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Roast Chicken Dinner

Roast Chicken Dinner

Delicious Roast Chicken Dinner

A wonderful British and Irish tradition is that of the great British or Irish roast chicken Sunday dinner. This post will show you how to cook a wonderful roast chicken dinner with all the trimmings.

In fact, the tradition of a Sunday roast is found in many English speaking countries that used to be connected to the British Empire (and others). Many will say it is what made the (now past) Empire great (together with gin and tonic and tea of course!).

sunday roast chicken
Roast Chicken Dinner with gravy

Traditional Sunday Roast

A Bisto roast chicken dinner is certainly one of the favourite variants of the Sunday roast. It is also a great alternative for a Christmas dinner or Thanksgiving dinner. Normally a large chicken will be a lot cheaper than a Turkey.

I have many recollections as a kid of us sitting around the table on a Sunday. We always had to wait for my late father to get back from his golf, so we could eat our traditional Sunday lunch together.

It is, of course, part of the original tradition that the man of the household carves the meat (this never stopped my Mum though).

This always reminds me of this funny Dutch advert from 1997, where, at the end, the kid whispers in Dutch ‘who is the man that always comes to cut the meat on Sundays?’! (not recognizing his own father as he is also away the entire week at work!)

roast chicken ready to carve
A roast chicken ready to carve, with an onion in the body cavity, and no stuffing in the breast area

When you are carving the chicken, make sure you have a good carving set. A sharp carving knife and a good carving fork are invaluable.  

The Sunday dinner tradition was very strong in our household. My Mum was (and still is) a great cook and would always do us proud.

There are many variations to a Sunday roast, both with side dishes, as with the process, and I will discuss that a little bit in this post.

roast chicken with stuffed breast
A roast chicken with stuffed breast

Family Sunday Lunch

At home, the roast meat was always lamb, chicken, pork, beef or whatever that week had been on offer. And the side dishes would be a combination of roast potatoes, broccoli, carrots, parsnips, cauliflower cheese and other vegetables.

There was normally also some other strange English invention on the table. Things like bread sauce, mint sauce, Yorkshire Puddings or stuffing – all depending on the meat. All delicious of course, once you have got over the initial shock 😊.

We would scoff ourselves fully, a bit like at Christmas, and then relax on the couch and invariably fall asleep!

Competing Student’s Mum’s Sunday Lunches

All my friends at school and University also had a similar Sunday lunch tradition and it was interesting to see how it varied from house to house.

I studied at University in the North of England. There it seemed to be a challenge for all of my friend’s mothers to feed us all until we exploded when we visited for a weekend break from studying.

Sunday lunch
A roast chicken dinner with baked carrots and garlic, baked tender stem broccoli, roast potatoes, sage and onion stuffing and Bisto gravy

Some of my friend’s Mums really put on the most incredible spreads with the tabletop covered in different types of vegetables: boiled, fried, roasted, baked – everything was possible.

One weekend, I remember visiting a friend where there must have been about 15 different vegetable side dishes to go with the meat! I have never seen anything like it before or since.

We have some very happy memories of those days and the long-lasting friendships that I made at that time.

roast chicken lunch
A roast chicken lunch with roast potatoes, orange and cranberry stuffing, roast honey parsnips, sugar snaps, baked carrots with garlic, onion, bacon and Bisto gravy.

This was an important part of growing up and I remember thinking I would always like to make this a thing in my own house when I was older.

And these days, when all my family is together, which is unfortunately not very often, I love to get everyone around the table and give them a roast dinner. They all LOVE the chicken and my super crispy roast potatoes and gravy, and they fight over the chicken skin!

Dinner or lunch?

Whether you call it ‘dinner’ or ‘lunch’ depends a bit on where you are from in the UK. Northerners tend to call the meal in the middle of the day ‘dinner’.

Whereas down South this would be referred to as ‘lunch’ and ‘dinner’ would be the evening meal.

Where the cut-off point for this is I do not know. But suspect it must be around the Midlands somewhere.

In any case, I am originally a Southerner that studied up North, so am still a bit confused. Or bilingual you might say! I still call it a traditional Sunday dinner!

roast chicken with gravy
Check out those crispy roast potatoes! Delicious with a good gravy!


How long to cook a roast chicken?

The cooking time for a roast chicken is about 20 minutes per 450g weight of chicken plus an extra 20 minutes (depending a bit on the size of the chicken) at 190C.

This is a simple roast chicken recipe. In these pictures, it is served up with different side dishes: crispy roast potatoes, garlic carrots, roast chicken stuffing (different flavours), roasted stem broccoli, boiled sugar snaps, and honey roasted parsnips together with some lovely gravy using this Bisto gravy granules recipe.

roast chicken lunch
Succulent roast chicken with crispy roast potatoes and gravy


Bisto Gravy Granules Recipe

The recipe for gravy is included in the recipe card below and is very simple. I use a combination of a chicken OXO cube, the juices from the chicken (after discarding the fat), the water from the parboiled potatoes, and some Bisto gravy granules. This gives a delicious thick chicken gravy that goes beautifully with the roast potatoes. 

If you have the opportunity to chill the chicken juices for longer in the fridge, the fat will solidify and it easy to separate than just using a ladle. You can just spoon it out.

It will look a bit like this and the solidified yellow liquid on the top is the chicken fat. It is super delicious but alas not very healthy as it is pure saturated fat!

chilled chicken juices
Chilled juices from a medium-sized chicken

Sometimes when I am perfecting the gravy, I may add some cranberry sauce to sweeten it or some English mustard to add a bit of bite. It depends on my mood 😊.

But remember that a good tasty gravy is one of the most important parts of a roast chicken dinner. Essential for eating with the delicious crispy roast potatoes. Your kids will be fighting over them (if they are anything like mine!)

Anyhow, good luck making your first Sunday Roast. And remember, getting everything to the table hot at the same time is important. So timing is everything – plan your dishes well!

Good luck trying out some of these recipes. If you do, please let me know how you get on in the comments section below!

How to make a Sunday roast chicken dinner

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roast chicken dinner

Roast Chicken Dinner

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes

This recipe will help you produce a delicious roast chicken dinner for the whole family. So easy and economical to make, and all the family will love it.


  • 1 chicken (weight dependant on number of eaters)
  • Sage and onion stuffing mix
  • Chicken spices
  • 40g Butter
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 Onion, peeled
  • Chicken OXO cube
  • 1 tbsp Chicken Bisto gravy granules
  • (For side dishes refer to the linked dishes at the end of the post)



  1. Prepare the chicken by removing any giblets or rubber bands that may be holding it together. Place in a roasting dish and sprinkle lightly with chicken spices. 
  2. Cover with slices of butter, especially where the thighs and the wings join the body of the chicken. Then season with salt and pepper.
  3. Prepare the stuffing mix. Normally this just requires adding some hot water and some butter. When it is ready to use, stuff the bird with the stuffing under the skin of the breast. You do this by first carefully separating the skin from the breast meat with your fingers, and moving your fingers to the back of the breast bit by bit. 
  4. Then use the stuffing to fill the gap between breast and skin. This will help to keep the breast from drying out during cooking. (If you do not have any stuffing, then you can also protect the breast by placing some streaky bacon over the breast area. Remove this then for the last 30 minutes of cooking to crispen the skin).
  5. Place the onion inside the chicken and fill any cavity left with remaining stuffing.


  1. Then place in a pre-heated oven (190C). Roast chicken cooking time: the cooking time will be about 20 minutes per 450g weight of chicken plus an extra 20 minutes (depending a bit on the size of the chicken).
  2. Keep basting the chicken with the juices every 20 minutes or so to help it crisp up.
  3. Check the chicken is cooked by checking that the juices which flow from it when you tip it up are golden (and not pink in any way).
  4. When it is cooked let it relax for 10 minutes before carving.
  5. In the meantime, you will have prepared whatever vegetables you are serving as accompaniments. When boiling the roast potatoes, make sure you keep some of the water from the par-boiling, to help make the gravy.

Roast Chicken Gravy

  1. While the chicken is resting, make the gravy. Pour the juices from the chicken into a transparent jug and cool in the fridge. After 5 minutes separate the fat on the top from the juices with a ladle and discard the fat (it is very tasty, but not very healthy). 
  2. Then add the crushed OXO cube and 300ml water to the chicken juices in a suitable baking tin and place on the hob. Bring to the boil and add the Bisto gravy granules and water from the potatoes, bit by bit. [Some people think using gravy granules is scandalous. Purists would just use the meat juices, water and maybe some flour. But I think Bisto helps give a better overall flavour, as well as thickening the gravy, which is important when eating together with the potatoes.]
  3. Keep simmering until the gravy is of the right consistency and then transfer to a gravy jug. (Optionally, if wanting some variation in taste then add a tbsp of mustard or cranberry sauce).
  4. Certainly, my roast potatoes and garlic carrots are ALWAYS served together with this dish as they cook together with the chicken in the oven.


Serving up

Carve up the chicken carefully, making sure the breast is sliced nicely. Ask people which meat they would prefer, as some prefer dark meat and others prefer the white breast meat. 

Serve up together with roast potatoes, carrots and gravy as a minimum. But preferably include some honey glazed parsnips, some cabbage and some other greens of your choosing (peas, beans, broccoli or something similar).

Using up the leftovers

At the end of the post, there are links to recipes for using up any leftovers you may have.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 165Total Fat: 12gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 43mgSodium: 231mgCarbohydrates: 7gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 8g

This nutrition information was automatically calculated by Nutritionix, but may not be 100% accurate.

Did you make this recipe?

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Here are some possible side dishes you can serve with the chicken:
Best Crispy Oven Roasted Potatoes
Baked Carrots with Garlic
Oven Roasted Long Stem Broccoli
Honey Roasted Parsnips
Cauliflower Grilled Cheese
Roast Beef and Yorkshire Pudding
Baked Breaded Cauliflower
How To Cook Broccoli, 7 different ways!
Brussels Sprouts and Chestnuts Recipe
Cauliflower Grilled Cheese

And for using up any roast chicken leftovers:

Leftover Chicken Pie
Leftover Mashed Potato Patties
Mini Chicken Pot Pies with Pie Crust
Chicken and Potato Pie
Creamy Chicken and Ham Pie
Easy Coronation Chicken Recipe
Chicken ham and leek pie
Chicken Mayo Sandwich
Chinese Fried Rice Recipe
Chicken Curry Sandwich
Piri Piri Rice Recipe - with marinated spicy chicken and vegetables
Boneless Chicken Biryani

And some other roast dinner ideas:

Roast Beef and Yorkshire Pudding
Roast Rack of Pork with Crispy Crackling
Pot Roast Leg of Lamb
Pot Roast Pheasant
Irish Rib Roast on the Bone

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