Spiced Roast Chicken

This spiced roast chicken is like a choose-your-own-adventure in weeknight cooking. Choose your favorite rub—spiced curry, Cajun, or warm spice–slather it on chicken pieces (breasts, thighs, drumsticks, they all work well!), and roast until tender.

Three spiced roast chicken thighs, with warm spice, cajun, and spiced curry coatings

While a whole roast chicken is a wonderful thing, it does involve post-cooking cutting it up, which can be a little daunting. Buying chicken already cut into parts allows you to pick the pieces or assortment of pieces your family likes, takes less cooking time, and cuts out that pesky carving step. Yet you still get the wonderful qualities of roasting: the juiciness, the moistness, the tenderness, the flavor. You’ll need to buy skin-on, bone-in chicken; that’s the key. You can rub the chicken with any of the rubs a day ahead; this allows the seasonings to permeate the meat.

What the Kids Can Do Note: They can help measure the ingredients for any of the rubs, and if your kids aren’t grossed out by the prospect, they can coat the chicken with the rub. Remind them to follow this with (yet another) lengthy hand washing in warm, soapy water.–Katie Workman

Spiced Roast Chicken

  • Quick Glance
  • (1)
  • 15 M
  • 1 H
  • Serves 4
5/5 - 1 reviews
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  • For the Cajun rub
  • For the warm spice rub
  • For the spiced curry rub
  • For the chicken


Make a rub

Combine all the ingredients for the rub(s) of your choice in a small bowl.

Make the chicken

Preheat the oven to 425°F (218°C) and adjust the oven rack to the lower third of the oven. Lightly coat a large rimmed baking sheet with olive oil.

Tester tip: This recipe calls for a higher heat than you may usually use, but that’s how to get that ridiculously superlative crisped skin (which you can pull off, if you wish, you model of self-restraint you, but if you insist on this sacrilege, do it after the chicken is cooked to keep the meat juicy).

Place the chicken in a large bowl, drizzle with the olive oil, and rub each piece, using your hands to ensure each piece is coated evenly. Sprinkle the chicken with the salt and pepper, if desired, and a rub and again rub with your hands to coat each piece evenly. (You can cover and refrigerate the chicken pieces for up to 24 hours.) Arrange the chicken pieces on the baking sheet, skin side up, spacing them an inch or so apart.

Roast the chicken until cooked through and the juices run clear when you cut into a piece with the tip of a sharp knife, 35 to 50 minutes, depending on the thickness of the pieces. Dark meat will take longer to cook than white meat. If you want to test the chicken for doneness using an instant-read thermometer, an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) for both chicken breasts and dark meat is recommended. Remember, though, that the chicken will continue to cook slightly more after it is removed from the oven, particularly if it sits on the baking sheet. If the skin needs more crisping to be to your liking, simply run the chicken under the broiler for a few minutes.

Let the chicken rest for at least 5 minutes before serving. The chicken is quite nice whether served hot, warm, or cold. Originally published April 18, 2012.

Print RecipeBuy the The Mom 100 Cookbook cookbook

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Recipe Testers' Reviews

This is a great roast chicken recipe. The chicken is easy to put together, with the added bonus of being able to do it a day ahead. It sizzles and smokes a bit while baking, but emerges from the oven after 37 minutes or so with crisp skin and moist meat.

We tried the Warm Spice Rub and the Cajun Rub. I thought the Cajun would be my favorite, but we all really enjoyed the Warm Spice Rub. It tasted “warm” like fall, but not overpoweringly of cinnamon and ginger. While the Cajun Rub made the cooked chicken looked spiced and golden, the Warm Spice Rub produced a deep brown chicken. Both rubs produced an eye-catching dish.

Truly delicious.

I love how easy this recipe is. Yes, roasting a full chicken is simple also, but this literally pulls together in a flash and the skin was deliciously crispy.

I used the Indian Style Curry Rub. It was fantastic and used spices that most cooks have on hand, so pulling this together for an easy weeknight dinner, Sunday supper, or impromptu dinner party is a breeze.

Loved it. I will add this to my repertoire of favorites.


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  1. I used the curry rub on a salmon fillet last night (I know, some would tsk at me) but everyone thought it was wonderfully delicious!

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