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Ina Garten's Perfect Roast Chicken Is Exactly That

Ina Garten's Perfect Roast Chicken

There's really nothing better in the dead of winter than coming home to the comforting smells of chicken roasting in the oven. And it's even better if you have a roast chicken recipe that's virtually foolproof.

Ina Garten is the queen of simple but fabulous dinners, after all, so when her Perfect Roast Chicken recipe started to make the rounds on the internet again, we knew we had to try it out and see if it was really as good as everyone is saying it is. We grabbed the simple ingredients and completed exactly 5 minutes of prep then waited to see if this might be our new go-to roast chicken recipe.

Get the recipe: Ina Garten's Perfect Roast Chicken

Ingredients for Ina Garten’s Perfect Roast Chicken

For this one, grab a 5- to 6-pound roasting chicken, kosher salt, black pepper, fresh thyme, a halved lemon, a whole head of halved garlic, a Spanish onion, 1 cup of chicken stock, 2 tablespoons of flour and 2 tablespoons of melted butter. You’ll also need a roasting pan and a meat thermometer, if you have one.

Ingredients for Ina's Roast Chicken<p>Courtesy of Jessica Wrubel</p>
Ingredients for Ina's Roast Chicken

Courtesy of Jessica Wrubel

Related: 19 Classic Ina Recipes That Prove She's the GOAT

How to make Ina Garten’s Perfect Roast Chicken

Start by preheating the oven to 425°. Ina says to rinse the chicken inside and out before beginning, but I skipped this step (this may be the only time that I disagree with Ina as studies show that washing meat can actually increase bacterial spread, though I know opinions on washing meat varies from cook to cook). Pat the chicken dry with paper towels, place in a large roasting pan and season the inside of the bird with salt and pepper. Stuff the cavity with a large bunch of thyme, the lemon and all of the garlic. Brush the outside with melted butter and then sprinkle one more time with salt and pepper. Tie the legs together with twine and tuck the wings under the chicken. Thickly slice the onion and scatter the slices around the chicken in the pan.

Roast for 1 1/2 hours or until an internal temperature reaches 165° and the juices run clear. Transfer the chicken to a platter and cover with foil while you prepare the gravy.

Finished Roast Chicken<p>Courtesy of Jessica Wrubel</p>
Finished Roast Chicken

Courtesy of Jessica Wrubel

To make the gravy, reserve 2 tablespoons of fat from the bottom of the pan and set aside. Add chicken stock to the pan and cook on high heat until reduced, which should take about five minutes. Combine the 2 tablespoons of reserved chicken fat with the flour and add that to the pan. Whisk for a few minutes to cook the flour and strain the gravy into a small saucepan. Season to taste. Keep the gravy warm while you carve the chicken. Serve the chicken with the gravy.

Related: Ina Garten's Must-Make Mac and Cheese

What I thought of Ina Garten’s Perfect Roast Chicken

This truly was the perfect roast chicken and it is definitely beginner-level since it is so easy. The toughest part was tying the legs together and tucking the wing tips, as well as being able to tell when it’s perfectly done, but a quick YouTube search and a good instant-read thermometer will eliminate both of those so-called difficulties.

Plate of Ina's Roast Chicken<p>Courtesy of Jessica Wrubel</p>
Plate of Ina's Roast Chicken

Courtesy of Jessica Wrubel

The garlic and lemon inside the chicken permeated throughout the meat and created an herby, lemony succulent bird. The addition of the gravy was just an added bonus. The best thing about this recipe was that there was zero babysitting. I literally plopped it in a roasting pan, put it in the oven and waited for my house to smell like a cozy French bistro. The skin was perfectly seasoned and crispy, and the bird was evenly cooked. The reviewers were right: This is one magical chicken. I had forgotten how easy roast chicken can be and I will definitely be adding this to my winter meal rotation.

Related: Ina Garten's Company Pot Roast

Tips for making Ina Garten’s Perfect Roast Chicken

  1. Save some of your fresh herbs and lemon. After the chicken comes out of the oven, the thyme and lemon aren’t exactly fit for a serving platter so if you want that extra zing on your plate, make sure to reserve some ahead of time.

  2. Keep an eye on your onions. Even though I sliced my onions super thick and my oven was set at the correct temperature, they still ended up slightly burning in the hour and a half my bird was in the oven. Next time I’ll either remove them if I notice that they’re starting to get too brown and simply add them back in later on, or add some chicken stock to the bottom of the pan while it’s cooking.

  3. Vary your veggies. In another rendition of Ina's recipe, she suggests adding wedges of fennel and four carrots cut into chunks in the bottom of the roasting pan so that you have something to serve with the chicken when it comes out of the oven besides just onions. Redditors had some great ideas too, though, with one saying "Do yourself a favor and serve this roast chicken (which is amazing!) with Ina's version of Goat Cheese Mashed Potatoes." Not a bad idea at all.

Next: What’s the Best Type of Chicken for Chicken Soup?