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<b>Chicken on a Bed of Salt</b> | Never Enough Thyme?

Chicken on a Bed of Salt | Never Enough Thyme?

Baking with salt has various ways and a long history around the world. One involves using pastry wrapped around meat; another one is burying, say a whole fish, in a pile of loose salt before baking. Other methods call for adding egg whites to make a salt paste. In my family, the salt bed technique is quite popular. Chicken is particularly well suited to this treatment: it comes out of the oven crispy, tender, and juicy, and delicious every time. All thanks to the bed of salt, the magical minerals!

Spilling salt to make a bed for your chicken will never bring you bad luck.

Oh yes, there is a lot of salt involved. But the result is exceptionally moist meat, surprisingly, with only a hint of saltiness in the flavor. The bed of salt gives tenderness to meats that tend to dry out. How? It absorbs the moisture that leaves from the chicken while baking, and the meat cooks to perfection in the dry, hot steam. Find out here which salt is the best for baking.

Never enough thyme?

It is my go-to recipe when I entertain a smaller group. Especially if I don’t have too much time for prep. A whole baked chicken resting on a snowy bed of salt is bound to stir curiosity at the dinner table. I also use it when I know that I have a busy week ahead. I make it on a Sunday and have homemade meals even later in the week. The simple seasoning of this baked chicken allows me to be creative with the leftover. I can add it to arugula salad on Monday, use the leftover breast for a stuffy sandwich on Tuesday, or mix it into spicy Asian noodles on Wednesday. #zerofoodwaste

A one-pan recipe that makes clean up a breeze.

Baking this chicken is like giving yourself the gift of time. No need to marinate or stand by the stove. The oven does most of the work. And even the cleanup is minimal!


  • 1 whole chicken 
  • 6 cups kosher salt
  • 8 peeled garlic cloves
  • 1 quartered lemon 
  • 3-4 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Cook’s notes

The baking time depends on the size of the chicken, approximately 20 minutes per pound.

Veggies always make a great side dish – pair your chicken with cumin-citrus roasted carrots, Parmesan roasted cauliflower, or with home-made sauerkraut!


1. Preheat oven to 350°F. 

2. Wash chicken, dry the outside and inside with paper towels.

3. Make your bed! Pour salt in baking sheet, place dry chicken in the middle. Rub some salt inside, then loosely stuff chicken with squeezed lemon quarters, thyme sprigs, and garlic. Stuff thyme and garlic under the skin where it fits.

4. Coat top of chicken with melted butter and sprinkle 1 teaspoon salt over it.

5. Bake for 1-1/2 to 2 hours or until a thermometer inserted in the thickest part reads 170°-175°. Make sure not to hit a bone while checking the temperature.

6. Let chicken rest for at least 10 minutes before carving.

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