The royal family’s secret to perfect roast chicken will revolutionise your Sunday roast

Is there anything more comforting than roast chicken? A staple of British Sunday lunches and dinners for generations, there are myriad ways to cook a roast chicken – stuff it with lemon and thyme, cover it in butter, go rogue with spices, the options are truly endless. But to make the perfect roast chicken? We suggest listening to someone who’s cooked them time and again for actual royalty.

roast chicken
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Darren McGrady aka The Royal Chef, was the personal chef to the royal family for 15 years, during which he cooked countless meals for the Queen, Princess Diana and Princes’ William and Harry. Talking to POPSUGAR recently, the chef divulged his secret for cooking the perfect roast chicken – and it’s so much easier than you’d think.

Darren McGrady

There are numerous recipes out there claiming to be the holy grail to achieving the ultimate roast chicken, but we think a recipe with the royal seal of approval is the way forward. If it’s good enough for Liz, it’s more than good enough for us.

Darren’s five simple steps for nailing the perfect roast chicken every time are as follows:

  1. Heat the oven to 220°C (gas mark 7).
  2. Take the chicken out the fridge and pat it dry with paper towels.
  3. Sprinkle all over with salt – but no fat or oil should be used.
  4. Place on a cooling rack on a baking sheet so the air can circulate underneath it.
  5. Cook in the oven for 1 hour, never turning. After an hour, a 2 1/2 – 4 pound chicken will come out ‘absolutely moist and perfect on the inside and crispy on the outside.’
carving roast chicken
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If you’re used to coating chicken in butter or olive oil prior to cooking, it might seem counterintuitive not to in order to achieve a crispy exterior, but chicken skin is full of flavourful fat and can do this all on its own. Patting the outside dry prior to cooking ensures it reacts to the heat and develops that golden brown crispy skin we all crave.

After years of eating Darren’s exquisite recipe, we wonder if Harry took any tips from Darren when he cooked his roast chicken at home to propose to Meghan back in 2017?