French Chicken in a Pot (America's Test Kitchen)

Total Time
Prep 20 mins
Cook 1 hr 40 mins

Roasting a whole chicken in a covered pot is a classic French technique where the meat turns out juicy, intensely flavourful, and especially tender and also creates a rich jus top serve with the chicken. This recipe is from America's Test Kitchen and was published in "Cook's Illustrated Magazine" (Jan. 2008). The cooking times in the recipe are for a 4 1/2- to 5-pound bird. A 3 1/2- to 4 1/2-pound chicken will take about an hour to cook, and a 5- to 6-pound bird will take close to 2 hours. If you choose not to serve the skin with the chicken, simply remove it before carving. The amount of jus will vary depending on the size of the chicken; season it with about 1/4 teaspoon lemon juice for every 1/4 cup.

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 250 degrees. Pat chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat oil in large (5- to 8-quart) Dutch oven over medium heat until just smoking. Add chicken breast-side down; scatter onion, celery, garlic, bay leaf, and rosemary (if using) around chicken. Cook until breast is lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Using a wooden spoon inserted into cavity of bird, flip chicken breast-side up and cook until chicken and vegetables are well browned, 6 to 8 minutes.
  3. Remove Dutch oven from heat; place large sheet of foil over pot and cover tightly with lid. Transfer pot to oven and cook until instant-read thermometer registers 160 degrees when inserted in thickest part of breast and 175 degrees in thickest part of thigh, 80 to 110 minutes.
  4. Transfer chicken to carving board, tent with foil, and rest 20 minutes. Meanwhile, strain chicken juices from pot through fine-mesh strainer into fat separator, pressing on solids to extract liquid; discard solids (you should have about 3/4 cup juices). Allow liquid to settle 5 minutes, then pour into saucepan and set over low heat.
  5. Carve chicken, adding any accumulated juices to saucepan. Stir lemon juice into jus to taste. Serve chicken, passing jus at table.
Most Helpful

I love this chicken recipe! It was exactly what I was looking for, and ATK is so reliable. One word of caution about rosemary: just use a small sprig, about 3 inches long. I found out the hard way that it easily overpowers the other flavors in the dish. In fact, the first time I made this I didn't use any rosemary and preferred it to the taste with the herb.
This is one easy dish that will make you look like a gourmet French cook!

AmerAussie July 26, 2010

This is by far the best roast chicken. I have made it many many times because it is my family's favorite chicken recipe. The last time I made it I added about 1/4 cup of white wine and 2 tbl. of dijon mustard and two springs of thyme just before putting in the oven. It was heavenly.

GinaCucina September 13, 2009

Wonderful! I had a 5 lb. roaster and after cooking for 1.5 hours it still wasn't done and my family started circling me and out of fear I rasied the temp to 350 degrees and cooked 20 more minutes and it was done and absolutely delicious. I was not allowed to tent for 20 minutes due to a hungry bunch of people but I will definately make this again and again and maybe add carrots. Thanks for posting.

BethHallKelley January 20, 2009