Roast Chicken with Cider Gravy

Tucking fresh herbs and garlic between the skin and the breast infuses the meat with flavor. We use thyme here, but you can also use fresh rosemary or parsley. If you have a rack, place the chicken on it to allow the hot air to circulate. You can also improvise a rack (as we do here) by setting the chicken on the neck and giblets.

Roast Chicken with Cider Gravy
Photo: Carson Downing
Active Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
1 hr 30 mins


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme, plus 6 sprigs

  • 1 clove garlic, minced

  • ¼ teaspoon salt

  • ¼ teaspoon ground pepper

  • 1 3.5-4-pound broiler/fryer chicken (see Tip)

  • ½ cup apple cider

  • 1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth

  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch

  • 1 tablespoon water

  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a small roasting pan or a 12-inch ovenproof skillet with cooking spray.

  2. Combine 1 Tbsp. oil, chopped thyme, garlic, salt, and pepper in a small bowl; set aside.

  3. Place chicken on a large plate or plastic cutting board. Remove the neck, giblets, and liver from the cavity. (Reserve the liver for another use.) Pat the neck and giblets dry and place in the prepared pan. Top with thyme sprigs.

  4. Pat the chicken cavity and surface thoroughly dry with paper towels. With your fingers, separate the skin on the chicken breast from the meat, taking care not to tear the skin. Gently spread the thyme mixture under the skin of the breast. Rub or brush the remaining 1 Tbsp. oil over the entire chicken. Tuck the wing tips under the back and tie the legs together with butcher's twine. Rest the chicken, breast-side up, on the neck and giblets in the prepared pan.

  5. Roast the chicken until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast and thigh registers 165°F and the juices from cavity are clear, 1 to 1¼ hours.

  6. Transfer the chicken to a clean cutting board and set the neck and giblets aside; discard the thyme sprigs. Cover the chicken loosely with foil and let rest for about 15 minutes.

  7. Meanwhile, pour the drippings from the pan into a small fat separator, bowl, or measuring cup; place in the freezer to solidify the fat. Return the neck and giblets to the pan. Place the pan over medium-high heat and pour in cider. Bring to a simmer, stirring to scrape up any browned bits. Simmer vigorously for 1 minute. Add broth and return to a simmer. Simmer vigorously for 5 minutes. Discard the neck and giblets. Pass the sauce through a fine strainer into a small saucepan. Skim and discard fat from the chilled drippings (see Tip). Add the dripping juices to the sauce and bring to a simmer. Combine cornstarch and water and add to the pan; cook, whisking constantly, until slightly thickened. Add mustard and whisk to blend.

  8. Remove the twine and carve the chicken, discarding the skin. Serve with the gravy.


You can use a 5- to 7-lb. roasting chicken if you prefer: In Step 2, mix together 2 Tbsp. olive oil, ¼ cup chopped fresh thyme, 2 cloves garlic, and ½ tsp. salt. Rub this mixture under the skin in Step 4. In Step 5, roast the chicken for 2 to 2¼ hours.

The drippings are a mixture of fat and flavorful liquid. Once chilled, the fat, which is less dense, will rise to the top and then solidify, making it easy to remove. If the layer of fat has not solidified, you can use a small pitcher-style fat separator to pour off the liquid that has settled at the bottom. If you don't have a fat separator, you can also use a bulb baster to suction the juices from the bottom of the container.


Butcher's twine, small roasting pan (or 12-inch ovenproof skillet)

To make ahead:

Refrigerate leftover chicken for up to 3 days. Refrigerate leftover gravy for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

288 Calories
9g Fat
4g Carbs
43g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 4
Serving Size 3 oz. chicken + 3 Tbsp. gravy
Calories 288
% Daily Value *
Total Carbohydrate 4g 1%
Total Sugars 3g
Protein 43g 86%
Total Fat 9g 12%
Saturated Fat 2g 10%
Cholesterol 118mg 39%
Sodium 298mg 13%

Nutrition information is calculated by a registered dietitian using an ingredient database but should be considered an estimate.

* Daily Values (DVs) are the recommended amounts of nutrients to consume each day. Percent Daily Value (%DV) found on nutrition labels tells you how much a serving of a particular food or recipe contributes to each of those total recommended amounts. Per the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the daily value is based on a standard 2,000 calorie diet. Depending on your calorie needs or if you have a health condition, you may need more or less of particular nutrients. (For example, it’s recommended that people following a heart-healthy diet eat less sodium on a daily basis compared to those following a standard diet.)

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a special diet for medical reasons, be sure to consult with your primary care provider or a registered dietitian to better understand your personal nutrition needs.

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