- a blog about food and value

Recipe: Stand-up Roast Chicken

Funny stand-up

Funny stand-up

Whole chicken is one of the best value meats you can buy at the moment and not just the scary battery birds – no thanks.

You can buy a free-range chicken in Dunnes for only €5.99 and this is a big fella that will stretch to a couple of meals, sandwiches and of course the all important stock.

I love roast chicken on a Sunday but my husband thinks roast chicken is boring and dry so I try and come up with new ways to fool him into eating it. Thinking it was just a gimmick, I tried this stand-up chicken recipe at the weekend but I was amazed at the results.

By placing a can half-filled with water into the cavity of the bird and cooking it standing-up, the meat came out really succulent and moist. It did look bizarre and I did feel a little weird sticking a can up a bird but it’s certainly worth a go and this particular recipe has a lovely rotisserie flavour.

I first saw a stand-up chicken being prepared in a odd but hilarious You Tube clip of the actor Christopher Walken making stand-up chicken with pears. It’s hard to belive it’s actually him – check it out.

Stand-up Roast Chicken


  • 1 free-range chicken
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 330ml can, half-filled with water


  1. Preheat oven to 200C and position one oven rack on bottom adjustment, removing others.
  2. Line a baking tray with tin foil.
  3. Remove bag of giblets from chicken cavity, if present, and wash chicken inside and out with cold water.
  4. Slip your fingers underneath skin covering breasts and separate skin from flesh but leave skin intact.
  5. In small bowl, mix together salt, black pepper, paprika and brown sugar.
  6. Rub seasoning inside chicken cavity, underneath skin onto flesh, and on top of skin.
  7. Place can on baking tray and slide chicken tail-down onto can so chicken stands up on baking sheet.
  8. If breast meat is exposed, stretch skin over flesh and secure with toothpicks.
  9. Roast and juices run clear instead of pink.
  10. Remove from oven and wrap loosely with foil. Let chicken sit for 10 to 15 minutes to allow juices to redistribute.


  1. I did this a few weeks ago with a half can of beer and it was delicious. It is a bit weird sticking the can up the chicken, but it did produce really tasty, succulent meat. I definitely recommend to others giving it a shot!

  2. Did you fill the can with beer? Did the chicken taste of beer?

  3. Yep, Ive done this with beer too. It gives the meat a kind of hoppy taste. I used a 500ml can, with some of the beer, ahem, removed.

  4. Try it with a can of cider, even better than beer

  5. Speaking of chicken and cider, I have an odd request. Years ago I fell for a creamy chickeny bacony cidery stew thingy, but I’ve never been able to replicate it successfully, and the recipes I’ve found just haven’t cut it. Anyone have any suggestions for a recipe using these ingredients, pretty please?

  6. Trish Deseine’s Normandy Chicken


    Thanks J, looks good. Wonder if it’d benefit from a little bacon or pancetta?

  8. Google gave me this normandy apple and cider chicken recipe. I might give it a go myself this weekend.

  9. Rercy – I poured out half of the can of beer. I took it from Jamie’s American Kitchen cookbook. If you google ‘Beer Butt Chicken’ a number of recipes will come up!

  10. your post couldn’t be more timely to me 😛

    i my self roast chicken using grilling bags, and they come up really tasty and succulent…
    i am finding it hard these days to find grilling bags in the supper markets.
    am about to finish what i already have and was looking for an alternative method… i almost forgot about this method until i read this post.

    my mum used to do it using glass bottle or a big jar filled with water… she used to add garlic gloves in the container for extra flavour..

    you can also get the same effect with chicken pieces too:
    place a metallic mesh stand in a grilling tray . fill tray with water until one cm a way from the mesh. place spiced chicken on mesh then place the whole thing in a pre heated oven, turning midway.

    with all the juicy spiced dripping from the chicken into the water, you will also end up with a liquid that can be used as a stock too 🙂

  11. Thanks Snowfinch, poured out eh..I hope that was into your mouth!

  12. Yeah – I didn’t let it go to waste 🙂

  13. What about the ink on the can, I don’t think these beers/soft drinks cans are suitable for this use…
    Jamie Oliver has a recipe sticking up a lemon inside the chicken (he stabs the lemon first then microwave it for a few seconds to get it going) and it always yields delicious moist chicken as well…

  14. Hi Tas, I do pot roast chicken – instead of the bags. I bought a big enamel pot in France with a pyrex lid (10e!) and cook my stuffed chicken in that with 300ml of (oxo) liquid – it turns out brill. I take it out and put it on a pyrex lid for about 20 mins at the end and voila yummy moist roast chicken. Also no messy oven! and veggies can be cooked alongside chicken, although I precook them as I’ve young kids. Also can do roasties same time too, so good ‘eco’ dins. I use the enamel pot also for my home made Irish soda bread, it steams it slightly so thinner crust…

  15. Liana, cans are fine for use. It has been done for years! Cook chickens this way and you’ll never have to baste a bird again, and you will never eat dry chicken again either.