Skillet-Roasted Chicken: Something Familiar and Something New

Skillet-Roasted Chicken

Cooking for a blog is not always like cooking in the real world. In the real world, I breeze through kitchen tasks fairly carefree. However, in the blog world, I’m often guilty of trying too hard or thinking too much. Today is no exception. But the truth is I don’t believe recipes have to be complicated to be winners. Sometimes the simplest ingredients and the most trusted techniques can be creatively paired to yield something fresh and unexpected. It’s up to the cook to make it work. Take skillet-roasted chicken. All you need is plenty of heat, a good dry bird, and sea salt. Really that’s all.

However, our needs and wants can be two entirely different things. As terrific as a simple roast chicken can be, sometimes my palate (and my blog page) want to experience something less predictable. So I’ll try something new.

Skillet-Roasted Chicken

The something new (for me) is the pre-seared browning method for a skillet-roasted whole chicken. I usually put the bird straight into the hot oven all by itself and leave it alone. But as I said, this blog keeps me on my culinary toes. And I appreciate that. Trying something new in the kitchen is like trying on new clothes – some things suit your style and some things suit your mood. Straight to the oven suits my style. This version suits my mood.

A roasted chicken and seasonal vegetables cooked in a single skillet make for an effortless dinner. Which is what I was after here. But the truth is when I roast a chicken with anything else in the pan the skin rarely crisps or browns in quite the satisfying way it does when the bird is roasted all by itself. 

That’s why I tried something new. The method works well for chicken parts. Why not the whole chicken? 

The beautifully browned skin answers the question for itself. It may not be quite as crisp as it might with a dry-roasted bird, but it’s beautifully browned and the trade-off of a one-pan dinner must be considered.

Here, I’ve used parsnips and leeks but you can swap in carrots, scallions, quartered onions, or tiny potatoes – anything goes. Start the pairing with your own preferences and experiences. Are there flavor combinations that send your taste buds over the top? I like the familiar rustic brevity of fennel and rosemary. It’s a classic when served with pork. Why not skillet-roasted chicken? Even in the most basic preparations involving chicken I often reach for the herb. And so I did here. GREG

trussed raw chicken
Skillet-Roasted Chicken

Skillet-Seared Roast Chicken with Fennel and Rosemary 

Print This Recipe Total time Yield 2–4Source Adapted from Bon AppetitPublished
Skillet-Roasted Chicken


  • 1 whole chicken (3 to 4 pounds)
  • sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper (as needed for seasoning)
  • 3 tablespoon olive oil (divided)
  • 1 fennel bulb (core intact, sliced lengthwise ½” thick)
  • 2 parsnips (peeled, sliced ½” thick on the diagonal)
  • 2 leeks (dark green parts trimmed away, then cut lengthwise in quarters, rinsed, with roots left intact)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped rosemary leaves
  • 2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • homemade croutons (for serving)


Preheat oven to 425° F. 

Season the inside of the chicken generously with salt and pepper. Truss or tie the bird, as you see fit, to make the browning process easier. Season the outside all over with more salt and pepper.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large cast-iron or other ovenproof skillet set over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, but not yet smoking, lay the chicken breast side up into the hot skillet. Cook, without disturbing, until the skin is golden brown and releases easily from the skillet. Use tongs and/or oven mitts to gently rotate the chicken, being careful not to tear the skin until brown on all sides, 12–15 minutes total. Take your time and brown it well for best results. Transfer the browned chicken to a plate, breast side up. Turn the heat off but reserve the skillet.

Toss fennel, parsnips, leeks, rosemary, and lemon zest into the hot skillet with the remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Season with salt and pepper. Place chicken, breast side up, on top of the vegetables. Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chicken thigh registers 165°F, about 35 to 40 minutes. Transfer chicken to a cutting board and let rest at least 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, place the skillet with the roasted vegetables on a burner set to medium-high heat. Stir in the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Turn the heat off and let flavors in the pan sauce come together while you carve the bird.

Serve chicken, vegetables, and croutons with the pan sauce for spooning on top.