The Nutty Addition Your Roasted Chicken Is Missing

Roasted chicken is deceptive: It seems like it would be simple enough to toss a chicken in the oven, but it takes quite a bit of work to achieve crispy skin and a moist interior. Plenty of chefs have secrets for the perfect bird, from patting it dry to spatchcocking, a technique that flattens the chicken so it cooks more evenly.

A drizzle of oil can also help your chicken come out perfectly crispy while adding flavor. Olive oil works, but there's an even better ingredient you should buy before the next time you decide to make a roasted chicken: nut oil.

Nuts and chicken already have a solid friendship. If you aren't already adding walnuts to your chicken salad, you are missing out on an easy upgrade to a classic recipe. Likewise, there's a reason cashew chicken is a popular Chinese-inspired dish in the United States. In a dish like roast chicken, which is a great blank canvas for highlighting seasonal ingredients, flavorful nut oils like those made from pistachios or almonds can add a toasty depth of flavor. Just make sure you use the right oil in the right way.

Use nut oils the right way when roasting a chicken

Not all oils are created equal. Using oil the wrong way can not only destroy what makes it unique, but it can also make your food taste bad. Typically, one of the most crucial factors in avoiding using the wrong cooking oil is knowing the smoke point of whatever type you plan to use.

As food is heated, its chemical structures start changing — but this can go too far. An oil's smoke point is the temperature at which the base fats break down and release unwanted compounds with bitter, acrid, and burnt flavors. Refined oils like soybean, avocado, and corn have super-high smoke points, which is part of why they're great for frying. Many other nut oils, on the other hand, are more delicate.

Here's what this means for your roast chicken: If you're using a nut oil with a high smoke point like peanut or pecan oil, drizzle some over your chicken before it goes into the oven. Almond oil also has a relatively high smoke point. That being said, if you want to use more nuanced nutty oils like pistachio, toasted sesame, or especially walnut oil, be sure to add them after cooking so you don't affect the unique flavors of each by exposing them to high heat. And if you have extra? Add some to a batch of boxed mix brownies to really boost things up.