Photo: Raymond Hom; Styling: Pamela Duncan Silver
Hands-on Time
15 Mins
Total Time
1 Hour 55 Mins
Serves 5 (serving size: about 4 ounces meat)

Fresh herbs, butter, and Dijon mustard provide big flavor in this simple roast chicken. It first cooks breast side down, then is turned over to finish cooking. This method ensures moist breast meat. Look for a bird labeled "roasting chicken" or "roaster"—these usually have more meat and are more tender than broiler-fryers.

How to Make It

Step 1

Preheat oven to 375°.

Step 2

Combine first 6 ingredients in a small bowl.

Step 3

Remove giblets and neck from chicken; discard. Trim excess fat. Starting at neck cavity, loosen skin from breast and drumsticks by inserting fingers, gently pushing between skin and meat. Rub herb mixture under loosened skin and over breast and drumsticks. Tie legs together with kitchen twine. Lift wing tips up and over back; tuck under chicken. Place the chicken, breast side down, on the rack of a broiler pan or shallow roasting pan coated with cooking spray; place rack in pan.

Step 4

Bake chicken at 375° for 40 minutes. Carefully turn chicken over (breast side up). Bake an additional 40 minutes or until a thermometer inserted in the meaty part of thigh registers 165°. Place chicken on a cutting board; let stand 10 minutes before carving. Discard skin.

Also appeared in: Cooking Light, November, 2008

Ratings & Reviews

very good

February 23, 2018
Made this to recipe a long time ago when it first appeared in the magazine.  Noticed it yesterday in an Oct'13 article on 25-best CL recipes.  Had no tarragon so subbed parsley to pair with fresh thyme.  Very good, so maybe try other fresh herbs if you don't prefer the anise-y tarragon.

bethany's Review

November 05, 2008
I cooked this on convection roast with my oven temp probe and it came out perfect! I did not use the time in the recipe but used the oven temp probe instead. The taste is excellent. Use the exact amount of tarragon recommended in the recipe or it will taste like too much tarragon. This is good for a nice dinner.

GrandmaKY's Review

October 20, 2013
I made this with tarragon and thyme from my garden. I did not roast it breast side down first. Just did it the old fashioned way. It was VERY good....moist and flavourful. I think I would use more herbs next time for even more flavour. I served it with sautéed spinach and mushrooms and baked acorn squash stuffed with amaretto pears...Nice dinner that would serve company nicely...

MomBon58's Review

January 06, 2009
Easy, and very good!

Whygal's Review

November 18, 2008
I made this chicken on Sunday night using a Perdue Oven Roaster Breast. Excellent!! I did adjust the roasting time since it was smaller than the recipe indicated. The flavor was wonderful! I served it with roasted fennel and carrots and brown rice. Leftovers made a great chicken salad for lunch the next day. This is a company quality meal!

sigmaration's Review

November 29, 2008
This chicken is simple and very flavorful. It was perfect for our Thanksgiving-for-two and left enough meat for leftovers. I'd happily make for a Sunday dinner, or to serve company.

8stringfan's Review

January 05, 2010
I feel like two stars is a bit low, but I honestly won't make this again. It's not bad, but it's just not anything too special. With the cost and amount of time it took to make, I could have just as easily bought a rotisserie bird from the grocery store. Of course if this was substantially better then this would be the obvious choice, but it wasn't any better. Truth be told it was a bit bland: it just tasted like chicken with the faintest hint of tarragon. There are better roast chicken recipes out there, but if you just want a basic recipe then I suppose this would do just fine. In the future, if I want a basic roast chicken, I'll be happy to stop by the rotisserie shelf at Whole Foods

ewyancy's Review

November 22, 2013
Agree that this is a good basic recipe. I used dried thyme and tarragon since I didn't have any fresh on hand. Next time I will use a probe thermometer to judge doneness since I way overcooked this one. Thanks!

MelanieinNC's Review

November 07, 2008
This chicken was excellent. I agree with the previous reviewers comments- don't add more tarragon (b/c I did and it overpowered the thyme). I served this with the new potatoes and garlic vinegarette and it was delicious.

JIMMIC's Review

January 27, 2010
I liked this because the meat was nice and moist. What was disappointing was the lack of taste in some areas, the "mixture" needs to be really worked into more of the areas of the chicken. Our chicken was about 7.5 pounds and I cooked it at 365 degrees for approximately 2 hours and 15 minutes.