Recipe: Milk Roast Chicken

I’ve loved Jamie Oliver since I was a teenager. I love his ideas about accessible, honest cooking. I love his projects: his attempts to educate the world about nutrition and eating fresh, unprocessed whole foods.  He’s also kind of cute in a boyish, British,  unkempt kind of way haha (what chef doesn’t look like they just stumbled out of bed from a 3 hour nap though?). So of course, I’m going to blindly trust him when he tells me to cook my roast chicken in a pot of milk.

Say what?

You heard me, this recipe is my take on Jamie’s Milk Roast Chicken. The chook is roasted long and slow in milk, herbs, spices and….lemon? So wrong! But it works. It’s crazy but it works. Trust me. I know that logically, milk and lemon would curdle and the idea of anything curdling is usually associated with failure; but the outcome of this particular recipe is a succulent roast that tears away from the bone, super crispy skin, little dumplings of cheesy, umami goodness that melts in your mouth, and a silky braising liquid to die for. It’s surprisingly effortless and easy to create, and uses ingredients you probably already have in your pantry. You just need a good, heavy dutch oven and a bit of free time check on the chook – and you’re set to go.

The only variation I’ve made from his original recipe is that I usually omit the cinnamon when I cook this, but I recommend trying it with the cinnamon first to see if it’s to your liking. Some think it’s too overpowering, whilst others enjoy the interesting flavour combo. I’ve also made ingredient portion suggestions for cooking this in skim/low fat milk, as well as frying with olive oil instead of butter.

Happy feasting, and do mind your table manners.


Prep time: 5-10 minutes

Cook time: 1 hour and 45 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour 55 minutes

Serves:  4 – 6 people

Difficulty: Medium (for capable cooks)

Roast Chicken Ingredients

  • 1.5 kg organic whole chicken
  • zest of two lemons
  • 1/2 stick cinnamon (you can omit this if you want, my mum likes this dish better without the cinnamon and…well…my mum owns a catering company and has been cooking since she was 12 haha)
  • 2 teaspoons  fleur de sel (plus more to taste)
  • black pepper to taste
  • 1 stick of butter or 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • large handful of fresh sage leaves
  • 7 – 10 cloves of garlic, whole, skin on (if your chicken is a little over 1.5 kg, max your garlic up to 10 cloves)
  • 2 cups whole milk , or 2 1/4 cups of skim milk


  1. Preheat the oven to 190C or 275F
  2. Pat your chicken dry to remove any moisture from the skin, and season with the salt and black pepper to taste. Be slightly more generous on the chicken breasts.
  3. Find a heavy based pot that will fit your chook snugly in and place on stove to heat oil or butter over high heat. When hot, brown the chicken in the fat all over by using tongs or wooden cutlery (be careful not to tear the skin) to flip and move around the pot.
  4. Set the browned chicken aside on a plate.
  5. Drain the fat from the butter/oil and chicken skin from the pot to leave a fond (fat caramalisation/meat caramel/deliciousness) that will add flavour to the braising fluid later on.
  6. Return the chicken to the pot and add the remaining ingredients, then cook covered for 45 minutes, and uncovered for an hour whilst checking regularly to baste in the sauce, and to avoid over browning.
  7. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.


Produce Notes

When shopping for organic chicken, don’t be put off if it looks less plump than their supermarket counterparts and the price per kilo. Supermarket chicken can be injected full of water, so you end up actually paying more money for less meat. I buy my meat from various markets. Prahran in Melbourne has a good selection of quality organic butchers, as does South Melbourne.

Sage can be a tricky herb to grow if you’re in a more tropical climate. It thrives in my garden, but I’ve been told my friends along the NSW coast that it is a temperamental herb.


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