Simple Roast Chicken

Overhead view of a roast chicken

A quick 1-hour brine creates a moist and flavor packed chicken, and compound butter keeps the moisture in while cooking.


  • ½ cup Sugar
  • ½ cup Salt
  • 1 Gallon Cold Water
  • 3 Tbsp Butter, softened
  • 1 tsp Garlic, minced
  • ½ tsp each of Rosemary, Thyme, Oregano, or other herbs of your choice
  • 1 4 pound Chicken
  • 3 Tbsp Olive Oil


  1. In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, salt and water until sugar an salt dissolve. Remove chicken neck, liver and gizzards from inside cavity of the chicken. Submerge into the salt water brine solution. Place in fridge for 1 hour, flipping the bird half way through the process.
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. Place an adjustable roasting rack into a large baking sheet or baking dish.
  3. Remove chicken from brine and rinse under cold water. Pat very dry with several paper towels. In a small bowl combine softened butter, garlic and other herbs of your choice, stirring to combine.
  4. Using fingers, separate the skin covering the chicken breasts from the meat of the breasts. Using fingers rub the butter between the skin and the chicken breast meat, evenly over both breasts. Pull skin taught to cover the breasts.
  5. Place chicken onto the roasting rack with the wing side up. Base bird in olive oil. Roast with wing side up for 15 minutes.
  6. Using tongs or wads of paper towels, flip the chicken so it is sitting with the opposite wing up in the roasting rack and roast for another 15 minutes.
  7. Flip once more, so that the breast side is facing up – and roast bird for 30 minutes, or until the breast meat registers 160 degrees and the dark thigh meat registers 175.
  8. Remove from oven and tent chicken with foil. Let rest for 10 minutes.
  9. Carve the bird and serve immediately.


Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen Simple Roast Chicken