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This recipe proves that learning how to roast a whole chicken can be easier (and more delicious) than you thought. For extra-crispy skin, remove the chicken from the brine, dry with paper towels and refrigerate for an additional 24 hours before roasting. Read more about the story behind this recipe: The Dinner Dance.

Source: EatingWell Magazine, January/February 2020


Recipe Summary

30 mins
10 hrs 15 mins


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Combine water, 2 tablespoons salt, sugar, peppercorns, fennel seed, lemon wedges, garlic, thyme sprigs and bay leaves in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and stir until the salt is dissolved, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat.

  • Place ice in a 5-quart bowl or pot and pour the brine over it. Let cool, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Add chicken, making sure it is completely submerged in the brine. (Add more cold water and use a plate to weight it down if necessary.) Refrigerate overnight or up to 24 hours.

  • To roast chicken, preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and place a wire rack on top. Coat the rack with cooking spray.

  • Remove the chicken from the brine and place it on the prepared rack. Pat it dry with a paper towel.

  • Zest the remaining lemon and juice it to get 2 teaspoons. Combine the zest and juice with oil, pepper and the remaining 1 teaspoon thyme and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Loosen and lift the skin from the breast and legs with your fingers and rub the paste under and over the skin. Truss the chicken with kitchen string (see Tip).

  • Roast the chicken for 1 hour. Rotate the pan, and increase the heat to 400 degrees F. Cook until an instant-read thermometer registers 160 degrees F in the thickest part of the breast, 25 to 30 minutes more. Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes before carving.


Tip: To truss a chicken, tie the legs together with kitchen string, mostly closing the cavity opening. Pull the wings so the tips overlap on top of the breast; tie in place, wrapping string around the wings and body.

Equipment: Kitchen string

Nutrition Facts

3 oz. chicken
204 calories; protein 28g; carbohydrates 1g; sugars 1g; fat 9g; saturated fat 2g; cholesterol 87mg; vitamin a iu 55IU; vitamin c 1mg; folate 6mcg; calcium 19mg; iron 1mg; magnesium 26mg; potassium 247mg; sodium 326mg.