Roasted Chicken with Garlic and Bread Recipe on Food52 (2024)

Make Ahead

by: Aliwaks



2 Ratings

  • Prep time 24 hours 20 minutes
  • Cook time 1 hour
  • Serves 4

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Author Notes

This a my super special for company chicken roasting method. Oftentimes I will just season a chicken, shove a lemon and some aromatics up its bum, smear it with butter toss it in a hot oven and hope for the best. But when I have time to plan ahead, this is the recipe I choose. The recipe is a conglomeration of 40 cloves of garlic chicken and a recipe that ran in the Times last year for chicken roasted on a bed of day old bread. You can add a few extras if you like; I made this last night and tossed in a few quartered artichokes, and other times I've included halved shallots. Olives, sundried tomatoes, leeks, paper-thin slices of lemon, and even bacon would work too. It will take to almost anything -- you could even use a whole grain bread and toss in dried fruit, onions, and chunks of apple, but I generally use sturdy Italian bread or sourdough. —Aliwaks

Test Kitchen Notes

WHO: Aliwaks is a longtime Food52er and an adventurous cook from Philly.
WHAT: The closest thing you can get to Thanksgiving outside of November.
HOW: Toss bread cubes with delicious things, roast a chicken atop it all.
WHY WE LOVE IT: This dish is dead simple, but it has a secret: by roasting the chicken on top of the bread, it's basically a stuffing that makes itself. And we love everything about it. Case closed. —The Editors

  • Test Kitchen-Approved
  • Your Best Chicken Contest Finalist

What You'll Need

  • 1 3 to 4 pound plump, free-range chicken
  • 1 pinchKosher salt, more to taste
  • 1 pinchFreshly ground black pepper, more to taste
  • 1 loaf day-old sturdy, crusty bread
  • 2 1/2 heads of garlic, lightly smashed, trimmed and peeled
  • 2 sprigsrosemary (the larger the better)
  • 3 sprigsfresh thyme
  • 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cupgood olive oil
  • 1 handfulParsley, for serving (optional)
  1. 24 hours or so before you plan to cook, rinse and dry the chicken and season with salt and pepper. Salt it generously inside, outside, and under the skin. It's not a rub or a crust, but 2 to 3 sprinkles more than you might normally use. Place on a rack set over a plate deep enough to catch any errant chicken juice, and leave as uncovered as you feel comfortable, as the skin needs air to dry out. I create pathogen barrier of parchment or waxed paper; I'm fairly sure I am delusional about its protective properties but I have a small crowded fridge and its the best I can do.
  2. This would be a good time to cut or tear the bread into bite-sized pieces. Leave out in a bowl covered with a dishtowel overnight.
  3. When you're ready to roast, preheat oven to 375º F . Get all your garlic together and roughly chop half the herbs.
  4. Take the chicken out of the fridge and pat dry, removing any trace of moisture from the outside. Lay it in a layer of paper towels or a clean tea towel for a few minutes (10 or so) to take the chill off it.
  5. Toss the bread with 2 heads of the whole, lightly smashed garlic cloves, the chopped herbs, zest of half a lemon, and the olive oil (and whatever else you are adding).
  6. Pour bread mixture in to the bottom of a roasting pan.
  7. Cut lemon in half, and stuff into chicken cavity with remaining herbs and garlic, and truss. I would love to tell you how to truss a chicken but I can't; I end up in a wild sort free-for-all wrestling match with the thing, asking it to please keep its legs shut like a lady.
  8. Nestle your trussed stuffed little chicken atop its bed and place in the preheated oven.
  9. Depending on your oven you may need to rotate the pan every so often, and stir up the bread bits. If they get too crunchy looking, splash a half cup of stock in there and mix it around.
  10. After 50 to 60 or so minutes (depending on the size of your chicken and your oven) it should be done; test with a meat thermometer -- it should read 165 for 15 seconds. When it is near done (150ª F), you can add in the chicken liver either chopped of whole if you wish (I usually do).
  11. Remove from the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes while you get your sides together. This will give the juices time to settle in.
  12. Untie the chicken. Remove all the stuff inside and throw it away. Carve or cut in to pieces as you wish, but do so over a plate or a flexible cutting board. Reserve juices.
  13. The bread and garlic at the bottom will now be a myriad of textures, some garlic will be dark and sticky with chicken fat and some will be toasted brown, some may even still be sharp and garlicky. Pieces of bread will be crunchy, soft, gooey, chewy ...toss this all with the reserved chicken juice.
  14. Arrange on a platter with the chicken pieces on top, sprinkle with a bit of torn parsley if you have it for a bit of color.


  • American
  • Italian
  • Chicken
  • Garlic
  • Parsley
  • Make Ahead
  • One-Pot Wonders
  • Entree
Contest Entries
  • Your Best Roast Chicken
  • Your Best Chicken

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Gretel

  • Meatballs&Milkshakes

  • Aliwaks

  • Lynn Wainess

  • Selma | Selma's Table

Popular on Food52

25 Reviews

Gretel October 22, 2022

Wow! The smells wafting through the house promised a glorious dinner. This dish certainly was a winner and I thoroughly enjoyed your writing. Thank you!

Rochelle January 8, 2017

I'm no trusser either, so I cheat by using the wire cage from a champagne bottle. I just squeeze the cage around the legs and hope for the best. Works well for me.

Aliwaks January 8, 2017

Rochelle the fact that you seem to drink as much champagne as you roast while chickens makes me believe that we could totally hang out :)

Aliwaks January 8, 2017

Whole not while

Juliebell April 15, 2016

The first time I tried this I ended up with a great chicken and dried out, over toasted bread so the second time I roasted the chicken in my cast iron skillet for about 20 min. then took out of the oven, removed the chicken, stirred the torn bread into the chicken drippings along with the garlic, the olive oil and a small amount of broth. Placed the chicken back in the pan and roasted another 40 min. This kept my bread from burning.

A C. February 18, 2016

For easier carving, I'd suggest removing the wishbone before you cook the bird. You'll kick yourself for not doing this sooner.

kim February 18, 2016

What kind of dish would you all recommend for this?

Aliwaks February 18, 2016

Do you mean to cook in?? I use a roasting pan. You could use a casserole dish or a deep sheet pan.

Missy August 20, 2015

Stuffing was absolutely amazing. I used sourdough and added 1/2 of a finely chopped onion sauteed in butter to the mix. However, I put my chicken atop the stuffing and while it was in the oven for about an hour, the bottom half of my chicken wasn't completely cooked. I cut into pieces and laid them back over the stuffing and broiled them a few minutes. Maybe I should've put the chicken directly on the bottom of the pan or just cooked it longer, but my thermometer did register 165 on the top sections of the breast and thigh...still super yummy. Will make the stuffing often, great way to use old bread. May try putting the chicken in contact with the hot pan next time and nestling the stuffing around it.

lilroseglow May 31, 2015

I loved the idea of this recipe, and I wanted it to work. The chicken was delicious, but the bread and garlic was just burnt and crusty. I stirred it, I added chicken stock, but still the bread and garlic was mostly inedible and we threw it out. Did I use the wrong type of bread?

WIth all the rave reviews I tend to think this was my failure and not the recipe's. I may try it again with some modifications.

Aliwaks June 1, 2015

i'm so sorry thsi didn;t work out well for you- there are so many factors- It could have been the bread, the pan, the oven. I had a gas stove when i wrote this recipe, now I have an electric (what can you do its a rental) and I find I have to adjust my cooking times and temperatures because it runs really hot. Also check your pan I have one baking pan that made a mess of this recipe it ended up greasy and strange ( I think because it was non stick), If the bread is too airy it could be another reason, you need a sturdy loaf (try it with a rye bread its really great!)

Jonian S. March 12, 2014

" wild sort free-for-all " (Truss Truth).
Great and my pick for best RC recipe, easy enough.

March 4, 2014

Congrats, sounds delicious!

Aliwaks March 3, 2014

Diva - That sounds amaze-balls! I LOVE harissa..Lynn & Abbie THANK YOU! I must confess my favorite thing about this is pulling all the bits off the edges and bottom of the pan and eating them before I actually serve anyone anything, cooks treat kind of thing.

Lynn W. March 3, 2014

This was one of the best dishes I have ever made. Thank you for sharing it!

Selma |. March 3, 2014

Made this last night with chicken thighs (because that's what I had and I couldn't wait to try this recipe!) that I marinated for about an hour in lemon juice, zest and harissa and laid on top of the bread. Added some leeks, olives and potatoes to the bread - it was fantastic! The bread is a revelation - toasty, chewy, chicken-juice=sodden - we just loved it! Can't wait to make it with a whole chicken next time. Thank you so much for sharing this!!

Abbie C. March 2, 2014

I made this tonight and it was a hit! It was just my boyfriend and me, but we ate almost all the stuffing using the not even true excuse that stuffing doesn't refrigerate well. We both raved about how the lemon juice from inside the chicken added some real zing to the stuffing, and loved the different textures. The skin on the bird was crisp and the meat was juicy. We also really liked the parsley sprinkled on top. You really took roasted chicken to the next level! Congratulations!

Selma |. March 1, 2014

Congratulations! This looks and sounds fabulous - I think I will try it tomorrow for our Sunday roast - I do love roast chicken!

LeBec F. February 28, 2014

ali, what a luscious proposition; th you! I will now have the opp to test a recent video-lesson of the best way to peel alot of garlic:
"Put cloves in stainless bowl. Invert another stainless bowl over the top. Holding together their edges, shake like crazy. Voila!" Well, we shall see....!

aargersi February 27, 2014

if you made it I know it rocks! congrats!

Aliwaks February 27, 2014

wowza! thank you thank you! I forgot to mention that MY FAVORITE thing to have along side this is watercress lightly dressed with salt & pepper, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, & chicken fat

savorthis February 27, 2014

Congrats- looks delicious! I love roasting things on top of things. And I also love your recipe looks long, but it is really just like hearing a pal tell you how to cook a good chicken. (PS- my dad once told me to hold my first thanksgiving turkey together with safety pins- but only after disinfecting them with alcohol- so I hear you on the trussing....)

Aliwaks February 27, 2014

Thank you! Yes the only time I trussed expertly was exam time in culinary school...come to think of it the only time I parallel parked successfully was when I took my drivers test..I guess I perform well under pressure. My dad had me sew a thanksgiving turkey shut with a travel sewing kit he had in his travel bag. So Please make & tell me how comes out!

Midge February 27, 2014

Holy Yum. Congrats Aliwaks!

Aliwaks February 27, 2014

THANK YOU!!!!!!!

Roasted Chicken with Garlic and Bread Recipe on Food52 (2024)


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