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close up roast chicken and potatoes

Super Simple French Roast Chicken Recipe

  • Author: lechefswife
  • Prep Time: 15mins
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours
  • Yield: 3-4 people 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Roasting
  • Cuisine: French


How to make the most succulent, flavorful, crispy skinned chicken that looks like it belongs in a magazine. This Super Simple French Roast Chicken recipe is so easy to make! You will want to make this recipe for your next dinner party with friends, Sunday lunch with the family or Tuesday night dinner for the kids!



1 Whole 3.5-4lbs chicken

6 Yukon gold potatoes, cut into cubes. Skin on or off – it is completely your preference. Make sure to rinse the skin well if you are leaving it on

1 head of garlic plus 3 cloves for inside the chicken, peel on

2 tsp of coarse salt

1/2 cup of olive oil

2 tbsps of butter

3 branches of thyme

5 leaves of sage

2 branches of rosemary


(You don’t need to wash a chicken. Rinsing it in water does not kill off bacteria – cooking does! This is a very curious tradition that confounds Le Chef every time he hears of it.)

  1. Preheat your oven to 350F – use the convection setting if you have it.
  2. Start with a whole chicken, about 3.5-4 lbs.
  3. Remove the insides. Your bagged chicken might have a neck and gizzards inside the cavity. Reach your hand inside and pull them out. You can wear a glove if you prefer. You can discard the neck and the gizzards unless you are planning to make chicken Soup with the carcass – in that case keep the neck to add to the bouillon for flavor.
  4. Pat down the chicken with a paper towel or clean kitchen towel. Removing the moisture helps to make a crispy skin!
  5. Set the chicken in a roasting pan greased with olive oil. I use a pan big enough with space around it for the potatoes (Roasted Chicken is always served with potatoes in France!)
  6. Inside the chicken cavity add the Rosemary, sage and thyme for flavor as well as several cloves of garlic and a pinch of coarse salt.
  7. Using cooking twine, tie the legs together. This is not necessary but a chicken does look more elegant with her knees together…!
  8. Sprinkle coarse salt over the top of the chicken
  9. Drizzle 1/4 cup of olive oil generously over the chicken.
  10. Slice a whole head of garlic, skin on, in half (width wise) and place each half on opposite sides of the pan (skin side down)
  11. Arrange the diced potatoes around the chicken and garlic.
  12. Add the remaining olive oil over the garlic and potatoes.
  13. Place 3 tablespoons of butter around the potatoes. (Using butter as well as olive oil on the potatoes makes for the most amazing crispy potatoes!)
  14. Place your roasting pan on the middle rack of your oven. Set the timer for 1 hour 45 minutes
  15. Halfway though, take the roasting pan out of the oven and give the potatoes a stir so that they brown on all sides. Spoon some of the liquid at the bottom of the pan over the chicken to keep it moist. Set the chicken back in the oven and leave it alone until time is up!
  16. Remove the chicken from the oven and let it rest in the pan for 20 minutes before serving.


To test that you chicken is done – use a meat thermometer

The temperature should read 165F. If you don’t have a meat thermometer, a good indication that the chicken is done is that the skin has begun to pull away from the leg bone. Prick the thigh with a fork – the juices should run clear. If the juice is pink, put the chicken back in for 10 minutes or until the juice runs clear.

One chicken easily serves 3-4 people (each person gets either a breast or a leg) . If you are serving 6 people I recommend roasting a second chicken. Simply add a second chicken to your pan if it is big enough or set a second pan in the oven – your cooking time will be the same.

How to Make Chicken Broth:

Pick the carcass for leftover meat. Set aside. In a large soup pot, cover the carcass (and the neck if you kept it) with water. Add 2 branches of celery, 2 carrots, 2 cloves of garlic (skin on), and 1 chopped leak. Season with rosemary, thyme and sage as well as a whole clove and a star anise (Le Chef’s secret ingredient!). Bring to a boil then reduce the heat and let simmer for 45 minutes. Strain out the liquid and you have your delicious broth! Perfect for freezing to add to a multitude of recipes or use as the base for the most delicious chicken soup with your leftover chicken meat!

Keywords: Roast Chicken , French cooking, french food, chicken