Photo by: Photo: Iain Bagwell; Styling: Kevin Crafts

Best Last-Minute Roast Chicken

Try this one plain, with the seasoning pastes below, or with a seasoning rub.

  • Yield: Serves 4 to 6


  • Fine sea salt (1 tsp. for a 3- to 3 3/4-lb. chicken or 1 1/4 tsp. for a larger one)
  • Pepper (1/2 tsp. for a smaller chicken or 3/4 tsp. for a larger one)
  • Middle Eastern Zaatar Seasoning Paste or
  • Indian Green Curry Seasoning Paste (optional)
  • 1 chicken, 3* to 4 1/2 lbs., lumps of fat and tail removed, rinsed and patted very dry
  • About 1 tbsp. olive oil (for plain or Indian Green Curry chicken)


1. Mix salt, pepper, and ingredients for seasoning paste, if you are using it (with seasoning paste, use a large bowl). For chicken without seasoning paste, rub all over with oil, then with salt and pepper, putting a little inside too. For chicken with seasoning paste, slide 2 fingers between breast skin and meat to make pockets. Turn chicken over and loosen thigh skin the same way. Put chicken in bowl with seasonings; smear some in pockets, inside cavity, and all over outside. Set chicken breast-up on a V-shaped rack in a 12- by 17-in. roasting pan; tuck wing tips under if you like.

2. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 475° for a 3- to 3 1/2-lb. chicken, 450° for a 3 3/4- to 4 1/2-lb. bird, or 400° (for any size chicken) if using a seasoning paste (to prevent scorching).

3. Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted horizontally through thickest part of breast reaches 160°, 30 to 35 minutes for a smaller plain bird, 45 to 50 minutes for a larger plain one, or 1 to 1 1/4 hours with a seasoning paste; after 30 minutes, begin checking chicken occasionally, and if any areas are getting dark, tent them with foil. Let chicken stand in a warm place 10 minutes; transfer to a platter.

*To find small (uncooked) chickens, try markets that roast rotisserie birds (which are small) on-site.

Note: Nutritional analysis is per serving plain chicken.

Nutritional Information

Amount per serving
  • Calories: 404
  • Calories from fat: 55%
  • Protein: 42g
  • Fat: 25g
  • Saturated fat: 6.8g
  • Carbohydrate: 0.2g
  • Fiber: 0.1g
  • Sodium: 613mg
  • Cholesterol: 134mg

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Best Last-Minute Roast Chicken Recipe