One-Pot Roast Chicken a la Julia Child

March 2, 2018

Test Kitchen-Approved

Author Notes: The end-all-be-all way to roast chicken that is moist and flavorful and yields a ready-made gravy and a side of meltingly tender root vegetables. I've riffed on it here so to make it all in one pot!Jennifer Clair

Serves: 4
Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 1 hrs 15 min


  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • 1 3 1/2-pound chicken, giblets removed, rinsed and dried with paper towel
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 pounds mixed vegetables (choose 3: fingerling or purple potatoes, parsnips, carrots, golden beets, butternut squash, fennel), cut in generous 3-inch pieces (so they don’t overcook)
  • 1 medium red or yellow onion, peeled cut in 16 wedges through the root (so the wedges stay intact)
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme, rosemary, or tarragon
  • 1/4 cup white wine
In This Recipe


  1. Preheat the oven to 400° F. In a large Dutch oven with a lid, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Season the chicken all over (not inside) with salt and pepper. Brown the chicken on 3 sides (breasts and 2 leg/thigh sections) until browned all over, about 15 minutes total. Use tongs and a wooden spoon anchored in the cavity to turn it easily onto each side (you can prop it up against the side of the pot so it doesn’t tip over when you are browning the leg/thigh sections).
  2. Remove the chicken from the pot and transfer to large bowl. Turn off the heat under the pot and add the butter, swirling until it melts. Add the vegetables, onion wedges, and herbs. Toss, coating the vegetables with the butter. Season lightly with salt and pepper and toss again. Move the vegetables to the sides of the pot, making room for the chicken. Place the browned chicken on top, breast side up. Pour over 1/4 cup white wine, cover pot with the lid, and transfer the pot to the oven. Roast until an instant-read thermometer registers 165° when inserted in the thickest part of the thigh, about 1 hour.
  3. Carve the chicken in the pot or transfer to a cutting board to carve more elegantly. Serve with the braised vegetables and sauce on the side.

More Great Recipes:

Reviews (12) Questions (1)

12 Reviews

BicycleCurtis October 9, 2018
Regarding not getting browned, crispy skin when roasting a chicken using this method, try removing the pot’s lid for the last 10 minutes of roasting. Basting with some of the accumulated juices or melted butter can add some color as well.
BicycleCurtis October 9, 2018
Most whole chickens sold in super markets and grocery stores range in size between 3.5 to 6 pounds. When I roast a chicken, my wife and like leftovers for quesadillas, enchiladas or salads so I’ll go for a size around 5-ish pounds and then adjust cooking time accordingly. The key to insure doneness, check internal temperature as recommended in the recipe.
Jeanine G. September 7, 2018
I have never been able to find a 3 pound chicken in my local grocery store. Why do chef's keep making recipes for them?
Catherine J. February 22, 2019
You are absolutely right!
Susanna February 22, 2019
Look for, or ask for, a fryer instead of a roaster. They are usually beteeen 3 and 4 pounds.
hookmountaingrowers April 15, 2018
very nice moist chicken. No crispiness and unable to get that browned look despite searing the skin in the beginning but very happy with the ease and taste of the meal. Just could use more herbs.
Barbara G. March 4, 2018
Not seeing the onion wedges in the ingredients list. How many? What kind of onions?
Nikkitha B. March 4, 2018
Hi Barbara,

Sorry that got left out. It's 1 medium red or yellow onion, peeled cut in 16 wedges through the root (so the wedges stay intact).
Alexandra March 2, 2018
Not directed at you, Jennifer -- it's directed at Food52's food stylist.

I get food photography magic and all, but burnishing the chicken in a recipe where the chicken is steamed wipes out all suspension of disbelief. People are going to make this recipe and be very confused as to why their chicken comes out looking pallid with rubbery skin when the picture depicts it as deeply caramelized and crisp.

I've made the original recipe.
Peter V. March 3, 2018
How do you make the chicken have crisp skin?
Nikkitha B. March 4, 2018

Thanks for your notes. We made the chicken exactly as was written in the recipe, which is a riff on the original Julia Child one. The chicken gets the color and crisp skin from being browned first, for 15 minutes, on all three sides (step 1). In this step, the chicken is not steamed, but browned. I hope that clears things up.
Author Comment
Jennifer C. March 5, 2018
Hello all! The chicken does indeed get a caramelized skin from the browning in Step 1, but it is "not crisp" since it then steams in an enclosed pot. The stylist definitely spent a good amount of time browning the breast and leg area (which you can do too), so it does end up with a wonderful burnished look if you spent the full 15 minutes prescribed for browning.