The Best Way To Season Roasted Chicken For Maximum Flavor

Let's face it: plain old chicken is pretty boring. While a beautifully browned, roast chicken can be the star of your dinner table, the bird needs some help. One of the best attributes of chicken is its ability to shine among various flavors, but those flavors all have to be added.

There are myriad ways to do so. You can brine your chicken by letting it sit in a salty bath of flavorful ingredients before being cooked in the oven. This is an excellent way to make a flavorful, herb roasted chicken. Another method is to make your kitchen look like an operating room, by spatchcocking your chicken. This method, which removes the backbone so that the chicken can cook more evenly, is one used by Ina Garten.

If you have time, it can be a fun experiment to try out a variety of seasoning methods. There is one such strategy that never fails us: the dry rub. This method — which consists of applying a seasoning blend to the exterior of the bird prior to cooking — will make your chicken extra flavorful. 

How to make a great dry rub for your roast chicken

You don't have to make your own dry rub. From the seasoning aisle in the grocery store to specialty purveyors, there are plenty of delicious dry rubs that are already prepared, making seasoning your chicken simple as can be. But making your own has its benefits. It can be more cost-effective, as well as fun.

All you have to do is pick flavors that play well together. For a classic, French-inspired herbs de Provence dry rub, start with dried thyme, basil, rosemary, tarragon, fennel seed, and marjoram. Combine and break down these ingredients using a mortar and pestle or a small food processor. Any leftovers can simply be stored in an airtight container for later use. But you're not limited to just French flavors, of course. Your dry rub can bring in some Southwestern heat with ground chili peppers and a little cumin, along with some Worcestershire powder. Try a Middle Eastern rub, using za'atar, ground sesame seeds, dried sumac, and other herbs.

No matter which blend of seasonings and spices you choose for your dry rub, brushing the chicken skin with a little olive oil will help your flavorful rub stick to the bird, and ensure it cooks up with a crisp, beautifully browned skin.