Easy butter-roasted chicken.

‘Roast chicken.’ The words just sort of take you to Grandma’s kitchen, don’t they? And yet, why do we make roast chicken so infrequently? It’s one of the simplest, most satisfying dishes, and you hardly even need a recipe for roasted chicken. Maybe it’s because we’ve been dissatisfied with chicken that’s been baked to a dry, tasteless mess. Or we think we’ll mess it up somehow.

Trust me: You can’t mess up this super easy roast chicken recipe. Super. Easy. This is one of my all-time favorite dinner recipes, for cold nights when I just don’t feel like fussing but want something yummy and soothing. It unfailingly yields a dish that’s juicy and flavorful.

You can make this for two people, or for a dinner party. Use whatever chicken pieces you prefer, or a whole cut-up chicken. Even better, you can add to it. Toss a big handful of fingerling potatoes or carrot coins in the roasting pan. Or big chunks of butternut squash. Pour a splash of chicken stock in the pan at the end if you want an easy pan sauce. Be sure to save any leftovers for chicken salad.

Add a simple side dish — like vegetables and couscous or (as shown above) barley and vegetable pilaf — and some good crusty bread, and dinner’s on the table.

easy butter-roasted chicken with garlic

(serves 4)

4 small bone-in chicken breast halves or thighs
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 large head garlic, separated into cloves (unpeeled)
2 tablespoons honey
Kosher salt
Freshly cracked pepper
Splash of chicken broth (optional)

Preheat oven to 400°. Lay the chicken pieces in a shallow baking dish or rimmed baking sheet; season generously with salt and pepper. Pour the melted butter over the chicken; scatter the garlic cloves around the chicken. Roast for about 35–40 minutes, until chicken is nearly done (160° on a meat thermometer). (If you want a quick pan sauce for the chicken, add a splash of chicken broth to the pan about halfway through baking.) Drizzle honey over the chicken, return the pan to the oven and roast until the chicken is deeply golden brown, about 5–7 minutes more.