This Lemon Roasted Chicken with Herbs is so juicy, moist, tender, and incredibly delicious…with the most incredible golden brown skin!
You’ll love all the citrus and herb infused flavors here. The chicken is seasoned with a lemon garlic herbed butter under the skin, so it stays extra moist and ultra flavorful.
This lemon roasted chicken is the perfect Sunday family dinner recipe. It’s a very easy recipe that will keep everyone coming back for seconds!
One of our favorite things to make on Sundays is this Herbed Lemon Roasted Chicken, the kind of dinner that makes all of us and our tummies happy.
The secret to making the juiciest, most flavorful roast chicken is using butter under the skin. For this lemon roasted chicken recipe, we mix the butter with aromatics such as minced garlic, fresh thyme, fresh rosemary, salt and pepper. We also stuff the chicken with veggies inside, so you can imagine all the CRAZY AMAZING flavors going on here!
Why we love this recipe lemon roasted chicken recipe:
- Super easy to make. This is the best part – it’s a super simple recipe that does not require any advanced skills to make.
- A cozy and comforting meal to share with the entire family, especially on weekends.
- It pairs well with almost any side dish.
- Incredibly juicy and moist inside, golden brown and crispy skin outside.
- Super flavorful. The lemon garlic herb butter is slathered all over the chicken, including under the skin.
To make it extra cozy, you can also roast chicken in a Dutch oven – check out my Dutch Oven Whole Roast Chicken recipe! Other Sunday dinners on our rotation are this Dutch Oven Pot Roast, Hearty Dutch Oven Beef Stew, Slow Cooker Chicken Stew, and Chicken Pot Pie with Biscuits.
Roasting a Whole Chicken: The Basics
As someone who’s baked a lot of chickens, I’ve learned quite a few tricks and tips to make the juiciest, most delicious and tender whole roast chicken at home. Here’s all you need to know:
- Season UNDER the skin with butter to make sure it stays moist, juicy, and extra flavorful. Fat makes meat tender, and because it’s trapped inside, it doesn’t dry out.
- Season generously: Make sure the butter has plenty of salt (it’s a big bird after all) and also season the outside of chicken skin.
- Stuff the chicken with veggies: Not only does it infuse the chicken for a hint of aromatic flavors, but also keeps the center moist.
- Roast at high oven temperature: This is key to get a golden brown, crispy skin. More on this below.
- Roast the chicken on a bed of vegetables or on a rack to help circulate heat more evenly and prevent the bottom from burning.
- Roast uncovered to allow the skin to crisp up. If you cover it, it will steam instead.
- Always use an instant or meat thermometer to make sure the chicken is thoroughly cooked. It should read 165 degrees F when inserted in the thickest part of the thigh.
- Lastly, allow the chicken to rest for 15 minutes before carving. The juices will redistribute and make the chicken even better.
At What Temperature to Roast Chicken
I get this question a lot, and if you search for it, you’ll find multiple answers. Personally, I think the optimal temperature is 425 degrees F. It cooks the chicken fast enough so it doesn’t dry out in the oven, and it also makes a perfectly crispy skin.
If your oven tends to run hot, or if you’re afraid that the skin may burn too fast, you can also do 400 degrees F. Anything lower than 400 degrees F would cause the skin not to crisp up.
You’ll also want to let the chicken sit on the counter for about 20 to 30 minutes before you start so it’s not so cold and so it cooks more evenly.
You only need a few simple ingredients to make this lemon roasted chicken. Because this chicken heavily relies on the aromatics for flavor, it’s best to use freshly minced garlic, as well as fresh herbs.
Below are helpful ingredient notes. As always, the detailed ingredient list with quantities can be found in the recipe card down below.
- Whole chicken: I use a 5-pound whole chicken, fully thawed and giblets removed.
- Onions and heads of garlic: Used to stuff the chicken and to make a vegetable bed, which helps to add moisture and flavor.
- Lemons: The lemons are used to stuff the chicken and as a vegetable bed, but it’s the zest from those lemons that will give this lemon roasted chicken fragrant citrus flavors.
- Fresh rosemary and thyme: To stuff inside the cavity and for the bed of vegetables. It will also make the chicken very fragrant.
- Salt and pepper: For seasoning.
- For the lemon garlic herbed butter: Melted unsalted butter, fresh minced garlic, fresh rosemary and thyme, lemon zest, salt and pepper. All these ingredients are combined
Here’s how to make this easy recipe. Roasting a whole chicken may seem intimidating, but it’s actually quite easy and straightforward, as you can see below.
Step 1 | Make the lemon garlic herb butter
First, preheat oven to 425 degrees F. In a bowl, melt the butter in the microwave oven for a few seconds. Then, add the minced garlic, minced rosemary, thyme, lemon zest, and Kosher salt (2 teaspoons) and ground black pepper. Stir to combine.
Step 2 | Season chicken UNDER the skin and stuff it
This step is key. Rubbing the lemon garlic herb butter under the skin ensures the chicken stays extra juicy, moist, and tender as it roasts. Make sure your chicken is thoroughly patted dry before you start. Here’s how to prep the chicken for that:
- Carefully separate it with your fingers first, and then insert a spoon inside to create deeper “pockets” for the butter.
- Spoon a little more than half of the prepared butter into those pockets, and press down on the skin to spread it evenly.
- Then, stuff the cavity with 1 lemon (quartered, peeled), 1 onion (quartered, unpeeled), and 1 head of garlic (halved, unpeeled).
- Tie the chicken legs with kitchen twine. This helps with even cooking and presentation.
Step 3 | Make a vegetable bed
In a large roasting pan, arrange the remaining lemon, garlic, and onion – all quartered – to make a vegetable bed for the chicken. Elevating the bird helps with even heat circulation and prevents the skin underneath from burning. Place the prepared chicken on top of the vegetable bed.
Step 4 | Rub the remaining butter on top, season
Gently rub the remaining butter all over the skin. Season the exterior with salt and pepper. I used about 1 teaspoon of salt on the outside plus a few generous grinds of pepper.
Also, add about 1 cup of broth or water to the bottom of the pan to prevent the drippings from burning. You may need to refill as it roasts later.
Step 5 | Roast
Roast at 425 degrees F. A 5-pound chicken takes about 1 hour and 30 minutes to roast. If the bottom of the pan starts to burn, add more broth as needed. If there are spots on the chicken that are burning too quickly, cover those areas with aluminum foil.
The lemon roasted chicken is ready when an instant thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh and breast reaches 165 degrees F. Let it rest for about 15 minutes before carving. This will allow the juices to redistribute and keep it juicy inside.
How Long to Roast Chicken
At 425 degrees F in a conventional oven, roast the whole chicken for about 18 minutes per pound. My 5-pound chicken took approximately 1.5 hours to cook. To be sure, always use a thermometer to tell when the chicken is done. It should read 165 degrees F in the thickest part of the breast and also in the thickest part of the thigh.
Pairing and Serving Ideas
Now, you’re probably thinking what side dishes serve along with this wonderful lemon roasted chicken. The good news is that it pairs really well with almost anything, whether it’s cozy mashed or roasted potatoes, roasted veggies, bread, or a salad.
Here are my favorite sides to pair with this lemon roasted chicken:
- Red Skin Mashed Potatoes
- Fluffy Mashed Potatoes
- Herb Roasted Potatoes
- Roasted Butternut Squash and Brussels Sprouts
- Maple Roasted Rainbow Carrots
If you happen to have leftovers (we never do, it’s too delicious!), use it to make a Curried Chicken Salad or Chicken Salad with Grapes. Or shred the chicken and serve it with this delicious Thai Chicken Salad or this Orzo Soup for lunch the next day!
Store any leftovers in the fridge for up to 3 days.
No. The chicken roasts for about 1.5 hours, which is not long enough to dry out the meat. However, if you wish, use my citrus brine from my roasted turkey breast recipe, although the skin may not crisp up as much.
Any roasting pan large enough for the chicken is fine. This is the one I’d recommend. You can also use a pan with a roasting rack. If you don’t have one, a large 12-inch or larger cast iron skillet should work too.
Add some broth to the bottom of the pan. Start with 1 cup, and then replenish as needed as the chicken roasts.
Yes, absolutely! Here’s a guide on how to spatchcock a whole chicken. Roast a spatchcocked chicken for 12-13 minutes per pound at 425 degrees F.
Don’t baste the chicken. If you do, the skin will be soggy and soft, not crispy.
This recipe was published in 2019 and updated in January 2023 to include new photos and information, plus a few recipe modifications.
Tips for Success
- Make sure to get plenty of the lemon garlic herb butter UNDER the skin. That’s the key for amazing flavor, and it also helps to keep the chicken extra juicy, moist, and tender.
- How to get under the skin easily: Carefully separate it with your fingers first, and then insert a spoon inside to create deeper “pockets” for the butter.
- Pat dry the chicken thoroughly with paper towel, including inside the cavity. This will help the skin crisp up better.
- Roast at high temperature. 425 degrees F is optimal. The chicken will stay juicy and moist, and the skin will be golden brown and crispy.
- If the certain spots are browning too fast, cover that area with aluminum foil.
- To prevent the drippings from burning, add chicken broth or water to the bottom of the pan as needed.
Lemon Herb Roasted Chicken
- 1 5-pound whole chicken - thawed and giblets removed
- 2 medium yellow onions, peeled and quartered
- 2 large lemons, quartered
- 2 heads garlic, cut into half crosswise
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- Salt and pepper
- Chicken broth or water for the pan
Lemon Garlic Herb Butter
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary leaves, finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
- Zest of 2 large lemons
- 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- Before you start, let the chicken sit on the counter for 20 to 30 minutes so it’s not so cold.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Position rack in lower third of the oven.
- Make the lemon garlic herb butter: in a bowl, combine the melted butter with the minced garlic, chopped rosemary, thyme leaves, lemon zest, Kosher salt (2 teaspoons), and black pepper (½ teaspoon). Set aside.
- Pat the chicken dry thoroughly with paper towel, including inside the cavity.
- Season under the skin: Carefully separate it with your fingers first, and then insert a spoon inside to create deeper “pockets.” Evenly insert a little more than half of the prepared butter UNDER the skin, gently pressing down on the skin to spread it as need. Make sure you get as much garlic in there as possible.
- Then, stuff the cavity with 1 lemon (quartered), 1 onion (quartered), 1 head of garlic (halved), 1 rosemary spring, and 1 thyme sprig.
- Tie chicken legs using kitchen twine. Tuck in wings under the chicken's back, or clip the wing tips to prevent them from burning.
- Prepare the vegetable bed: In a large roasting pan, arrange the remaining quartered onions, garlic, lemon, and herbs. Place the prepared chicken on top of the vegetable bed, breast side up.
- Rub the remaining butter all over the skin on the outside. Season the exterior with more salt (about 1 teaspoon) and a few grinds of black pepper. Then, add about 1 cup of chicken broth or water to the bottom of the pan – this will prevent the drippings from burning.
- Roast for 1 hour and 30 minutes (depending on the size of the chicken, more cooking times below under “Notes”). Replenish the bottom of the pan with more liquid as needed.
- Rotate the pan if you notice certain spots browning more than others – some ovens have hot spots. If needed, cover any spots that are browning too fast with aluminum foil. The chicken is ready when an instant or meat thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the breast and thigh registers 165 degrees F.
- Remove from oven and let it rest for 15 minutes before carving. Enjoy!
- Make sure to pat dry the chicken thoroughly with paper towel before you start. This helps the skin crisp up better.
- How to separate the skin from the flesh easily: Carefully separate it with your fingers first, and then insert a spoon inside to create deeper “pockets” for the butter.
- Prevent drippings from burning by adding chicken broth or water to the bottom of the pan as needed.
- The ideal roasting temperature is 425 degrees F in a regular oven.
- Cooking times: Roast for about 18 minutes per pound. If there are any spots that are browning too fast, cover that area with aluminum foil.
- The chicken is ready when an instant or meat thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the breast and in the thigh registers 165 degrees F.
- Always let the chicken rest for 15 minutes before carving. This allows the juices to redistribute to keep it juicy inside.
- Leftovers can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
- Prefer to spatchcock the chicken? Here’s a guide on how to spatchcock a whole chicken. Roast a spatchcocked chicken for 12-13 minutes per pound at 425 degrees F.
- Fresh rosemary and thyme: I’d highly recommend using fresh herbs, but dried can be used too. Use a little less than half than fresh herbs.
- Bed of vegetables and stuffing: Add extra veggies, such as carrots, potatoes, parsnips, etc.