salt crusted chicken in a dutch oven
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Whole Bird Salt Crusted Chicken

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Whole Bird Salt Crusted Chicken uses an ancient cooking technique for cooking a whole chicken which results in a perfectly flavored, juicy whole chicken.

Making an oven-roasted chicken is probably one of the first dishes that we feel like accomplished cooks when first done. I know I sure did. Pulling out an entirely cooked, steamy golden bird. Setting it on the table. Ready for the family to enjoy. It felt that I had arrived. I was doing something right with this whole homemaking thing.

But to be honest, it’s not one of my favorite ways to eat chicken. It never has been. Truth is, I find it a bit boring. But as my younger self, it somehow made the list of dinners to conquer. Getting a bit more advanced in my cooking skills has led me to find this technique. This Whole Bird Salt Crusted Chicken recipe has since become my go-to way for preparing a whole bird.

Not only is it simple but it is delicious and the chicken is packed with so much flavor that it makes great leftovers. When making a whole chicken I can often get 3 full meals worth of meat from a single chicken. But I suppose it does depend on how many people you have to feed.

But no matter how many people you have to feed, chicken is a staple meat dish for most. It is always a better value when bought whole. So it does make sense to try to find new ways to prepare a full bird. This one you have stumbled upon is a winner in my book.

Not much is needed to make this chicken however a dutch oven works best and is what I use every time.

Why I Love This Recipe

The simplicity of this method really is mind-blowing to me. Whoever came up with encasing meat of any kind with salt and then slow cooking it was dare I say, genius. When I first came upon this method for cooking a whole chicken, my first thought was that it was sure to be too salty to eat. You might be thinking this same thing.

Yes, the chicken is salted throughout. But not overly so. The salt helps lock in the juices of the bird and the result is one that seasons the meat internally. Not just on the surface. I love that the leftover chicken is packed with so much flavor that I don’t have to do much to continue adding it things. Normally, when I roast a chicken, I find the best flavors are left on the skin and surface of the bird. In this method, there is not one part of the chicken that is not flavored by the salt or left juicy.

What You Will Need To Make It

1 full chicken

3 1/2 cups or roughly 2.5 lbs of course kosher salt

6 springs of fresh rosemary

Tools You Will Need

Dutch Oven

Directions

Heat your oven to 475℉. Pour about a cup of kosher salt into the bottom of the pot. Add a couple of rosemary sprigs to the pot. Make sure the chicken is washed and ready to be cooked. Place it breast side down and then cover with the remaining salt. Top with the rest of the rosemary sprigs.

Place lid on and pop into the oven to cook for approximately 90 minutes. When done, remove from the oven. Uncover and smack the salt crust with a large spoon to break open the crust.

Remove the salt and flip the bird over onto a waiting serving dish.

upclose shot of salt crusted chicken

You don’t have to turn it over but for presentation, I find the chicken looks much more enticing as the skin is golden. Either way, you serve the chicken, and it is ready to be eaten.

salt crusted chicken on a plate

Cooking Notes

  • Be sure to use a course kosher or sea salt for the salt crusting. Using an iodized salt could result in an off flavor and a course salt works better than standard fine table salt.
  • If you don’t have rosemary on hand, sage and thyme also work well for seasoning a salt-crusted chicken.
  • You will need a cast iron dutch oven for this recipe.
  • To crack open the salt use a small hammer or smack it with the backside of a large metal spoon.
  • To serve, I like turning the chicken over onto a serving platter. The skin is golden and great for presentation.
  • For easier clean up, allow the juice in the salt at the bottom of the pot to dry out. Then you can take the back of a large spoon handle or something flat to pop it out in large chunks. The salt will crack and you can chisel it away from the pot.

Serving Suggestions for Whole Bird Salt Crusted Chicken

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salt crusted chicken

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Cast Iron Dutch Oven

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Serving Platter Set of 2

If you try this recipe and love it, I would greatly appreciate you coming back to give it 5 stars!

salt crusted chicken in a dutch oven

Whole Bird Salt Crusted Chicken

Yield: 1 full chicken
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes

an ancient technique of encasing a chicken in salt and cooking

Ingredients

  • 1 full chicken
  • 6 sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • 3 1/2 cups or 2.5 lbs of kosher salt

Instructions

    Tools You Will Need:

    Dutch Oven

Notes

  1. Heat your oven to 475℉.
  2. Pour about a cup of kosher salt into the bottom of the pot.
  3. Add a couple of rosemary sprigs to the pot. Make sure the chicken is washed and ready to be cooked.
  4. Place the bird breast side down and then cover with the remaining salt.
  5. Top with the rest of the rosemary sprigs.
  6. Place the lid on and pop it into the oven to cook for approximately 90 minutes.
  7. When done, remove from oven.
  8. Uncover and smack the salt crust with a large spoon to break. Remove the salt and flip the bird over onto a waiting serving dish. You don't have to turn it over but for the presentation I find the chicken to look much more enticing as the skin is golden. Either way, the chicken is ready to be eaten.
  9. Slice and serve.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 32Total Fat: 2gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 13mgSodium: 73262mgCarbohydrates: 0gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 3g

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