Mary Berry's Unexpected Secret Cooking Method For Juicy Roast Chicken

Just when you think you’ve got a handle on cooking, you realise you’ve been wrong about everything.

First came the news that we’re using our colander wrong. Then, it turned out that we’re probably not cooling our parboiled potatoes enough before roasting them (like, by a long way).

And now, the culinary revelations continue; Mary Berry turns her roast chickens upside down while cooking them to ensure a perfectly crispy skin.

In a French roast chicken recipe from Mary Berry’s Cookbook, the cooking expert and TV legend suggested we “Put the chicken, breast-side down, into a small roasting tin” before roasting it.

After that, she recommends a sort of makeshift rotisserie system ― “At regular intervals, baste the chicken and turn it first on to one side, then on to the other, and finally on to its back,” she advises.


It’s partly to do with fat. Chicken thighs and legs are fattier than breasts, which is why they’re so juicy and delicious ― so, allowing gravity and heat to pool the fat into the inverted breasts by starting off with an upside-down bird makes a kind of sense.

Then, there’s the issue of temperature ― chicken breasts can run notoriously dry as they’re the leanest cut of the meat, so it does make sense to hide them from the highest, hottest part of the oven.

One Simply Recipes journalist who tried the method ― also advised by Ina Garten ― said that though the breasts were more moist this way, they were also pale and less crispy. This is where Mary Berry’s clever rotisserie method comes in.

How do I make it, then?

Mary Berry’s method involves stuffing the cavity of a chicken with herbs, smothering the skin in butter, seasoning it, and adding to a tray breast side down.

Then, she adds stock to the tray and covers the chicken in buttered greaseproof paper or foil, turning the bird in intervals until it’s cooked. Allow it to rest for 15 minutes before serving.

Right, I’m off to buy some stock...