Super Simple Claypot Roasted Chicken

There are three very good reasons that I’ve never done a claypot chicken before:

  1. Sal’s aversion to eating meat that still vaguely resembles the animal from whence it came.
  2. My distinct lack of a claypot in which to try it.
  3. My somewhat obsessive commitment to eating only boneless-skinless chicken breasts.

Here’s what changed:

  1. Sal bucked up.
  2. I found a super cheap claypot at an estate sale on Friday morning.
  3. I’m over it.  I want juicy – and dark – and succulent.  And I want it now.

Overview (The Game Plan)

What you’re going to do: Soak your pot. Dry and rub your bird with stuff.  Load Chicken Little into the oven.  Cut some vegetables.  Take chicken little out and add veggies.  Cook more.
How long it’s going to take: 25 min prep (total), 1 hour and 15 minutes of cook time.
What you’re going to get: A whole chicken – succulent, juicy, dripping in chicken-y goodness.

Stuff You’ll Probably Want to Have Around

  • A whole chicken.  Organic if you can wrangle it.  Mine was 5 lbs.  Just pick one that will fit in your pot.
  • Fresh herbs: Sage, rosemary and thyme are a good start but feel free to go crazy with your own interpretation here.
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Paprika
  • Apple (optional)
  • Orange (optional)
  • Something starchy (yam, potato, sweet potato? your call)
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Leeks (optional!)
  • Fennel bulb (optional!)
  • Garlic cloves (optional)

The Nitty Gritty Details

DON’T pre-heat the oven. You want the claypot to heat up slowly, so you’ll put it into a cold oven and let it warm up gradually.

Soak your claypot. I used a Romertopf clay baker and soaked it for a good 20 minutes.  It’s important to do this step because the moisture is what’s gonna make your chicken super-moist.  And we love super moist!

While the claypot soaks: Rinse Chicken Little and pat ‘er dry.  Chop up your fresh herbs and mix them with your salt, pepper, paprika (or whatever you like).  Rub your birdy with the mixture, inside and out.  (PS – Don’t forget to remove the organs and stuff that are inside the belly of the beast. Do with these what you please.)

Place your rubbed-up Buddy Bird in the claypot and chop your apple and orange into cubes.  (This is a good way to use up fruit that may be slightly passed it’s raw-eating prime)  Place this stuff inside the bird for aromatic effect.  I also shoved some fresh sage, rosemary, and thyme inside Buddy.

Keep in mind throughout this process that this is a “recipe” in very loose terms.  Pay attention to the basic concepts and then modify, modify, modify your way to culinary brilliance.

Put the lid on and place the claypot in a cold oven. Turn heat to 425 and cook for 30 minutes.

While the bird is beginning to cook, chop your pre-selected vegetables and put together another round of fresh herbs (chop chop chop your sage, rosemary and thyme!).  After 30 minutes, remove the claypot and open carefully (steam!).  Decorate Buddy Bird with  veggies, sprinkle fresh herbs on top, replace lid and bake at 425 for another 45 minutes.

A meat thermometer should read 175 degrees when inserted into the knee joint.

Remove.  Let cool.  Tear delicious dripping carcass asunder.  Rip leg from body, devour drumstick. Lick fingers.  Make smacking noises with mouth.

Alternately, you can serve your chicken directly from the claypot (it’s so very cute, right?) in a sophisticated manner worthy of a good host.  (I can offer no further tips on this approach to eating Buddy).

However you choose to do it, you’re going to have a bunch of delicious chicken to fuel your active life.  If you’re freaked out about fat and calories, stick to the white meat and foist the dark meat on your unsuspecting family.  If you’re a fat-loving monster?  Go for the skin.

When you’re done, use the leftover carcass to make a delicious chicken soup.  (If you’re not sure how to do this, stay tuned – I plan to figure it out tonight.)

Let me know if you try this recipe.  Now that I’ve got the basics down, I’ll be trying some experimental variations (next up: lemongrass thai infusion) and I’ll be sure to let you know how they go!

Double click images below to see the larger version.  Note that the dark coloration on the top of the bird is where I inserted whole rosemary twigs underneath the skin of the bird.  I can’t say whether or not this really affected the final outcome or not, but it was fun.

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  1. Crikey that looks great. Brings back memories, I’ve not had claypot chicken since my mum made it in the 80′s. It used to be a regular in our house till someone dropped the lid and broke it. i’ve seen Romertopf’s occasionally in charity shops so must buy the next one I see.

  2. Ceramic cooking seems interesting, I will definitely give this try… do you think a clay pot from my local garden store will yield similar results?

    I was going to suggest brining Little Chicken before cooking, but it betrays the KISS spirit of the dish. Cook and tear!

  3. Mmmmm… brining, while introducing potentially complicating shenanigans, is a logical next step! I may incorporate it into the next ceramic chicken endeavor.

  4. I know you can bake bread in clay flower pots, so why not other foods? Might want to watch out for the flower pots with the hole in the bottom , though; all your juicy goodness will make a big mess in the bottom of your oven. And NO ONE likes cleaning the oven.

    Now I’m hungry.

  5. Flowerpot chicken! How very spring. Someone needs to try that but heed the hole warning. It’s a good one!

  6. “Clay has been traditionally used in Mexican cooking because the clay imparts a specific flavor to the foods that can’t be reproduced in a metal pot. Due to the documented health hazards, lead glazed clay pots are not recommended for use. Only pots stamped “safe for food use” should be used for cooking.”

    From Gourmet Food site.

  7. chicken soup is dead easy. even easier/better/faster if you have a pressure cooker.

    email me.

  8. and, of course, now I want a claypot…

  9. I just dropped in from a Google search to get cooking times for the chicken. I have by clay pot, I love it, and I have a chicken.

    You are a hoot! I was talking to a friend on the phone and I was reading to her about Buddy and Chicken Little. Too fun. thanks,


  10. Thanks, you gave me all the info I needed. A friend cooked a 12lb Turkey on X-Mass day and it was wonderful. She had an extra pot, found in the trash, and gave it to me. Can’t wait, the chicken is in the pot, used orange, garlic and honey. Added the vegies at the begining, I’m think mush, oh well, live and learn.


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