Thomas Keller’s [3-Ingredient] Roasted Chicken

My favorite, easiest-ever roasted chicken recipe! No butter or oil necessary, just a good quality chicken, salt and pepper. I like to serve this incredibly crispy, juicy chicken with a simple green salad and potatoes, or slices of my no-knead crusty artisan bread.

If you’ve poked around The Comfort of Cooking for more than 5 minutes, you’ve probably run into some kind of roasted chicken recipe.

The classic crispy, tender roasted chicken a staple in my house, since I can often get several meals from roasting one bird. However, I’m always looking for ways to change up my traditional methods (lemonsriracha or pesto-and-potato chickens, anyone?). This time, instead of adding more fuss and flavorings, I wanted to try famed chef Thomas Keller’s minimalist approach. No butter, no oil, and no basting. Just stick it in the oven and LEAVE IT.

And it was unlike any chicken I’ve ever made before. In the best way!

 Thomas Keller [3-Ingredient] Roasted Chicken – So easy, crisp and juicy! No butter or oil. You’ll be amazed at the ingredients!
Thomas Keller [3-Ingredient] Roasted Chicken – So easy, crisp and juicy! No butter or oil. You’ll be amazed at the ingredients!

So, what do you need? A chicken, salt and pepper, a roasting pan, and some kitchen twine to tie up the legs. Trussing the bird helps it cook more evenly, and makes for a more beautiful roasted bird. I have no particular method, I just kind of go with whatever gets the job done. My method changes every time. But, if you’re so inclined to not be like me and learn how to do it correctly, here is a quick video. (Which I should probably watch.)

I make sure the chicken is nice and dry – no water, no oil – and place it in a roasting pan. Keller’s theory is that adding oil creates moisture/steam, which inhibits a crispy bird. I rain salt and pepper all over the bird, and stick it in the oven. Set a timer. Clean up. Go about my business.

About an hour and a half later, the bird is crispy and beautiful! And the house smells AMAZING. I slide it out of the oven, let it rest for 10 minutes and sprinkle with fresh thyme. Carve it up and serve it with a big green salad and roasted potatoes or crusty bread.

So delicious, simple and mouthwateringly tender! I guarantee you will love this one.

Thomas Keller [3-Ingredient] Roasted Chicken – So easy, crisp and juicy! No butter or oil. You’ll be amazed at the ingredients!

Thomas Keller's [3-Ingredient] Roasted Chicken

Thomas Keller's [3-Ingredient] Roasted Chicken


  • 1 whole 5- to 6-pound chicken
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon thyme leaves, optional


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Arrange oven rack on bottom third.
  2. Place chicken in a large roasting pan (with or without a wire rack underneath). Truss the bird, tying the legs together and close to the body of the chicken. (This helps the chicken cook evenly and results in a more beautiful roasted bird.)
  3. Sprinkle all over with kosher salt (about 1 Tablespoon). Season to taste with pepper.
  4. Roast for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, depending on size*. Do not baste or add butter or oil. (Keller’s theory is that this creates steam, which inhibits the crispness and tenderness of the chicken). If chicken is browning too quickly, cover loosely with aluminum foil.
  5. To measure temperature, place a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh without touching the bone. It should reach 165 degrees F.
  6. Remove chicken from oven and baste with pan juices. Sprinkle with fresh thyme, if desired. Let rest for at least 10 minutes before carving.
  7. Enjoy!

Did you make this recipe?

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Join the Conversation

  1. Fabulous! Gotta try this one. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Is this a sort of miracle?! I can’t believe you didn’t use any flavoring and not even butter or oil! It looks so crispy and juicy! I have a feeling this recipe will be life changing :)

  3. Roast chicken even simply spiced is a guest worthy dish. This was roasted
    to a PERFECT golden brown. Yum.

  4. That’s a beauty of a roast chicken!

  5. YUM! This chicken looks delicious!

  6. Nice presentation and it looks really delicious. Great recipe!

  7. I love how simple this recipe is!

  8. Simplicity at its finest! Love it!

  9. PINNING THIS so that someday when I get the nerve to deal with a bird’s innards and roast it i can do it this way!

  10. Martin Lederman says:

    Great way to make a fabulous chicken. Salt and pepper inside and out. Truss. We roast at 450 degrees until the breast reads 155 degrees. Baste with the juices upon removal from the oven, sprinkle with thyme, wait 15 minutes…Perfection.

  11. NavyFlyer1325 says:

    You forgot to tuck the wingtips underneath.

  12. Perfectly golden; as promised!

  13. I was looking for a simple recipe and so going to try this! Although my new favorite way to roast the chicken is spatchcock in a cast iron pan. Looking forward to this.

  14. Kevin Toler says:

    Wow! That’s all I can say. My only deviations, respectfully to Mr. Keller to whom I have nothing but respect, I added a light dusting of garlic powder and onion powder before roasting. Once finished I took the drippings and added a non of butter and a 1/4 cup of chicken broth, reduced and made a sauce. Absolutely fantastic!

  15. Wow! I’m totally impressed! A perfect result! Could be on the cover of a magazine! I’ve never cooked such a juicy and moist chicken with the beautiful crust on top of that! Cooked the first hour with the lid on and then removed it. Simply perfect!

  16. We have made this several times according to Chef Keller’s recipe and consistently been perfection! Thank you Chef for sharing!

  17. Stephanie Poldervaart says:

    This works like a charm every time. Always gorgeous and juicy. Totally company worthy. I do two birds on my large roasting rack so I have plenty fir leftovers. Doubters stop the hating. It’s perfection without stress.

  18. Robert LeValley says:

    Can you roast 2 chickens together at the same time in the same pan and get same results?

  19. I’ve never tried it; I would recommend using two pans.

  20. How can something so delicious be so simple?? Absolutely approved and I will never ever buy a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store anymore. Thank you!

  21. This recipe yielded one fantastic chicken!

  22. Made this multiple times and each time it’s perfect. Really simple and the best, most tender chicken I’ve ever had. Highly recommend. I use a roasting pan with rack and I also truss the chicken using its own skin since I keep forgetting to buy twine. Works great that way too.

  23. This is my go to recipe for a roasted chicken. I stuff an onion inside, cut a lemon and a head of garlic in half then snuggle them next to chicken. Bake in an cast iron skillet..

  24. Am I add vegetables to the pan

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