Classic roast chicken & gravy

Classic roast chicken & gravy

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(65 ratings)

Prep: 10 mins Cook: 1 hr, 30 mins Plus resting


Serves 4
What more can we say? The classic roast chicken is something everyone should know and can always save the day

Nutrition and extra info

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal567
  • fat40g
  • saturates13g
  • carbs4g
  • sugars1g
  • fibre0g
  • protein49g
  • salt0.84g
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  • 1 onion, roughly chopped



    Onions are endlessly versatile and an essential ingredient in countless recipes. Native to Asia…

  • 2 carrot, roughly chopped



    The carrot, with its distinctive bright orange colour, is one of the most versatile root…

  • 1 free range chicken, about 1½ kg/3lb 5oz



    Chicken's many plus points - its versatility, as well as the ease and speed with which it…

  • 1 lemon, halved



    Oval in shape, with a pronouced bulge on one end, lemons are one of the most versatile fruits…

  • small bunch thyme (optional)


    This popular herb grows in Europe, especially the Mediterranean, and is a member of the mint…

For the gravy

  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 250ml chicken stock (a cube is fine)


  1. Heat oven to 190C/fan 170C/gas 5. Have a shelf ready in the middle of the oven without any shelves above it. Scatter the vegetables over the base of a roasting tin that fits the chicken, but doesn’t swamp it. Season the cavity of the chicken liberally with salt and pepper, then stuff with the lemon halves and thyme, if using. Sit the chicken on the vegetables, smother the breast and legs all over with the butter, then season the outside with salt and pepper. Place in the oven and leave, undisturbed, for 1 hr 20 mins – this will give you a perfectly roasted chicken. To check, pierce the thigh with a skewer and the juices should run clear. Remove the tin from the oven and, using a pair of tongs, lift the chicken to a dish or board to rest for 15-20 mins. As you lift the dish, let any juices from the chicken pour out of the cavity into the roasting tin.

  2. While the chicken is resting, make the gravy. Place the roasting tin over a low flame, then stir in the flour and sizzle until you have a light brown, sandy paste. Gradually pour in the stock, stirring all the time, until you have a thickened sauce. Simmer for 2 mins, using a wooden spoon to stir, scraping any sticky bits from the tin. Strain the gravy into a small saucepan, then simmer and season to taste. When you carve the bird, add any extra juices to the gravy.

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Comments, questions and tips

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Comments (82)

walessam's picture

This is delicious! Tried lots of different ways of doing roast chicken, this is the tastiest and the easiest.
Use this recipe all the time now.

lizleicester's picture

So simple and yet so tasty. Putting the onion and carrot under the chicken infuses it with flavour and the lemon inside it also makes it seem as though a lot more effort has gone into it than really has!

gainsandsuch's picture

amazing recipe for me and the wife to enjoy... loved how simple it was to improvise! will make time and time again!

LittlePipper's picture

This is my favourite roast chicken receipe I have ever used! I do put in a stick or two of celery along with the carrot and onions together with a few cloves of garlic. Roast it in the oven with some roast potatoes and butternut right now as I write this!! Delicious!!

davect's picture

Simple recipe with delicious results. I used a 2 kg chicken, and roasted it for an hour and 50 min. Came out beautifully moist and the gravy was rich and flavourful. Will definitely make this again.

wee_g74's picture

Fabulously juicy chicken, wonderful!! And the gravy is outstanding!

Mia82's picture

Perfect roast chicken every time and lovely gravy!

supa_debo's picture

Most amazing gravy!!!

Johnny-a's picture

Recipe recommend to empty juices out of the chicken when taking it out of the tray but if I do that what about the vegetables still on the tray? What is the next process, scoop out the carrots (with the chicken juices just poured on top) and then what, wait about 15 / 20 minutes while I do the gray, won't the vegetables get cold?

gilesmarg's picture

Hi Johnny-a! The roasted veggies are to add flavor to the stock and are not meant to be served. Supermarkets do a really cheap stock pack that I use so I don't feel guilty when I put the remains in the bin. They really make a fantastic gravy though so worth it!

nadiar93's picture

Only just really started to teach myself to cook, and honestly this is the easiest and most gorgeous recipe. Turned out perfect! Definitely recommend.

kln115's picture

I don't mind trying new things in the kitchen but the thought of cooking a roast terrified me. I think it's because my mum made it look a military operation when I was young and it never turned out very good (sorry mum). My 2 year old loves roast dinners when dining out so I decided to bite the bullet and attempt to cook my own roast chicken. I didn't have any lemons or herbs so I used garlic instead. The chicken was beautiful and moist and both my son and fiancé loved it. It's foolproof for an absolute beginner. I used red onion too and the gravy was delicious :)

Daisy.critchley's picture

I've never roasted a chicken before, but this was so easy to do so now I don't know why this was my first time! Didn't have a lemon so mixed lemon juice, dry rosemary and thyme, and olive oil inside the chicken and still tasted amazing. Thankyou!

jburton's picture

Thanks Barney you have helped me out yet again. Will be making this tonight after work.

carol52's picture

I made this using a cornfed chicken,lemon and thyme from the garden, and cooked it in the Weber, making the gravy on the stovetop. It was delicious - we couldn't stop picking at it!

dynamon79's picture

It was such an easy recipe, specially as I only had a short time to cook it. When it came out of the oven it was a gorgeous golden color.

For dietary reasons I had substituted the butter for olive oil and as I didnt have fresh thyme I made do with the dry kind. The aroma was so good that I dispensed with the sauce and we had a delicious meal. Incidentally, it was also very easy to carve as it was soft.

dynamon79's picture

We only had a short time to cook and found this recipe very easy Most of all it was delicious and not dry, and even the white meat was tasty.

For dietary reasons I substituted olive oil for the butter. I would have preferred fresh thyme but made do with the dried version.

And what a lovely golden color it was when I took it out of the oven!
It was so nice that I didnt add the sauce so I dont know i it would have been even better!

I didn't make the sauce,

frowne's picture

I've cooked a lot of roast chooks and this is by far the best recipe - it was perfect.

frowne's picture

This recipe is fantastic. I followed it exactly and it was perfect - moist breast, often a challenge when I cook a chook.

nwilliams87's picture

This recipe makes the best chicken gravy I have ever tasted! Completely foolproof. Only thing I tend to add is a little rosemary along with the thyme. Very excited to have this for my tea on this lovely snowy night.


Questions (1)

agatastic's picture

Re step 2. When it asks to put roasting dish over low flame im assuming all the chicken juices are still in pan when you stir in the flour? Does this recipe not require juices to be separated?

Tips (2)

chicken7's picture

Only found this a couple of months ago and have made it three times already ......and will do it again today , I smother it with garlic butter ......and it draws everyone to the kitchen, wonderful!

lshaw16's picture

BBC Good Food ought to have put butter on the ingredients list. I know that most people will have this in their fridge. I am one of the strange ones that don't :)