Fool-proof, roasted chicken. The secret? Brine it.

I love an easy, fool proof recipe.
Here’s another one of my “Go-To” favorites.  (This is also what we do for our Thanksgiving Turkey each year and It. Is. Awesome.)

Have you ever used a brine for chicken or turkey?  No?  Well, it’s about time that you gave it a try, don’t you think?

I love this so much because it is absolutely fool-proof.  There is no way you can roast this chicken and over-cook it and dry it out.  Even if you “can’t cook” you can make this.  The secret is to brine it.

Brine is basically a salt solution that you soak the chicken in before you bake it.  There are tons of variations on it, but here’s what we do.

You will need:

  • large stock pot with lid
  • 1/2 cup of salt
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 2 to 3 cinnamon sticks
  • a palm-full of whole cloves
  • 3 to 4 bay leaves
  • 1 lemon, sliced in half and slightly squeezed
  • 1 (or 2) whole chickens (grody organs removed)

Fill the stock pot with about 6 cups of water and add the sugar and salt… stir well until dissolved. (You don’t really need to measure the water, just eyeball it.  You are just making sure the sugar and salt is dissolved.)

Toss in the remaining ingredients and stir.  Add the chicken(s).  Ad more water until the chickens are completely submerged.

Cover and refrigerate overnight.

The next part is even easier than throwing the brine together.

Grab a Pyrex, line it with foil, add a roasting rack and preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Rub the chicken(s) with a little butter and season with salt and pepper.  Pop it in the oven for about an hour or so… until a thermometer inserted into the thigh reads 160 degrees. (I make 2 chickens at a time because I have a big family full of growing boys.  If you are just making one chicken, you won’t need to cook it as long.)  ***UPDATED: Reader, Karen N. said she always leaves her chicken in until it’s at least 180 degrees. USDA recommends an internal temperature of 165 degrees.  I hate overcooked chicken, so since it continues to cook as it stands, you’re in good shape.  (You’re the best judge of how long you want to cook it.)***
If it looks like the skin is browning a bit too much, grab a piece of foil and tent it as it is cooking.
Let it stand for about 10 minutes.  The meat should practically fall off the bones as you carve it.

I promise, you will be amazed at how easy this is and tasty!  Serve it with roasted potatoes and salad.  Mmm, mmm good!


  1. says

    I’ve brined before.. but never by adding sugar AND salt. Always just salt.

    Hmm…. Going to have to give this a try.

    Kind of wish I had read this yesterday though, because I want it now.

  2. says

    I have to say, I have been following your blog & just love it-especially your Halloween stuff:) I would like to try this recipe, but hate cutting up a whole chicken…ugh–so I could use this recipe with a quartered chicken..right?

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