Lemon and Herb Roasted Chicken


This lemon and herb roasted chicken is a simple yet delicious dish that will impress your guests with its juicy and tender meat, crispy and golden skin, and aromatic and flavorful herbs. The secret to this recipe is the lemon and herb butter that is rubbed under and over the skin, infusing the chicken with a zesty and savory taste. The chicken is roasted on a bed of onions, garlic, and more lemon and herbs, creating a rich and fragrant gravy that can be served over the chicken or with mashed potatoes, rice, or bread. This recipe is perfect for any occasion, whether it’s a cozy family dinner, a festive holiday meal, or a special celebration.

Lemon and Herb Roasted Chicken

Preparation and Cooking Time

  • Preparation time: 20 minutes
  • Cooking time: 1 hour and 30 minutes
  • Total time: 1 hour and 50 minutes

Servings and Serving Size

  • Servings: 6
  • Serving size: 1/6 of the chicken, about 200 grams

Nutritional Information

  • Calories: 423 kcal
  • Protein: 37 g
  • Fat: 28 g
  • Carbohydrates: 5 g
  • Fiber: 1 g
  • Sugar: 2 g
  • Sodium: 387 mg
  • Cholesterol: 145 mg


  • 1 whole chicken, about 1.5 kg
  • 100 g of butter, softened
  • 2 lemons, one zested and juiced, one cut into wedges
  • 4 sprigs of fresh rosemary, leaves stripped and chopped
  • 4 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves stripped and chopped
  • 4 sprigs of fresh sage, leaves stripped and chopped
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1 large onion, peeled and cut into wedges
  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 250 ml of chicken stock

Method of Preparation

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C (180°C fan-forced) and lightly grease a baking dish or a roasting pan.
  2. Rinse the chicken and pat it dry with paper towels. Remove any excess fat and giblets from the cavity.
  3. In a small bowl, mix the butter, lemon zest and juice, rosemary, thyme, sage, salt, and pepper until well combined.
  4. Gently loosen the skin from the breast and thighs of the chicken, being careful not to tear it. Spread about half of the butter mixture under the skin, covering as much of the meat as possible. Rub the remaining butter mixture over the skin, covering the entire chicken. Stuff the lemon wedges and some of the herb sprigs into the cavity of the chicken. Tie the legs together with kitchen twine and tuck the wings under the body.
  5. Place the onion, garlic, and the rest of the herb sprigs in the prepared baking dish or roasting pan. Place the chicken on top of the onion mixture, breast side up. Pour the chicken stock around the chicken, but not over it.
  6. Roast the chicken for 1 hour and 30 minutes, or until the skin is golden and crisp, and the meat is cooked through. The juices should run clear when you pierce the thickest part of the thigh with a skewer. If the skin is browning too quickly, cover the chicken loosely with foil.
  7. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and let it rest for 10 minutes before carving. Transfer the onion mixture and the pan juices to a saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Simmer until slightly thickened, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Serve the chicken with the onion gravy and your choice of side dishes. Enjoy!

Tips for Culinary Success

  • To ensure even cooking, bring the chicken to room temperature before roasting. Take it out of the fridge at least 30 minutes before you start preparing it.
  • To add more flavor and moisture to the chicken, you can brine it overnight in a solution of water, salt, sugar, and spices. Drain and rinse the chicken well before proceeding with the recipe.
  • To make the skin extra crispy, you can sprinkle some baking powder over the buttered chicken before roasting. The baking powder will react with the skin and create tiny bubbles that will make it crispier.
  • To check the doneness of the chicken, you can use a meat thermometer and insert it into the thickest part of the breast or thigh. The internal temperature should reach 74°C for the breast and 82°C for the thigh.
  • To make the gravy more smooth and glossy, you can strain the onion mixture and the pan juices before simmering. You can also whisk in some cornstarch dissolved in water to thicken the gravy.

Anticipated FAQs

Q: Can I use dried herbs instead of fresh ones?

A: Yes, you can use dried herbs, but you will need to reduce the amount by half, as dried herbs are more potent than fresh ones. For example, use 1 teaspoon of dried rosemary instead of 2 teaspoons of fresh rosemary.

Q: Can I use a different citrus fruit instead of lemon?

A: Yes, you can use other citrus fruits, such as orange, lime, or grapefruit, to give the chicken a different flavor. However, you may need to adjust the amount of juice and zest depending on the acidity and sweetness of the fruit.

Q: Can I make this recipe ahead of time and reheat it later?

A: Yes, you can make this recipe ahead of time and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months. To reheat it, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight, then transfer it to a baking dish and cover it with foil. Bake it in a preheated oven at 180°C (160°C fan-forced) for 20 to 30 minutes, or until heated through. You can also reheat the gravy in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until hot.