So you think you can’t have a deliciously juicy, crispy-skinned whole chicken on your dinner table on a Wednesday. Hello, have we met? This weeknight roast chicken with garlic and herb butter sauce is about to save the day. Roasted chicken doesn’t have to be a weekend or even Sunday dinner kinda thing. I roast birds all week long, and they’re always succulent and quickly done.
Removing the backbone (aka spatchcocking) allows you to lay the bird flat in an even layer, which helps it cook evenly and much faster. High-roasting it helps get that skin cracker crisp, so much so that the meat underneath it has no choice but to baste in its own fat — which helps it stay juicy.
At the end of the day, roasted chicken is my favorite thing to cook and eat. It’s incredibly comforting, and it really does hug my entire soul. When I was younger, roasted chicken was something we only ate on the weekends because it just took too much time to cook. But screw all that, as I said before, you can have a yummy roast chicken on a weeknight. No excuses. About twenty minutes into the cooking time, you’re going to be punched in the face with the awakening of those heavenly aromas as the fat starts to render and hit the hot baking sheet. It’s heavenly. I swear they need to make a roast chicken candle.
Size (in this case) matters. Try to get a chicken between three and four’ish pounds. Anything larger than that will take longer — which is fine if you have the time. Also, if you do get a bird over 5 pounds, I’d suggest lowering the temperature to 400 degrees F.
Make sure the skin is dry. Use paper towels to blot away excess moisture from the surface of the chicken. Moisture will make it a little harder to achieve that coveted crispy skin.
Olive oil or avocado oil work great to “oven-fry” the skin, which also helps it get super crispy along with the flaky kosher salt. You can use butter to slather the skin, but understand that the water content in butter will prevent the skin from crisping up. If you don’t care about crispy skin, feel free to slather that bird in the best grass-fed butter you can find. You can also use ghee or duck fat! Don’t use those “butter-like” spreads you find in tubs…they’re not ideal at all here.
Gently loosen the skin from the flesh so that you can massage some seasoning between the skin and flesh. Optional, but ideal. You can season the chicken with whatever you prefer! Just avoid getting anything other than salt and pepper on the skin, because I promise you it will burn and turn bitter. Don’t do it. If you accidentally get any seasoning other than salt and pepper on the skin, just wipe it away before you roast it. Even pepper burns in a 425-degree oven, but as I mentioned in my video — I don’t care lol. I like the way it looks. I don’t always add black pepper to the skin, though.
Oven position matters! Make sure your bird is in the center of your oven, no matter what temperature you roast it at. If it’s too low, the bottom of the bird will cook too fast, and if it’s too high, the skin will darken too quickly.
Removing the backbone of the bird is what allows it to cook faster and more evenly. If you don’t have the tools to remove the backbone, just know that you can roast it whole but it’ll take just a little longer.
Use an instant-read thermometer to take the internal temperature of the meat so that you don’t over or undercook the bird.
Don’t tent the chicken while it rests. The condensation will cause the crispy skin to sog up.
That sauce tho…
When you make this intensely flavored garlic and herb butter sauce, just know that you can use whatever you have! You don’t necessarily have to use every single herb I used. I just always have herbs lying around, because duh…I’m obsessed. This garlic and herb butter sauce is based in white wine. You can use chicken stock instead of wine. This sauce comes together rather quickly, so don’t make it too soon. Wait until the last 5-10 minutes of the chicken’s cooking time, or do it while the bird rests out of the oven.
But yo, this sauce is so damn good!! It’s like, simple but complex at the same time. It goes great with any protein, honestly. The way it just clings and coats the chicken is sexy AF, you’re gonna love this one. The addition of heavy cream is totally optional. I really just love the extra richness it gives. It also helps prevent the sauce from breaking (which isn’t a deal-breaker at all, but still).
Crispy, juicy roasted chicken with an accompanying garlic and herb white wine butter sauce. The perfect pairing for a quick weeknight meal when you want something comforting and savory in about an hour.
Prep the chicken by removing the backbone from the back of the bird using a VERY sharp chef’s knife or sharp kitchen shears. You can freeze the backbone to use for stock at a later time, or discard it. Clean out the inside of the carcass by removing any leftover bloody guts, lobs of excess fat, kidney’s, etc. Use a sharp knife to cut a small slit between the breastbone, which will allow the bird to lay flat.
Flip the bird over, flesh-side down and flatten the breast meat as much as you can so that the entire chicken is in one even layer. Pat the skin completely dry with paper towels to remove any excess moisture. Keep the surface dry as well. The chicken will continue to secrete juices as you handle it, so keep paper towels handy to keep the skin dry. Using your fingers, gently separate the skin from the flesh so that you can easily massage seasonings onto the breast and thigh meat later.
Flip the bird back over, flesh-side up and season liberally with flaky kosher salt, black pepper, herbs de provence, granulated garlic and onion, and crushed red pepper flakes. Or, use your favorite seasonings here — totally your call. Drizzle some olive oil over the seasonings to create a sludgy-paste. Massage those seasonings all over the open flesh side of the bird as well as under the skin. Try your best not to get the seasonings on the skin, because they will burn in the oven and end up tasting bitter. Flip the bird over flesh-side down, skin-side up. Use paper towels to remove any accumulated juices and seasonings from the skin. Make sure the skin is dry, then drizzle about a tablespoon or so of olive oil over the surface of the skin. Massage the skin with the oil to make sure it’s evenly coated in a thin layer. Don’t neglect the nooks and crannies.
Sprinkle a generous layer of flaky kosher salt all over the skin. Ideally, you only want to season the skin with salt, because anything else will burn — even pepper. However, you can still add pepper to the skin if you simply love the way it looks. Transfer the seasoned and oiled bird to your prepared baking sheet and place it in the center of your 425 degree oven for about an hour, or until the internal temperature of the breast meat registers at least 155 two 160 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, and the thigh/leg meat registers at least 165/170 on an instant-read thermometer. It’s okay to remove the chicken 10 degrees shy of it’s optimal cooking temperature because it will continue to cook even after you remove it from the oven — often going up about 10 degrees. But if you’re nervous, just take it out when the breast meat registers 165 degrees and the dark meat registers 175 degrees. Because ovens vary in heat-strength, going by “time” is never a good method for people across the board. Instant-read thermometers are your best friend, so please get one ASAP.
When the chicken is fully cooked, remove it from the oven and set aside to rest at least 10-15 minutes before carving. Do not cover the bird, we don’t want the condensation to sog up the crust we just worked so hard to get.
To make the sauce
Melt half a stick of butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the butter starts to sizzle and foam, add the shallots and saute for about 2 minutes until they’re softened. Season the shallots with salt, pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, and herbs de provence, stirring for about 30 seconds. If you need to add a little more fat because you’re noticing the butter is being soaked up rather quickly, drizzle in about a tablespoon of olive oil. Toss in the minced garlic (do NOT use jarred garlic, I will come and find you!), and saute for about 30 seconds or until fragrant. Pour in the white wine and bring to a simmer. Allow the wine to reduce for about 2 minutes, or until you can visually tell that there’s less in there than you poured in. Please use the visual clues in my video if you’re unsure. Once the sauce develops a good “body”, reduce the heat to low. Squeeze in the juice from half a lemon, the zest from the whole lemon, all of the fresh herbs, and the heavy cream (if using). Whisk to combine, then add the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter (in 1-tablespoon pats) to the sauce to slowly emulsify. Season with salt and pepper to taste then set aside.
Carve your rested chicken and serve with the sauce.
If you’re unable to remove the backbone from the chicken, you can just cook it whole. It will add just a few more minutes to the overall cooking time.
You can use chicken stock instead of wine for this recipe. You do not have to use every single herb I used, just use what you love and have. Season the meat-side of your chicken with whatever you want!
Prep Time:20 minutes
Cook Time:1 hour
Keywords: roast chicken, weeknight dinners, weeknight roast chicken, white wine butter sauce, garlic and herb white wine butter sauce
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