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The Perfect Roast Chicken

This delicious roast chicken recipe is courtesy of Jonathan Waxman and can be found in his cookbook, "A Great American Cook."

  • Yield: Serves 4
The Perfect Roast Chicken

Source: The Martha Stewart Show, January Winter 2008


  • 1 whole (3 1/2- to 4-pound) chicken, preferably free-range, corn-fed, or naturally raised
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for chicken
  • Jonathan Waxman's Mashed Potatoes, for serving
  • Sauteed Spinach, for serving


  1. Preheat oven to 475 degrees.

  2. Remove gizzards and trim any excess fat from chicken. Rinse chicken well and let soak in warm water for 20 minutes; pat dry. Coat the bottom of a heavy-bottomed roasting pan with 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil; set aside.

  3. Season chicken with salt and pepper and rub with olive oil. Transfer chicken to prepared roasting pan. Roast, basting chicken and shaking the bottom of the roasting pan to ensure chicken does not stick, every 5 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 165 degrees, about 45 minutes.

  4. Remove chicken from oven and let stand 10 minutes before carving and serving with potatoes and spinach.

Reviews (32)

  • julie221 7 Sep, 2008

    Oh, I thought this was going to be a chicken roasted by a prefect. Just wondering what that would be, ha ha!
    Got any proofreaders there?

  • Sassychick 25 Mar, 2008

    I cooked it at 425, according to what Jonathan Waxman said on the show, and I didn't seem to have any problems with smoke. It turned out quite good, and I would definitely make it again. The only different thing that I did do was I flipped the chicken over because I was afraid it would not cook thoroughly, even though they said it was not necessary on the show. All was still good.

  • DelilahJane 16 Feb, 2008

    NEVER use extra virgin olive oil when cooking anything at high temps. Extra virgin olive oil has a VERY low smoking point; use regular or light olive oil to avoid smoking. Just as flavorful, but without the smoke. Save your extra virgin for it's intended use. Americans are the only ones who use it for high heat cooking. Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece, etc use the light stuff for cooking. Extra Virgin is used for salads, table service and the like.

    I've been making Sara Moultrie's 'Blasted Chicken' for years, and always cook a 4 lb chicken for 45 minutes at 450n n n n . I do like to use a cast iron pan when roasting the chicken. Never a problem with cleanup.

    DO NOT use a coated, except perhaps one with a Thermalon interior. I was fortunate enough to get to beta test these before almost 2 years ago. (Fortunately, the ones I tested did NOT have the troublesome labels that can't be removed, as the ones currently in the stores now).

  • sdg13 9 Feb, 2008

    Question? On the show Mr. Waxman specifically says he roasts this at 425. The recipe says 475. Which is it?

  • JanetElaine 8 Feb, 2008

    We made this last night and it was so tender and juicy. We did have a bit of a grease mess, but I would take a little mess any day for that wonderful, moist chicken.

  • HallieNacht 8 Feb, 2008

    I love Roast Chicken- one of my favorite comfort dishes

  • LoveRiot 7 Feb, 2008

    What is the point of soaking the chicken in water for 20 minutes?

  • lpblanchard 6 Feb, 2008

    This chicken was very good. I did not have a problem with much smoke. There was a little when I first opened the oven to baste but other than that, I did not have a problem with smoke. The only thing that was a little annoying was the basting every five minutes, but other than that, I would do this again--not every time I roast a chicken but I would do it again every so often.

    Leticia B.

  • AmyWBauer 5 Feb, 2008

    This was delicious! I lowered the heat to 425 and still had smoke but it WAS worth it! YUMM!!

  • NFedco 5 Feb, 2008

    No chicken dish is worth the mess this one caused. Smoked filled most of my downstairs. Clean-up was literally hours. I went through two scrubbers and a rubber glove cleaning the pan and this was after it soaked overnight. The house reeked of grease for two days. The chicken itself was less than desirable. The thighs and one wing were undercooked while the drumsticks and breast were dry. This recipe is definitely not a keeper nor for the average home cook!

  • barbyanchar 5 Feb, 2008

    Oh my, while the chicken was delicious what a mess to cook. Couldn't do it at 475. Went to 450, and even at that grease all over the inside of the oven and smoke throughout our house, causing our alarm to go off. Turned temp down to 350 during the last 10 min. Probably will not cook this again. I would imagine Chef Waxman cooks this in his professional kitchen and his professional oven where there are no smoke issues. BY.

  • nana24 4 Feb, 2008

    I served this chicken recipe to my family and they loved it. I covered the chicken with foil paper for 40 min. and took the foil paper of for the last 20min. served it with mashed potatoes and green beans. DELICIOUSE!!

  • kimy 30 Jan, 2008

    I cooked this chicken tonight for supper and the chicken was juicy and the skin was crispy,but.. I have an apartment size oven so cooking it for only about 45min isn't quite enough to cook to the bone. The thermometer read the right temp. after 45min and it looked right but it wasn't cooked all the way through. And my house does smell like grease and it did smoke as well. Needs a few adjustments and it will be great.

  • VicPatPhil 29 Jan, 2008

    I just served this to my family and it was wonderful. Old fashioned roast chicken. I put two chickens in a large roasting pan, had the oven at 450 (I did not want the smoke) and basted and shook every 10 minutes. Great recipe.

  • GrammyS 29 Jan, 2008

    Baste every 5 min or you can do 10 min. If you don't want smoke tent your pan w/aluminum foil and take off last 10 min for browning. Thank you "robettalee" for the onion on the bottom tip - I'm going to try it - sounds delicious!

  • GrammyS 29 Jan, 2008

    I watched the show - baste every 5 minutes, but you can baste every 10 minutes which is what I do. My mother

  • robettalee 29 Jan, 2008

    I made the chicken last night. I actually think it cooks better at 375 degrees and taste just as good, without the mess. I also placed a layer of onions under the chicken. They cooked up nice and brown and added a great flavor to the gravy I made with the oil and drippings.

  • cyberma777 29 Jan, 2008

    I made this last night. I really thought it would be kind of bland, but I followed the recipe and was pleasantly surprised. I believe that soaking the bird made it cook more evenly. It was really good and could not have been easier. The skin was crisp and beautiful and the meat was moist and tender. My tip: make sure your oven is nice and clean. Cooking at that temperature will cause things to smoke. Also, I basted and shook the bird every 10 minutes.

  • Karansalmon 29 Jan, 2008

    I made this chicken last night. The chicken was delicious but my house smells like grease. The olive oil splattered and smoked as it cooked. I had to open the windows to keep the smoke alarm from going off. Thank goodness it will be 75 degrees today so I can open the windows and air out the house.

  • Karansalmon 29 Jan, 2008

    I made this chicken last night. The chicken was delicious but my house smells like grease. The olive oil splattered and smoked as it cooked. I had to open the windows to keep the smoke alarm from going off. Thank goodness it will be 75 degrees today so I can open the windows and air out the house.

  • Cardiacgirl 28 Jan, 2008

    I missed the part that says to shake every 5 minutes. The recipe says to Roast, basting chicken and shaking the bottom of the roasting pan. That sounds odd to me. I am making the chicken right now and am not going to shake anything. I put the olive oil on the bottom and will baste when there is juice to baste with.

  • ehaight 28 Jan, 2008

    Just baste it with its own juices.Supposedly there will be enough to baste!

  • corvettelover 28 Jan, 2008

    That was a great way to cook chicken everytime I use this method my teenagers come running its their favorite meal

  • DianaJ36 28 Jan, 2008

    He preferred using a spoon basting the juices every 10 minutes or so.

  • rubycat 28 Jan, 2008

    i only caught the last of the segment, what do you baste it WITH?

  • nancy2cats 28 Jan, 2008

    Why baste? My Mother taught me to cook birds breast-side DOWN. The dark meat juices and cavity seasonings make the breast very moist and flavorful. If you like crispy skin, turn the bird breast-side up for the last 10 - 15 minutes and raise the oven temp.

  • snowbirdie 28 Jan, 2008


  • MSLO_rose 28 Jan, 2008

    The recipe here is correct. The temperature is 475 degrees. You should also baste the chicken and shake the pan every 5 minutes for optimal results.

  • Critterfox 28 Jan, 2008

    Sounds super delish, but is it 425 or 475. Seems like it would make quite a difference.

  • mlcannici 28 Jan, 2008

    On air the temp was given as 425 for approx 1 hr. Printed is 475 for aapprox 45 min. Wonder which one is more effective?

  • DGHolsen 27 Jan, 2008

    Baste 'and' shake the pan every five minutes. I suspect this obvious error will be corrected shortly.

  • jogs 27 Jan, 2008

    It sounds yummy but who in the heck can baste it EVERY 5 The temperature of the oven would be difficult to maintain as well. Other than that, sounds great!

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