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This is a foolproof method for how to roast a whole chicken, yielding immaculately crispy skin and incredibly juicy meat. Try it once, and you may never go back to buying prepared rotisserie chicken from the deli again—because honestly, it’s almost as easy to make this incredible version at home. The secret to getting super-crisp skin when roasting a chicken is getting it as dry as possible before going into the hot oven. And yes, that means skipping rubbing the chicken with oil or butter. Chicken skin naturally contains fat, you don’t have to worry about that, but what you do want to worry about is patting the chicken down all over with paper towels, making sure the skin is as dry as possible. Any moisture left on the bird is going to contribute to creating steam in the oven, which works against your mission for perfect golden crispness. In fact, that’s why we only place aromatics (like citrus fruit, thyme, and garlic) inside the cavity of the chicken… not only does this infuse the meat of the bird with flavor as these ingredients release their aromas, but it keeps any steam that they create within the chicken. Be sure to generously salt both the exterior and interior of your chicken before roasting. When it’s time to  slice and serve, you should definitely consider spooning the rich, savory pan drippings over your roasted chicken—next to the crisp skin, some (i.e. we) might argue they’re the best part. 

Recipe by Well Done May 2017


Read the full recipe after the video.

Recipe Summary

10 mins
1 hr 5 mins
Serves 4 to 6


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Preheat oven to 425°F. Rinse and dry chicken thoroughly with paper towels. Sprinkle inside and outside of chicken evenly with salt and pepper. Stuff chicken cavity with orange pieces, lemon quarters, thyme sprigs, and garlic cloves, and tie chicken legs together with kitchen twine. Place chicken on a lightly greased wire rack on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast chicken, rotating pan occasionally, until a meat thermometer inserted in thickest part of thigh registers 165°F to 170°F, 45 to 55 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.