Roast Chicken With Lemon


Roast Chicken With Lemon is one of my favourite family recipes. I remember the first time I ever made this dish, and it was just a bit bland. That’s not surprising though because I rarely had home-made roast chicken before that, and didn’t have the first clue about how to season it. Fortunately once you get the base right, this recipe is pretty easy to tweak!

Lemon Roast Chicken

Lemon Roast Chicken is a classic oven roasted chicken recipe that results in a fresh, juicy, and tender chicken dinner option that is both easy and delicious!

Oven roasted chicken gives you a very different from poaching it or even pan frying it. When I make this recipe, my whole family swears that it is the best roast chicken they have ever had!

I love serving this easy lemon Roast Chicken with a side of roasted root vegetables; they go perfectly together!

This roast chicken recipe can also easily be adapted to be made on a rotisserie! Just adjust the cooking time accordingly.

Lemon Roast Chicken on a plate with lemon slices and onion

How to Roast A Chicken

Making a whole roasted chicken seems like a daunting task for many home cooks, but you will be amazed at how easy it actually is!

When you are preparing a roast chicken, begin by rinsing your chicken and dabbing it dry. You want your chicken skin to be as dry as possible so it gets crispy while it roasts (and the seasoning will stick better)!

I create the lemon butter recipe and then lift the skin of the breasts gently and place some of it under the skin.  The remaining mixture is rubbed all over the outside. Marinate for about 30 minutes or so (not longer as the acidity from the lemon juice can dry your chicken out).

Lemon Roast Chicken on a plate with zucchini and potatoes

Place the chicken in a shallow pan or roasting pan and remember, as soon as it hits the oven, turn the oven down to 375°F. The reason we do this is to allow the oven to cook the chicken at a higher temperature for just a short amount of time. This helps to seal in the juices and crisp up the skin right away!

How Long to Roast A Chicken

When you roast a chicken, cooking times are imperative. Depending on the size of your chicken, cooking times can vary so I highly recommend using a thermometer!

A fully cooked chicken will have an internal temperature of 165°F when a meat thermometer is inserted into the inner thigh (this takes the longest to be fully cooked).

If you have a larger chicken, trussing it before you roast it will ensure that it cooks as evenly as possible! To truss a chicken, tie the legs together and the wings back with some cooking twine!

Lemon Roast Chicken on a plate

I sometimes broil for a few minutes once it’s ready to crisp up the skin a little bit if needed.

Just like when you make Pork Tenderloin, you’ll want to ensure you allow the chicken to rest before carving (I leave it for about least 15 minutes) to keep it juicy!

Lemon Roasted Chicken

 PREP TIME45 minutes

COOK TIME1 hour 15 minutes


 SERVINGS4 servings

This is one of our favorite ways to make chicken! Not only is it easy, but it is juicy, tender and filled with flavor!


  • ▢2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ▢2 tablespoon butter softened
  • ▢1 lemon
  • ▢3-4 cloves garlic minced
  • ▢salt & black pepper to taste
  • ▢1 whole chicken approx 3 lbs


  • Zest the yellow rind of the lemon. Cut the lemon in half and juice half of the lemon into a small bowl. Add the rind, olive oil, softened butter, garlic, salt and pepper. Stir well (the mixture should be fairly thick).
  • Gently lift the skin from the chicken breasts and place about 1 tablespoon of the butter mixture under the skin. Massage it evenly across the breasts. 
  • Cover the skin of the chicken with the remaining butter mixture. Refrigerate for 30-45 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 425°F. Slice the remaining lemon half and place it inside the chicken along with ½ an onion. Tie the legs together. Place the chicken in a shallow pan breast side up and place in oven. 
  • Turn oven down to 375°F and bake for 1 ¼ hours or until the inner thigh reaches 165°F.

Simple Roast Chicken with Garlic and Lemon

A top-down view of a whole roast chicken with fresh rosemary sprigs and a lemon wedge in a cast-iron skillet

There are 474 recipes on this site, and not a single one of them is for roast chicken. I don’t know what’s taken me nearly (gulp) six years to share one of the most classic recipes of all time, but I suppose it’s better late than never. And so here we are: Simple Roast Chicken with Garlic and Lemon.

As simple as a roast chicken is to prepare, there are some definite do’s and don’ts when it comes to poultry perfection:

  • DO dry off the skin of the chicken as thoroughly as possible. Extra-dry skin = extra-crispy skin.
  • DON’T skip the step of tying the chicken legs together. It keeps them closer to the body of the chicken and guarantees more even cooking. If you don’t have kitchen twine, use unflavored (I repeat, unflavored!) dental floss.
  • DO baste the chicken every 15 to 20 minutes. Basting is the real secret to roast chicken success.
  • DON’T carve the chicken immediately after removing it from the oven. Just like a roast turkey, it needs time to rest so the juices collect and the chicken remains moist.

Ready to roast a chicken like a pro? Preheat your oven, grab the garlic and baste on with your bad self.

Simple Roast Chicken with Garlic and Lemon Recipe
Simple Roast Chicken with Garlic and Lemon Recipe

Simple Roast Chicken with Garlic and Lemon

Ready to roast a chicken like a pro? Preheat your oven, grab the garlic and baste on with this recipe for Simple Roast Chicken with Garlic and Lemon.

PREP TIME10 mins

COOK TIME1 hr 10 mins

TOTAL TIME1 hr 20 mins

SERVINGS4 servings

Ingredients 1x2x3x

  • ▢1 (4- to 5-pound) chicken
  • ▢4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ▢4 large cloves garlic, minced
  • ▢1 lemon, halved
  • ▢3 sprigs fresh rosemary


  • ▢Kitchen string


  • Preheat the oven to 450ºF with rack in center.
  • Remove the giblets from the chicken then trim the excess fat from around the chicken cavity then rinse and thoroughly dry the chicken. (The drier the chicken, the crispier the skin.) Place the chicken in a roasting pan, baking dish or cast iron skillet.
  • Melt the butter with the garlic in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Brush the melted garlic butter all over the chicken. Season the chicken liberally all over (including inside the cavity) with salt and pepper. Place the two lemon halves and the sprigs of rosemary inside the cavity.
  • Tie the legs together with kitchen twine. (Keep it simple with a loop around each leg and knotted in the center.)
  • Roast the chicken for about 1 hour, basting it every 15 minutes by using a spoon and tilting the pan to collect the juices then spooning them atop the chicken, until the internal temperature reaches 165ºF. (When testing the temperature with a meat thermometer, insert it into the breast but do not touch the bone for the most accurate reading.) Rotate the pan after every time you baste the chicken to guarantee even cooking.
  • Remove the chicken from the oven and transfer it to a cutting board. Allow the chicken to rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.


  • It’s important to baste the chicken every 15 minutes so that the minced garlic stays moist and doesn’t burn. If you don’t want to baste the chicken as frequently, simply smash the cloves of garlic (rather than mince them) and place them inside the cavity of the chicken then baste the chicken two to three times while it’s roasting.
  • The total cooking time will depend on a variety of factors, including the weight of your chicken and how heat circulates within your specific oven.

No-Fail Roast Chicken with Lemon and Garlic

whole chicken with lemon and garlic in skillet

This roast chicken recipe is proof that there’s really nothing simpler, more delicious, or more comforting than a beautifully browned roast bird surrounded by a puddle of buttery, garlicky pan juices. While cooking a whole anything can feel intimidating, this recipe is dubbed foolproof for a reason—it’s converted many an intimidated meat-cooker by eliminating the uncertainty of knowing whether the chicken is done. We’ve made that point easier to identify with lots of visual cues that anyone can follow, and if you do have an instant-read thermometer, you can feel free to use that, too: Just remove the chicken from the oven when the thickest part of the thigh hits 160°.

And it’s not just easy—it’s also delicious. We take it to the next level with lots of lemon and garlic and a “healthy” pour of melted butter to crisp up the skin while keeping the meat moist and tender. Consider this roast chicken, a hunk of good baguette, and a simple green salad your Sunday dinner from now on.

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