Pimentón Roasted Chicken and Potatoes

This is what I made for Thanksgiving dinner. It was one of the best recipes I discovered this year, and it seemed perfect for the holiday. I think it would be equally perfect for a Christmas, Hanukkah, or New Years celebrations. Consider it my gift to you, dear reader. The gift of a perfectly roasted paprika and garlic rubbed chicken that cooks on a bed of potato wedges that benefit from chicken fat and high temperatures. When it is done, you have chicken and potatoes and only need a hearty green salad to accompany them. You also have an astonishingly simple and delicious meal. Honestly, this is about as good as it gets. I’ve made this recipe twice already and am giving it another go this weekend. Consider me obsessed.

The secrets of this recipe are in the details, so make substitutions at your own risk. I think Yukon Golds were made for this recipe, and I love them roasted more than people say I should. It is a pain to track down two kinds of paprika- but since you will likely want to make this again it is worth the effort. I think the chicken should sit overnight in the fridge to really develop flavor, but 5 or 6 hours will do in a pinch. On my second go around, I increased the potato quantities because they are just so, so good. I suggest you do the same by including an extra potato or two.

Unrelated: Some of you noticed already, but I have been writing an occasional column for Saveur on cookbooks. You know how much I love cookbooks, so it is a real treat to have a forum for discussing some older, stranger and out-of-print titles. I hope you’ll visit me over at Saveur and check out great books like Lee Bailey’s Country Weekends and the French Farm House Cookbook.

Pimentón Roast Chicken and Potatoes (adapted from David Tanis via Bon Appetit)

For chickens:

  • 8 garlic cloves, finely grated
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon hot smoked Spanish paprika
  • 2 3 1/2–4-pound whole chickens
  • 2 large bunches fresh thyme

For potatoes:

  • 2-3 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, unpeeled
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  • 3-4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced scallions
  • Smoked paprika (for dusting)

Rinse and VERY thoroughly dry chickens. Mix garlic, salt, oil, and both paprikas in a small bowl; mix to blend well. Using your hands, smear paste all over outside of chickens, rubbing to coat the skin. It will be clumpy, don’t worry. Place 1 bunch of thyme inside the cavity of each bird. Chill, uncovered, for at least 6 hours or overnight (for more flavor).

Let chickens stand at room temperature for 1 hour. If paste has clumped, rub to evenly distribute. Cut each potato in half lengthwise, then lengthwise into 4 thick wedges (steak-fry style). Place in a large bowl; season generously with salt and pepper. Drizzle in oil and, using your hands, toss well to coat. Spread potatoes in a single layer in a large roasting pan or on a large rimmed baking sheet.

Preheat oven to 500°F. Place chickens side by side atop potatoes in roasting pan.

Roast chickens and potatoes for 30 minutes. Remove from oven; turn potatoes, rearranging chickens if needed. Reduce oven heat to 425°F. Continue roasting chickens and potatoes until an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of the thighs registers 165° F, 20-35 minutes longer. Let rest for 15 minutes before carving chicken. Keep potatoes warm in oven until chicken is carved and ready to be served.

Transfer potatoes to 1–2 platters; sprinkle with parsley and scallions. Arrange chickens on top of potatoes. Dust lightly with smoked paprika.

Serves: 8

***I trussed the chicken in these photos, which was my first attempt. I don’t think these should be trussed, I think it slowed down the cooking. Don’t bother.

***The skin charred a little both times I made this, but the chickens remained really moist and flavorful. So, no worries- and I liked the dark skin.If your skin starts to get too black for your own taste, you can cover it loosely with foil.

***If the potatoes are getting too dark (you want them a little dark, those are my favorite parts), you can transfer the chickens to their own pan to finish cooking them.

70 comments to “Pimentón Roasted Chicken and Potatoes”

  1. This looks fantastic. Delicious and simple. Always a fan of David Tanis (and Chez Panisse). Will pick up some pastured chicken and be looking for yukon golds at Green City Market this weekend. Looking forward to giving it a try. Thanks!

  2. Looks delicious! I always cook my potatoes (along with carrots, onions, and garlic)under the chicken. Nothing beats crispy caramelized veggies cooked in the chicken drippings. So much flavor! Mmmm, mmmm.

  3. I love your blog because you always cook what is in the current (or most current) issues of food magazines. I bookmarked this page in my issue of that Bon Appetit, but here you’ve actually made it–three times now! Anyway thanks for bringing this to my attention (again). I definitely trust your tastes and so now I know I have to make this.

  4. I love those potato wedges!

  5. I do love a cook roasted chicken recipe – thank you! I’ll be making this in the next few days. (as soon as I can track down the two paprikas. it’s a good thing I like the hunt for ingredients as much as I do the actual eating of the dish…)

  6. Absolutely drool-worthy! I’ve made similar, but not with these 2 types of paprika. I look forward to making this asap!

  7. My mom used to make baked bone in chicken breasts coated with paprika and dried onion at least once a week. This looks like a delightful and more festive version of that! Thanks for sharing and can’t wait to try it!

  8. totally salivating over those potatoes.

  9. This look delicious!! Can’t wait to try this…those potatoes look to die for.

  10. That colour is beautiful. I think I will love this too. I might add some chorizo to the potatoes for extra paprika hit!

  11. Thanks to my CSA box, I’ve been swimming in potatoes these days. This recipe may be just the thing to make the pile dwindle…

  12. If you love the flavor of Pimenton, you should check out this website: http://www.viridianfarms.com/. I use their Pimenton blend and it’s amazing! I did a dinner at their farm last summer and I used the Pimenton in my browned butter, peach and blueberry crostata. Also, a fabulous addition to citrus cornmeal shortbread cookies. Omit the rosemary.

  13. I really want to make this — but I REALLY want to know where I can buy the roasting pan you use in the first photo!!

  14. You’re right- I wish i had made more potatos! One of the best things I’ve had all year.

  15. This looks great. As a fellow food blogger I’m always looking to learn. I’m intrigued by the idea of starting at 500 degrees. My recipe stays at 425, but anything less than that yields a dryer bird! Might have to try this technique and see what happens! Katherine

  16. I absolutely love pimenton and your chicken looks so very tasty! I’ll definitely check out your column at Saveur!

  17. This chicken looks heavenly. I have to have it:)!

  18. Very savory and scrumptiously inviting. Pimenton (smoked Spanish paprika) is fabulous, I use it in a spice rub for meat and poultry (even potatoes). Great idea in place of turkey, too. Will have to check your column in Saveur (congrats on that)!

  19. This is reminiscent of the roasted chicken at the Publican. I believe Chef Kahan uses esplette in that recipe. So delicious.

  20. Michael Donovan says:

    December 8th, 2012 at 9:52 am

    There isn’t a David Tanis recipe I’ve tried that hasn’t turned out perfect and perfectly delicious. His “Platter of Figs” is a great cookbook, and his weekly NY Times column is essential reading. I made the French-lentil cassoulet from the same article in Bon Appetit and that was also fantastic!

  21. I made this tonight and it was fabulous!

  22. Yes, perfect comfort food. With the weather getting cold during the nights I would love to eat this. I think I may try this recipe out this coming weekend. Thank you for the post and the beautiful pictures with it. Really enjoyed this post.

  23. She loves you back!

    So excited to see YOUR blog listed today on Gwynie’s goop favorites!

    Merry Christmas, Tim, we know you are over the moon. (And it couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.)

  24. I’m making roasted chicken for Christmas, and I think I’ll go with this recipe. Looks fantastic!

  25. Made this for my nursing daughter (who needs nourishment) as a trial run for Christmas dinner. This is delicious!! The guys loved the potatoes. We roasted until 170 degrees in the thickest part of the breast and it was perfect. For sure going to fix for Christmas dinner. Question, are golden potatoes the same as Yukon Golds? All I can find are golden potatoes. Thanks!

  26. This looks fabolous! I was wondering if the potatoes get soggy at all or too greasy from the chicken fat that renders? Also, do you just arrange the potatoes around the bird or underneath as well? Do you think tha t this would double easily? I have 5 kids and a very hungry husband, so two birds will be necessary! Thank you, I just found your site and I love it, keep p the wonderful work with the gorgeous photos!

  27. Hi Anne- Did you read the recipe? I think all of your questions are answered in the recipe. Enjoy!

  28. I’m going to make this recipe this weekend. And I’m gonna add a lot of potatoes.

  29. I just realized that I put ALL the garlic, salt, paprika, and oil on one bird. And it’s already been sitting overnight. Do you think there’s anything I can do to save the chicken?

  30. This looks delicious and kind of reminds me of America’s Test Kitchen’s picnic chicken – best chicken recipe in the world. But – hey – where are our 12 days of cookies this year?

  31. Absolutely splendid! Would this work with Turkey too?

  32. Hey Janice- the spice rub could be used on turkey, but not the technique.

  33. Made this for dinner tonight. Everyone loved it. Definitely a keeper… potatoes were fabulous.

  34. This is perfect for the holiday season.

  35. I made this for Friday Night and it was the best chicken I have ever served. The cooking method is out of this world, and so much faster than any other method I have tried. I think this method is tied with my tagine method. Thank you for the education!

  36. Loved this tonight! Made it with a mix of Yukon and purple sweet potato.
    A keeper! Thank you!!!! The chicken was sooooo moist. Yum.

  37. Gorgeous, delicious, and so happy not to truss! Having this again for my birthday on Saturday.
    PS – Remember Plainfield?? Any bakery advice from your mom?? Thank you!

  38. That chicken looks amazing but what I find myself truly craving at this moment are the potatoes. So delicious looking.

  39. Simply love this recipe!

  40. Muraya Kimani says:

    December 29th, 2012 at 3:14 pm

    Hey Tim.Greetings from Kenya (Africa).Thanks for sharing your wonderful recipes.Your blog is very beautiful.I made the chicken and potatoes for my brothers 11th birthday dinner,everyone loved it.The flavour was more delicate than I expected.the potatoes became a bit crunchy for my taste though, do you think it would be ok to cover them in foil past the 30 minute mark?

  41. Thanks for the Pimenton reco. I’m looking for a simple yet stylish entree for a special dinner, and I took red meat out of my diet several years ago. Great blog. Cheers!

  42. I made one roast chicken (halving your recipe) sans potatoes for our Christmas dinner and a guest said it was the best chicken he’d ever had. Thank you!

  43. I finally got around to making this last week…. and I’ve already made it three times. I may be obsessed with its perfection.

  44. I have a tried and true method of roasting chicken, one that does not involve spices or potatoes, so I had my doubts about this recipe, but I gave it a shot (using TWO chickens at once!) and it was an amazing success! Will make this over and over again. Thank you Tim!

  45. I have been reading this blog and making your awesome recipes for over a year now. I am always very happy with the results but this chicken blew my mind! It was the most flavorful, juicy chicken I have ever tasted and it is going to get me through the dreary winter months. THANK YOU!!!!

  46. Jessie! Thanks for letting me know. I am so glad to hear that you guys are loving this as much as I did. Yay!

  47. Made this last weekend, and there’s nothing to say but OMG. This was super delicious – make it now! I’m dreaming of everything I can add pimenton to in my quotidian cooking life (and still chuckling that it’s so fragrant, my boyfriend though I had been carting around smoked meats in my bag). The leftover chicken made a wonderful topping for pizza the next day.

    Thanks for all of your amazing recipes, Tim! I’m a longtime follower of L + D, and I also work at Open Books; we’re so grateful for your support!

  48. Aw, thanks, Anna! I am so glad you liked it. I ended up making it four times between Thanksgiving and Christmas. It has become a favorite of ours. And yay Open Books! Y’all are the best. Keep up the good work.

  49. Beautiful photos and recipe! Your website is glorious and an inspiration to someone like me who is just getting started! Keep rockin’ out the wit and eye poppingly gorgeous food!

  50. Amazing! Thank you for this recipe! Made it tonight, my husband said it was the highlight meal of our marriage to date! Marinated for 12 hours and followed the recipe step by step. Found that the fries directly underneath the chicken a bit soggy, otherwise delicious. The chicken wing skin were’t as crisp as I thought they would turn out to be. The skin everywhere else turned out great.

  51. Your roasted chicken is just amazing. Congratulations!

  52. Hi – I know you posted this a while ago, but I just tried it last week. It’s wonderful! I had a go-to roasted chicken recipe, but I will definitely be making this again and again. Thank you so much.

  53. Making this for the second time tomorrow. It was probably the best roast chicken I’ve ever had, made with my free range, home raised chickens. Divine! The search for hot smoked paprika took quite a while but was so worth it. Thanks for a wonderful recipe.

  54. Wow. I’ve yet to tackle a roast chicken. Judging by that top picture, it’s going to have to be a goal of mine this weekend. That looks sooo good.

  55. Hi there…just wondered if you could explain why the chickens need to sit out at room temperature for an hour. Do you think it would make a difference if you skipped this?

  56. Hi Christine- It would definitely make a difference. You want the chicken to cook in the shortest time possible, so it stays moist. By starting with a room-temperature chicken, you save on cooking time. I actually (accidentally) tried this both ways and it was better after having sat out at room temperature. I would not skip this step.

  57. I just found your website and I’m already a huge fan. I just made this chicken and it was amazing. Seriously, we’re currently blissed out on the couch, stuffed full of chicken and potatoes. It was my first roast chicken so I was a little nervous, but I had nothing to worry about! Thanks so much!

  58. I made this last night and it was AMAZING. It was the first time I’ve ever roasted a whole chicken and it couldn’t have gone any better.

    Thanks so much for posting the recipe. xx

  59. Yay! Glad it was a success, Kristen!

  60. Tim, thanks for introducing me to this cookware. I am now the proud owner of a bake set (in red, to match my Le Creuset!) and can’t wait to cook in it. Perhaps this dish makes for the perfect test-drive and review post!

  61. Yosef- it is the best! I am glad you got some. It bakes SO well. I think you’ll love it.

  62. Delicious! I used dried thyme in the rub because I didn’t have fresh. I also added carrots, onions and parsnips to the potatoes. I plan to make tortilla soup with the stock I am making from the carcass- the smoked paprika will add such a yummy flavor to it!

  63. Hi Tim. I usually roast chicken over potatoes and love how they fry in the chicken fat, but the skin at the chicken’s backside never crisps and looks soggy unless i flip it and roast it breast side down for about 15min. Im planning on making this recipe for the weekend and wondering if there is a need to flip the chicken to crisp the back?

  64. Hi Dana- Uhhh….I dunno? I obviously didn’t feel a need, but maybe you would? I also don’t feel any need to get all of the skin crispy? Let us know how it turns out!

  65. So good! Made this for Sunday dinner for Mom-in-law, with salad and rose’. We ate every bit – thank you!

  66. Charlotte says:

    June 11th, 2013 at 4:04 pm

    I am exited to try this, it is very similar to a favourite meal in my family, although we do a combination of potato wedges, and thick slices of carrots. Even better than the potatoes are the perfectly, crispy, caramelised carrots that cook in the chicken fat. From a French household, caramelised carrots are a staple and necessity in any comforting, traditional meal, and these are definitely the best.

  67. I’m dying to make this, but I’ve only got regular paprika, hungarian sweet paprika and smoked paprika. Which should I use, and to what ratio? Please help!

  68. Hey Kate,
    I would try some combination of regular/sweet and smoked, and then add some cayenne for extra heat. I have never done this, so you’ll have to experiment.

  69. Raymond Hames says:

    December 25th, 2013 at 8:51 pm

    My friend Alice gave me your link after I told her I bought some Smoked Sweet Spanish Paprika at the Spice House on North Wells. I tried it your recipe this evening and it was wonderful. It is paprika is truly powerful. I think I will cut back a little next time – which should be very soon. Thanks!

What do you think?