Chinese Roast Chicken: Crispy on the outside, juicy within

Save the juice from the roast to drizzle over steaming rice.

This recipe for roast chicken is super flavourful and easy to make for the entire family.

There are certain techniques and secret ingredients involved to get the desired taste and texture but if you follow the recipe and instructions carefully, you’ll nail it.

For starters, the chicken has to be marinated overnight, and then air-dried for a few hours before roasting.

There is also a special concoction for the marinade to ensure the skin’s crispiness even after roasting.

The best part of this roast chicken is the juice that seeps out during the roasting process; save this flavour-packed liquid and drizzle it over steamed rice for the most delicious meal ever.

This Chinese-style roast chicken also imparts signature Cantonese barbecue aromas and flavours.

This roast chicken is easy to make and renders the best results if it’s air-dried for a few hours before the roasting process.


  • 1-1.3kg of chicken
  • 4 cloves garlic, lightly pounded
  • 2.5 cm ginger, peeled and sliced


  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Chinese rose wine (or Shaoxing wine)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 dashes white pepper

Skin Coating:

  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon honey


  • Rinse the chicken with water and pat dry inside and out. Truss the chicken. Use only the legs and not the whole body.
  • Mix the “marinade” ingredients well in a bowl and rub generously on the skin of the chicken and also inside the cavity.
  • Place the garlic and ginger inside the cavity and then transfer the whole chicken into a Ziploc bag.
  • Pour the remaining marinade into the bag and marinate the chicken overnight. You can turn the plastic bag to make sure that the chicken is evenly marinated.
  • Take the chicken out of the plastic bag, discard the garlic and ginger from inside the cavity.
  • Air-dry the chicken for about 30 minutes at room temperature or until the skin surface is no longer wet. You can turn on a fan.
  • In a bowl, mix the “skin coating”ingredients well. Set aside.
  • Heat the oven to 200°C.
  • Place the chicken in a roasting pan (on the lower rack) and roast for about 45 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and turn the chicken over. Roast for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and brush the entire chicken with the “skin coating” mixture.
  • Continue to roast the chicken for about 10 minutes on each side, or until the entire chicken has achieved a golden-hue.
  • Remove the roasted chicken from the oven, let cool, cut into pieces and serve immediately. Save the juice from the chicken and serve with steamed rice.

This article first appeared in Rasa Malaysia.

Low Bee Yinn is a food blogger and cookbook author.