Dinner Tonight: Miso and Honey Butter-Roast Chicken

March 15, 2016

"This recipe went from Good, to Better, to One of the Best. I was drinking Champagne so maybe it balanced things; I don't know."

To Erika, who wrote the above comment on this recipe for Miso and Honey Butter-Roast Chicken, we don't know either. It's likely the Champagne helped. But any dinner that invites the company of Champagne should automatically be categorized as "Better," if not "One of the Best," so right out of the gate, this 5-ingredient chicken is off to an excellent start.

And the accolades continue. Those 5 ingredients, while few in number, are big in impact: miso brings salty umami; honey, floral sweetness; roasted garlic, richness; and butter rounds everything out and keep the chicken skin crisp. The garlic is mashed up with the chicken drippings after it's been roasted, creating an instant pan sauce to spoon over the bird and anything you serve with it (mashed potatoes, roasted vegetables, fluffy quinoa...).

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Other commenters declared this would be going into their regular dinner rotation. They didn't say Champagne was involved—but I think that deserves a weekly slot, as well.

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Top Comment:
“Hello, Curious about the miso - I see certain recipes where you add this at the end of cooking to not mask the flavor or "kill off" the good bacteria. Is this statement true? ”
— Jess

Grocery List:
(Organized by area of the market)

  • Miso
  • 4 chicken legs

We're assuming you already have 1/2 a stick of butter, honey, and 8 cloves of garlic. If not, add those to the list!

The Game Plan:

About 45 minutes before dinner, preheat the oven to 400° F. Cream the softened butter and mix with 2 1/2 tablespoons each of miso and honey until smooth and well combined.

Place the chicken legs into a baking dish, and carefully run your fingers under the chicken skin to separate it from the meat. With a butter knife or your hands, spread a tablespoon of the miso-honey butter underneath the skin of each leg. Spread the remainder of the butter mixture on top of the skin and tuck unpeeled garlic cloves between the chicken pieces. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Roast until deeply browned, about 30 to 40 minutes. (You're looking for the juices to run clear!)

Right before sitting down, remove the garlic from the pan and squeeze the cloves from their skins. Mash them into the pan drippings to create a sauce, spooning over the chicken and anything you're serving with it—like potatoes, roasted cauliflower, or greens. And don't forget the Champagne.

What are you serving with Champagne these days? Tell us in the comments!

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • MichiElise
  • Leslie Stephens
    Leslie Stephens
  • quiche'n'tell
  • Esmeralda Leon
    Esmeralda Leon
  • sbzemel
Annie Crabill

Written by: Annie Crabill


MichiElise May 22, 2018
Phenomenal! Easy and delicious.
Leslie S. March 16, 2016
Made this and am OBSESSED! It was even worth borrowing my neighbor's oven when mine broke :)
quiche'n'tell March 16, 2016
Like the sound of miso and honey and yes those legs look seductive. Can't wait to try.
Esmeralda L. March 16, 2016
Does it matter if the miso is the ready to make soup kind that already has bonito?
sbzemel March 16, 2016
Would this work with a substitute for butter? EVOO or margarine? I've got a husband with a milk protein allergy, so butter is a no no. Or I'll just save this recipe for when he's out of town.
Nan February 3, 2018
Do you think ghee might work? I'm told it has no milk solids, therefore no protein. Just a thought.
Jess March 15, 2016
Thank you so much!! ?
Two T. March 15, 2016
Oh and it works with only thighs, too.
Two T. March 15, 2016
Yum I love this one. Reminder to make it again soon!!
Jess March 15, 2016
Curious about the miso - I see certain recipes where you add this at the end of cooking to not mask the flavor or "kill off" the good bacteria. Is this statement true?
Pamela_in_Tokyo March 15, 2016
Jess: I don't think you need to worry about that. Here in Japan, where I am, people cook miso a long time if they want to. Like in soups or stews or as a flavoring, like here. I have never heard any Japanese chef or TV cooking expert worry about "killing off" the good bacteria, etc. It does seem to be an issue here. There are lots of recipes like this one in Japan. Try it, it sounds yummy. Miso is salty, so don't use too much.
Pamela_in_Tokyo March 15, 2016
Sorry, bad editing on my part, one sentence is missing a word. And thus the meaning is wrong. It should read: "It does NOT seem to be an issue here."
Jess March 15, 2016
Thank you so much!!?