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Perfect Roast Chicken

ina's perfect roast gluten-free chicken recipe

My version of Perfect Roast Chicken is based upon one from Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa Cookbook.  This go to dish is something I make at least once a week, after which I generally use the carcass for chicken stock.  My best friend from childhood, Helen, introduced me to Ina, and I have been hooked on her books ever since.

While Ina’s recipe for Perfect Roast Chicken calls for wheat flour, chicken stock and butter, mine is a tad simpler and gluten free as well.  My boys love this roasted chicken.

Perfect Roast Chicken


  • 1 whole chicken (2-3 pounds)
  • celtic sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 bunch fresh thyme
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 1 head garlic, cut in half crosswise
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, quartered
  1. Preheat oven to 425°
  2. Remove chicken giblets and rinse chicken inside and out
  3. Pat chicken dry
  4. Place chicken in a 9 x 13 inch baking dish
  5. Liberally salt and pepper inside of chicken
  6. Stuff cavity with bunch of thyme, both halves of lemon and all garlic
  7. Brush outside of chicken with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper
  8. Tie legs together with kitchen string and tuck wings under body of chicken
  9. Place each onion quarter into a corner of dish
  10. Roast chicken for 1 ½ hours or until juices run clear
  11. Allow to cool slightly and serve

What is your favorite chicken dish?  Leave a comment and let us all know!

More gluten free chicken recipes you may enjoy for dinner:
-Herb Garden Chicken Slow Cooker Recipe from A Year of Slow Cooking
-Roast Chicken with Garlic, Ginger and Lemon from Tasty Eats at Home
-Pistachio Pesto Crusted Chicken from Cook It Allergy Free

posted on March 22, 2011, 51 comments

  1. Tammy

    Mmmmmmm. Can’t think of any better flavors for roast chicken than lemon and onion. My family’s variation: Slather roaster in butter, put half an onion in the cavity, squeeze half a lemon over the chicken and put that in the cavity too. Roast for 1 1/2 hours.

  2. Shirley @ gfe @ glutenfreeeasily.com

    That IS a perfect roasted chicken! Few things are more comforting than a good roasted chicken. They are just so succulent. Love this simple recipe, Elana–thank you!


  3. I also LOVE Ina’s roast chicken recipe-although from memory and from checking out the recipe on the Food Network that you linked to, she does not use any flour in her recipe-perhaps that was in the cookbook as part of making gravy? Not sure.

    When I make her perfect roast chicken I ALWAYS use the fennel bulb underneath the chicken as she suggest. The flavor from the chicken that imparts on the fennel is amazing and I love eating all the veggies that get cooked along with the chicken.

    Mmmmm…I may have to go out and buy a roasting chicken today….

  4. Lisa {smart food and fit} @ smartfoodandfit.com

    Looks so perfect! I have to get back into roasting a chicken to make homemade chicken stock. I roast a lot during the fall and winter but I just used my last jar the other day. I’ll try Ina’s recipe,thanks for sharing!

  5. Katie

    I’ve made Ina’s roast chicken a ton, so delish, i always add a bunch of veggies: carrots, fennel and parsnips, which are the best addition! i too have all her cookbooks and did not see the flour addition. elana why don’t you cook with more parsnips, celery root, turnips, etc. which I believe are all paleo friendly?

  6. Kelly- 18 Hour Kitchen @ 18hourkitchen.blogspot.com

    Ina is the best! I make roast chickens often as well, using the bones and scrap for my super simple slow cooker stock! http://18hourkitchen.blogspot.com/2010/12/super-simple-slow-cooker-stock.html

  7. I agree, Ina is a great source of good recipe ideas. Thanks for introducing me to her!

  8. I also make this at least once a week and just taught it to my little sister as a “stock” recipe. I have never used fennel for some reason – it seems like that’s a favorite. I love it because you can use whatever you happen to have and it always comes out picture perfect.

  9. Eri

    We love this chicken recipe, too. I have been making her “Perfect Chicken” since I first saw it on Foodnetwork a while back. It’s so tasty!

  10. Genevieve @ mamanatural.com

    I like to roast my chicken with cut up onions, celery, and carrots. It turns out delicious as they’re loaded with herbs and chicken fat!

  11. Thanks for linking my recipe! Roast chicken is something that shows up on our menu about once a week as well, and I too save bones for stock. I love your photo – it’s gorgeous and makes my mouth water. Do you realize how much your photography has improved over the past few years? You’re becoming quite the artist. :)

  12. Hannah's Harvest @ hannahsharvest.com

    This looks so beautiful. I am about to make a soup from my chicken from last night, it did not look so beautiful.

  13. Kiran @ KiranTarun.com @ kirantarun.com/food

    Mmmmm.. Delicious looking chicken. I must try roasting a chicken soon :) Thanks for this simple recipe :)

  14. Roast chicken was such a treat when we were growing up, and we still love it. I also love Ina’s recipe for fried chicken, using buttermilk as a marinade – so delicious!

  15. Kim (Cook It Allergy Free) @ cookitallergyfree.com/blog

    Wow! Elana, that chicken is gorgeous!! Seriously. I have made Ina’s chicken from her cookbook for years. I always make mine gluten-free as well (obviously) – I love your version here! And that perfectly browned skin of yours is making my mouth water right now!
    Thanks for linking up to my pesto chicken recipe!! ;)

  16. PAT

    Italian Chicken. I use a 9×13 pan. Use any chicken parts of your choice, salt and pepper and use any other seasonings you like. I usually brown the chicken under the broiler, turning once, but this step is not essential. Cut potatoes in wedges (partially cook to reduce cooking time for the dish) or use gluten free noodles. Add green or red peppers for flavor. Place potatoes or noodles, peppers on top of chicken. Add two bottles of Italian dressing over the ingredients. Bake about 30-35 minutes(depending on the types of chicken parts) at 350 degrees. Serve with a salad or other veggie.

  17. Anne

    YES! We ALWAYS use this recipe and it is always a winner in my home! YUM!

  18. Hi Elena, your chicken looks delicious! I wanted to let you know that I translated into spanish one of my favorite recepies from you book: chocolate cookies!… and posted it on my blog so more people can find your delicious gluten-free treats
    I’ll let you know if i transalate more recepies :)

  19. Hi there. Can you tell me what the purpose of putting the quarter onion in each corner is? Thanks!

  20. Beautiful picture of a delicious looking meal. I have been making roast chicken a lot lately to comfort us during the cold winter months. My family loves it with sweet potatoes, apples, shallots and carrots nestled in with the chicken. When the chicken and vegetables are cooked, I add a cup of apple juice, a splash of balsamic vinegar(gf), fresh thyme and salt and pepper to the juices/drippings and make a quick gravy to ladle over the meat. If I’m feeling particularly motivated, I may thicken it a bit with whatever gluten-free starch I have on hand, and pass it through a fine mesh strainer before serving.

  21. Debby

    I don’t know how anything could be more perfect than your chicken with onions,olives and prunes!

  22. Jane Reinholz

    I have no fewer than 40 cookbooks. The one cookbook never goes back in the cupboard is your Almond Flour Cookbook. We are gluten and dairy free and my grandchildren have so many favorite recipes from your book! I enjoy your postings and use them for meal planning on a regular basis. Thank you so much!!

  23. jean finch

    Elana, What happens if I roast the chicken at 400 degrees instead of 425? Has anyone tried that?
    Jean Finch

  24. Jacqie

    I just made this tonight. Two family members said, almost simultaneously, “This chicken is perfect.”

    And it was – thanks!

  25. Selina

    Wow! This chicken was amazing! My family loved it and it was “perfect.” Thanks again for another great recipe!

  26. Bryon Peterson @ gimmeglutenfree.com

    Yum, your roast chicken looks fabulous! Thanks for being a fabulous inspiration to the gluten free community! My wife Lynn used to be a professional baker but developed a severe gluten intolerance a few years ago, what a nightmare for a baker! Last summer she started a website to help others with similar allergies and created a blog of her recipes. Her latest post is also a delicious chicken recipe, her “Mediterranean Chicken with Garlic, Herbs, & Tomatoes”. If you’re a chocoholic, thy her “Ultimate Chocolate Lava Cake”, it’s sinful! gimmeglutenfree.com. Thanks Elana!

  27. jessica

    i can’t wait to make this!

  28. dominica

    This is the PERFECT recipe to make for when my parents come to town (my Mom is GF) Thx Elana!

  29. Georgia Custer

    Can’t wait to try out. I have a great recipe for glutenfree chicken tortilla soup I can use the leftovers for.

  30. Georgia Pellegrini @ georgiapellegrini.com

    A great roast chicken is undeniable tasty. I also love making roast pheasant.

  31. Lisa @ www.bakedinmaine.com @ bakedinmaine.com

    One of my favorite meals to cook on the weekend.
    I add a bunch of chopped vegetables to roast.
    And lots of lemons, garlic and olive oil.

  32. Julie

    I love roast chicken. Something I have tried a couple of times and find that I get a perfectly roast chicken, tender and moist, is to do what is called “spatchcocking” the chicken, a term meaning to take the thigh bones out, and cut out the back bone as well, making the chicken lay nearly flat on the roasting pan. I learned how to do it from Gwyneth Paltrow’s blog called “Goop”. It sounds hard, but it is easier than you think and the end result is a very moist chicken that cooks in under an hour. Regular roast chicken is great but I think you would enjoy the challenge of trying this method. I have also done this with a turkey. Works like a charm.

  33. gracee

    Have you tried to roast two at a time?

  34. Vusala @ mall-az.com

    Thank You, for the great work you are doing!
    I tried couple recipes from your site and iBook(Gluten free cupcakes) and surprisingly they came out perfect. Why surprisingly? You probably know, many times you try new recipe, even though with the best comments, most of the time it comes out not as good as described. But your recipes, frankly, come out even better than shown! Really, no kidding! However sometimes I do substitute some ingredients(when don’t have exact match), still comes out very good!
    At this moment I make dinner – Roast Chicken. I want to share some changes I made for one your Roast Chicken recipes. I always remove the skin of chicken(no matter what is recipe), so I removed the skin, rubbed chicken with salt, pepper, little ketchup, toasted sesame oil. Rubbed some garlic salt inside of chicken and put half of lemon(cut side in), placed in Pyrex with onion pieces(as you described), sprinkled with more sesame oil and, the best part, sprinkled with shaved almonds! Now waiting. Smells sooo good!


  35. Vusala @ mall-az.com

    One more comment: in the middle of roasting I put a metal pan with a little hot water in the oven to avoid burning the top of chicken before it’s done and of course to keep it juicy.

  36. Vusala @ mall-az.com

    That was one perfect Roast Chicken! Next time I will try chicken breasts too.


  37. Tony Brown @ mexicanrecipes.org.uk


    Why exactly do you tie the legs together? What does that achieve?

    I always leave them open… but I’ll try this instead next time…


  38. Aida


    I tried the Perfect Chicken Roast and it was perfect, but may I recommend that instead of olive oil to use safflower oil or something else (I used safflower and turned out great). Olive oil, though good and healthy, turns into unhealthy trans fat when heated too much (oven or skillet use).

    Thanks for your recipes.

  39. Hello your items I find interesting, I visited your website and I noted some recipes. From Spain I invite you to visit my blog Valencia kitchen every week I updated, is very positive about other food cultures.


    Of course you know the TARONCELLO (homemade), in late December on my blog only uncover her secret ….

  40. kimberly boigon

    i made it last night. it was perfect! although, i would love to make a bigger bird to feed more people. is there a way to adapt the recipe for a larger bird?

  41. This was wonderful! I served it with some homemade garlic aioli and the carcass is in my freezer waiting to be turned into stock!

  42. agnesgordon

    Love all your recipes.

  43. bob

    I have tried roasting a whole chicken a few times with varying degrees of success. I tried this recipe tonight, and it was so simple and delicious! I will definitely be using this recipe again! Thanks Elana!
    Tomorrow – roast chicken stock =)

  44. jennifer_hart

    elana, this roasted chicken is just wonderful! i did follow the suggestions of the the first poster and used butter and lemon in addition to the other ingredients. This is my new favorite recipe!

  45. Katie

    Just made this chicken and it was AMAZING. How could I do two at once for company? Same temperature in the oven with just a little more cooking time?
    Our family of 3 just about ate the whole thing, but I’d love to make this when we have people over.

  46. Hi – I just made this roasted chicken. Got my chicken from our Sunday Market here in sw France. The chicken is local and raised on a farm not far from my house, it was the best roasted chicken I’ve made. Thanks!

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Comments are greatly appreciated! Unfortunately Elana is not able to answer substitution questions, as the only way to know if something works is to test it, and she does not provide this service. If you have a substitution question, please don't hesitate to leave a comment here, and another reader may jump in to answer. ↑ back to top