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A collage of the cooking steps for Julia Child's classic roast chicken recipe
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5 from 1 vote

Julia Child's Classic Roast Chicken

Julia Child's classic roast chicken recipe is something you should have in your kitchen arsenal. This simple Whole30-friendly recipe is great for leftovers!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time1 hr 15 mins
Total Time2 hrs 30 mins
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: French
Keyword: chicken, keto, low carb, paleo, Primal, slow cooker, Whole30
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 523kcal
Author: Michelle Tam


  • 2 whole chickens 4 pounds each
  • Diamond Crystal brand kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 large lemon thinly sliced
  • 2 small onions peeled and trimmed
  • 1 bunch of fresh thyme
  • 4 tablespoons softened butter or ghee
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 1 cup chopped yams
  • ½ cup chopped onions


  • Round up two roast chickens and pat them dry. Liberally season the birds inside and out with salt and pepper.
  • An hour before you’re ready to cook the chickens, take them out of the fridge to come to room temperature. At the same time, put your butter or ghee on the counter to soften, and preheat the oven to 425°F.
  • Once the chickens are no longer chilly, dry them off with a paper towel and stuff the cavities with lemon slices, onion, and thyme.
  • With a piece of string, tie the drumsticks together and tuck the wingtips back behind the chicken.
  • Use your fingers to massage the softened butter or ghee all over the skin, and lay the chickens breast-side up on the V-rack in a large roasting pan.
  • Place the chickens in the oven for 15 minutes to brown the skin.
  • Decrease the oven temperature to 350°F and baste every 8 to 10 minutes if you’re so inclined. (Me? I didn’t baste AT ALL. I told you: I’m lazy.)
  • In a bowl, toss the carrots, yams, and chopped onions with the remaining butter (or ghee) and salt and pepper.
  • A half hour after the chicken first went in the oven, add the root vegetables to the pan and toss in the accumulated juices.
  • Check the chicken for doneness about five minutes before the recommended weight-based cooking time (see formula above) is up. (I checked my pair of 4-pound chickens at the 70 minute mark.) Use an instant-read thermometer to make sure the thighs reach 165-170° F.
  • Remove the rack from the roasting pan and let the chicken rest for 20 minutes prior to carving.
  • Spoon on the root vegetables, carve up the birds, and dig in.


  • I like to salt my meat for at least a few hours and up to a day before I roast it to maximize  the flavor-boosting potential.
  • Use leftover roast chicken to make Madras Chicken Salad!
Tried this recipe?Mention @nomnompaleo or tag #nomnompaleo!


Calories: 523kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 36g | Fat: 36g | Fiber: 2g