Rosemary Scented Roast Chicken

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I love roasting broiler chickens because you get all that great roast-y flavor—without the time commitment of preparing a larger bird.

You can put this dish together from fridge to table in about an hour, making it an ideal candidate for a stick-to-your-ribs weeknight dinner.

The bird is slathered in good olive oil, seasoned liberally with kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper, then topped with a little butter for extra flavor. Fresh sprigs of rosemary perfume the chicken from the inside out. It’s cooked for about 45 minutes in a hot oven (450 degrees).

This technique produces crisp, golden skin and moist, flavorful meat.

If you’re not crazy about rosemary, this basic technique below is really versatile. Here are 3 other options for seasoning your bird:

+Garlic Roasted Chicken—Rub the skin with some mashed garlic and add a few mashed cloves in the bird’s cavity.
+Citrus Roasted Chicken—Squeeze half a lemon or orange over the chicken, then put the fruit in the bird’s cavity.
+Chili Roasted Chicken—Sprinkle with ground chipotle and Aleppo chili flakes.

Rosemary Scented Roast Chicken: So what is a broiler chicken, anyway?

A broiler chicken (a.k.a. a fryer or frying chicken) is less than 3 1/2 lbs. and is usually about 2 1/2 months old.

Because it’s on the small side, it’s a great match for fast, high-heat cooking. Broilers are young birds, so they usually don’t have as much fat as regular roasting chickens, which are usually larger and can be up to 8 months old.

Don’t try this with a larger, roasting chicken. The skin will burn before the meat is fully cooked through. I’ll do a more traditional roast chicken soon, which I roast at a lower temperature.

Rosemary Scented Roasted Chicken

1 broiler chicken, about 2 3/4 lbs.
1-2 Tbls. olive oil
3 sprigs fresh rosemary
freshly cracked black pepper
kosher salt
1 Tbls. butter
spray oil

Serves 1-2, as a main course

Rosemary Scented Roast Chicken: Do a little prep

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Spray a roasting pan lightly with oil and set aside.

Grab your chicken from the fridge. Unwrap it and give it a rinse under cold water. Pat it dry with paper towels.

Rosemary Scented Roast Chicken: Fold the wings under

Because you’re roasting your bird at a high temperature, fold the wings under to keep the tips from burning.

Set the chicken down, breast-side down. Take one of the chicken wings in your hand.

Following the natural way that the wing moves, twist it around so that the tip is on top of the chicken’s back.

Tuck the wing in, so it sits neatly like this:

Do the same thing with the other wing, then set the bird down in your pan, breast-side up.

Rosemary Scented Roast Chicken: Season your bird

Now that you’ve tucked your bird’s wings under, it’s time to season it.

Drizzle a few tablespoons of olive oil over your bird.

With your hands, pick the bird up and rub the oil so that it’s covered.

Grab your rosemary sprigs and put them in the cavity of the chicken. It will perfume the chicken from the inside as it roasts.

If the rosemary hangs out a little bit, that’s just fine.

Sprinkle with freshly cracked black pepper and kosher salt to taste.

Cut your tablespoon of butter up into a few pieces. Dot them on top of the chicken.

At this point, you could truss the legs together if you like. I usually don’t bother.

Rosemary Scented Roast Chicken: Roast away!

Pop your bird into your preheated oven and roast at 450 degrees for about 45 minutes, until it’s golden brown and the juices run clear.

(My bird weighed about 2 3/4 lbs. If yours is bigger or smaller, adjust your cooking time accordingly.)

When it comes out of the oven, tent a piece of aluminum foil over it and let it rest for maybe 15 minutes.

Rosemary Scented Roast Chicken: Wait, wait…how do I know when it’s done again?

A lot of folks have asked me about this, so here’s the best explanation I can give you.

Now, I’m not really an oven thermometer kind of gal. (If you are, you’re shooting for about 175 degrees on a meat thermometer placed in the thickest part of the bird’s thigh. Don’t hit a bone when you stick the thermometer in, or you could get a false reading.)

I go more by visual clues. For example, the skin will be nice and brown, like this:

The juices in the pan should be clear-ish yellow or brown, not pink or red.

If you grab the end of the leg and give it a little wiggle, it should feel kind of loose in the socket.

Then, if you take a fork and poke the chicken where the leg meets the body, the juices that come out here should also be a clear-ish yellow, not pink or red. (If they’re pink or red, stick your bird back in the oven for another 5-10 minutes, then check it again.)

If you slip a fork in between the leg and body, the leg should come away with just a little pressure. Notice that the juices pooled here are a clear-ish yellow.

Remember that the leg here is dark meat, so it will be a little, well, darker in color. That doesn’t mean it’s not done. If it’s not done, the meat will look kind of translucent and gelatinous. Note that the leg on my fully cooked chicken is completely opaque.

Rosemary Scented Roast Chicken: Carve, serve, and enjoy!

Carve the chicken into pieces and serve.

If the bird is really on the smaller side, you can also whack it in two pieces with a very sharp knife and serve each guest a whole half chicken. It’s totally up to you and the style of dinner you’re serving.

Copyright 2008-2009 The Hungry Mouse�/Jessica B. Konopa. All rights reserved.

Martha Stewart for

Stonewall Kitchen, LLC

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Jessie Cross is a cookbook author and creator of The Hungry Mouse, a monster online food blog w/500+ recipes. When she's not shopping for cheese or baking pies, Jessie works as an advertising copywriter in Boston. She lives in Salem, Massachusetts with her husband and two small, fluffy wolves.


  1. I absolutely LOVE roast chicken! One of my favorite things to do is to rub a little dijon mustard between the skin and the meat before cooking... it really adds a different flavor!
  2. Those photos are gorgeous! I really like roasting chicken - it makes the kitchen smell good, and if you roast the bigger ones, there's plenty of leftover meat for a lunch or two. And it's darned cost-effective to boot. Another fantastic post - thanks!!
  3. That looks so good! I've got a roasting chicken in my fridge; i'm going to be making the garlic herb rub tonight! I can eek out two-three different meals for my family off a $6 chicken! Awesome pics, Jessie!
  4. Very sexy. Presented as an additional theory: Vertical roasting for the broiler chicken. Recipe as presented will tend to produce that nice crispy skin on about 70% of the bird, leaving the 30% on the back (where some of the best flavored meat is) to get kind of soggy in the drippings and what not. Great if you are going to make a gravy out of the drippings, not so great for chicken served by the piece or the half. By taking a 12 ounce can, cutting the top off, half filling it with white wine, say, and all the rosemary springs that were inserted in the nether cavity of the chicken, and sticking the can in the nether region, we can make a tripod of the two legs and the can. Advantages: 1- faster cooking 2- 100% crispy skin 3- moister interior 4- Something fun to show folks when it comes out of the oven. As said before, I did my turkey in this pose and would do it again (if I weren't planning on spatchcocking next years bird... you can roast it in 45 minutes if you flatten it out) and have done a ton of chickens. Short of a rotisserie, it is, imho, the best way to roast a chicken.
  5. Thanks, all! :D Zena--Totally agree about how cost effective chicken is. Yay. Max--You know, I really need to do a beer can. I think that every time you mention it. I've only done a chicken like that once, and it was a long time ago. I remember it was fantastic. This little sucker was so small that the meat on the back was actually fairly browned, too, but that totally wouldn't be the case with a larger bird (which I usually do on a rack). I'll put this on my list, though with the way the month's shaping up, I might not get to it 'til after christmas... And I've seen pictures of that 45-minute turkey, but have never tried it. I'm dying to know how it is. It makes even me (who doesn't really like turkey) kind of drool... :D +Jessie
  6. Your roasted chicken looks super good. Plus I really appreciate all the work you put into your posts. The extreme detail you go into and the step by step photo instructions really make it easy to follow. Great job!
  7. a two dollar chicken? where do you live?? no wonder they make industrial chicken factories... they had to house, care, kill, process, store, transport & package an animal that lived several months... no small wonder the poor thing gets treated so badly, you know the humans aren't going to bear the brunt of those overhead costs... I can really see where the money for a free-range chicken adds up. I'd never dreamt that a chicken could cost less than $20...
  8. Thank you for the recipe and the clear steps! I will be making the broiler chicken tonight for my first time so this helps a lot!