Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Salt-Roasted Chicken

I stumbled on a Salt-Roasted Chicken recipe some 4 years ago. Since then, I've adapted it and cooked this again and again to raving reviews every time. My kids love eating it while I love the simplicity of making it. It's so easy it's unbelievable. For that reason alone, I make roast chicken every other week. I think everyone has their favourite roast chicken recipe, but this is mine, hands down.

It starts off with just 1 chicken, 1 level spoon of salt and some garlic. Errr ... and that's it. No oil, no herbs, no fancy-schmancy seasonings, nada. It's so effortless it's almost a sin to claim any credit!

After washing the chicken, salt it, including the cavity. Next, stuff in as many garlic cloves as you can into the cavity before sealing with a toothpick. The garlic will perfume the entire bird while the salt works to dry up the skin to a crackling crisp.

You can truss the bird before roasting, but I normally don't. Face the bird breast side up, and roast in a 240 to 260 degree oven (I crank it up all the way to 260 for mine). After the juices run clear and the bird is nicely browned, let it cool for at least 15mins before serving. You need to let the juices redistribute within.

This is a good time to make the gravy. Using whatever juices and oils left in the roasting pan, add a rice bowl of chicken stock. Bring everything to a boil and add some diluted corn starch a minute before turning off the flame. This will thicken the gravy. Pour the gravy through a sieve to get rid of any charred bits.

I usually throw in potatoes for roasting. BUT today, I made Garlicky Oven Wedges, which oh, deserve a separate blog entry of their own!

The best part of this dish is, evidently, the eating. Tender, moist chicken that goes well with rice, potatoes, pasta or buns. It's versatile, easy and absolutely delish. The second best part of this dish is the garlic cloves which were sealed and "pressure cooked" inside the cavity. They are as creamy as potatoes and oh, so aromatic! Just pop them whole, out of their skins, and relish that mealiness. Pure bliss for garlic fanatics like me.

And yes, I am so in need of mints right now.

Recipe(adapted from here)
- 1 whole chicken
- 1 tbs salt
- As many unpeeled cloves of garlic as you like

1. Wash the chicken.

2. Dry the chicken.

3. Salt the chicken, including cavity.

4. Throw in as many cloves of garlic as you like, into the cavity. Then seal with a toothpick.

5. Place the chicken breast side up, in a baking tray. Surround with potatoes* if you wish to make this a one-dish meal.
*For potatoes, it helps if you semi-cook them prior. Just cut into bite-sized chunks, drizzle very little oil and microwave them (covered) on high till they turn a little translucent around the edges. They will cook through during the roasting.

6. Roast for 50-60mins or until the juices run clear and the chicken has browned to a crisp.

7. Allow to cool for at least 15mins so that juices can re-distribute.

8. Make gravy using the residual juices in the roasting pan by adding 1 rice bowl of chicken stock. Bring to a bowl and add a little diluted corn starch to thicken. Sieve through to remove charred bits. Serve chicken with gravy on the side.


  1. Looks so delicious! I'm drooling already!

  2. Hi Wendy, thanks! Glad to have you here.

  3. So yummy! I love your roast chickens!

  4. That looks fabulous!! I bought some chickens the other day, and roasted one last night (BBQ sauce, lemon, etc). I think I'll try it nice and simple next time. =)

  5. Hi Rachelle, thanks for dropping by. Let me know how yours turns out :)

  6. My favorite chicken recipe!! Love your blog. And your photos. What kind of camera and lens do you use?

  7. Anon: Thanks! I used my very old Nikon point-and-shoot for these pics.

  8. Ehehn, the reason I'm here again tonight is cause I have a whole chicken in the fridge. Hubby bought it today. I'm back because I mentally bookmarked this recipe.....and so finally, the time has come. Tell you how it goes tomorrow!

  9. My grandma makes this recipe! The only difference is that she uses 2 tbsp of salt and lets it brine overnight.

  10. Hi Ju,
    Since seeing this recipe months ago it is now the only roast I make. Nothing else compares! Also made the garlic wedges tonight. So good! I have a local restaurant question. My husband will be visiting Singapore in a few weeks from the US, and is always in search of an unpretentious restaurant where he can experience good regional food with the locals. Any suggestions? If ever you visit the NorthEastern US I'll try to return the favor!

  11. Hi Nancy, are you a Singaporean living in USA? Your husband should eat at hawker centres or coffeeshops, which are found everywhere. This is where street food is at its cheapest and best. Forget the restaurants. If he can't tolerate the heat, try the food courts, which can be found in all malls. They are air-conditioned and cleaner. Take a look at this site:


  12. Thanks so much! I'll let you know how he does. Wish I were joining him as I've never been to Singapore. Maybe next time!

  13. Hi Ju ! The recipe turned out great ! love the crispiness of the skin !! This is so easy too ! thanks a bunch for sharing !

  14. i tried this recipe just now, it's a pity i don't have a whole chicken, mine is an assortment of thigh, drumstick and breast meat.
    the thigh and drumstick meat turns out good and moist as there's a layer of skin. the skin is crispy. however, my breast meat is very dry and almost as hard as a pebble.. hahaha..
    i must try this recipe with a whole chicken next time. Thanks again for sharing the recipe. :)

  15. hi, i've bookmarked this recipe for a long time and finally tried it tonight! the meat was wonderfully juicy, but the skin on my chicken didn't brown quite as much as usual/how it looks on yours ? was wondering if you have any tips or comments on something i didn't do/ did wrong. thanks!

  16. Hi Ju, This is such an easy and delicious recipe!! I highly recommend to anyone who loves roast chicken! :-)