Thomas Keller Roast Chicken

5 from 6 votes

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Simple Roast Chicken, inspired by Chef Thomas Keller and prepared for you by Platter Talk. It’s one of our favorite chicken recipes and one you need to try.

A closeup of a roasted chicken

Those of you who are familiar with Platter Talk may be of the opinion that we feature some pretty fancy foods.  Those of you who know me personally know that there is nothing fancy about me.

Even a bald, overweight man in his early 50’s can dress up nicely every now and then. Thus, it is the same with food.  I like it simple and I like it tasty.

Good tasting chicken is one of my favorite things from the kitchen. I’m talking abut such delicious chicken dinners like dill chicken, Cornell chicken BBQ, and our whiskey chicken.

About this Thomas Keller Chicken

Trussed chicken before roasting.

Every time I cook, I like to learn something new.  As an example, I have never brined chicken until I tried these brined chicken thighs. Talk about delicious!!!

With this simple chicken recipe, I learned how to truss the bird which is quite simple and as I read and subsequently learned for myself, important for creating an evenly roasted chicken that is juicy throughout and easy on the eyes.

How to truss a chicken

The video below offers an excellent demonstration of how to truss a chicken.

Vidoe of how to truss a chicken

As I’m writing this post, there is a background chorus of crackling coming from our kitchen oven.    In this very hot oven, I have a chicken roasting nicely in one of our oven-safe all-clad pans with which I have come to have a very close relationship.

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But you don’t need a fancy and expensive pan for this easy simple baked chicken. I love making it in my ancient cast iron skillet as well!

Whole roasted chicken in a skillet

After this easy roast chicken recipe finishes roasting, we are going to allow it to set in this versatile pan, and then baste it in the juices that settle.  If I want, I may just serve the bird within this favorite cooking vessel of mine.

Roasted whole chicken in a pan.

In the end, whether I served this in the pan in which it roasted or on a pretty white platter, it mattered not.

What does matter is this: This chicken recipe is very easy to make. It gives you a chicken that is moist throughout with crispy skin and tender meat.

Carved roast chicken.

A long time ago, my dad taught me how to distinguish between good-tasting chicken and chicken that was “not so much.”  This difference may seem obvious at first but there are nuances among chicken that I grew to appreciate largely because of my father’s instruction.

Growing up on the farm, we raised our own poultry.  Many afternoons I spent chatting with my mom while she “dressed” a bird.  It doesn’t come any fresher.

How to roast a chicken

Roasting a chicken is one of the easiest meals you can make. However, there are a few things you can do to make sure you make the best roast chicken possible.  Here are some things to keep in mind:

  1.  Pre-heat the oven. You can roast your chicken between 400° and 450° F. But you want to make sure the oven is hot when the chicken goes in the oven.
  2.  Dry the chicken before roasting it. You can easily dry the chicken by patting it dry with 3 or 4 paper towels.  This is one of the most important steps for getting a nice crispy finish to your roasted chicken.
  3.  Once the chicken is done roasting, allow it to sit for 10 or 15 minutes in its juices before carving. This allows the meat fibers to reabsorb some of the liquid and the meat will be even juicier and more flavorful.

How long to roast a chicken

Chicken should be roasted until it reaches an internal temperature of 165° F. If you don’t have a meat thermometer, roast it until the juices run clear and the drumstick feels like it will easily peel away from the rest of the chicken.

As a general rule of thumb, you can estimate that your chicken will take about 20 minutes per lb.

How to make chicken gravy

  1. Add a little white wine to the juices, maybe about a quarter to half-cup.
  2. Place the pan with the juices on a burner on medium-high heat.
  3. Stir in a little flour when the juices get hot. Using a small hand-held fine mesh strainer will help prevent clumps of flour in your chicken gravy!

Although I no longer have that luxury, my father’s point of their being mouthwatering chicken vs. chicken that is inferior in taste became more apparent than ever after leaving the farm.

Tonight’s dinner was unequivocally good tasting chicken, it was prepared very well, and my dad would have loved it.  To this day, every time I have good tasting chicken I think of my father and he’s been gone for some 15 years already.

Chicken stock in a stock pan.
Homemade chicken broth is easy to make.

To make this dish even better, we took it one step further than the dinner table.  When we were finished enjoying it, what was leftover (there was precious little meat uneaten) went into a stockpot of simmering water, celery, some herbs, carrots, and maybe an onion or two.

We will be enjoying a savory and delicious stock from this meal for some time to come.  It freezes nicely and I’m sure that every time we use some of it I will think of this wonderful dinner, along with one of America’s greatest chefs ever.  And of my dad.

Dinner plate with chicken drumstick and green beans.

This post is dedicated to the memory of my dad, Lloyd D. Zehr, who taught me the importance of being responsible, how to relax and enjoy life, and how to appreciate good chicken.

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Thomas Keller’s Favorite Simple Roast Chicken

5 from 6 votes
Featuring just chicken along with some simple seasoning, this family meal is a no fuss no muss classic.
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 1 hour
Yield: 6 servings


  • 3 lbs Whole chicken, Farm-raised
  • Kosher Salt & Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 tsp Minced Thyme, optional


  • Preheat oven to 450° F.
  • Salt and pepper cavity of bird, then truss.
  • Salt the bird, using about a tablespoon of kosher salt. Make a “rain” of salt over the bird, distributing it evenly and in a uniform fashion. Pepper to taste.
  • Put the bird in a sauté pan and place in hot oven for 60 minutes or until done. Remove from oven, and add the thyme. Let stand for 15 minutes to settle, intermittently baste with the juices while setting. Remove twine, cut and serve.


Pour a tablespoon or so of olive oil into the roasting pan before placing the chicken in the pan.
Chef Keller stresses the importance of drying the bird prior to roasting. Any excess moisture contributes to steam which inhibits the formation of a crispy skin.
As Chef Keller points out, you’ll start eating this with a fork and knife and finish eating it with your fingers. It’s that good.
A 2-3 lb chicken would not go very far in our family. I made a 5 1/2 lb chicken and doubled the roasting time. It came out perfect.
Drizzle the whole bird with olive oil before sprinkling with salt, for a beautiful golden brown finish.


Calories: 234kcal, Protein: 20g, Fat: 16g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Cholesterol: 82mg, Sodium: 76mg, Potassium: 206mg, Vitamin A: 152IU, Vitamin C: 2mg, Calcium: 12mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Dnner
Cuisine: American
Tried this recipe?Mention @plattertalk or tag #plattertalk!

Updated from the original post of October 5, 2014

Meet the Platter Talk Guys

Dan & Scott split their time between Wisconsin and Southwest Florida and are dads to six boys. Good food runs through their veins, and they love showing others how to cook easy recipes.

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  1. 5 stars
    Hi Dan: I made your roasted chicken recipe tonight for dinner. It is the best roast chicken I ever made. I followed your directions exactly and it was SO GOOD! The skin was crispy and the meat was juicy and tender. Ed liked it so much too! Thanks for posting this recipe. It will be my go-to roast chicken recipe from now on!

    1. THanks for the nice comments, Aunt Barb! We love that you enjoyed this recipe and it means so much to get such nice feedback from such a dear lady. xxoo

      1. 5 stars
        Thank you, Dan! After eating that delicious chicken, I had to comment on it. My mouth waters now just thinking of how good it was. Luckily, we have leftovers for sandwiches or chicken salad. You and Scott do such a great job on Platter Talk! Thanks again for the wonderful recipe. 💕😘

  2. Fabulous! Keller obviously knows what he’s doing!! Roast chicken is a favorite at my house. Way more comforting than any casserole that most people would lean towards…

  3. 5 stars
    Hi Dan, thank you for the tip video. I didn’t know that. The chicken looks so moist. Great job on this post????

  4. 5 stars
    I think it’s all in the perfect seasoning , getting a free range bird and keeping the breast moist.

  5. I love Thomas Keller. We got to eat at one of his restaurant’s in Napa a few years ago. With your chicken recipe I can make his dishes at home now. Thanks so much; this looks great!