Roast chicken

Discover just how easy a roast can be with our step-by-step guide to classic roast chicken

  • Prep:15 mins
    Cook:1 hrs 30 mins
  • Serves 4
  • Easy

Nutrition per serving

  • kcal 800
  • fat 39g
  • saturates 13g
  • carbs 67g
  • sugars 4g
  • fibre 5g
  • protein 50g
  • salt 1.93g


  • 2 unwaxed lemons
  • organic or free-range chicken, about 1.8kg/4lb
  • 6 bay leaves
  • small bunch rosemary, broken into sprigs
  • 2 whole garlic heads, cut across the middle
  • 1½ kg potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 2 tbsp sunflower, vegetable or mild olive oil
  • 50g butter, very soft


The chicken isn’t cooked
Your chicken is a bit bigger than 1.8kg or may have been very cold from the fridge. Put the roasting tin back in the oven for another 10 mins, then test again. Don’t worry about the potatoes overcooking, they’ll be fine.Pan too small?
Cook in separate pans, with the chicken on the middle shelf. Once the chicken is cooked, remove and rest, turn up the oven and finish your potatoes. New flavours
Chorizo & paprika: Add 1 tsp smoked or sweet paprika to the softened butter and tip chunky pieces of chorizo into the pan with the herbs and lemon. With honey-roasted veg: Switch the potatoes for big chunks of carrot, squash, red onion and any other roots you like. Add a squeeze of honey to the pan along with the herbs, omitting the lemon.


  1. Add flavour from the inside: Heat oven to 190C/fan 170C/gas 5. Halve the lemons and prick one half all over with your knife. Cut the rest into wedges and set aside. If the chicken’s legs are tied with string, remove it. Put the lemon half inside the cavity with a bay leaf, a few sprigs of rosemary and one half head of garlic.

  2. Assemble the roast: Tip the potatoes and remaining garlic into the roasting tin, toss with the oil and season. Push the potatoes to the edges and sit the chicken in the middle. Brush butter all over the breasts and legs with your pastry brush. Season and make sure the potatoes are evenly spaced around the tin. Re-tie the legs if you like.

  3. Roast and check it’s cooked: Roast in the centre of the oven for 1 hr 10 mins, brushing twice with more butter during cooking. To check that it’s cooked, push a skewer through the thickest part of the thigh. The juices will run clear when ready. Lift the bird out of the tin with the wooden spoons and sit it on your board or platter. Cover with foil and rest. This will give a juicier chicken.

  4. Crisp potatoes and add flavour: Turn oven up to 220C/fan 200C/gas 7 and put the shelf up one rung. Toss potatoes, remaining herbs and lemon wedges in the pan juices, then roast for 15-20 mins, turning once, until crisp. Serve your roast with simple vegetables like broccoli.

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