One of my favorite easy weekend meals is this Spanish roast chicken recipe. It takes only 15 minutes to prepare and when it comes out of the oven it's the most flavorful and juicy chicken I've ever tasted!
One of the things that really stuck out to me when I moved to Madrid was the city's many pollerías-- roasted chicken shops.
Simply walk down a Madrid street and you're likely to run into at least one, usually filled with plump and crispy chickens spinning about, waiting to be bought and devoured.
It wasn't long before we tried one, and soon enough we'd made a list of our favorites. Simple, flavorful, and filling, roasted chicken has become our Madrid take away food of choice.
As an American, I've always associated roasted chicken with the cold months of fall and winter. I whip up some mashed potatoes and make gravy with the drippings.
So I was surprised when I found out that many Spaniards consider roasted chicken to be a summertime beach food! Many families have a tradition of going for a pollo asado after a long morning at the beach.
And anyone who's ever spent a day at the beach knows that a few hours in the sun and sand can turn a normal person into a ravenous beast, so eating a roasted chicken in the summer sounds like a great idea to me!
When I looked for recipes I found that Alicante is famous for its version. A lovely port city on the Costa Blanca, I've yet to visit Alicante, but it's on the list.
And I now have to visit, to see if my version of Spanish roast chicken can compare to the famous pollastre Alicantí (Alicante style chicken).
Key Ingredients: Olive oil, white wine, water, chicken, salt, pepper, stock cube, garlic, and parsley.
Ingredient Notes & Substitutions
- Chicken: As always, use the best quality available to you. Make sure to pat the skin dry before covering it with the marinade.
- Wine: This is optional if you prefer to cook without alcohol (but recommended for flavor). I love using manzanilla, a very dry white sherry. But any dry white wine will work. And if omitting, you should definitely use the stock cube or substitute homemade stock.
- Stock cube: I find adding it makes a richer sauce, but if you prefer to use fresh stock just use that instead of the water and skip the cube.
Spanish Roast Chicken: Step by Step
Step 1: Blend the garlic, parsley, salt, and pepper in a mortar and pestle (or use a food processor/blender). Make it into a smooth paste.
Step 2: Rub the chicken all over with the paste. Make sure to get it in the cavity too. Then brush the skin with olive oil.
Step 3: Pour in the white wine, water, and crushed up stock cube.
Step 4: Cover in damp parchment paper and bake for about one hour, or until it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (75°C).
Step 5: If you want the skin to be crispy, remove the parchment paper when there are about 15 minutes to go (after about 45 minutes, exact time will vary depending on the weight of your chicken). When the chicken is done, rest it covered loosely with foil for 10 minutes and then enjoy!
Recipe Tips & FAQs
This recipe does cover the chicken with damp parchment paper for most of the time it's in the oven. While not necessary, this allows the chicken to bake without any worry over burning the skin. But taking it off 15 minutes before it's ready ensures you'll still get that crispy skin we all love.
The most important thing is to not overcook it!
My advice is to have a good meat thermometer and check the internal temperature before it is supposed to be ready. Oven temperatures vary and your oven's size can play a role in cook time as well.
Then, if you want to make sure it's juicy, take it out of the oven before it reaches 165°F. If you let it rest covered in foil, it will keep cooking. I like to take mine out at 155°F and by the time we eat it's always over 165°F (and super juicy).
And speaking of rest... make sure not to skip this step! If you cut into the chicken right away, all of the juice will come out and you'll be left with dry chicken. Letting it rest means the juice will settle into the meat before you dive in.
More Spanish Chicken Recipes
If you love this easy roast chicken recipe, try any of these other delicious Spanish chicken dishes.
- Chicken Chilindrón: This delicious chicken and red pepper stew is one of the most popular Spanish chicken recipes.
- Chicken with Mushrooms: The perfect easy chicken dinner -- I like to serve this with white rice or angel hair pasta.
- Chicken Milanesa: Thinly pounded chicken breast is breaded and fried in this delicious Spanish chicken recipe.
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Spanish Roast Chicken Recipe
- 1 whole chicken skin on
- One head of garlic peeled
- A handful of parsley
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons black pepper
- 1 cup white wine use any dry white wine (I like manzanilla sherry)
- 1 cup of water
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 1 chicken bouillon cube
- Preheat oven and a roasting pan to 400°F (200°C)
- First, make sure that the chicken is completely dry, pat any moisture off with paper towels.
- Put the chicken into a deep roasting pan.
- In a food processor, or with a mortar and pestle, make a paste with the garlic cloves, salt, parsley and pepper. You won't need to use all of this paste, and it can last a few weeks in the fridge in an airtight container.
- Stuff the chicken with a couple of tablespoons of the paste, and cover it with a bit more. Then rub the skin with olive oil.
- Pour the wine and water around the chicken, you can also add a chicken bouillon cube if you want.
- Cover the chicken in a damp piece of parchment paper.
- Depending on the size of the chicken, the time in the oven may vary. I cooked my 5 pound chicken for about one hour (until the juices ran clear, not pink).
- During the last 15 minutes in the oven, remove the parchment paper and let the skin become crispy. If it isn't crisping up use the broiler for a few minutes.
- Serve with homemade french fries (I like to fry unpeeled garlic cloves with my homemade fries, they come out tender and delicious!).
- Use the best quality chicken available to you. Make sure to pat the skin dry before covering it with the marinade.
- Bake the chicken until juices run clear and it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F. You might want to take it out of the oven when it's 155°F since it will continue to cook while resting.
- If you prefer to cook without alcohol, simply omit the wine. But in this case, you should substitute the quantity with more chicken stock.
- I like adding a stock cube for a flavorful sauce, but if you prefer to use fresh stock just use that instead of the water and skip the cube.
Update Notice: This recipe was originally published on August 6, 2013. It was republished with new photos and text on February 16, 2021.
Have you ever heard of eating roasted chicken in the summertime? And if you've been to Alicante have you tried this Alicante-style roast chicken? Let me know in the comments!