Photo: Iain Bagwell; Styling: Kevin Crafts
Cook Time
1 Hour 30 Mins
Serves 4 to 6

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

How to Make It

Step 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.

Step 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).

Step 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.

Step 4

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

Step 5

Note: Nutritional analysis is per serving plain chicken.

Ratings & Reviews


March 02, 2016
This was one of the best, if not the best, roast chickens I have ever made. (And I have roasted a lot of chickens). 5 stars is reserved for restaurant quality.  I was going to do Ottolenghi's Za'atar chicken, but ran out of energy.  I used the simple za'atar paste plus salt.  Directions are a bit hazy on whether you need to oil and salt and pepper plus apply paste.  I thought not.  I used a beer can chicken-type roaster and roasted my almost 5.5 lb organic bird for 1.5 hours at 400 degrees, with a few Idaho bakers along side.  Sat down to read for an hour, then made a spinach, orange, red onion and strawberry salad. When I pulled it out to check temp, it was beautifully brown and crispy, and smelled fab.  165 degrees on the nose deep in breast and thigh!  Moist, great flavor, simple. 

pamelanatalie's Review

February 06, 2011
THE WORST EVER! FIRE HAZARD! DO NOT MAKE THIS! 475 Degrees for a chicken in a home oven? Yikes. What where they thinking? What was I thinking? Smoked the whole house up with splattered grease drippings from the chicken inside the oven and out. Then, like a dummy, put it on "clean" the next day and even worse smoke! My eyes were burning and I thought I was going to start the house on fire so I killed the cycle after about 5 minutes. Don't think I'll be trying recipes out out Sunset anytime soon.