Mom's Roast Chicken

My mother's recipe for roast chicken with all the trimmings (stuffing! chicken gravy!), first published in Kitchen Parade in 1965 - in print, naturally. It belongs to a special collection of her recipes, Kitchen Parade by Shirley, published online in 2009 in celebration of Kitchen Parade's 50th anniversary.

Just stuffed and ready for trussing and roasting

“A roast chicken with all the trimmings rates high on the list of everybody’s favorite meals. So many of the younger homemakers are afraid to roast a chicken. It sounds so complicated and so much fuss. It really isn’t.

The secret is to have a stuffing recipe that everyone likes so that preparation time is cut to the minimum. This may not be so easy. Some times two adults have completely different ideas of good poultry stuffing. It took me seven years to achieve one that my husband and I like. Maybe you’ll like it too.”

~ Kitchen Parade, circa 1965

In my mother’s childhood, Sunday dinner was often roast chicken with all the trimmings. Family lore says that her English-born father carved a chicken with great skill and flourish. There was no fancy carving in my own childhood home but I sure do remember looking forward to the special occasions when Mom would roast a chicken, complete with stuffing and chicken gravy.

I’ve made my mother’s roast chicken several times this spring. Her recipe may date back 45 years but it’s a classic and works beautifully every time. Plus, call me surprised that making stuffing first adds only about 10 minutes of preparation time.

ALANNA's TIPS Does anyone really end up with ‘day-old’ bread anymore? With preservatives, commercial bread stays fresh for days. Such a treat, homemade bread is long gone before the second day! For bread, choose a hearty bread with good structure. Bakers might consider my go-to recipe for whole-grain bread, especially rolls, Light 'n' Fluffy Homemade Whole-Grain Bread. I’ve even used leftover muffins with dried fruit. If the bread tastes good, the stuffing will too! If there’s more stuffing than will fit inside the cavity, just tuck it alongside the chicken in the roasting pan. It pays to learn how to truss a chicken with kitchen string. It takes just a minute or two and helps the chicken roast evenly. Plus, it just looks so good coming out of the oven! To avoid undercooking or overcooking the roast chicken, I insert a programmable meat thermometer, one of my favorite kitchen tools, into the breast meat. I set the thermometer’s alarm for 150F and remove the chicken from the oven then. While it rests and while I make the gravy, the internal temperature will rise to the perfect temperature of 160F. Do you roast a chicken breast-side up or breast-side down? For color, I am quite happy with breast-side up, especially since the meat probe ensures perfect cooking.


Hands-on time: 25 minutes up front, 15 minutes to finish
Time to table: 2-3/4 hours
Serves 4 with plenty of leftover cooked chicken
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup chopped celery
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 – 3 slices day-old bread, torn into pieces
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1 egg yolk whisked with about 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 whole chicken, rinsed and dried inside and out
  • Kitchen string, about 3 feet
  • 2 tablespoons butter, optional
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons chicken drippings (reserve the rest for gravy another time)
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup liquid (milk or vegetable water)
  • Salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 325F.

STUFFING Saute the onion and celery in the butter over low heat until they are tender and yellow. Crumble the bread into the pan and add the remaining ingredients. Stir to combine, adding more milk if needed.

ROAST CHICKEN Spoon the stuffing gently into the body cavity. Don’t pack it in as the stuffing swells during cooking. 'Truss' the chicken. Grease the breast and legs with butter. If the chicken is very fat this isn’t necessary but it keeps the meat of a young chicken moist and tender. Sprinkle with salt. Bake in a covered roasting pan for about 1 hour. Remove the cover and bake one more hour uncovered so that the chicken will brown.

CHICKEN GRAVY Fifteen minutes before serving time, remove the chicken from the oven. Transfer to a carving board, cover with foil. You should have about two tablespoons of drippings. Slowly add flour and blend well. Slowly add the liquid. Cook and stir over medium heat until thick. Add seasonings to taste and you may want to add some commercial gravy coloring.

SERVE Scoop the stuffing out into a serving dish. Carve the chicken onto a platter. Serve with mashed potatoes, a vegetable and a crisp green salad. Save the chicken carcass to make Homemade Chicken Stock.

NUTRITION ESTIMATE Assumes a serving is 1/4 pound chicken, 1/4 of the stuffing and 1/4 of the chicken gravy: 302Cal; 18g Tot Fat; 9g Sat Fat; 103mg Cholesterol; 508mg Sodium; 18g Carb; 1g Fiber; 6g Sugar; 13g Protein; Weight Watchers 7 points

How to Truss a Chicken

I've seen such complicated instructions for trussing a chicken, all which seem to be most concerned about saving kitchen string. With my technique, you may end up snipping off extra string, but it's extra easy. Do it once, you'll do it again without thinking.

Place the chicken on flat surface, breast-side up. Cut about three feet of kitchen string. Working from the string's midpoint, wrap the string around the tips of the chicken legs a couple of times, tying them together to close the cavity, also so they'll rest close to the body. Now, wrap the string around the whole chicken twice. Catch the wing's 'elbows' the first time around, the wing tips the second. Now tie a bow, as fancy as you like.

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences.
Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via
Never miss a Kitchen Parade recipe: Sign up for a free e-mail subscription.
How to print a recipe on Kitchen Parade.
If you like Kitchen Parade, forward this recipe to a friend who might too!

A Menu Starring

More Chicken Recipes

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Grilled Balsamic Chicken Tin Foil Chicken & Veggies One-Pot Chicken with Beans & Vegetables

Roast an Extra Chicken for Quick 'n' Easy Suppers

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Chicken Greek Salad Mango Chicken Salad Chickpea & Chicken Salad

Recent Favorites from A Veggie Venture

If you like Kitchen Parade's recipes, for more scratch cooking recipes using whole, healthful ingredients, visit A Veggie Venture, my food blog, home to the Alphabet of Vegetables where there's a vegetable in every recipe and vegetables in every course.

© Copyright 2009 Kitchen Parade

Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. Is there really only 2-3 slices of bread in the stuffing? It doesn't seem like it would make much.


  2. It's just enough for four, small servings too, but it's all that can fit into the cavity.

    Also a lesson in portion size! It's PLENTY!

  3. Anonymous5/01/2009

    You are becoming my new best recipe friend!!! Yum!!! I have posted a link to you site on my new "Losing It..." blog and if I use a recipe in a menu I link it to you... You are so creative and wonderful!!!

    I have lost 10 pounds as of today... Yeah...

    Hugs and Best Wishes...
    Just A Gal...

  4. Anonymous5/01/2009

    OHHhhhh.. I meant to ask you something... Do you have a post on pantry supplies and how you store item and have on hand? Something along that lines?


    Just A Gal...

  5. Just a Gal - Well, hello! Glad to be of service. The closest you can get to my 'pantry' is favorite ingredients, which is designed to help readers quickly find recipes with particular ingredients, especially ones that you don't want to waste. Hope this helps!

  6. Anonymous5/01/2009

    Thanks for directing me to the Shop your pantry and freezer first... it is Very Helpful


    Just A Gal...


Post a Comment

Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna