Classic roast chicken & gravy with carving knife & fork

Classic roast chicken & gravy

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(88 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 carrots, 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…

  • 25g butter, softened



    Butter is made when lactic-acid producing bacteria are added to cream and churned to make an…

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.

  2. Scatter 1 roughly chopped onion and 2 roughly chopped carrots over the base of a roasting tin that fits the whole 1 ½ kg chicken, but doesn’t swamp it. 

  3. Season the cavity of the chicken liberally with salt and pepper, then stuff with 2 lemon halves and a small bunch of thyme, if using.

  4. Sit the chicken on the vegetables, smother the breast and legs all over with 25g softened butter, then season the outside with salt and pepper.

  5. 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.

  6. Carefully 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.

  7. While the chicken is resting, make the gravy. Place the roasting tin over a low flame, then stir in 1 tbsp flour and sizzle until you have a light brown, sandy paste.

  8. Gradually pour in 250ml chicken stock, stirring all the time, until you have a thickened sauce.

  9. Simmer for 2 mins, using a wooden spoon to stir, scraping any sticky bits from the tin.

  10. 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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Susan White
14th Jul, 2019
One of my all time favourites. I part slice the lemon but the outcome of super-moist chicken, combined with crispy, flavoursome skins is a complete winner. And so easy. One pan for the whole dinner. Thanks.
Russell Avery's picture
Russell Avery
28th May, 2019
This has been my go to recipe for some time now, only difference is I use 500ml of chicken stock for the gravy, always turns out really good.
8th May, 2019
This was fantastic. The chicken so juicy and the gravy was immense. Cooked a big batch of veggies and this made two meals for two people. Lovely.
MWray77's picture
24th Mar, 2019
I also added 2 sticks of celery to the tray. The whole family loved the chicken but went absolutely crazy for the gravy. I could have eaten it all again!!!
glennsharpe's picture
18th Feb, 2018
really good
16th Dec, 2016
Absolutely delicious ! So easy! Chicken was so tender and moist, and the gravy so tasty. Served with steamed broccoli , carrots and green beans, and some roasted new potatoes with garlic and rosemary.
16th Aug, 2016
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.
10th Aug, 2015
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!
6th Jan, 2015
amazing recipe for me and the wife to enjoy... loved how simple it was to improvise! will make time and time again!
26th Oct, 2014
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!!


9th Nov, 2013
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?
15th Aug, 2015
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!
11th Jan, 2014
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 :)
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