Christmas/ Dinner/ Recipes

Italian Roast Chicken (Dry Salt Roast Chicken)

14/06/2016 (Last Updated: 14/09/2020)

Super juicy, super tender Italian Roast Chicken 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.

Italian Roast Chicken (Dry Salt Roasted Chicken) - Crispy skin and juicy meat awaits, no oil required. |

(In a rush? Click here to jump straight to the recipe!)

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. 😛

Italian Roast Chicken (Dry Salt Roasted Chicken) - Crispy skin and juicy meat awaits, no oil required. |

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.

Challenge accepted.

Italian Roast Chicken (Dry Salt Roasted Chicken) - Crispy skin and juicy meat awaits, no oil required. |

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.”

Success! 😀

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.

Italian Roast Chicken (Dry Salt Roasted Chicken) - Crispy skin and juicy meat awaits, no oil required. |

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.”

Italian Roast Chicken (Dry Salt Roasted Chicken) - That crispy skin, and succulent breast meat is a winner every time. |

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… 😉

PS. Yes, we really do mean 250 degrees celcius! Get that oven hot guys – that’s what gives you a crispy skin and keeps the moisture in the chook!

Italian Roast Chicken (Dry Salt Roasted Chicken) - Crispy skin and juicy meat awaits, no oil required. |

Italian Roast Chicken (Dry Salt Roasted Chicken) - Crispy skin and juicy meat awaits, no oil required. |

Italian Roast Chicken (Dry Salt Roast Chicken)

A super juicy, super tender Italian Roast Chicken recipe cooked completely without oil. Soft, moist, white chicken with a crinkly, crispy skin. It's the perfect easy roast recipe you've been looking for.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 286kcal
Author: Wandercooks
Cost: $15



  • 1 whole roasting chicken skin-on
  • 4 -5 potatoes peeled and quartered
  • 1 onion peeled and quartered

For the Seasoning

  • 500 g salt
  • 4 cloves garlic roughly chopped
  • 1 handful fresh sage roughly chopped
  • 1 handful rosemary roughly chopped
  • black pepper


For the 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 the 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. Take it out of the fridge an hour before cooking to help bring it back up to room temperature.

To Roast the Chicken:

  • Preheat the oven to 250˚C (480˚F). 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 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 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. 😉



  • Prepare the seasoning mix a few days in advance of cooking the chicken to allow all the flavours to develop.
  • Once you've prepared the chicken, remember to take it out of the fridge at least an hour before cooking to help bring it back up to room temperature.
  • When 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. 😉


Calories: 286kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 95mg | Sodium: 32388mg | Potassium: 289mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 178IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 53mg | Iron: 2mg
Hey hey – Did you make this recipe?We’d love it if you could give a star rating below ★★★★★ and show us your creations on Instagram! Snap a pic and tag @wandercooks / #Wandercooks


Italian Roast Chicken (Dry Salt Roasted Chicken) - Everyone loves a roast for dinner, this will be the easiest one yet next Sunday! |
Italian Roast Chicken (Dry Salt Roast Chicken)


  • Reply
    24/02/2017 at 5:44 pm

    4 stars
    Yes!!! Thank you so much! I tried this last night and it was delish! My husband really enjoyed it and that’s quite rare. The dishes were actually minimal which I loved, some one pot recipes are a massive mess to get to the one pot part. Thanks again!

    • Reply
      03/03/2017 at 2:25 pm

      Aww so glad to hear he enjoyed it, you’re very welcome! It’s so nice to cook something like a roast in one pan – normally you’d end up with a pile of dishes so it’s nice to minimise the washing up, and even better that you end up with amazing flavours through your veggies too!

  • Reply
    30/12/2016 at 1:25 am

    Hi! This looks great! One doubt: in #4 you say “Place the chicken on top of the potatoes (breast side down to start) then pop the tray into the oven.” but you don’t say if the chicken is turned breast side up at any time… how is the golden skin in the breast achieved?

    • Reply
      05/01/2017 at 11:49 am

      Edda thanks so much for stopping by and letting us know we missed that step (eeep). For the best results, you should flip the chicken over at the half way point of cooking. I’ve updated the recipe to include this step now. Hope you enjoy!

  • Reply
    20/11/2016 at 6:41 am

    The picture looks like it has kosher salt (the bigger flakes) is that what Australian cooking salt.? Being in the States, I want to try the recipe but am not sure if I should use kosher salt or regular table salt (the fine granules of salt). I’m afraid if I use table salt it will absorb into the chicken and I won’t be able to wipe it off and it’ll make the skin too salty. Has anyone in the U.S. tried this, have any recs?

    • Reply
      20/11/2016 at 8:43 am

      Hey Linz, thanks for stopping by! We actually used Italian sea salt flakes for this recipe which was easy to brush off for less salty but still crispy ‘n delicious skin. If you can’t find any in a supermarket, check out an import store or continental grocer if you have one nearby, or perhaps check out Amazon. Good luck!

  • Reply
    28/09/2016 at 7:41 pm

    5 stars
    Now that’s what I’m talking about! These look great! And I reckon I could wait a few days! Thanks for the recipe!!!

    • Reply
      29/09/2016 at 9:26 am

      You’re welcome Jaclyn. We hope you enjoy it! Love that salty crispy skin. 😀 PS. The wait is definitely worth it.

  • Reply
    15/07/2016 at 9:53 am

    Is cooking salt just salt like Mortons? I am just learning to cook at 66 & some things confuse me. Sorry to sound so stupid…lol.

    • Reply
      19/07/2016 at 12:49 pm

      Yep, we’re pretty sure you can use Mortons in the same way as cooking salt. It’s never too late to start and there’s so much deliciousness out there to discover. Hope you enjoy all your cooking adventures, and if you run into any problems hit us up! Always happy to help. 🙂

  • Reply
    16/06/2016 at 3:57 am

    5 stars
    YUM! Roast chicken is a Winter time staple in our house, but we’ve never tried this salted version before. It looks SO TASTY! Gotta give it a go. 🙂

    • Reply
      16/06/2016 at 3:24 pm

      Yep, neither had we Trish! A new go-to I think, it’s such an easy and non-messy marinade. Gotta love that!

  • Reply
    Mandee Pogue
    15/06/2016 at 11:19 pm

    5 stars
    First of all, your photography is AMAZING! And this recipe literally made my mouth water! I am going to be trying it soon!

    • Reply
      16/06/2016 at 3:23 pm

      Aww thanks Mandee! Good luck with the cooking, would love to know how it turns out! 😀

  • Reply
    Marisa Franca @ All Our Way
    15/06/2016 at 5:38 am

    5 stars
    We’ve never tried the salt method. We’ve done the chicken under a brick which is a typical Italian recipe along with the little potatoes. We are going to have to try this method. Looks delish!

    • Reply
      15/06/2016 at 11:36 am

      Oh your method sounds interesting too Marisa, would love to give that a try! Very curious to see how that works. 🙂

  • Reply
    Dannii @ Hungry Healthy Happy
    14/06/2016 at 11:06 pm

    5 stars
    That chicken looks perfectly cooked and I love the crispy roast potatoes that go along with it. Yum!

    • Reply
      15/06/2016 at 11:36 am

      Thanks Dannii! We just couldn’t believe how gorgeously browned the chicken became even without oil. So delish! 🙂

    Leave a Reply

    Recipe Rating

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.