The Best Dry Brined Roast Chicken
The Best Dry Brined Roast Chicken

Roast chicken in dry brine is the best way to get juicy meat and crispy, golden skin! The best part? You only need 5 minutes and some space in the fridge!

Dinner doesn’t have to be full of frills. In fact, sometimes it’s better if it’s not.

This whole fried chicken recipe is easy to make, has only 6 ingredients (two of which are salt and pepper) and only takes 5 minutes.

The real secret to this chicken, though, is letting it sit in the fridge for 24 hours (or longer!) before roasting. This allows the skin to dry out (dry skin = crispy skin) and the spices to flavor the meat. If you can let it sit for 72 hours, that’s even better!

I love this recipe because it gives me room for spontaneity. The chicken might stay in the fridge for 24 hours, but if a friend calls and wants to eat out, I can switch gears and roast the chicken the next night, and my home-cooked meal just gets better!

Dry brine for the best chicken

To make this chicken, we actually combine two techniques:

  1. dry salting (aka curing) that we used for our Thanksgiving turkey
  2. air drywhich we also used for our turkey and some crispy skin experiments a while back.

Dry salting allows the salt and spices to penetrate the bird’s meat without having to soak it in salt water for 24 hours. Air drying reduces the moisture on the skin and makes it extra crispy!

Curious about the methods of our madness? Check out the other posts linked above. If you just need one chicken recipe, then read on!

Go ahead and give the chicken a good rub a day or three before you plan to roast it. When you’re ready to make dinner, rub a little extra oil on the outside of the bird, add another pinch of salt and pepper, then place in a hot oven.

Baste your chicken

I’ll freely admit that baking keeps you tied to the kitchen and stove, but I think it’s worth it. Basting helps keep the meat tender and moist while flavoring the surface with those deliciously flavored juices. It also creates a deeply colored bird that is a place to behold.

That showstopper moment is practically a requirement for Thanksgiving, but not so much for weeknight chicken. If you forget to baste or just don’t want to, the chicken will still taste and look good.

In addition, chickens are processed in different ways. Some chickens have more fat than others. Your chicken may or may not release a lot of juice for the first hour during roasting. Either way is ok.

As soon as your chicken begins releasing the juice, start basting, even if it is after 45 to 60 minutes. If the juice is released later rather than sooner, baste every 15 minutes instead of every 20 minutes.

Other ways to flavor your chicken

Consider this chicken your starter pack! Dress up or add whatever spices suit your taste. Attempt:

  • Orange, fennel and garlic
  • Thyme, parsley, rosemary, sage and lemon juice
  • Try butter instead of oil

What to serve with this chicken

  • I love mashed potatoes with anything including chicken!
  • Lemony Broccoli Rabe is always in my rotation.
  • Roasted carrots go with everything!
  • The crispy crunch of a Classic Wedge Salad is a refreshing side

And don’t forget to save the bones to make chicken broth! You can make your broth on the stovetop, in a slow cooker, or in a pressure cooker.

Want to know how to prep this chicken for the oven? Check out our guide to Truss a Chicken.

Check out these other Fried Chicken Recipes!

  • Keller’s Roast Chicken with Root Vegetables
  • Honey Glazed Lemon Roast Chicken
  • Fried chicken with carrots
  • Roast chicken stuffed with herbs
  • Roasted Garlic Chicken

The best dry salted roast chicken

preparation time
5 minutes

cooking time
80 minutes

total time
85 minutes

up to 6 servings

We used Morton’s Kosher Salt in the recipe. It weighs more per gram than Diamond Crystal. If you’re measuring in teaspoons (not grams) and using Diamond Crystal kosher salt, consider increasing the salt content a bit. Read more about kosher salt exchange in this guide.


  • 1 (5 to 6 pounds) chicken

  • 1 lemon

  • 2 tablespoon olive oil

  • 2 3/4 teaspoon (14 grams) kosher salt (We used Morton’s; see recipe note if using a different salt)

  • 1 1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked pepper

  • 1 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme


  1. Prepare the pan:

    Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and place a wire rack on top, or use a roasting pan with a wire rack.

  2. Prepare the spice rub:

    Grate and quarter the lemon. In a small bowl, combine lemon zest, juice of 1/4 of the lemon, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 2 1/2 teaspoons salt, pepper, and thyme.

    Save the lemon quarters (even the ones you squeezed dry) to insert into the well.

  3. Season chicken:

    Pat the outside of the chicken dry with a paper towel. Slide your fingers between the skin and breast meat to loosen the skin. Also try to separate the skin around the legs.

    Rub 3/4 of the spice mixture under the skin and into the breast and thigh meat. Rub the remaining spice mixture into the bird’s cavity. Place the lemon quarters in the cavity.

  4. Tie the chicken:

    To tie the chicken, cut a piece of kitchen twine about 6 inches long. Tuck the wings under the bird as best you can. Center the string under the back end of the chicken so there is equal length string where you inserted the wings.

    Lift each side of the string and cross it over the bird’s body, wrapping it around the legs. Tie your legs together.

  5. Allow the chicken to air dry for 24 hours:

    Place the bird, baking sheet, and all, uncovered, in your refrigerator for 24 to 72 hours. If you don’t have space in your fridge, you can place the chicken on a plate and place it on the baking sheet when you’re ready to roast the chicken.

  6. Prepare oven:

    When ready to roast, slide your oven rack to the second-lowest spot in the oven. Preheat oven to 375°F.

  7. Add additional spices:

    The chicken will appear a bit parched after the 24-72 hour rest period. It’s good! It means your chicken will have crispy skin!

    Transfer the baking sheet from the refrigerator to the counter. Rub the outside of the chicken with 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, and a few pinches of freshly ground pepper.

  8. Roast and Baste the Chicken:

    Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake at 375°F degrees for 1 hour. Then turn the oven up to 425°F for the remaining 20 minutes or until the temperature in the thickest part of the breast reaches 160°F.

    Check the chicken at the 45 minute mark and baste. You may have to tilt the pan to the corner a bit to get to the juices. If you don’t have a baster, don’t worry, just use a long-handled spoon to scoop up the pan juices and pour over the chicken.

    Continue basting every 15 to 20 minutes until it reaches a deep, rich golden color, the skin is crisp and the chicken is done cooking.

  9. Rest the chicken:

    Remove the chicken from the oven when the temperature in the thickest part of the breast reads about 160°F. Leave to rest for 5 minutes. The temperature will continue to rise to reach 165°F.

    If you don’t have a thermometer, that’s ok. The chicken is cooked through when you cut into it and the juices will run clear.

nutritional information (per serving)
1036 calories
73g Fat
15g carbohydrates
79g protein
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Hello everybody, Even if you're limited on time and money, I believe you can prepare wonderful food with everyday products. All you have to do is cook cleverly and creatively!