Whether you make it for a Thanksgiving celebration or a Sunday dinner, this Indian-spiced roast chicken is sure to become your go-to roast chicken recipe. A mixture of turmeric, cayenne, garam masala, garlic, ginger, and fenugreek adds a punch of flavor and spice to this otherwise simple dish. Dry brining the chicken ensures beautifully crispy skin and keeps the chicken moist and flavorful.
What is Dry Brining?
Dry brining is exactly what it sounds like. Instead of making a wet brine and submerging the chicken in it, you rub the chicken with salt and let it sit for 8-12 hours in the fridge.
I used to hate making roast chicken at home because the skin would always come out soggy and the meat flavorless but since I started using the dry brine method, my chicken always comes out crispy, moist, and flavorful.
As much as I wish I could take credit for this technique, I actually learned it from Kenji López-Alt’s excellent cookbook, The Food Lab. Please do yourself a favor and run to the store to buy it; it will truly make you a better home cook.
Roast Chicken in Under 30 min
My favorite thing about this Indian-spiced roast chicken is that it can be done in as little as 30 min. The secret is to use chicken pieces rather than a whole chicken.
I’m lucky enough to have a grocery store that regularly sells chicken cut into pieces. For this recipe, I chose to use a cut that includes the drumstick and the thigh because I love the flavor of dark meat.
This recipe will also work great if you decide to use only thighs or breasts. Just keep in mind that for it to come out right, you need to use skin-on, bone-in chicken pieces. That’s where all the flavor is.
You could also get a whole chicken and spatchcock it to make it cook faster. Kenji López-Alt has a great tutorial on how to spatchcock a whole chicken.
Infusing the Chicken with Indian Flavors
I like bold flavors, so that’s why I chose to flavor my roast chicken with a mixture of Indian spices. All of them are relatively easy to find, except for fenugreek leaves.
Fenugreek is a staple in Indian cooking. The dried leaves look a bit like oregano leaves but with stems attached to them. They give out a wonderfully sweet and pungent aroma and add a buttery flavor to any dish that you put them in.
I get my fenugreek leaves through Amazon, but if you can’t find them, feel free to omit them.
Indian-Spiced Roast Chicken (GF)
This gluten-free roast chicken is flavored with turmeric, garlic, garam masala, fenugreek leaves, ginger, and cayenne. It's dry brined in advance to ensure that the skin comes out super crispy and the meat moist and tender.
- For the dry brine:
- 2 pounds of skin-on, bone-in chicken pieces
- 1 tablespoon of kosher salt
- For the Indian-inspired rub:
- 1 tablespoon garam masala
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 tablespoon garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1/2 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated using a microplane
- 1 tsp fenugreek leaves, crushed
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- Step 1 Dry brine the chicken. 8-12 hours before you intend to roast the chicken, take it out of the fridge and place it on a roasting pan with a non-stick roasting rack. Using your fingers, carefully separate the skin from the meat. Try not to tear it.
- Step 2 Rub a bit of the salt under the skin of each chicken piece. Reserve some of the salt to rub on the skin of each piece as well.
- Step 3 Place the chicken in the fridge and let it dry brine for 4-8 hours (overnight is better).
- Step 4 Make the Indian-inspired rub. Combine all of the ingredients for the rub except for the oil in a small bowl. Add the oil and mix until it forms a thick paste.
- Step 5 Roast the chicken. Preheat your oven to 450℉.
- Step 6 After the chicken has brined, take it out of the fridge and carefully separate the skin from the meat again. Using your fingers or a small spoon, rub some of the spice paste under the skin of the chicken. Make sure it’s evenly distributed. Reserve some of the paste to rub on the skin of the chicken as well.
- Step 7 Place the roasting pan in the oven and roast the chicken for 25-35 min, or until a instant-read thermometer registers 150℉ in the thickest part of the breast or 165℉ in the joint between the thigh and the drumstick.
- Step 8 Take the chicken out of the oven and let it rest for at least 10 min.
- Step 9 Serve while still warm.
Here are some delicious sides to accompany this Indian-spiced roast chicken:
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