Honey Roast Chicken

I’m a little short on time but I can sum up this chicken in a couple words: juicy, flavorful, delicious…and totally worth your time (even if you are short on it, like me).

I had never made roast chicken before and just like all big pieces of raw poultry, the task scared me a bit. But I’m happy to report I have successfully overcome my fears. This chicken was just absolutely unbelievable. Not only that, but instead of halving the recipe (which you could totally do), I went crazy and cooked two whole chickens. For my little family. Which means I had tons of wonderful, perfect chicken meat to use in leftovers. And I will never complain about that.

This week, I’ll be sharing some delicious menu sides to pair with a meal like this. The one up tomorrow will change the way you feel about a lumpy, well-known veggie. I promise. It nearly changed my life.

What To ServeI serve this with cheesy potatoesrolls, a green salad and steamed veggie and sometimes we load the tender chicken onto rolls with mustard and sharp cheddar cheese and stuff our faces that way. 

Honey Roast Chicken

Yield: Serves 6 to 8

Honey Roast Chicken


  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons pepper
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 whole chickens (3 1/2 to 4 pounds each), giblets discarded
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 5 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 2 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces and chilled


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and make sure the oven rack is in the middle of the oven. In a small bowl combine the salt, pepper and paprika. Pat the chickens dry with paper towels and rub the spice mixture under the skin and over the outside of each chicken. Tuck the wings behind the back and tie the legs together with kitchen twine.
  2. Stir the cornstarch and 1 tablespoon water together in a small bowl until no lumps remain; set aside. In a small saucepan bring the honey and 4 tablespoons vinegar to a simmer over medium-high heat. Cook until the mixture is reduced to about 1/2 cup, 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Slowly whisk the cornstarch mixture into the glaze. Return to a simmer and cook for one minute.
  3. Arrange the chickens, breast side down, on a V-rack set inside a roasting pan. Roast until the chickens are golden, about 35 minutes. Remove the roasting pan from the oven and carefully with a wad of paper towels, flip the chickens so that they are breast side up. Raise the oven temperature to 450 degrees. Pour 1 cup water and the broth into the roasting pan. Return the roasting pan to the oven and roast until the thigh meat registers 165 to 170 degrees, about 35-45 minutes. Brush the chickens evenly with a thick layer of the glaze (you’ll have some remaining to brush on later) and continue to roast until the glaze is golden brown, about 10 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and brush with the remaining glaze and let it rest for 15 minutes (this is important – if the chicken is cut too quickly, all the delicious juices will escape and the meat will be dry).
  4. While the chicken is resting, pour pan juices and any accumulated chicken juices into a saucepan and skim any fat. Stir in the thyme. Bring to a simmer and cook until the sauce is slightly thickened and reduced to 1 cup, about 15 minutes. Off the heat whisk in the butter and remaining vinegar. Season with salt and pepper. Carve the chickens and serve, passing the sauce at the table.

Recipe Source: adapted slightly from Cook’s Country February/March 2010

50 Responses to Honey Roast Chicken

  1. marla says:

    covered or uncovered to roast?

  2. Rachelle says:

    Hi Mel, have been loving making your recipes – this is my 15th one to try in 3 weeks! I just want to make sure I am preparing the glaze correctly – at low to medium heat the honey and vinegar is boiling (bubbling a lot) – is that ok or “normal”? Also is it correct that the glaze does not go on the chicken until the last 10 minutes, not before, right? Thanks!

    • Mel says:

      Yes, the glaze doesn’t go on until the last 10 minutes (it would smoke and burn if added before). The vinegar will bubble a bit so I think that’s normal. Hope it turns out for you!

      • Rachelle says:

        It was wonderful and we can’t wait to use the leftovers! I also made your “Perfect Roasted Asparagus” to go with it and my husband who loves Asparagus said, “That is the best Asparagus I have ever had!” Those type of compliments (thanks to you) are keeping me very motivated to keep cooking and trying more of your recipes! Thank you and Merry Christmas!

  3. Laura from the Land of Aus says:

    Hi Mel! What if you don’t have a v-rack? Would it work if I just plonked it in the roasting pan or would I need to prop it up with some foil or chunky carrot slices? Not that I’ve tried either of these, I just found them whilst searching on the web! 😉

    • Mel says:

      Hey Laura – I think it would help to have it up on something so that the hot air can circulate around the bottom (and so it doesn’t settle in all the liquid/juices). Either of those ideas sound creative and would probably work!

  4. Liz says:

    I was going to make this for dinner tonight, but wanted to make sure that you cook the chicken the whole time on the v-rack. That’s the pan that has holes and about a 2 inch drip pan below, right? So the chicken never sits in the liquid, you just pour the sauce over it and it falls into the pan? Thanks!

    • Mel says:

      I think the pan you are describing is a broiler pan. I use a rack like a roasting rack that sits inside of a large pan and has slats in it, kind of like a cooling rack but a little sturdier and it goes up in the shape of a wide V. Either way, the idea is for the air to circulate underneath the chicken, too. Does that help?

  5. Lisa says:

    I made this tonight for Sunday dinner and it was so delicious. I usually make a roast chicken from The Pioneer Woman’s website which calls for a stick of butter, several whole lemons and fresh herbs. It’s delicious but I always have the ingredients for your recipe on hand and I found that the skin was crispier and the glaze was amazing. I also made your cheesy au gratin potatoes and needless to say we had a wonderful feast! Thanks so much for the recipe. I’ll definitely make this again!

  6. Tara says:

    Been cooking my way thru your blog lately – and this is another hit! I was nervous with the glaze, since the vinegar smell overpowered the house as it was cooking – but that was the best part!! 🙂

  7. Kelly says:

    Oh my word. Fantastic! This is the first chicken I’ve roasted that A) turned out totally moist and yummy and fully cooked in the proper amount of time and B) my husband gobbled up willingly! Plus that glaze on the skin is to die for…

    I almost panicked that it wouldn’t work because I got the chicken in the oven and then realized that there was no honey in my pantry! I did some creative thinking and made a sugary syrup with dark brown sugar and water boiled together. Worked great!

  8. Stephanie says:

    I have never roasted anything on a v-rack. I have one that came with my oven that sits over a 2inch deep pan. is the liquid supposed to touch the chicken or just sit under it to catch the drippings? I can’t wait to try this recipe, I love your website and have really enjoyed trying many of your fantastic recipes. Your Terriaki meatballs are amazing.

    • Mel says:

      Hi Stephanie – usually a rack is used so that the meat sits above the liquid, so yes, the drippings will collect underneath the chicken. Hope you enjoy it!

  9. Stephanie says:

    Mel, you’ve done it again! I served this tonight – my first-ever roast chicken – and it was delicious! Thanks for making me look so good! 🙂

  10. Samantha says:

    This was my very first time roasting a whole chicken, and it was a huge success. Your recipes are always foolproof. It was delicious, thank you for sharing your great recipes.

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  12. Julianne says:

    OK, and I’m adding my final comment after we made this tonight…

    THIS IS SO GOOD. Apparently last time I failed to see that you can get a sauce out of the drippings, and thus threw them out (I’m a novice here, though I doubt that’s hard to see). Ryan made the chicken tonight and it was SOSOSO good. The sauce was WONDERFUL.

    We had this with Yukon Gold mashed potatoes and the Honey Lime Fruit Salad…another winner with that one, too…I’ll head over there to leave a comment on that one now.

    Anyway – thank you!

  13. Julianne says:

    Just realized I never updated with the fact that I DID use this recipe to make our chicken, and I’m using it again tonight because it was so good and so easy. All the meat was tender and lovely. Plus, it made reeeeally good chicken stock afterwards.

    Thank you!

  14. Chavah says:

    Made this chicken on Sunday and it was amazing! I loved the gravy that came with it…a definite must! We had leftovers and they tasted just as great as the day it was made. Tender…very flavorful…and like another poster said, better than any deli roaster chicken I’ve ever had! It was time consuming, but TOTALLY worth it!

    • Mel says:

      Chavah – thanks for the rave reviews on this recipe! I agree that it is better than deli roast chicken I’ve ever had…worth the work, if you ask me!

  15. Kelsey says:

    Hey I have been following your blog forever and I just had a question! It seems like ever since you changed your blog name the same recipe says it posts everyday. Are you posting new things? I swear I have been seeing this chicken for a month and I am confused! haha Thanks :]

    • Mel says:

      Hi Kelsey –

      How confusing! Are you saying that when you type in http://www.melskitchencafe.com to your browser that the first recipe you see is the Honey Roast Chicken?? I’ve probably posted a dozen recipes since then (if not more). If this is really happening, try deleting your history and cookies and then refresh your browser. Hopefully then you’ll see the latest post (Grilled Island Chicken). The other way to get around it is to subscribe by email or a feed reader (like Google Reader) – then the updates will come every day.

      I’m not sure why this is happening but let me know if it clears up when you delete your history/cookies.

  16. Megan says:

    I pulled this original recipe from Cook’s Country–looked yummy to me, too– and am planning to make it for a dinner party Saturday night. In the past, I’ve roasted chicken for company ahead and then briefly reheated before serving. Anyone know if I can do the same here?

    • Mel says:

      Megan, I can’t weigh in on this much since I’ve never used that method. I’m guessing if you’ve done it before, it should work ok – I would just take care that the chicken doesn’t dry out.

  17. Reyna says:

    Just wanted to let you know that I made two chickens this past Sunday, and it was divine. Truly the best roast chicken any of us has ever had. I paired it with this Potato Tart ( http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/melissa-darabian/potato-bacon-torte-recipe/index.html) and some asparagus lightly boiled then tossed with lemon zest, olive oil, salt and pepper. It was a very memorable meal, and I thank you for your great recipes that inspire me to get out of my cooking ruts!

    • Mel says:

      Reyna – that meal sounds utterly delicious! Talk about gourmet with the potato torte and asparagus. I’m so glad the chicken fit right in and that you liked it. Thanks for letting me know (and including the link to the torte!).

  18. Mel says:

    Danielle – ok, you’ll have to let me know what else you added to your wickedly delicious lemon berry trifle. I am the proud owner of a new trifle bowl and am itching to make something in it!

    I’m glad the bigger chicken worked out and I’m glad you included your changes. Not poisoning guests is a good thing and it sounds like I need an electronic meat thermometer – hello!

    Thanks for checking back in to give me an update!

  19. Danielle says:

    Melanie- I made this with the bigger bird (about 7 lbs) for Easter. I get so paranoid about poisoning my guests, that I added 10 minutes to the initial roasting time. Once I flipped it, I put in my electronic meat thermometer (which I love). It only took an extra 8 minutes to reach 165 degrees before I added the glaze and was 170 by the time the 10 minutes of glaze cooking was over. So really only 18 minutes extra for the larger chicken.

    Now let me say how yummy it was. I love roasted chicken, but I wanted to do something a little nicer for Easter. The glaze was heavenly, and I have plenty of leftovers for something yummy tonight. Thanks for posting an alternative to ham.

    I also made a wickedly delicious lemon berry trifle with your lemon pound cake. Your recipes make me seem like such a good cook. Thanks for ALL your hard work.

  20. Mel says:

    Thanks, Tanya!

  21. Mel says:

    Danielle – I’m sorry I’m getting back to you late on this? If it were me, I wouldn’t alter the times for one large chicken. I’d keep them the same. That’s probably because I get nervous undercooking poultry, though. Let me know if you try it!

  22. Danielle says:

    If I wanted to roast one larger chicken, how do you think it would alter the cooking times?

  23. Tanya says:

    This was DELICIOUS, especially the sauce!

  24. Mel says:

    Cathy – thanks for checking in. I’m so glad you liked this!

  25. Mel says:

    canuck-grad – are you kidding? That’s nuts that cooked chicken is less expensive. No need to make your own!

  26. Mel says:

    Cathryn – ok, first of all, I’m totally impressed with your six year old. Want to send him my way so he can teach my nearly six year old? I’m glad that this chicken was such a hit. And I bet it would taste delicious for breakfast!

  27. Cathy says:

    I made this last night and it was better than any “roast chicken” at the deli. The sauce was worth making! Wonderful flavor and I love the extra chicken for left overs! Love your blog! 🙂

  28. Jessica Olsen says:

    We love making Roasted chicken, I am so excited to try this recipe out. It is on my menu for next week 🙂 Thank You!

  29. canuck_grad says:

    This looks delicious! I’ll make it sometime for sure! But I don’t make roast chicken very often around here…. where I live it is often more expensive to buy a raw chicken than an already cooked deli one – explain that one! But I will sometimes buy them when we get a good sale, so I’ll have this recipe waiting!

  30. Cathryn says:

    Holy Cow! It was awesome. Really Awesome. I seasoned them with the salt, pepper and paprika and then baked them in the broth. I then made the glaze (well, my 6 year old son did) and basted them and then broiled them to get the color and *crisp*. I then glazed them again and let them rest. SO DELISH!
    I can’t wait to eat the left-over chicken breast tomorrow (I wonder how it would taste for breakfast?!).

  31. Scoggdog says:

    Hi Mel,
    Roasted chicken has been a staple on my table since I was a boy, thankfully I love it. My mother wasn’t the best cook, but I bet she’s roasted about 3000 chickens. I am definitely going to give this recipe a try. Thanks for sharing it.

    P.S. Your new revamp on the blog is fantastic!

  32. I’ll be trying this, for sure. We recently moved, and when I cleaned out our chest freezer, I “found” a whole chicken! I love your site, and for a long time, it’s been one of my go-to blogs when I need a good recipe. Thanks for sharing!

  33. Kerri says:

    Love the recipe. Can’t wait to try it. I was wondering if you were on facebook?

  34. grace says:

    three cheers for chicken carcasses! wait, no, that’s not what i’m excited about. i want to hear more about this life-changing lumpy veg. 🙂

  35. Mel says:

    Cathryn and Julianne – I hope you like this recipe!

  36. Julianne says:

    Terrific timing! I have a whole chicken sitting in my freezer, waiting to be roasted. I have decided that I should learn how to roast my own chicken, because a rotisserie is expensive and means one more trip to the grocery store. I did PW’s roasted chicken legs last week and they were successful, only kind of flavorless.

    ANYWAY – thanks for this recipe! If we end up using this, I’ll let you know how it goes.

  37. Cathryn says:

    I am SO making this tonight! I don’t have a whole chicken, but I do have a big bag of chicken breasts and I think it will work just fine. I can’t wait to taste it. 🙂
    On another note, I have no idea how I would live (ok, maybe just cook) without your blog. It has definately taken first place in my book of favorite food blogs; always something new, yummy and easy to make. Thank you!

  38. That looks like a perfectly roasted chicken! As soon as I saw honey I knew that my husband would love this recipe!

  39. Barbara says:

    Your recipes are great! (all of them) I look forward to a new recipe everyday and can’t wait to try them….

  40. Kim in MD says:

    This looks fabulous! I love roasted chicken, and I always roast two chickens at the same time. Why not while the oven is hot, right?

    I can’t wait to see what yummy side dishes you come up with! 🙂

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