Roast Chicken with Herb Butter Stuffed Under the Skin

roast chicken
Photo: Lucy Schaeffer

This is a particularly rich roast chicken, oozing with herb butter pushed under the skin (though some of it is lost with the drippings). The chicken is roasted for the entire time with the breast side up so that the butter doesn't run out. Do not succumb to the fear of fat: This is an incredibly succulent and flavorful roast chicken.


Makes 4-6 servings

  • 1 fat garlic clove, cut in half, green shoot removed
  • Kosher salt
  • 4 teaspoons roughly chopped chervil
  • 1 tablespoon roughly chopped tarragon
  • 1 teaspoon roughly chopped thyme leaves
  • 2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 3½- to 4-pound chicken
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 medium onion, sliced (optional)

roast chicken


Step 1: Preheat the oven to 450ºF.

Step 2: In a mortar and pestle, mash the garlic with ½ teaspoon salt until smooth. Add the chervil, tarragon, thyme, and parsley and mash together to a paste. Add the butter and mash together until the mixture is smooth and uniform.

Step 3: Loosen the skin from the surface of the chicken, taking care not to tear it. You can do this by sticking your first and second fingers between the skin and the meat, starting from the breast near the neck and moving them carefully over the surface of the bird. You can also do it with a teaspoon, rounded side out.

Step 4: Season the chicken, inside the cavity and outside, with salt and pepper. Spread the butter under the skin, concentrating on the breast and down into the legs. Truss the chicken and pat the surface dry with a paper towel.

Step 5: If using the onion (the sliced onion acts as a rack and will infuse the chicken with more flavor), toss with ¼ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper, and place in the middle of a lightly oiled baking dish. Place the chicken on top, breast side up. If not using the onion, set the chicken on a lightly oiled rack, breast side up. Place in the oven and set the timer for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes turn the heat down to 350ºF and continue to bake for 1 hour, until a thermometer registers 160ºF when stuck into the thickest part of the thigh. Remove from the heat and let stand for 10 minutes, and remove string before serving. Discard the onion.

Recipe courtesy of New Classic Family Dinners.