I Tried Ina Garten’s Perfect Roast Chicken and It Was Way Easier Than I Expected

published Oct 9, 2021
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image

This piece was created for Cubby, our weekly newsletter for families at home. Want more? Sign up here for a weekly splash of fun and good ideas for families with kids. Join us over on Instagram for more!

Cubby. Real solutions for unreal times.

Join us for a weekly dose of fresh, modern ideas for life at home with your kids.

I’ll admit this to start: I don’t love to cook. Don’t get me wrong, I love to eat a great meal, and certainly value feeding my family. But night-to-night, dinner is more about getting food on the table than it is about creating some sort of culinary experience.

So I was interested to try Ina Garten’s recipe for Perfect Roast Chicken. The opening premise — that it’s so easy that Ina can do it in her sleep — was certainly inviting. And it’s about as close as I can get to making rotisserie chicken at home, which is one of my kids’ favorite things to eat. So I was game, if a little intimidated, since the only time I really cook a whole bird is around Thanksgiving.

How I Made It

The recipe starts with a roasting chicken, something I don’t normally buy, but easily found at my local Wegmans. At about $1.20/pound, was a better value than the whole chicken cut into parts, at $4.60/pound. Most of the ingredients — lemon, onion, garlic, carrots, salt, and pepper — are also things I generally have on hand. The only other item I had to remember to pick up was the head of fennel. 

Of course, when I got home from the grocery store, I realized I had only baby carrots, not regular carrots. Whoops. But I forged ahead.

The total cook time is listed at over 2 hours, but the prep time is only 20 minutes, which I appreciate. And especially these days when I’m often working from home, it’s nice to be able to get dinner out of the way early. That post-5 p.m. hour — picking up the kids from school, breezing through homework, getting the table set — is often pretty hectic, so I liked the idea of being able to get it all done before and not having to make dinner then.

So around 3 p.m., I started the chicken — pretty basic chopping and stuffing. As recommended, I used a TON of salt and pepper, and the melted butter helped everything stick, even though it looked a little weird. It took me a little longer than 20 minutes to do it all, but I got it in the oven and then got to enjoy the smell of the chicken roasting for a few hours while I worked. When it was time, I took the chicken out, tented it in foil, and hopped into the car to get the kids.

My Honest Review

First impression back through the door: YUM. My kids smelled the chicken roasting and promptly asked, what are you making? There was a big rush to the dinner table and we served it up, alongside some kale and a baguette. The kids devoured it. (There was a bit of a tussle for the skin, and also the drumsticks.) I personally loved the carrots and fennel the very best — they soaked up all the chicken juice and got nice and caramelized. And the whole thing cooked evenly and wasn’t dry at all (unlike some of our past Thanksgiving turkeys). I packaged up the leftovers and ate them over rice and on top of salads for lunch over the next few days.

So all in all, I declare this a success: delicious and crowd-pleasing. And particularly with so many folks working from home, it’s a great meal to make in an afternoon work lull to make the evenings less hectic. I’ll definitely be doing this again!