Julia Child’s Classic Roast Chicken (Paleo, Gluten-Free)

Julia Child’s Classic Roast Chicken (Paleo, Gluten-Free)

Winner Winner, Chicken Dinner!! Julia does it again.

This roast chicken recipe makes use of a small list of ingredients but demands that you stand by the oven the whole time this chicken is roasting to ensure a favorable outcome. The chicken needs to be turned a number of times and basted continuously. I have previously made this without the turning and basting and while it tasted fine, I definitely prefer the version according to Julia. Continuous turning and basting ensures that the chicken is evenly browned and the skin is moist and tender at the end of roasting time.

When you get your chicken out, make note of the weight and estimate your cooking time. According to her book, a 3 lb chicken can be done in 1 hr 20 minutes and a 5 lb chicken in about 1 hr 40 minutes. My advice is to estimate but make sure you have a good meat thermometer and start checking your chicken’s temperature some 10, 15 minutes before you think it will be done.

Tonight, I had a 4.7lb bird and it took 1 hr 30 min to reach a reading of 165 in the thickest part of the thigh.

Wash and pat dry your chicken, inside and out.


Mix together a generous amount of salt and pepper in a bowl.

salt and pepper

Prepare your aromatics you will use to stuff your chicken. I have a sliced lemon, onion and some fresh thyme.


Rub your salt and pepper all over the chicken taking care to ensure the cavity is generously seasoned. Then, stuff the cavity with aromatics. At this point, you have the option of performing some chicken bondage that will help keep everything inside and make the bird a bit easier to maneuver in the roasting pan with all the turning. All you need is a bit of kitchen string. Julia actually describes in detail how to truss a roast chicken but I have just tied everything together and used a toothpick to secure the cavity opening.

Stuffed, salted and tied up

Next, prepare some softened butter. You will need LOTS of butter for this dish. Rub butter all over your chicken and set in your roasting pan breast-up. You may now also set some vegetables around your chicken. I used carrots, yellow squash and onions.

Ready to go in the oven

The oven temperature starts high at 425 to brown the chicken. After the first 5 minutes, it is time to turn the chicken to one side and baste with butter.

turned to one side

After another 5 minutes, it’s time to turn the chicken to the other side and baste again with butter.

turned again

After 5 minutes, baste again and lower the oven to 350. From here until the chicken is done, you have to baste every 8-10 minutes. When your butter runs out, you can continue basting using the drippings in the pan.

Halfway through your estimated cooking time, turn the chicken again back on the other side and sprinkle a bit of salt on it. 15 minutes before the estimated end time, turn the chicken back to breast-up and sprinkle a bit of salt. Remember to check for the temperature with a meat thermometer in the thickest part of the thigh. You want to aim for a temperature of 165-170.

When it is done, you should have a very nicely browned chicken. Remember to let it rest for 10 minutes before carving. If you are not serving immediately, you can leave the chicken in the oven for about 20-30 minutes with the oven turned off and door ajar.

out of the oven

While the chicken is resting, you can prepare the simple finishing sauce to serve in a gravy boat with your roast.

Start by cooking some chopped green onions in the pan drippings for a minute.

green onions

Then, add a cup of chicken stock and reduce until there is about 1/2 cup of sauce in the pan. Off heat and stir in some cold butter just before serving.

finishing gravy with butter

You’ll need:

  • One whole chicken, 3 – 5lb, washed and patted dry
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • 1 Small onion, peeled and halved
  • bunch of fresh thyme
  • Lots of butter for basting (I used about 1 stick)
  • Fresh vegetables to accompany roast – carrots, yellow squash, yams, sweet potato, more onion
  • 1 cup of chicken stock
  • 2 TBSP green onion, chopped
  • Kitchen string to tie the chicken, a sturdy roasting pan, saucepan

  1. Preheat oven to 425
  2. Prepare chicken by generously rubbing the outside and inside with salt and pepper
  3. Stuff the lemon, small onion and thyme in the cavity and tie the chicken with the string
  4. Rub butter all over the chicken and set breast-up in the roasting pan. Any accompanying vegetables can also be set in the pan at this point
  5. Set roasting pan in the center of the oven and roast for 5 minutes
  6. Turn chicken to one side, baste with butter and roast for 5 minutes
  7. Turn chicken to other side, baste with butter and roast for 5 minutes
  8. Turn oven down to 350, baste every 8-10 minutes. If your butter runs out, use the pan drippings to baste
  9. Halfway through estimated cooking time, turn chicken to the other side. Sprinkle with a bit of salt and continue basting every 8-10 minutes
  10. 15 minutes before end of cooking time, turn chicken back to breast-up, sprinkle with salt and continue basting
  11. Check for doneness with an instant read meat thermometer in the thickest part of the chicken thigh. You want a reading of 165-170. Keep checking (and basting) every 5 minutes towards the end
  12. When chicken is done, leave it to rest on a plate for 10 minutes before carving. If not immediately serving, it can be left in a turned off oven with the door ajar for 20-30 minutes
  13. While the chicken is resting, prepare the finishing sauce by cooking green onions in the pan drippings for 1 minute
  14. Add chicken stock and reduce over high heat until there is 1/2 cup of sauce
  15. Just before serving, mix in 2 TBSP cold butter
  16. This is a great dish to serve as an everyday meal and is presentable at special occasions too. Bon apetit!

    roast chciken


  1. Followed to the letter except I didn’t have fresh thyme…an excellent gluten free roast chicken was the result.
    Thank you from a coeliac sufferer