Fast Roast Chicken: My Signature Recipe

The Recipe: How to roast a chicken fast – in an hour – but speed isn’t what makes this my signature roast-chicken recipe. It's the simple ingredients, just a fresh chicken, salt, pepper and a hot oven. It’s the crispy, salty skin. It’s the moist and tender breast meat and the juicy succulent dark meat. One more thing? Roast chicken is the perfect meal for unexpected company. Tis a wonder, this roasted chicken.
The Conversation: How to feed a crowd on a whim, roast chicken and a fall menu.
Fast Roast Chicken, another Quick Supper ♥ How to roast a chicken in an hour, turning out crispy salty skin, perfectly roasted meat. Weight Watchers Friendly. Low Carb. High Protein. Gluten Free. Whole30.


  • "... so fast & easy & the best roast chicken I've had!" ~ Anonymous
  • "... what a great recipe it is! ... Mmm!" ~ Charlie

How to Feed a Crowd in Two Hours

The heads-up arrived at five o’clock. “Some people are coming for supper.” How many? I asked, guessing two, maybe six, as many as twelve. He hesitated, then began to count out loud. "Fourteen, I think," was the answer.

Now, this man and I, we feed small crowds on a whim with regularity. We love the kitchen dance, chopping and stirring, serving and savoring home-cooked food.

But this night, a hint of panic strained his voice. Were we over-committed? Was carryout pizza the smart answer? “What should we make?” he asked, hoping for a ready answer.

Without hesitation, I answered: “Set the oven to 450, then run to Whole Foods for chicken. We’ll eat around seven.”

Extra Hands Do Help!

Sure enough, with able assistance from an extra pair or two of hands (thank you, Laura and girls!), that night three generations gathered round the table to a feast: three roasted chickens, roughly mashed sweet potatoes and carrots spiked with cardamom, a big salad and for dessert, hot-from-the-oven fruit crisp topped with ice cream.

Menus like this (below), they’re worth making again and again, for four or fourteen – or forty, just next time with a little more notice, please!

The Menu That Saved the Night

Olivada with Crackers
~ Fast Roast Chicken ~
Rustic Mashed Sweet Potatoes & Carrots
Lettuce Greens Tossed with Chopped Vegetables
with My Favorite Dressing
Cranberry Apple Crisp

Let's Talk Chicken. Fresh Chicken. Never-Frozen Chicken.

Two years in a row, I cooked one chicken after another, frying chicken one week, roasting chicken the next, baking chicken the next, grilling chicken after that.

I tested free-range chickens, organic chickens, farm-raised chickens, branded chickens, grocery-store chickens, warehouse-club chickens, anything with breasts and wings, basically.

In the end, I became much partial to the taste and texture of fresh chicken, that is, chicken that's never been frozen.

This means I make regular out-of-the-way trips to Whole Foods, the only place to buy fresh chicken in St. Louis. Readers, if you know where to buy fresh chicken in your hometowns, please do say!

Tools of the (Culinary) Trade

Occasionally, I recommend kitchen stuff that makes my cooking life easier. Two things help with roasting chicken but aren't required. But I recommend them anyway because they're multi-purpose, they work for everything from cookies to bread to vegetables to ... yes, roasting chicken. My Disclosure Promise

  • Meat Thermometer A meat thermometer ensures a perfectly cooked chicken, not too done, not underdone, for chicken just insert the probe deep into the breast (do avoid touching the bone) before putting it into the oven. This is the digital thermometer from CDN that we've used for awhile now with good results.

  • Sturdy Baking Sheets A full-size sheet pan (so confusing, it's technically a "half sheet pan") holds two chickens, smaller size (technically a "quarter" sheet pan) holds one. These pans won't buckle under the weight of the chicken and are heavy enough to withstand high heat. Made in America, people!


Hands-on time: 10 minutes
Time to table: 1-1/4 hours
Serves 1 for a week or 4 for dinner plus leftovers for chicken soup
  • 1 whole chicken, preferably never frozen (why? see below), either a roasting chicken or a frying chicken
  • Generous amount of kosher salt, a tablespoon or two or more
  • Freshly ground black pepper, optional

PREP Preheat the oven to 450F/230C.

Rinse the chicken inside and out (you needn't but yes, I still rinse chicken even though the experts advise against it to avoid contaminating the sink with uncooked chicken juices), then dry it well inside and out with paper towels. "Rain" the bird with salt, lightly coating the skin so a salty crusty layer will form during roasting; cover the breast and back sides, the legs and wings, too, then do several turns of ground pepper all over. Place the chicken breast-side down in an oven-proof skillet or on a foil-covered rimmed baking sheet. (Yes, that bird is bare-nekkid except for salt and pepper. Yes, that bird is about to be blasted at high heat.)

ROAST Roast for an hour until the breast meat reaches an internal temperature of 165F/75C.

REST Remove from the oven, cover loosely with foil, let rest 15 minutes. To serve, slice off the legs and thighs, then cut hot slices off the breasts or cut into the breasts down the center and serve it on the bone.

EXTRA CREDIT If you like, before carving, set up to make No-Big-Deal Homemade Chicken Stock from the carcass, just throw the bones right into a skillet to roast while eating dinner. Afterward, you can Freeze Stock in Canning Jars!

ALANNA’s TIPS Once upon a time, roasting chickens were "old and tough" and needed slow cooking to tenderize. But these days, the main difference between a roasting chicken and a frying chicken is that roasting chickens are slightly bigger and a little more expensive. I cook them interchangeably. Some times, I truss the chicken, creating a sort of chicken corset with kitchen string. Trussing isn’t necessary but once the chicken is in a tight wad, it just looks cool out of the oven. Other times I use a V-roaster but again, it’s really not needed. Do drag a slice or meat through the delicious chicken drippings while you’re carving, cook’s treat! But as is, the drippings are too salty for gravy. To make chicken gravy, add a good cup or two of chicken stock to the drippings, then thicken. (See how to make turkey gravy, just substitute chicken stock for turkey stock.) Weight Watchers, if you follow the Freestyle program, choose the breast meat and remove the skin. Everyone, do take special note of the chicken nutrition information, white meat versus dark meat (not much difference) and eating the chicken skin versus not eating the chicken skin (a huge difference). This makes chicken skin a definite indulgence, luckily, this salty chicken is worth eating, many roasted-chicken skins are not. Still, armed with information, it's better to know.

STILL-FASTER ROAST CHICKEN? Stop by the grocery store, grab a hot rotisserie chicken and salad fixings from the salad bar. Come home, pour a glass of wine, sit down to supper. Seriously. Rotisserie chickens from the grocery store are a good value and perhaps the one "convenience" food worth picking up from the deli section. I adore picking up prescriptions from our family pharmacist (amazing service) at Sam's Club: it's an excuse to pick up a chicken too.

NUTRITION INFORMATION Per 4 ounces chicken white meat, without/with skin: 129/210 Calories; 1/11g Tot Fat; 1/4g Sat Fat; 65/75mg Cholesterol; 367/363mg Sodium; 0g Carb; 0g Fiber; 0g Sugar; 26/23g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS Old Points 3/5 & PointsPlus 3/5 & SmartPoints 2/5 & Freestyle 0 (for Freestyle, white meat without skin only)

Per 4 ounces chicken dark meat, without/with skin: 141/268 Calories; 4/19g Tot Fat; 1/6g Sat Fat; 90/91mg Cholesterol; 386/372mg Sodium; 0g Carb; 0g Fiber; 0g Sugar; 23/19g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS Old Points 3/7 & PointsPlus 3/6 & SmartPoints 2/8 & Freestyle n/a
Adapted from Bouchon by Thomas Keller My Disclosure Promise

More Fast Chicken Recipes

(hover with a mouse for a description; otherwise click a photo to view the recipe)

Rainbow Chicken Easy Margarita Chicken Chicken with Creamy Cider Gravy
~ more quick supper recipes ~
~ more chicken recipes ~

Quick Links to This Page

(for easy bookmarking and searching)
~ Why Fresh, Never Frozen Chicken? ~
~ Calories & Weight Watchers Points in Chicken ~
white meat versus dark meat, with the chicken skin versus without

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. If you make this recipe, I'd love to know your results! Just leave a comment below.

© Copyright Kitchen Parade 2010, 2014, 2015 (repub), 2016 & 2019

Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

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


  1. We love roast chicken - usually we do "beer can" chicken, either in the convection oven or outside on the gas grill. The meat stays very moist and skin always comes out perfectly and yes, it IS a worthwhile indulgence! Then the remaining beer, combined with the de-fatted drippings and boiled down, makes a fine gravy.

  2. We love roast chicken. I roast mine in a Le Creuset French oven but at different temperatures and with different seasoning than just salt and you think a Dutch / French oven would work in your recipe instead of a foil tent? The advantage to using a Dutch / French oven is that you can later make soup right in that pot (and pick up the fond and lovely burned bits and have one less thing to wash...). :)

  3. ~M ~ I wouldn't use a French oven because the sides are too high. This chicken needs a blast of heat to cook all the way through, the pan's side would block it.

    And just to be clear, I use foil to cover the baking sheet while the chicken roasts, not the chicken itself. And then I use foil to cover the chicken and keep it hot while it rests. So there's no 'tent' to trap the moisture and make the skin all soft and soggy.

  4. Anonymous2/03/2010

    Have you tried Eckert's in Belleville IL for fresh chicken? They advertise to pick up their meat from local farmers and their meat is never frozen.

  5. Anonymous ~ Thanks, I haven't, in fact have never been to their store! But I must, especially now that they've expanded so much. Thank you for the tip!

  6. Anonymous2/04/2010

    so simple! one question, before i run to make this: how much should the chicken weigh? i suppose this could mean the difference between moist and dry chicken.

  7. Anonymous ~ Good question, but you know, I've never paid attention because, ha! I think of a chicken as 'serving 4 plus leftovers'. I'll check, next time and add that to the recipe. However, I'm doing a little math, they're usually $7 to $8 (so $1-$2 more than a grocery store rotisserie chicken, $2-$3 than a warehouse-club rotisserie chicken) so that would mean the chickens are close to 4 pounds.

  8. Roasted chicken is one of my go to faves for company too! Seems like we have people over on a whim all the time! My favorite way to roast it is in my convection microwave. It usually takes about a hour - super fast. My receipe uses yogurt to give the bird it's moist with crispy skin taste. My mouth is watering right now.

  9. Anonymous1/13/2012

    I made this for dinner - so fast & easy & the best roast chicken I've had! Thanks!

  10. Charlie2/27/2015

    And what a great recipe it is! We used this recipe, but with Creole seasonings for a recipe for chicken and sausage gumbo. Just finished the last of the chicken we didn't put into the gumbo. Mmm!


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