Chicken that has been given an aggressive salting before roasting. Photo by Donna Turner Ruhlman


My new book, How to Roast, may have begun in Portland when a fellow scribe claimed that people no longer had time to cook and I called bullshit. And then at some point during my rant-cum-roast-chicken recipe I noted possible activities to while away the hour that the bird was in the oven. That was the beginning of this new book.

But it was fueled by my conviction that the world doesn’t need more recipes, it needs deeper understanding of the fundamental techniques. Because when you know technique, you don’t need to rely on recipes and you don’t find yourself at 5 pm with hungry kids thinking, now what am I going to do?


How to Roast is the first in a series of technique-based books. They’re short. They include only 25 recipes or so. Because we don’t need recipe tomes. There are too many out there already. We’re awash in recipes. We are not awash in technique. Techniques are not water. Techniques are cinder blocks we step on to reach higher. And there aren’t a thousand. There aren’t even a hundred. I would argue that there are in fact twenty. When you know a technique, you know a hundred recipes. And the more you use that technique and refine that technique, you soon know a thousand recipes.

When you know a technique, cooking is a little easier and a little more fun, and if you don’t happen to like cooking that much, and you know a technique, you can think about something else while you make your kids dinner.

Cooking our own food is really important. And if you plan ahead, and know a few techniques, it’s easy, and even fun.

Here’s my recipe for roast chicken: scroll down to The World’s Most Difficult Roasted Chicken Recipe.

Happy cooking all, and thank you Little, Brown for this publication!


Purchase How to Roast at any of these following links:

© 2014 Michael Ruhlman. Photo © 2014 Donna Turner Ruhlman. All rights reserved.


25 Wonderful responses to “Roast! The New Book!”

  • Carri

    I am reminded again of that wonderful TIME/Life series of books written way back when that became an important addition to any cooks bookshelf. In the same way, these books are going to become the new classics of our time, nice work Michael and Donna! Looking forward to more!

  • Michael Trippe

    This is what makes Michael Ruhlman books different. I read… I learn… And I become a better (and more creative) cook.

    It’s about the technique – not about being perfect. When we can learn good technique, the world of cooking opens up to us. Suddenly you say ‘Hey… what if I try using _______ with this style of cooking?’ Maybe it works – maybe it doesn’t. The fun is in the ‘trying’.’

    Thank you again Mr. Ruhlman. I look forward to acquiring this one soon.

  • Robert Heffernan

    I love that Michael is crusading for simple method cooking skills. The end result will be stronger healthier families, communities built from sharing the most nutritious thing, time with each other.

  • Tags

    It will be hard to overcome the mise en place that people who have organized and prepared their excuses for not cooking have at the ready, but this book is the next step (after Elements, Ratio, Ruhlman’s 20) in the struggle.

  • Mike

    unfortunately shows up as “out of stock” at Amazon today (Oct 21st). Any idea on when they’ll have it available, or is this part of their dispute with the industry?

  • Kathy S.

    ZOMG, YES and bravo! So weird that this popped up in my feed, because earlier today as I was putting away some root veggies I was thinking about the whole people-think-it’s-hard-to-cook thing (I’m a health coach, part of my job is to get people cooking) and further thinking that there is NOTHING easier than throwing a bunch of shit in a pan and sticking it in the oven. Unless you somehow manage to burn it, it’s going to be good, and all you do is leave it alone for a while! I mean, come on! Throw a chicken in the oven, throw some brussels sprouts and pork chops in the oven, throw some sausages and potatoes in the oven. It’s maybe three seconds more lengthy a process than taking a Stouffer’s frozen lasagna out of the package. I’ll definitely check out and recommend this book!

  • RG

    How nice to see the TIME/Life series acknowledged. As if “The French Menu Cookbook” and “Simple French Food” didn’t alone cement Richard Olney’s spot on the cookbook writer pantheon, alongside the likes of Hazan, David, Kuo and Tsuji, The Good Cook Series is, for my money, the best book on technique, with so many pictures detailing everything from boning a trotter to rolling out strudel dough to carving a leg of lamb (with a manche a gigot, of course).

    Mastering the art of cooking, living in Provence, dining gratis at all the grand chateaus and starred restaurants of France, having a cellar full of Yquem and Romanee-Conti, Olney certainly lived a charmed life!



  • Alex

    I didn’t even know this book was coming out! This is a nice surprise. I have really enjoyed M. Ruhlman’s work, especially “Twenty”. It was that book that I first really discovered the power of roasting. The technique wonderfully drew out the nutty flavor of cauliflower to which I was amazed. I have since prepared the dish for most of my friends and family. I will definitely purchase this book. I just haven’t decided if I want it on Kindle or Hardback.

  • mz

    I agree that a handful of techniques is all you need to make an infinite number of dishes. Why aren’t kids taught taste and technique in school? Roasting is one of the simplest and most rewarding.

  • John Robinson

    If I use cast iron of any sort to roast a chicken I set the smoke alarm off midway there.

  • Allen

    Lots of salt, as Thomas Keller shows us too.
    One of my favorite things to cook, you can do so much with it.
    The drippings with seared onions and re crisp up some of the underside skin for cracklings, like a shmaltz and griebbens.
    I just wish I could teach my 80 year old Dad to make this.

    Big cheers, happy Friday all!

  • B H

    One possible error: The corn / black bean salad instructs, “seconds after the water in the butter begins vaporizing)”; but there is no butter called for in this recipe’s ingredient list or its method — only olive oil.

  • Jonathan Brill

    Can’t wait to buy this. It’s the right way to think about cooking!

  • Rachele

    Great book!

    Roasted a chicken along with the root veggies today using your techniques and recipes. Great meal – simple to make and very delicious. I don’t usually truss my chickens, primarily because I didn’t have much success in the past with other instructions. Your directions, however, were simple and easy to follow. My chicken (raw and cooked!) Looked just like your photos. The trussing really did make a difference in my results.

    Love your common sense approach and technique, and couldn’t agree with your thoughts on cooking at home and sharing mealtime with our loved ones.

  • Rachele

    Sorry…totally meant that I couldn’t agree MORE with your thoughts on cooking at home and sharing mealtime with our loved ones.

  • Rich

    You’re joking right?
    I can get a whole bucket of chicken (with 2 sides) at KFC for $9.99 and I don’t have to buy (and read) a book.
    Dude , get serious.

  • Amanda

    Received my copy two days ago and finished it last night. Great read, wonderful photographs (as always, Donna!), and very inspiring.

    Thank you, Michael, for continuing to write inspirational volumes for us home cooks – we love it!

  • Robin

    Excellent! I’m following links on my lunch break and found this. I’ll be ordering your book and looking at your website a lot. I’m always looking for something new to learn. I love to cook. If we don’t raise, grow, hunt or forage for it, we probably don’t eat it or we eat very little of it.

  • Jill Silverman Hough

    Michael–I was in the room when you called that “bullshit.” It was fantastic, and it still inspires me. Congratulations on your new book, and thanks for continuing to call it like you see it!


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