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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. The-FoodTrotter says:

    Best way to cook chicken! I just imagine a huge table full of people with your chicken in the middle 🙂

    1. Marissa says:

      Exactly! That is the very BEST way to serve this chicken. 🙂

  2. shashi at runninsrilankan says:

    I love how you trussed your chicken Marissa! My go to in-a-hurry recipe always involves veggies and lentils in some sort of curry – I’m thinking this chicken would be a wonderful accompaniment! Also – thanks so much for the inspiration to make my stock – I don’t beleive I made it to October without making any homemade stock this year!

    1. Marissa says:

      Yum, curry! I like how you think, Shashi. 🙂

  3. Dorothy Dunton says:

    Hi Marissa! Been trying to find you – consulted Kevin today. And, yes, you have bee missed!! Roast chicken is one of my go to meals for busy days or days when my brain has gone into pause mode! I like to put small potatoes around the chicken to roast in the drippings – add some frozen corn and it’s dinner! PS Crispy chicken skin is an appetizer, isn’t it? 🙂

    1. Marissa says:

      You’re so sweet, Dorothy! My heart skipped a beat when I saw your comment come in – I’ve missed you…Love the idea of having potatoes roast in the drippings. And, yes on the appetizer – one of the best. 🙂

  4. KevinIsCooking says:

    So glad you’re back too! You’ve been missed Marissa. I never knew the air drying technique and am going to try this one out next time, thanks for sharing (and Gary’s joke!).

    1. Marissa says:

      Thank you so much, Kevin! I predict that you’ll never go back after trying the air drying – it honestly creates the most wonderful crispy skin!

  5. HapaNomNom says:

    Welcome back girlie! I’ve missed you! No worries, I know how life can just get in the way of things you’d rather be doing. I can’t wait to hear more about this Paris trip! Oh btw, it sounds like Gary and my husband have the same corny sense of humor 😛
    I love this super crispy roasted chicken! I can practically see the crispiness! Sometimes it’s the simplest things that are the best in life – super juice and incredibly crispy chicken is one of them 🙂

    1. Marissa says:

      Thank you, sweet friend. 🙂 Gotta love a corny sense of humor, right? And, I agree! So often the best things in life are the simplest.