Extremely accessible and enjoyed all over the world, the humble chicken features in countless global recipes. From a perfect roast chicken (which cooks in just 45 minutes) to wings, soups, and more – these are our favourite chicken recipes.
Perfect roast chicken
To cook the perfect roast chicken at home, some attention is required. Spatchcocking and dry curing overnight is far more simple than it seems, slightly drying out the skin and encouraging it to become crispy in the oven, given all of the skin is cooked face up. Spatchcocking also makes cooking roast chicken far quicker than normal, ready in just 45 minutes.
- Meat thermometer (optional, but very useful)
- 1 large chicken ideally free range
- 10 tbsp fine salt plus more if needed
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 3-4 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 3-4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 lemon zest only
- Butter to taste
- Cooking oil
- Freshly cracked black pepper
- On the day before cooking, spatchcock the chicken by placing it on a chopping board, breast-side down. Score along each side of the spine with a sharp knife or a pair of poultry shears (there should be little to no resistance), remove and reserve the bone for making stock. Flip the bird back over so it’s breast-side up and press down until the breast bone cracks and the chicken can be flattened.
- Move to a roasting tray large enough for the spatchcocked chicken and sprinkle with baking powder, lemon zest, and a good covering of black pepper. Place the herbs on the chicken’s surface and completely cover the chicken with salt. Refrigerate for at least 12 hours and up to 24.
- Once the chicken has cured, pre-heat the oven to 220C/Gas 7.
- Rinse the dry cure from the chicken, pat dry with kitchen paper, and move the chicken, skin-side up, to a baking tray. (If you have a baking tray with a rack, that would be ideal, but it’s not absolutely necessary).
- Drizzle a little oil over the skin, and place one or two knobs of butter, to taste.
- Roast in the oven for around 45 minutes, basting once or twice, until the skin is crispy and the thigh meat, at the thickest part, registers at 165F. Alternatively, if you don’t have a meat thermometer, check that the juices run clear.
- Rest the chicken for 15 minutes, then serve.
Buttermilk fried chicken
This take on an absolute classic features chicken pieces brined in buttermilk and a blend of 11 herbs and spices, then dusted in Rice Krispies before frying to bring additional crunch.
- Food-safe bucket or bowl large enough for the chicken
- Deep fryer or large, heavy-based saucepan
- Rack-lined baking tray
- Instant-read thermometer (not essential, but highly recommended)
- 1 whole chicken
- ½ tsp dried marjoram
- ½ tsp dried basil
- ½ tsp dried oregano
- ½ tsp dried sage
- 1 tsp celery salt
- 1 tsp white pepper
- 4 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- ½ tsp ground all-spice
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tsp onion salt
- 1 tsp MSG
- 500 ml buttermilk
- 500 g flour approx.
- Rice Krispies a handful (optional)
- Corn flakes a handful (optional)
- Vegetable oil for frying (approx. 1 litre)
For the gravy
- 1 Tbsp butter
- 1 Tbsp flour.
- 500 ml chicken stock
- A dash of soy sauce
- A dash of Worcestershire sauce
- In a jar or bowl with a lid, combine all of the herbs and spices. Set aside until needed.
- Pat the chicken dry with kitchen paper and break into 10 pieces (see above), and prick all pieces with a fork or skewer.
- In a food-safe bucket or bowl large enough for the chicken, add the buttermilk, 1 tablespoon of the spice blend, and an additional pinch of salt. Add the chicken, mix to combine, cover with a lid or cling film and refrigerate for 4-12 hours, mixing at least once during this time.
- In a large oven dish or bowl, add 500 grams of flour, a good pinch of salt, the remaining herbs and spice mixture, a handful of Rice Krispies or corn flakes (if using), and a tablespoon of the buttermilk marinade. Mix to combine.
- Coat all of the chicken in the flour mix and leave to sit for around 10 minutes, while heating the oil for deep-frying.
- Half fill a deep fryer or large, heavy-based saucepan with vegetable oil (or another oil with a high smoke point) and heat to 350-375F (190C).
- Once the oil has reached the correct heat, fry the chicken in batches. Leg meat takes slightly longer to cook, so I’d recommend cooking in the following order, dependent on the size of your pan or fryer: thighs, drumsticks, breast pieces, wings. Don’t overcrowd the pan though, or the chicken will stick together and the oil could overflow, causing a huge safety hazard.
- The leg meat should be cooked to 175F, while the white meat should register at 165F. (If you don’t have a thermometer, cut one piece close to the bone and make sure the juices run clear).
- Once golden and fully cooked, after 10-15 minutes, gently remove the batch of fried chicken from the oil, season with salt, and place on a rack-lined baking tray in a low oven, to keep warm.
- Continue until all chicken is cooked through.
To make the easiest fried chicken gravy
- While the chicken is preparing, melt a tablespoon of butter in a sauce pan before adding a heaped tablespoon of flour.
- Cook over a low heat, whisking constantly, until the raw flour cooks off and you have a blonde roux.
- Keep mixing while slowly pouring the hot chicken stock into the pan, whisking until a good gravy consistency is reached.
- Add a generous dash of both soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce, then finish with some of the chicken breading run-off, left over from frying in the oil, to add intensity to the gravy. Taste and check for seasoning before serving. Optionally add a pinch of MSG to further enhance the flavour.
Chicken and noodle soup
Stock is the culinary backbone of many dishes, including this restorative chicken and noodle soup enlivened with a generous splash of soy sauce, chilli, coriander, spring onion, grated ginger, and lemongrass.
- 1 chicken breast fillet skinless
- 2 chicken thighs skinless and boneless
- 100 g egg noodles
- 2 l chicken stock
- 1 red chilli deseeded and thinly sliced
- 1 clove garlic finely chopped
- 4 spring onions finely sliced, green and white parts separated
- Thumb-sized piece ginger grated
- ½ stick lemongrass grated
- Small tin sweetcorn drained
- A few sprigs coriander roughly sliced
- Soy sauce to taste, approx. 2 tbsp
- Black pepper
- In a large saucepan, add the chilli, garlic, ginger, lemongrass, and spring onion whites and cook over high heat for a minute or two until fragrant.
- Pour the stock into the pan and add the chicken. Bring to the boil and reduce to simmer for 15 minutes.
- Keep simmering the soup but remove the chicken onto a chopping board. When cool enough to handle, thinly slice the thighs and return to the saucepan. Shred the chicken breast with two forks and return to the pan alongside a generous splash of soy sauce, sweetcorn, coriander, the spring onions’ green ends, and enough noodles for one serving.
- Cook for 4-5 minutes until the noodles are soft and cooked. (Only cook enough noodles for the amount of soup you plan on eating, as they’ll go very soft and unpleasant if re-heated. If you do plan on re-heating the soup, add the noodles and cook fresh).
- Ladle into large bowls and finish with a few cracks of black pepper and additional soy sauce, to taste.
Honey chicken thighs with garlic, chilli & thyme
Far tastier than chicken breast, chicken thighs are the jewel in the bird’s proverbial crown. This chicken thighs recipe is ready to eat in just 40 minutes, with only five minutes spent prepping. Simply drizzle the skin-on, bone-in thighs with honey, sprinkle with thyme, smoked salt and chilli flakes, then throw in half a lemon and four garlic cloves. An easy, delicious week-night dinner.
- 4 chicken thighs skin-on
- A pinch smoked salt available in most supermarkets, but normal salt can be used as an alternative
- 4 garlic cloves
- ½ lemon cut into wedges
- Honey to taste
- 4 sprigs thyme (alternatively use 2 tsp dried thyme)
- Chilli flakes to taste, alternatively use black pepper
- Rapeseed oil or other neutral cooking oil
- Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas 4.
- Pour a little oil over the base of a roasting tin or tray large enough to hold the chicken thighs.
- Place the chicken thighs in the tin, skin-side up, and season with a generous pinch of the smoked salt.
- Cut the ends off of each garlic clove, remove the white paper-like skin, but keep as much of the purple skin as possible, as this will prevent the garlic cloves from burning. Place the prepared garlic cloves into the roasting pan with the chicken.
- Add the lemon to the roasting dish, then drizzle some honey all over the chicken skin. Finish with the thyme and a pinch of either chilli flakes or freshly ground black pepper, to taste.
- Drizzle a little oil over all of the ingredients then roast in the oven for 35-40 minutes until the chicken skins are golden and the thighs are cooked through.
Desi chicken curry
From North Indian Abdul Yaseen, this recipe requires the chicken to be fried for a while before liquid is added. While Desi chickens are traditionally used, they’re difficult to source in the UK, so any breed is appropriate (though we would always recommend investing in a free-range bird).
- 1 kg Chicken thighs skin off and cut into two
- 75 ml Corn or vegetable oil
- 1/2 tsp Cumin seeds
- 2 Bay leaves
- 3 Green cardamom pods
- 4 Black pepper corns
- 4 Red onions finely chopped
- 1 tbsp Ginger paste
- 1 tbsp Garlic paste
- 2 tbsp Cumin powder
- 2 tbsp Coriander powder
- 1 tbsp Chilli powder
- 1 tbsp Turmeric
- 2 tsp Salt
- 4 Tomatoes blended to a puree
- 400 ml Water or chicken stock
- 1/4 tsp Garam masala powder
- 1 tbsp Fresh coriander chopped
- Heat the oil in a large pan and fry the whole spices
- Once they crackle, add the onions and fry on medium heat until golden brown
- Stir in the chicken and cook for a further 5-8 minutes
- Add the ginger and garlic paste and coriander, salt, cumin, chilli and turmeric powders, and cook for another 10 minutes with constant stirring until the spices begin to release their flavours
- Now add tomato puree and cook for another 5 minutes and add water or stock
- Now reduce heat and simmer until the chicken is cooked
- Check the seasoning, if required, and sprinkle the roasted garam masala powder and finish with green coriander
- Serve with steamed rice
Beer braised chicken
Why use water when you could use beer? This beer braised chicken recipe produces a simple, one-pot weeknight dinner, using leg meat and dark beer such as porter or stout to bring richness to the dish. The vegetable can also be adapted to suit what’s seasonally available.
- Heavy-based saucepan or Dutch oven
- 1.5 kg chicken thighs or drumsticks or a mixture of both
- 660 ml dark beer such as porter or stout
- 2 brown onions roughly chopped
- 4 carrots peeled and cut into inch chunks
- 4 red potatoes cut into inch chunks
- 2 sticks celery roughly chopped
- 1 yellow courgette cut into inch chunks
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 cloves garlic minced/finely chopped
- 2 tbsp light brown sugar
- 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 50 g butter
- Plain flour for coating the chicken pieces
- Salt and freshly-ground black pepper
- Neutral oil for frying such as vegetable or rapeseed oil
- Half fill a plate or shallow dish with flour and season with salt and pepper. Add each of the chicken pieces to the plate and completely cover with the seasoned flour mixture. Add more flour and seasoning to the plate if need be. Once covered, set the chicken pieces aside.
- Add a generous splash of oil to a heavy-based saucepan or Dutch oven and heat until shimmering. Add the chicken in batches of 3-4 pieces to avoid overcrowding the pan. Cook on high heat for around 3-4 minutes on each side, or until golden-brown. Remove from the pan and sear the remaining chicken pieces.
- Remove the chicken from the pan and discard most of the residual flour. Add the butter and add the onions, carrots, celery, potatoes, and courgette then continue to cook over high heat until the vegetables soften and begin to colour.
- Once the vegetables have coloured, add the thyme, bay leaves and garlic. Continue to cook for another minute, stirring until fragrant. Add the sugar and mustard and continue to cook for another 30 seconds or so, stirring constantly.
- Return the chicken to the pan alongside any juices and add the beer to the pan. Bring to the boil, making sure all chicken pieces are completely submerged, and simmer uncovered for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper if necessary before serving.
Steamed chicken and chive dumplings
From dim sum stalwarts Royal China, this steamed chicken and chive dumplings recipe is at the simpler end of the spectrum. Easier to prepare than the likes of siu long bao these dumplings are huge on flavour.
For the filling
- 300 g Chicken ground
- 200 g Fresh prawns (shrimps) shelled
- ½ bunch Chinese garlic chives finely chopped
- 1 clove Garlic crushed
- 1 tbsp Chinese Shao Shing wine
- 1 tbsp Light soy sauce
- ½ tsp Ginger freshly grated
- ½ tsp Dried shrimp ground
- Sugar a pinch
- 1½ tsp Sesame oil
- 1 tsp Cornflour
- 1 tsp Salt
- ½ tsp White pepper ground
For the dumplings
- Whole chives
- 4 Shu-mei wrappers (Wonton Skin)
- Whip all of the filling ingredients by hand, until they are fully combined and hold together.
- Place a dollop of the filling in the centre of each wrapper and bring up the corners to form a little “money bag.” Leave the top open so that you can see some of the filling.
- Blanch the whole chives in very hot water tap water. Then tie a chive around the neck of each dumpling so that it looks like it is wearing a little green belt.
- Steam the dumplings in an oiled bamboo steamer for 15 minutes, in a steaming wok.
- Serve hot with sweet chilli sauce.
Lemon and honey chicken wings
This lemon and honey chicken wings recipe from Madrid-born chef and Tapas Revolution founder Omar Allibhoy utilises a severely under-appreciated ingredient, fried with thyme, lemon, garlic, and honey.
- 400 g 14oz chicken wings
- 1 lemon
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 garlic bulb cut in half
- A pinch sweet pimentón sweet smoked paprika
- 3 tbsp honey
- 2 tbsp coriander leaves chopped
- Sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Bring a pan of water to the boil, add the chicken wings and boil for 5 minutes. Remove and drain on kitchen paper for 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, zest the lemon, halve it and squeeze out the juice, but don’t throw the rest of it away.
- Heat the oil in a frying pan over a high heat. Add the thyme sprigs, chicken wings, squeezed lemon halves and the garlic and fry for a couple of minutes on each side. Sprinkle the pimentón over the chicken and after 10 seconds drizzle the lemon juice and honey into the pan. Season with salt and pepper.
- Continue to sauté the chicken, allowing the liquid to reduce while making sure the wings are fully coated in the glaze. Add the lemon zest right at the end as it turns bitter if added too early and loses its fragrance quite quickly.
- Sprinkle with the chopped coriander and sea salt before serving.
This simple take on a Tex-Mex classic uses chicken instead of traditional skirt steak, requiring very few ingredients. The chicken pieces are spiced with smoked paprika, cumin, chilli, cinnamon, and oregano then fried alongside strips of onion and peppers before being wrapped in tortillas alongside optional fillings such as avocado, guacamole, sour cream, salsa, refried beans, and cheese.
- Large mixing bowl
- Cast-iron skillet or large frying pan
- Large saucepan
- 4-6 flour or corn tortillas
- 2 chicken thighs skinned and boned
- 2 chicken breasts skinned
- 1 small brown onion
- 1 small red onion
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1 green bell pepper
- 1 tbsp smoked paprika
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp chilli flakes I like ancho, arbol, or pasilla
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp oregano use Mexican oregano, ideally
- 2 tsp sugar
- Neutral cooking oil such as vegetable or rapeseed oil
- Optional toppings such as sliced avocado, guacamole, sour cream, salsa, cheese, or refried beans
- To begin, cut the chicken pieces into roughly equal-sized strips and add to a large mixing bowl alongside the smoked paprika, ground cumin, chilli, cinnamon, dried oregano, and a generous pinch of salt. Mix until combined, then add a healthy splash of cooking oil. Mix again and leave to marinate for 20-30 minutes.
- While the chicken is marinating, roughly slice the onions and de-seed the peppers and cut into strips.
- Heat a cast-iron skillet or large frying pan until screaming hot and add the onions. Cook for 2-3 minutes, turning often, until lightly coloured, then transfer to a large saucepan and continue to cook over low heat, stirring often.
- Add the peppers, skin-side down, to the hot skillet and cook over high heat until the skin blisters. This should take 2-3 minutes. Turn the peppers over and continue to cook for a minute or two.
- Add the peppers to the saucepan with the onions and add 2 teaspoons of sugar. Increase the heat and stir often for a minute until the sugar dissolves and the onions and peppers begin to caramelise. Add a splash of water to deglaze the pan and continue to cook on high heat until the water dissolves. Once dissolved, reduce the heat to its lowest setting.
- While the water is dissolving, add the chicken to the hot skillet and cook for around 5-6 minutes over high heat, turning just once or twice. To check the chicken is cooked, tear in half at the thickest part of a thigh piece and if any part is still raw cook, until done.
- Once the chicken is almost cooked, return the peppers and onions to the skillet. Decrease the heat and continue to cook while you warm the tortillas.
- In a separate pan, warm the tortillas for 15-20 seconds on each side then eat as quickly as possible, filling the fajitas with the chicken-onion-pepper mixture and optional toppings such as sliced avocado, guacamole, sour cream, salsa, cheese, or refried beans.
BBQ honey and mustard chicken
With a delicious balance between sweet and savoury, this recipe is intended to be cooked on a barbecue, but can also be cooked indoors using a griddle pan.
- 30 grams Honey
- 30 ml White wine vinegar
- 30 grams Mayonnaise
- 40 grams Wholegrain mustard
- 500 grams New potatoes
- 1 Fennel bulb
- 20 grams Fresh parsley
- 3 Celery sticks
- 1 Granny Smith apple
- 6 Chicken drumsticks
- Salt & black pepper to taste
- Olive oil extra virgin
- Preheat your BBQ or oven to 240C/fan 220C/gas 9
- Using a sharp knife, score the chicken to the bone 2-3 times
- Line a roasting tray with foil, transfer the chicken to the roasting tray, season with salt and pepper and precook for 10 minutes
- Meanwhile, halve the potatoes and quarter any larger ones
- Place in a medium saucepan, cover with water and bring to a boil over a high heat
- Simmer for 8-10 minutes until just tender
- Drain and leave in the colander to release some steam, set to one side
- While the potatoes are cooking, mix the honey with the mustard and 1tbsp of oil, season well with salt and pepper
- Remove the chicken from the BBQ/oven, spoon the marinade over the chicken and return for another 15 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through with the juices running clear
- In the meantime, thinly slice the celery and finely chop the parsley
- Halve the apple, remove the core and cut into 1cm chunks
- Transfer everything to a large bowl
- Halve the fennel lengthwise, then cut each part into 4 wedges
- Toss the fennel in 1tbsp of olive oil and some salt and pepper
- Grill for 3-4 minutes on each side, until charred and cooked through
- Mix the mayonnaise, vinegar and 1tbsp of olive oil in a small bowl
- Add the dressing and cooked potatoes to the bowl with the celery
- Season with salt and pepper and stir to combine
- Serve the salad alongside the chicken and the charred fennel