A super juicy, super tender Italian Roast Chicken recipe cooked completely without oil. All you get is soft, moist, white chicken with a crinkly, crispy skin. It’s the perfect easy Italian roast dinner recipe you’ve been looking for.
Sitting here in our cosy home-office, we’re thankful for the life we’ve created for ourselves and the people who have helped us along the way. For the roof over our heads and for the food on our table and for being able to share it all with you guys every week.
But.. if we’re completely honest… There’s a little something we’re missing from our travelling past-life.
And it’s got something to do with those spontaneous, life-changing decisions that lead to unforgettable adventures (and tasty international cuisines 😉 ) just like this one.
Back then, we were pretty thankful just to have summer dresses packed away in our travel bags that could pass, if you squinted, as something suitable to wear to a wedding.
Even if I was crossing my fingers and hoping nobody looked down at the havaianas on our feet. 😛
Sitting down at the table with our Italian friend Ida and her parents (our adopted parents in Naples, Italy) we were surrounded by family members happily extending plate after plate of homemade Italian fare.
Between courses of savoury pizza scrolls, roast chicken, and more refreshing salads than you could poke a fork at, we sipped glasses of red wine and toasted the bride and groom.
Ida’s Uncle soon joined our table, taking the last seat left next to Sarah, and in true Italian fashion our conversation quickly turned to food.
“I have an amazing recipe, much better than this stuff,” he mumbled between mouthfuls of roast chicken.
“But I will not share it with you. Haha. Oh no. TWENTY YEARS it took for my friend to get my secret recipe from me! You won’t get it that easily.”
We took one look at each other and grinned.
Italian Roast Chicken (Dry Salt Roast Chicken)
>> Fast forward 10 minutes >>
“Oh, you have such beautiful green eyes, don’t you my dear. Okay. Okay, I will tell you this special recipe bella.”
Sarah whipped out her phone and recorded what came next.
“First you need a half a kilo of salt, this is very important bella. Then you need sage, rosemary and fresh garlic. Mix them together and wait three days!
“Then you take your chicken (skin on, my dear, skin on, it’s very important!) and massage the salt into the chicken. You must wait three or four hours for the flavour to sink in, and then you cook it all in the oven. But it must be very hot. Oh yes, 250 degrees!
“Oh, and don’t forget to cook it ON TOP of potatoes, they are so tasty cooked in the fat, and the skin stays nice and crispy.”
Mission completed. Secret Italian Roast Chicken recipe acquired.
All we needed to do now was to try it ourselves.
A few days ago we prepared Uncle’s salt and herb seasoning, and today we finally got our chance to experiment with this dry salt Italian roasted chicken recipe.
Not gonna lie. In the back of our minds we were thinking, ‘Geeeeeee, that’s a lot of salt…..’
But we massaged it onto the chicken, allowed it to rest, then popped it in the oven (on top of peeled and chopped potatoes) and dry roasted it without oil until the skin turned a gorgeous crinkly-crackly golden brown.
One slice revealed the soft, tender, moist chicken underneath, and it took all our effort just to stop and remember that we needed to take photos before digging in.
While all along Uncle’s final words were ringing in our ears…
“Once you master cooking the chicken, then can you move on to LAMB.”
We recommend if you want to eat the skin too, brush off all the salt with your hands before popping it in the oven (don’t use any water) – otherwise for everyone else – salty heaven awaits.
Italian roast chicken is just the beesssssstttt, isn’t it?
But when you feel like something a little different, don’t forget to check out our other tasty chicken recipes including this amazing Burmese Lemongrass Chicken Curry or our favourite Japanese/Australian fusion recipe for Easy Vegemite Chicken Pasta.
Of course, you could always experiment with dry roasted lamb… 😉
Italian Roast Chicken (Dry Salt Roast Chicken)
- 1 whole roasting chicken skin-on
- 4 -5 potatoes peeled and quartered
- 1 onion peeled and quartered
For the Seasoning
- 500 g cooking salt
- 3 – 4 cloves garlic roughly chopped
- 1 handful fresh sage roughly chopped
- 1 handful fresh rosemary roughly chopped
- Black pepper
To Whip Up That Seasoning
First up! You’ll need to prepare the seasoning mix a few days in advance of cooking the chicken, so be sure to plan ahead for this recipe.
Pour that salt into a nice big bowl, then add in your chopped garlic, sage, rosemary, and a good sprinkling of cracked black pepper.
Store covered for a few days for the flavours to develop.
To Prepare the Chicken
Massage the herb and salt seasoning all over the chicken skin, making sure it’s well and truly coated. You might want to repeat this process a second time just to be sure.
Cover and pop in the fridge for 3 hours, making sure you take it back out of the fridge an hour before cooking to help bring it back up to room temperature.
To Roast the Chicken
Go ahead and preheat that oven to 250 degrees celcius. Yep. That is going to be one hot oven for roasting this chicken.
Meanwhile pop your potatoes and onions into a roasting pan and use them to create a nice base for your chicken.
(Brush all the salt off here, or leave it on - it's up to you!)
Place the chicken on top of the potatoes (breast side down to start) then pop the tray into the oven. You'll need to allow half an hour of cooking per 500 g of chicken. We’re cooking the chicken on top of the potatoes to stop the skin sticking to the pan and also to flavour the potatoes with all that gorgeous roasting jus.
At the halfway point, flip the chicken over then pop it back in the oven. This will allow all that gorgeous skin to turn into crispy, golden brown deliciousness.
Once the chicken is done, take it out of the oven and wrap it up in some aluminium foil. For the juiciest, tastiest and most tender chicken ever, allow it to rest for at least 10 minutes covered in aluminium foil before you dive in. 😉
NotesWhen it comes to cooking this chicken you have a choice to make. Will you cook the chicken salt-on, or remove it? Cook salt on but you won’t be able to eat the skin. Or dust off the salt first. We’ll leave it up to you.