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Roast Chicken (Poulet Roti)

TODAY / Kara Birnbaum


  • 1 (3½- to 4-pound) roasting chicken
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons poultry seasoning, preferably Bell's brand
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely crushed dried garlic chips
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, divided
  • 1 Moroccan preserved lemon, cut into thirds and seeds removed
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 medium yellow onion
Fulfilled by

Chef notes

Even though I live alone and usually dine solo, I find that roast chicken is a perfect dish because, even though I usually hate leftovers, there are so many variations I can prepare once the chicken is done. There’s second-day cold chicken and chutney, third-day chicken salad and final-day chicken soup. If I have company, it's an easy way to entertain because roast chicken is a shove-it-in-the-oven-and-leave-it dish. If cooked with some garlic bulbs and some sweet potatoes roasted in the same pan, it’s a complete meal with the addition of a green salad, and there’s only the roasting pan to wash. Over the years, I have found that whether it’s called poulet roti or gospel bird, a perfect roast chicken is a must-have recipe in any cook’s arsenal.



Preheat the oven to 450 F.


Remove the giblets from the chicken, if necessary; pat dry with paper towels.


In a medium-sized bowl, whisk the sea salt, poultry seasoning, garlic and pepper until well-combined.


Gently separate the chicken skin from the flesh with your fingers.


Carefully rub 1 tablespoon of the butter under the skin. Carefully slide a slice of the preserved lemons under each side of the breast skin of the chicken. Place 1 tablespoon of butter and the remaining third of the preserved lemon into the cavity of the chicken.


In a small saucepan, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of the butter. Add the lemon juice and stir to combine.


Roll the onion in the butter mixture and then in the spice mixture until well-coated. Stuff the onion into the cavity of the chicken.


Drizzle the remaining melted butter mixture over the chicken and rub it into the skin. Sprinkle the remaining spice mixture evenly over the chicken.


Roast the chicken until a meat thermometer reads 165 F, for 60 to 75 minutes.


Let rest for 15 minutes before serving. The preserved lemon and onion may be removed from the chicken and sliced to serve alongside the chicken.