Julia's Favorite Roast Chicken

All-Time Greatest Recipes from Legendary Cooks

Julia Child seasoned this roast chicken inside and out by packing sautéed vegetables, lemon slices and fresh herbs into the cavity, then rubbing the skin with butter. In typical French fashion, she trussed the bird to promote even cooking.

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  • Servings: 4

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  • 2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup finely diced carrots
  • 1/3 cup finely diced onion
  • 1/3 cup finely diced celery
  • 1 teaspoon thyme, savory or mixed herbs, or 2 fresh thyme or savory sprigs
  • One 3 1/2- to 4-pound chicken
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Parsley stems
  • Celery leaves
  • Six 1/8-inch-thick lemon slices
  • 1/2 cup sliced onion
  • 1/2 cup sliced carrots
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup chicken stock or broth

How to make this recipe

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°. Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a skillet. Add the diced carrots, onion and celery and cook over moderate heat until softened. Stir in the herbs.

  2. Wash the chicken rapidly inside and out with hot water and pat thoroughly dry. For easier carving, cut out and discard the wishbone. Pull the neck skin up over the breast and secure it to the back with a toothpick. Salt and pepper the cavity and spoon in the cooked vegetables, a handful of parsley stems and celery leaves and the lemon slices. Massage the chicken all over with 1 tablespoon of the butter, then truss it. Alternatively, tie the ends of the drumsticks together and tuck the wings under the body.

  3. Choose a flameproof roasting pan that is about 1 inch larger than the chicken. Salt the chicken all over and set it breast up on a rack in the pan. (Thoroughly wash all surfaces and utensils that have been in contact with the raw chicken.)

  4. Roast the chicken in the oven for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, as follows:<br >
    <strong>At 15 minutes</strong> Brush the chicken with the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of butter. Scatter the sliced onion and carrot all around. Reduce the oven temperature to 350&#176;.<br>
    <strong>At 45 minutes</strong> Brush the lemon juice over the chicken. If necessary, add 1/2 cup of water to the vegetables to prevent burning.<br>
    <strong>At 60 minutes</strong> Baste with the pan juices. Test for doneness: The drumsticks should move easily in their sockets; their flesh should feel somewhat soft. If not, continue roasting, basting and testing every 7 to 8 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer registers 165&#176;.

  5. Spear the chicken through the shoulders; lift to drain; if the last of the juices run clear yellow, the chicken is done. Let rest on a carving board for 15 minutes; discard the string.

  6. Spoon all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the juices in the pan. Add the stock and boil until lightly syrupy, 5 minutes. Strain; you will have just enough to bathe each serving with a fragrant spoonful.

Suggested Pairing

Minerally, full-bodied Cour-Cheverny.

Contributed By Photo © Con Poulos Published January 1997

461107 recipes/julias-favorite-roast-chicken 2013-12-06T23:33:44+00:00 Julia Child roasting|dinner-party|thanksgiving|4|staff-favorite|weeknight-dinner january-1997 recipes,julias-favorite-roast-chicken 461107

Aggregate Rating value: 5

Review Count: 1751

Worst Rating: 0

Best Rating: 5

Author Name: Kalpana Panwar

Review Body: Hi ! This really is such a excellent roast chicken dish. Simple and delicious !!Thanks for sharing with us :-)

Review Rating: 1

Date Published: 2016-10-28

Author Name: JuliaMans

Review Body: Thank you for this recipe, it looks great, but #4 (roasting instructions) needs to be rewritten, it makes no sense. 

Date Published: 2017-01-19

Author Name: sourhoney

Review Body: simple and good

Review Rating: 5

Date Published: 2016-07-07

Author Name: Chelsea Henderson

Review Body: I added rosemary and a little flour and butter to the gravy at the end and it was delicious. 

Date Published: 2016-08-25