How to roast the perfect chicken

How to roast the perfect chicken

Food Editor Gregor McMaster shows you how to cook a crispy, golden whole bird that will wow the family at Sunday lunch

How to roast the perfect chicken

Juicy meat, golden skin... The perfect roast chicken is one of life's best simple pleasures. It's also the UK's favourite meat with a Sunday roast. So how do you make the ultimate, perfect roast chicken without the fuss?

Gregor says: "Getting the perfect combination of crispy golen skin and tender meat involves a little prep beforehand and attention while the chicken is in the oven, but it's simple when you know how..."

Scroll on for Gregor's ultimate, all-encompassing step-by-step guide to the perfect roast chicken.


Take an Extra Special Corn-Fed Norfolk Free Range Whole Chicken (typically 1.75kg) from the fridge one hour before cooking. Discard the packaging, put in a roasting tin, pat inside and out with kitchen roll and set aside.

Step two

Allow the chicken to reach room temperature, then preheat the oven to 220C/200C Fan/Gas 7. Brush the outside of the bird all over with 2tbsp rapeseed oil, then season with plenty of freshly ground black pepper.

Step three

Add 2 lemons, halved, 2 heads garlic, unpeeled and cut in half, and a few rosemary sprigs to the roasting tin. Separate a small bunch thyme into sprigs and sprinkle over the chicken. Put in the oven and roast for 20 mins.

Step four

Reduce the oven to 190C/170C Fan/Gas 5. Roast for 50-60 mins, basting every 20 mins with juices from the tin, until cooked through. To ensure the meat is juicy and tender, rest loosely covered for 10 mins before carving.

Get the most from your roast

Go all in with the tin

Roast the chicken in a tin that's close to its size - it should be too big. This will help to stop the juices evaporating as it cooks and help to retain flavour.

For super-succulent meat

After resting and carving the bird, drizzle the meat with the juice from the tin so it's extra-moist and tender.

Leftovers you'll love

Got leftovers? Try serving offcuts with...

  • Roast sweet potato chunks, cherry tomatoes and lemon, and a watercress salad
  • Griddled courgettes, rocket and a lemon dressing
  • Roast butternut squash with a tahini drizzle, sprinkled with parsley and pomegranate
  • Fresh herb tabbouleh and giant couscous

Has Gregor's ultimate roast chicken got you dreaming of a roast this weekend? Make sure to pick up everything you need for your perfect bird online or pop into your local store.