Salt Crust Roasted Chicken Recipe. An easy and flavorful way to roast a whole chicken that stays juicy and looks beautiful on the table!
The first time I ever had a Salt Crusted Roast Chicken was when I was a teenager. My Mom saw the technique somewhere or someone told her about it and she tried it. It was an instant hit and became a staple in our family for years and years.
Salt crust cooking is not new but it’s perfect, especially for chicken. You essentially encapsulate the food you are cooking in a coarse, large crystal salt so that it forms a shell while cooking. This shell keeps in the juices and the chicken stays super moist and tender. Plus, because the salt shell is porous, the skin gets nice and crispy underneath.
This is a very simple recipe and always a show-stopper. Kids love to crack the salt shell off (after cooling!) and adults love to debate the merits of how the salt works.
Some things to keep in mind:
- You have to use an elevated cooking rack or the chicken will sit in too much salt.
- Don’t pack salt onto the wings. The skin is too thin and they will wind up too salty.
- Do not skip the drying with paper towels step. You need the skin to be dry so the butter forms a nice coating and you have something for the salt to adhere to.
- Make sure to crack the salt crust and wipe off all of the excess salt before carving.
15 minPrep Time
1 hr, 30 Cook Time
1 hr, 45 Total Time
- 1 (4.5 to 5.5 lb) whole chicken
- 4 T butter, room temperature
- fresh herbs like rosemary, thyme and/or sage
- freshly ground black pepper
- coarse sea salt
- Preheat oven to 425F. Place whole chicken on an elevated baking rack in a roasting pan. I usually line my roasting pan with tinfoil for an easier clean-up (totally optional). If you are pressed for time, stuff the fresh herbs into the cavity of the chicken. If you have some extra time, finely chop the herbs and mix them with the butter.
- Use paper towels to pat dry - this is important. If the chicken is not dry, the butter won't stick well and then the salt won't stick to the butter.
- Use a silicone rubber band or other method to tie the legs together. Generously sprinkle freshly ground black pepper all over the chicken and begin spreading the butter over the chicken in a thick layer. You want to concentrate on the breasts and thighs for the most part.
- Pack handfuls of coarse salt onto the chicken, taking care to avoid the wings. The skin is so thin on the wings that they wind up tasting too salty.
- Keep packing salt onto the butter until the chicken is well coated.
- Roast for 90 minutes or until a thermometer reads 160F at the thickest point of the thigh.
- Remove and allow to cool for at least 10 minutes. Once cool, crack the salt crust and gently scrape off until all of the salt is removed.
- Carve, serve and Enjoy!