Recipes Savoury Recipes

Sweet and Spicy Beer Can Chicken

As most of you know, chicken is the only meat that I eat fairly frequently. And boy do I love me some chicken! I couldn’t think of many ways that chicken could become more delicious. After years of hearing about cooking a chicken on top of half a can of beer, I tried it for myself. I bow down to whoever came up with this idea. It’s incrediable. It has completely revolutionised my chicken-eating world. I never want non-beer can roast chicken ever again.

Sam and I sometimes like to cook together, and some parts of this recipe seemed to require two people (like balancing the chicken on top of a beer can!)

Sweet and Spicy Beer Can Chicken
plated chicken
(Adapted from Jamie Oliver’s recipe.)
1.8 kg whole chicken
olive oil
2 garlic cloves
1 330 ml can of beer (any beer… really!)
2 tablespoons of barbecue sauce
1 fresh red chile
1 bunch of spring onions, chopped
1/2 bunch of fresh cilantro, chopped

(For the rub)
1 tablespoon of smoked paprika
1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon of cumin
2 teaspoons of red chile flakes
1 teaspoon of salt
1 tablespoon of ground black pepper
1 tablespoon of dark brown sugar

Preheat your oven to 200 C (400 F). Remove the chicken from the fridge and let it come to room temperature. Mash your two garlic cloves with a pat of butter and gently insert that into the top of your chicken under it top layer of skin. Mix all of the spices for the rub together in a bowl. Then rub olive oil all over your chicken, followed by all your bowl of spices.

Open your can of beer and pour out (or drink) 2/3 of it. Then carefully lower the cavity of the chicken onto the top of the open beer can (the chicken should look like it’s standing up in the roasting tray.) Then carefully place the chicken (in it’s upright position) into the oven for about 1 hour and 10 minutes. It should be golden and the juices should run clear when you check to see if your chicken is done.

Take the chicken out of the oven, and rub him all over with the barbecue sauce. Then return him to the oven for a final 10 minutes. Whilst the chicken is in the oven for the last bit, chop your red chile, spring onions and cilantro. Once you take the chicken out of the oven, very carefully remove the can (it’ll be very hot!). Then carve your chicken, and scatter the platted chicken meat with the chile, spring onions and cilantro.

pouring beerdrinking beer
Sam’s favourite part of cooking.

putting can in chickenputting in potatoescooked chicken
The chicken cooked in an upright position the entire time, but when I took him out of the oven for the last time, he finally fell over. That’s okay, almost all of the beer had evaporated by that point!

chicken on fish
This is a meal that I will definitely enjoy again and again!

You Might Also Like

  • Wow, that looks amazing! I haven’t heard of cooking chicken that way before, but now I’ll have to give it a go. It looks like the perfect roast!

  • Yum! Looks great. If only our oven was tall enough to have a chicken stand up (our oven is the size of an average microwave).

    • It was almost brushing the top of our oven (it’s quite a bit smaller than a standard American oven) But it’s definitely not microwave sized so I feel really lucky about that! x

  • I love that you refer to the chicken as him throughout!

    I need a roast dinner now! jan isn’t all that keen on whole roast chicken though (the bones!), so I’ll have to buy chicken breasts and roast them instead 😉

    • I can understand the aversion to bones – I used to be like that too! But I’ve gotten better over the years.

      Ha, you spend so much time working with the chicken that we became close so I named him. 🙂 x

  • I love chicken, too! I very, very rarely eat red meat, so my husband calls me a poultry-tarian. Yup, pretty much. I’ve heard of the can-in-a-chicken way to cooking, but I’ve never tried it. Looks like that needs to change because this meals looks DELICIOUS!

  • I like chickens and I especially looove spicy food. I’ll definitely try this recipe 🙂


  • I’ve never been brave enough to cook a whole chicken… but why not!? I think I’ll have to give this a try. I’ve had ‘beer butt chicken’ at my Aunties on a few occasions and it really is incredible!

  • I have been seeing the beer can chicken around a lot lately, it must be a sign that I need to make it!

    • It’s really delicious! I didn’t expect the beer to make so much of a difference and it really did! xx

  • I’ve never heard of this before! I definitely want to try roasting a chicken this way. I love beer cheese, so meat cooked with beer seems the next logical step 😀 The first thing that popped into my head when I saw the chicken standing up in the oven was the WB frog… you know the one in the old cartoons that would sing and dance when nobody else was around? He’d pull out a top hat and cane. I was totally imagining your chicken in Fred Astaire mode.

    • Hahahahahahaha I definitely know what you’re talking about! I thought it looked like the chicken was trying to make a mad dash for freedom! x

  • this brings a new meaning to food porn. but it does sound delicious!

  • Well I had never ever heard somebody suggest cooking a chicken on a beer can before. But I have to admit, it does look amazingly good! I’m going to have to give this a go sometime 🙂 x

    • It’s such an odd thing to do, but it made a definite difference in how tender and juicy the meat was, as opposed to just roasting and basting it as per usual. I got the idea from Jamie Oliver so I suppose it had been heavily tested in his test kitchens first! x

  • As always, this looks and sounds delicious. I recently tried beer cheese and loved!
    Also, I am the same as you with chicken. We eat it probably 4 nights a week minimum and I am not a big fan of other meats on a regular basis, more for special occasions!

    • That’s exactly how we are with other meats as well! Special occasions (which sounds a bit odd!) I’ve never tried beer cheese but I’m sure I’d go crazy for it! x

  • I have never seen or heard of this before, but it looks delicious! And funny…!

  • I have heard of this and a friend of mine even does it on the grill, and even though I have everything needed to go about it that route, I have still yet to try it! Without an oven, I’m still out of luck for a while but this looks delicious even to a non-chicken fan like myself (I know, I’m totally weird!)

    • You might be one of the first people I’ve heard that doesn’t like chicken (besides vegetarians and vegans, of course) I’ve seen people do it on the grill- though I’ve never tried it that way, but I’d love to! Unfortunately I don’t know anyone with a grill in London 🙁 x

  • Looks yummy!!! I’m pinning this and maybe I will try it the next time we do a whole chicken.

  • Every Easter my mom makes ham with guinness, it is the BEST thing ever and I can’t imagine eating ham any other way. Beer is just a miracle ingredient in cooking! When I had a slow cooker I’d use it for pulled pork as well xx

    • Well, I might now be a fan of cooking all things with beer, because man-oh-man did it make a difference with the chicken… Sam and I keep talking about getting a slow cooker, mostly specifically for pulled pork! x

  • I love beer can chicken, soooo tasty! We used to do it on the bbq grill. We are also big fans of putting red wine in all things tomato sauce based, adds so much flavour.

  • Ashley Angle

    This looks so yummy! I love spicy stuff!
    ~Ashley @ A Cute Angle