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Herb Roasted Chicken has perfectly crisped skin and is always juicy and deeply flavorful. Even on the busiest weeks, I still do my best to cook our meals instead of eating out or picking up food to-go. This is almost always part of the plan – it takes 5 minutes of prep and a little bit of forethought.

Herb Roasted Chicken in a Cast Iron Skillet

This Herb Roasted Chicken recipe is an extra-speedy version of the famed Zuni Chicken. (Deb, of Smitten Kitchen, does a lovely job of the full fledged version and you can see the original recipe in the Zuni Cafe Cookbook.) The key elements that I’ve copied are seasoning a day early and allowing the skin to dry out, uncovered in the refrigerator and flipping the chicken as it roasts to evenly crisp the skin. As a bonus, you can open the fridge every so often and crack corny jokes like, “There’s a fowl smell in here.” (I’m looking at you, Gary. 😉 )

What I love about this herb roasted chicken is that we’ll eat on it, in one way or another, for nearly a week. With just two of us, we’ll eat the legs and thighs along with a simple side dish like Twice Baked PotatoesMashed Red Potatoes, or Sour Cream Mashed Potatoes with Turkey Gravy (no drippings required!), or Cheesy Potatoes or Skillet Potatoes and a green salad on the first evening. And maybe some (or all) of the crispy skin if no one is looking. Then the breast will last us for two more meals on sandwiches, sliced on salad, tossed into pasta with vegetables or stirred into soup (like Chicken Pot Pie Soup) or chili.

Easy Recipe for Chicken Stock

And I always make stock. It’s the simplest thing and tastes nothing like what you pour from a can or box – so much better! I add the carcass and the contents of the little bag of treasures that I’ve pulled from the chicken before roasting (neck, etc.) to a large pot, cover it with water, then add a quartered onion, a handful of fresh parsley, some chopped celery, several peppercorns and maybe a bay leaf. I let this mixture simmer away for a few hours, until the liquid has reduced by about half and has a rich, golden color. Once it’s cool, I strain it and either use it that week for soup or freeze it in a canning jar.

Natural Truss

You may have noticed what I call the ‘natural truss?’ I don’t always bother to truss, but here’s my preferred method: I make about a 1-inch slice through the skin and flesh of the lower thighs, then press the tip of each leg bone through the slices in a crisscross.

Looking for dinner tonight? Check out this super simple recipe for Crispy Chicken Thighs – they’re delicious, easy and you don’t need to begin the night before! 😉

Serve With

Herb Roasted Chicken

Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 1 hour 10 minutes
Total: 1 hour 15 minutes
Course: Main Course
Calories: 292
Servings: 8 people
Start this the day before you plan to roast the chicken for the most delicious, crispiest skin! For this recipe, you’ll need a rimmed baking sheet, flat cooling rack and a 10-inch oven-proof pan, preferably cast iron.


  • 5 pound whole chicken patted dry
  • 2 tablespoons herb salt
  • freshly ground black pepper


  • The evening before you plan to roast the chicken, place a flat baking or cooling rack inside of a rimmed baking sheet.
  • Place chicken on rack, breast-side up. Sprinkle herb salt all over chicken and lightly rub it into the breast and onto the legs and thighs. Season with freshly ground black pepper.
  • Refrigerate uncovered for 12 to 24 hours (this will make the skin extra crispy!)
  • One hour before you’re ready to roast the chicken, remove it from the refrigerator.
  • When you’re ready to bake, place a 10-inch cast iron skillet on the center rack of the oven. Preheat oven to 450°F.
  • When oven has reached temperature, the cast iron pan will be very hot. Carefully place the chicken, breast-side up into the hot pan. It should really sizzle!
  • After 30 minutes, reduce the oven temperature to 425°F. Flip chicken so it is back-side up.
  • After 20 minutes, flip the chicken once more, so that it’s breast-side up and roast 20 minutes more.
  • Remove chicken from oven and allow to rest for 15 minutes before carving.
  • Carve and Serve.


Calories: 292kcal | Protein: 25g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 102mg | Sodium: 1839mg | Potassium: 257mg | Vitamin A: 190IU | Vitamin C: 2.1mg | Calcium: 15mg | Iron: 1.2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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  1. Tom_Colo says:

    Thanks for taking a break from your REAL job 🙂

    I just love Chicken and this recipe looks great!

    I have been experimenting with roasting chicken on the grill. One each beer can (with beer) the can full of rosemary, the chicken in vertical position and the results have been amazing!

    The steam from the inside cooks the chicken and the grill gives a great crispy crust. In fact I was going to try your rub (from the previous post) on my next chicken.

    Please post your blog site so we can follow along! Safe travels

    1. Marissa says:

      I can always count on you for something delicious sounding to try! I’ve got to try that! Thank you, Tom. 🙂

  2. Helen @ Scrummy Lane says:

    Nice to have you back, Marissa! I totally get the day job kicking the blog to the curb. That’s happened to me lately, too 🙁
    Really appreciate the chicken-roasting tips! It’s a great reminder how great it is to have a whole chicken to use in recipes all week. I don’t roast a chicken often enough!

    1. Marissa says:

      Nice to hear I’m not alone. 🙂 Thank you, Helen. xo

  3. Nicole ~ Cooking for Keeps says:

    There aren’t many things I love more in the fall and winter than a classic roast chicken, there’s just something so comforting about them, right?? Yours looks PERFECT, that skin!

    1. Marissa says:

      Thank you, Nicole. And, I agree!

  4. Jess @ whatjessicabakednext says:

    Love roasted chicken – this looks delicious, Marissa! Have a great time away in Paris, that is so exciting for you! 😀

    1. Marissa says:

      Thanks, Jess!

  5. Mon Petit Four (@byMonPetitFour) says:

    Marissa, another fantastic recipe! Your chicken looks perfect, and the skin…well, let’s just I would definitely be eating all that off the first night! ;p I’ve missed you while you’ve been away, but you always make it worth it when you do post, so that is always appreciated! 🙂 I remember seeing Deb’s post about drying out the chicken and such, and now that you’ve confirmed the method works, I will definitely be trying this. Roast chicken is a favorite because it’s so incredibly yummy, and because like you said, you can pretty much use it for any meal throughout the week….it’s the gift that keeps on giving lol! I am SO excited for your upcoming trip to Paris. I really hope we’ll cross paths there! <3

    1. Marissa says:

      You always leave the most thoughtful comments, Beeta. Thank you. I really hope we cross paths too! xo