The Perfect Roast Chicken

The Perfect Roast Chicken is a recipe that all cooks should master. In culinary school, it is the first roast that we practice. The key is crispy, golden brown skin on the outside and juicy, tender meat inside.

The epitome of comfort food, roast chicken is warm and homey on a cold night. It can also be transformed into an elegant dish that will impress guests at any dinner party.

Once you have this simple and versatile recipe down, you can make it your own!

In this recipe, I add lemons, garlic, and thyme to the cavity of the chicken. Melted butter is brushed on before roasting to ensure golden brown and crispy skin.

Perfect Roast Chicken Recipe


  • 1 (5 pound) roasting chicken
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 lemon, quartered
  • 5 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 5 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 onions, thickly sliced
  • 2 carrots, thickly sliced
  • 2 ribs of celery, thickly sliced


  1. Let the chicken rest at room temperature for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 425ºF. Remove the giblets and any excess fat from the chicken cavity. Rinse the inside and outside of the chicken under cold water, pat dry with paper towels. Sprinkle the inside of the chicken cavity with salt and pepper. Stuff the cavity with the lemon quarters, garlic, and thyme. With a basting brush, brush the whole chicken with the melted butter. Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Using kitchen twine, tie the chicken legs together, tuck the wings under.
  2. Place the onions, carrots, and celery in the center of a roasting pan. Place the chicken, breast side up, on the bed of vegetables. Roast until the skin is golden brown and crisp, and the juices run clear. A thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the leg, should read 160ºF, about 1 1/2 hours. Remove from the oven and let rest for 15 minutes.

Serves 4-6

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6 Responses to The Perfect Roast Chicken

  1. priscilla says:

    I wish I could get my chicken skin to turn that wonderful color! I think I need to practice!

  2. priscilla says:

    Thank you. Do you cook it at 425 the entire time or turn it down after 15 minutes?

  3. Johnny says:

    Another great way too get perfect crispy skin with a moist breast is two cook the chicken on it’s side in a cast iron pan. After 2 1/2 minutes flip the bird to its other side for another 2 1/2 minutes. Roast the bird for 20 minutes breast side up, flip once and cook for another twenty minutes and you’ll have a chicken with tender breast meat and perfectly cooked legs.

    Use your cast iron and make a quick pan gravy and you’re set!

  4. N says:

    Do you cover it with foil while it is in the oven (so that you prevent the breast meat from drying out, since the breast meat is facing upward)?

    • Sage Recipes says:

      I did not cover the chicken with foil. I monitored the temperature of the chicken and when it read 160 degrees, I took it out of the oven. The chicken will have carry over cooking, which will raise the temperature outside of the oven. Additionally, if you are not concerned with crispy skin, you can roast the chicken breast side down. Hope that helps!

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