Chinese Roast Chicken
Cook, Entree

Easiest Chinese Roast Chicken Recipe (Only 5 Ingredients!)

Hey everyone, Kevin here! Today, I have an extremely easy recipe for a Chinese roast chicken that only requires 5 ingredients!

The key to this simple yet delicious roast chicken recipe lies in the five-spice powder. I was inspired to make this dish because I was walking around the city with Sierra and saw a restaurant advertising their five-spice chicken. When I first started cooking, I had stumbled upon some Chinese recipes that used this spice, and it tasted so good that I knew I had to figure out a way to incorporate it into more dishes! This was the perfect opportunity, and so my Chinese roast chicken recipe was born.

Chinese Roast Chicken

What Is Chinese Five-Spice Powder?

Chinese five-spice powder is typically made up of five different spices: star anise, cinnamon, fennel, ground peppercorns, and cloves. These spices come together to create a mix of flavors that’s hard to describe with words–you have to try it for yourself!

You can find five-spice powder at any Asian grocery store, and you can also find it in most grocery store chains like Whole Foods. Don’t fret if you can’t find it in a store though! You can easily make five-spice powder at home by combining the aforementioned spices in a blender.

Chinese Roast Chicken

Making Juicy Roast Chicken With Crispy Skin

Have you ever had your roast chicken look beautiful coming out of the oven, but then taste completely bland and dry when you take a bite? I’ve definitely had that happen to me in the past, so for this recipe I wanted to figure out the best and easiest way to make sure your chicken doesn’t come out too dry but still have crispy skin.

The combination that I found worked best for me was to refrigerate the chicken uncovered for several hours before roasting it, trussing the chicken, and taking it out of the oven when the meat reaches 150°F.

Chinese Roast Chicken

Refrigerating the chicken serves two purposes. First, because the five-spice powder rub is applied to the chicken before refrigerating it, those hours in the fridge allow the flavor to penetrate the meat. Second, the dry cool air in the refrigerator will help dry out the skin of the chicken, allowing it to crisp up in the oven.

I also brush the skin with sesame oil before placing the chicken in the oven. I used sesame oil instead of melted butter because I wanted to keep in the theme of a Chinese roast chicken. Sesame oil is very commonly used in Chinese cooking as a flavor enhancer. In this recipe, it helps the skin develop a beautiful brown finish and adds a hint of sesame taste to the chicken.

Before roasting the chicken, let the chicken sit on the counter for 30 minutes. This will even out the temperature in the chicken so that the whole chicken heats up at the same rate in the oven.

Trussing the chicken will also help it heat evenly. Trussing simply means tying the legs and wings to the body so that the entire chicken is one tight bundle. Normally, the wings and legs will splay out from the body, causing those parts to heat unevenly compared to the breast. To be honest, I had never trussed a chicken before this recipe, but it’s actually incredibly easy!

Chinese Roast Chicken thermometer
Where to place meat thermometer to measure internal temperature

Finally, take the chicken out of the oven when its internal temperature is 150°F. The final internal meat temperature (measured in the meat of the thigh) that is recommended for safely consuming poultry is 165°F, but chicken breast is the most tender at 150°F.

I aimed to solve this by taking taking the chicken out of the oven at 150°F, when the breast is juiciest, then letting it rest until the internal temperature reached between 160°F and 165°F. This way, the breast, which is the most exposed part of the chicken, doesn’t keep increasing in temperature too much, but the innermost meat will keep getting cooked. Using this method, the breast meat and thigh meat both turned out perfectly juicy! I use a Meater to measure the temperature of the meat, but any instant read thermometer will work.

Chinese Roast Chicken

What Goes In The Cavity?

Last but not least, I’ll talk about stuffing the chicken.

Stuffing the cavity of the chicken is important for two reasons: first, it adds even more flavor to the meat of the chicken, and second, it helps to prevent the breasts from drying out.

For this recipe, I used a whole onion and garlic cloves as stuffing. These impart a subtle but noticeable flavor to the meat as the chicken roasts, and they taste amazing after roasting in the chicken for an hour.

More importantly, stuffing the cavity is crucial to preventing the breast meat from drying out while roasting. If the cavity is left empty, then the breast meat will roast from both sides, causing it to dry out much quicker.

Feel free to try out different vegetables and herbs as stuffing to see what kinds of flavors they’ll add to your meat!

With all of these tips, you should have no trouble roasting a succulent roast chicken with crispy, tasty skin. Combined with the amazing flavor of the five-spice powder, this Chinese roast chicken will be one of the easiest and most delicious roast chickens you’ve ever eaten.


  • What should I eat this with?

    You can make a sauce out of soy sauce and sriracha to dip the chicken in. This sauce also goes really well with Chinese scallion pancakes, which would be a great side dish to eat this with. You could also just go simple and eat this with a side of rice.

  • How do you prevent the breast from drying out?

    As mentioned above, there are four key steps you can take to prevent the breast from drying out. First, let the chicken rest on the counter before baking it. Second, truss the chicken so the whole chicken heats evenly. Third, stuff the chicken cavity. Finally, remove the chicken from the oven when the internal temperature of the meat reaches 150°F and let it rest for 15 minutes.

  • What other spices can I use in addition to five-spice powder?

    Feel free to play around with different kinds of Chinese spices! Personally, I would try adding some ground star anise as well as ground orange peel. You can also try adding cardamom or even chili powder for a bit of a spicy taste.

Now let’s get started!

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Easiest Chinese Roast Chicken

4 from 2 votes
Recipe by Kevin Lee Course: Main CourseCuisine: ChineseDifficulty: Easy


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Refrigeration Time



This Chinese Roast Chicken recipe is so easy to make and only requires 5 ingredients! The Chinese five-spice powder does all of the work to create an amazingly flavorful chicken with juicy meat and crispy skin.


  • 1 whole chicken (4-5 pounds)

  • 2 tsp five-spice powder

  • 1 onion

  • 6 cloves garlic (peeled or unpeeled)

  • 2 tbsp sesame oil (melted butter works too)

  • Sauce (optional)
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce

  • 1 tbsp sriracha

  • Equipment
  • Kitchen twine

  • Cast iron skillet or roasting pan

  • Instant-read thermometer


  • Rinse the chicken and discard the giblets from the cavity. Pat the chicken dry using paper towelsChinese Roast Chicken dry chicken
  • Cover the chicken with five-spice powder by patting the spice into the skin. Try not to rub the spice in since you will create a pasteChinese Roast Chicken five spice powder rub
  • Refrigerate uncovered for at least 4 hours (or overnight) to let the spice flavors sink in and to let the skin dry
  • Before baking the chicken, let it sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes so that the chicken will roast more evenly in the oven. Preheat the oven to 425°F
  • Cut the onion in half and place both halves inside the cavity of the chicken along with the garlic
  • Truss the chicken (I followed this guide) to ensure the whole chicken roasts evenly. Place the chicken in a cast iron pan or baking tray and brush all over with 1 tablespoon of sesame oil Chinese Roast Chicken in pan
  • Roast the chicken at 425°F. After 30 minutes, or when the skin looks like it’s getting dry, take the chicken out of the oven and brush with another tablespoon of sesame oil
  • Place the chicken back in the oven and cook until a thermometer inserted into the meat of the thigh (not touching bone) reads 150°F (should be a total of 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes)Chinese Roast Chicken thermometer
  • Remove chicken from the oven and let rest for 15 minutes. This step is important so the juices inside the chicken can redistribute and also so the meat comes up to the final temperature of 160°F. Carve and enjoy!


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This Chinese Roast Chicken recipe is so easy to make and only requires 5 ingredients! The Chinese five-spice powder does all of the work to create an amazingly flavorful chicken with juicy meat and crispy skin.

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