Alex Hitz’s Perfect Roast Chicken

Knowing how to roast a perfect chicken is “what separates the wheat from the chaff in the food world,” says cookbook author and host Alex Hitz. Fortunately for us, he’s sharing an anyone-can-do recipe for this comfort food essential
Alex Hitz's Guaranteed: The Perfect Roast Chicken with Roasted Chicken on a silver serving tray
Roast a flawless chicken with this recipe from The Art of the Host: Recipes and Rules for Flawless Entertaining by Alex Hitz (Rizzoli New York, 2019)

Guaranteed: The Perfect Roast Chicken

Makes 4 to 6 servings


  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4-pound roasting chicken, at room temperature, the cavity emptied
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried tarragon
  • 1 lemon, cut in half and seeded
  • 1 cup dry white wine


1 | Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. In a small mixing bowl, mash together the butter and two cloves of the garlic with a fork to make a compound butter.

2 | In a large mixing bowl, toss together the chicken, salt, pepper, and tarragon until the chicken is fully coated on all sides with the seasonings. Place the seasoned chicken in a metal roasting pan, making certain to gather any excess seasonings from the mixing bowl. Squeeze both halves of the lemon over the chicken, and put the squeezed lemons inside the cavity with the remaining clove of garlic. Smear the compound all over the chicken, making sure that the chicken is evenly coated.

3 | Pour the white wine in the bottom of the roasting pan, and put the chicken in the oven. After 10 minutes reduce the heat to 350 degrees F. Roast the chicken for an additional 40 to 50 minutes, until it is brown and the juices run clear if the skin is pricked—although I do not recommend pricking the chicken as it releases way too much juice. It’s done when an instant-read thermometer reads 160-165 degrees F.

4 | Remove the chicken from the oven and transfer it to a carving board. Let it rest for 20 to 30 minutes before carving. Scrape the brown bits from the roasting pan with a wooden spoon or metal spatula and skim some fat from the pan juices. Carve the chicken and place the pieces on a serving tray. Drizzle some sauce over the chicken, but reserve the majority of the sauce to serve alongside.

Side Dish: Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. In a medium bowl combine 2 pints cherry tomatoes, 1/4 cup olive oil,1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper, and toss them thoroughly. Spread the tomatoes on a large baking sheet, and roast them in the oven for 20 minutes until they have blistered a bit. Let the roasted tomatoes cool to room temperature, about 10 minutes before serving. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Excerpt from The Art of the Host: Recipes and Rules for Flawless Entertaining by Alex Hitz (Rizzoli New York, 2019)

The Art of the Host: Recipes and Rules for Flawless Entertaining by Alex Hitz (Rizzoli, 2019)