.

Step 1: Prep the chook (2 hours before eating)

I also preheat the oven to 200 degrees.

I place my chicken onto a rack inside of a roasting pan. I will always cut a whole lemon and place that inside the cavity of the chicken, as well as any herbs that I have available in the garden. I also like to put in some whole garlic cloves (skin on) or a whole head of garlic if I have a lot.

Under the skin I like to add butter. And when I say butter, I mean BUTTER. Do not stuff around here. Lurpak make a garlic butter which is excellent, but otherwise I slice from a stick/block of butter. Pull the skin back from the edge of the cavity and using your fingers pressed against the flesh push up and under making space between the skin and the flesh. Wedge the butter in there, as well as herbs too if you like. Push the butter in and keep adding it in, the new butter will push the first lot right down to the edge of the breasts.

Then on top I drizzle some olive oil, add on salt and pepper (sometimes garlic salt if I have that) and a trick I learnt was a Massel chicken stock cube crumbled on top for extra flavour. You can add on some dried herbs too if you’d like – whatever you like – more is more is more!

I then place this into the hot oven.

Step 2: prep the veggies (1.5 hours before eating)

I throw all my veggies in together, and rarely peel potatoes or sweet potatoes. I use potatoes, sweet potatoes, leeks, red onions to start and then at the end I can throw in spinach, beans or broccoli (yes into the roasting pan) for the last 10 minutes cooking.

I put them into a separate roasting dish (I SWEAR by a Scanpan roasting pan for the very best results) with olive oil, salt and pepper and a little garlic salt. If you have some herbs they can go in too. I never have problems with there being so many veggies in there other – these roasting dishes are just the best.

I place these into the hot oven with the chicken in there 30 minutes after the chicken has gone in. The green veggies will only need 10 minutes or so at the end so hold off on those until then.

Step 3: Take the chicken out (20 minutes before eating – 1.5 to 1 hr 40 mins after going in)

I take the chicken out and place onto a two pieces of foil crossed over each other, wrap the chook and sit it on the bench for at least 10 minutes to rest.

Step 4: Make the gravy (10 minutes before eating)

You can see how I make my gravy in this post and video here. Set the gravy aside (I turn off the heat). if you had some broccolini or beans to roast they can be thrown in now (into the veggie roasting pan) for 10 minutes.

Step 5: Carve the chicken (5 minutes before eating)

You can see how I carve chicken in this post and in this video.

Step 6: Serve!

I usually place everything into platters and serve at the table rather than plating up in the kitchen – I reckon kids will always eat and try more things if they have them in front of them and they can choose. I don’t know why – it just happens.

While the end can be a little overwhelming, like anything with practice it becomes much easier and one day you will be like me and be able to trot this out with your eyes closed.

Hope this helps some of you out there trying out a roast chook for the first time.
And for those who are long time fans – got any tricks to share with us?
Happy weekend! Hope it’s filled with lots of good food x


  1. Thank you for this. I gave roast chicken years ago because the family always complained about it and wouldn’t eat it. I will try again using your tips and hope for a somewhat more positive response.
    Cheers Kate

  2. Helen Dawes says

    Believe it or not, my fave roast chook recipe is loosely based on a recipe from junior Masterchef many years ago (yes, I take culinary advice from a 12 year old). I call it tea bag chicken. I can’t find it on the web, but basically I stuff the cavity with 2 Twinings Lapsang Souchong teabags, a lemon (cut into quarters) and about 4 garlic cloves slightly crushed. Sprinkle the top with salt and pepper. Place in an oven bag (just follow the directions on the packet, add a small amount of flour first). Cook as per instructions on the packet. Et voila… a perfect juicy, slightly smokey flavoured, chook.

  3. thanks beth!
    I love your videos!
    the Christmas dinner spitchcock/quail surprise!!! has me in stitches hun!
    you are funny!

  4. This one’s going straight to the pool room aka my bulging recipe folder! Thanks Beth.

  5. I do the same method with my roast chicken and it always a winner. I also use a Jamie Oliver recipe which has chopped pancetta, lemon rind, butter and thyme under the breast – delicious.

  6. I highly rate the Scanpan roasting dishes Beth – treated myself after one of your posts as we easily do a Roast of some kind every fortnight. They clean up like a dream. Can’t wait for all the good eating over Easter. !

  7. Hi, do you just shove the veges in and leave them or do you have to turn them, and if so how often?

    • I give them a turn and toss as I go so they get crispy and brown all over ! x

      • Thanks. Only turned them a couple of times and they were divine. I’m ashamed to say I did the Bill Granger Thai Chilli Roast Chicken and your veges, enough for two nights, but three of us ate the entire lot in one sitting!!

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