Olive Magazine
Salt Baked Chicken with Bay Leaves

Roast chicken with bay salt

Published: February 25, 2018 at 11:50 am
  • Preparation and cooking time
    • Total time
    • + drying + salting
  • Easy
  • Serves 4-6

This succulent chicken is a super easy Sunday roast recipe to feed the whole family. Serve with crisp roast potatoes and seasonal greens


Try this twist on a roast chicken, or make our classic roast chicken recipe here.

This roast chicken recipe is adapted from Darina Allen's book Grow, Cook, Nourish (£30, Kyle Books).


  • (1.5-2kg) whole chicken
  • 75g butter, softened
  • to garnish sprigs of bay
  • to serve roast potatoes


  • 2 handfuls young bay leaves, stalks removed
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 125g sea salt flakes


  • giblets or chicken wings, (see notes below)
  • 1 carrot, sliced
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 stick celery, roughly chopped
  • a few stalks flat-leaf parsley
  • a sprig thyme


  • STEP 1

    To make the bay salt, put the bay leaves, garlic and half the salt in a food processor and whizz until green, then tip into a bowl. Add the remaining salt and tip into a roasting tin, and leave to dry loosely covered with foil at room temperature for 4-5 days. Once dry, store in a glass jar or jars.

  • STEP 2

    Remove the wishbone from the neck end of the chicken – this isn’t essential but it does make carving much easier later on. Reserve for stock. Tuck the wing tips underneath the chicken to make a neat shape and put the chicken in a roasting tin.

  • STEP 3

    Season the cavity of the chicken with 1 tsp of bay salt, slather the breasts and legs with the butter, and sprinkle generously with another tsp of bay salt. Leave to sit for at least 30 minutes, ideally 2 hours.

  • STEP 4

    To make the stock, put the giblets (minus the liver) or chicken wings, wishbone, carrot, onion, celery and herbs into a pan. Cover with cold water, bring to the boil, skim and simmer gently while the chicken is roasting.

  • STEP 5

    Heat the oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Weigh the chicken and allow around 30 minutes cooking time per kg plus 15 minutes. Baste the chicken a couple of times during cooking with the buttery juices. To test if the chicken is cooked, prick the thickest part at the base of the thigh – the juices should run clear. Cover and leave to rest while you make the gravy.

  • STEP 6

    Spoon off the surplus fat from the roasting tin. Put the tin over a medium heat and deglaze with 600ml of the chicken stock. Using a whisk, stir to dissolve the caramelised meat juices from the roasting tin. Boil, season and thicken with a little roux, if you like. Serve in a warmed gravy boat.

  • STEP 7

    Serve the chicken on a carving dish surrounded by roast potatoes and lots of bay sprigs. Carve and serve with the gravy.

If your chicken doesn’t come with giblets, substitute for 300g of chicken wings.

To make a roux, melt 1 tbsp butter and cook 1 tbsp plain flour in it for 2 minutes over a low heat, stirring occasionally. Whisk a little at a time into the gravy until you have the thickness you like.

Buy young fresh bay leaves for this. The bay salt keeps for 5-6 months or more in an airtight container

Recipes extracted from Grow, Cook, Nourish by Darina Allen (£30, Kyle Books)


Here's a recipe for roast potatoes to serve with your chicken...

Garlic and rosemary roasties

Comments, questions and tips

Rate this recipe

What is your star rating out of 5?

Choose the type of message you'd like to post

Choose the type of message you'd like to post

Overall rating


Sponsored content