Butterflied Rosemary Roasted Chicken Recipe

Butterflied Rosemary Roasted Chicken Recipe

It’s no secret that we love chicken. We bake it, stuff it, cook it with honey — we just can’t stop. It’s easy, it’s juicy and it loves flavor. Orange, garlic, lemon, herbs — anything.

Classic Rosemary Roasted Chicken Recipe with a Twist

This time we matched rosemary and lemon with the chicken. Classic, right?

Before roasting we crust the chicken with lots of chopped fresh rosemary, salt and pepper. Then, it’s roasted alongside a bunch of vegetables like onion, sweet carrots and potatoes.

The twist, though, is that we roast two lemons at the same time. They caramelize a little and the juices become less tart and slightly sweetened. After everything has roasted, we squeeze the lemon juice into a bowl, add any pan juices and whisk it with a tiny bit of mustard and olive oil — making a roasted lemon vinaigrette.

We love this roasted chicken recipe. Don’t you just want to dive in?

Butterflied Rosemary Roasted Chicken Recipe

That’s the roasted vinaigrette — it adds so much flavor to the chicken.

Butterflied Chicken? Explain, please.

To butterfly a chicken means to remove the backbone of the chicken. All this does is flatten out the whole chicken, helping it roast as evenly as possible and cook just a little quicker than your usual roasted chicken. Plus, since all of the chicken skin is facing up, it browns nicely — we love that.

It even makes serving a breeze.

We’ve shared photos and instructions for how to remove the backbone below in the recipe, but if you prefer, skip it and roast the chicken as you would normally — it will just take a little longer.

Butterflied Rosemary Roasted Chicken Recipe

We really are in love with this chicken recipe — the rosemary, the roasted vegetables and that roasted lemon vinaigrette are all so good. But, don’t just take our word for it. Find out for yourself. We’d love to hear what you think in the comments below.

You may also enjoy:

5.0 from 1 reviews
Butterflied Rosemary Roasted Chicken Recipe
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Why we love this recipe. We make roasted chicken almost every week. It’s easy for us to do and we can enjoy it as roasted chicken or turn it into chicken salad, chicken soup or whatever else we dream up. One twist we’ve added is to roast two lemons at the same time as the chicken. This way, they become slightly sweeter and are perfect for making a simple sauce to drizzle over the cooked chicken.

What you need to know. By butterflying the chicken, it will cook slightly faster, but more importantly, it will cook more evenly than if we were to roast it normally. Also, we love that all the skin browns nicely since it’s all facing up. If you would prefer, skip butterflying the chicken and roast normally -- it will just take a little longer.

Equipment you’ll need. You will need a large rimmed baking sheet, poultry or sharp kitchen scissors, a chef’s knife, measuring spoons, tongs, a small bowl and a whisk or fork.
Created By:
Yield: 4
You Will Need
Roasted Chicken
  • 1 whole chicken rinsed and pat dry (3 to 4 pounds)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary (or 1 teaspoon dried)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
Roasted Vegetables
  • 2 small onions, peeled and quartered
  • 3 to 4 carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 2 medium potatoes, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable or canola oil
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
Roasted Lemon Vinaigrette
  • 2 lemons, halved
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat Oven
  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C). Line a large rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.
Prepare Chicken
  1. Position the chicken so that the back is facing up and the drumsticks are pointing towards you. Using poultry or sharp kitchen scissors cut down one side of the backbone. Then, cut down the other side of the backbone, removing it completely. (You can reserve the backbone for stock later).Chicken Recipe Step 1
  2. Now flip the chicken and press it down towards the work surface so it flattens slightly.
  3. If wet, pat chicken dry with paper towel then rub both sides of the chicken with the oil, rosemary, salt and freshly ground black pepper. Place chicken breast-side up on baking sheet. Then, tuck the wings under the chicken.Chicken Recipe Step 2
Prepare Vegetables
  1. Toss vegetables with 1 tablespoon of oil, rosemary, salt and black pepper. Arrange vegetables around chicken on baking sheet.
Roast Chicken and Vegetables
  1. Place halved lemons, cut side up, around vegetables and chicken then roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 165 degrees F (74 degrees C), about 1 hour.
  2. After 30 minutes of roasting, rotate the baking sheet so the chicken cooks evenly.
  3. Once roasted, transfer chicken to a cutting board, cover loosely with aluminum foil then let rest about 10 minutes.
Make Roasted Lemon Vinaigrette
  1. Use tongs to squeeze juice from roasted lemons into a small bowl. Then, pour any juices left on the baking sheet into the bowl. Add mustard then whisk. Taste then add oil, salt and pepper as needed. (We added about 2 tablespoons of olive oil to tone down the tart lemon).Chicken Recipe Step 3
  2. Slice chicken or cut into quarters. Then serve alongside roasted vegetables and roasted lemon vinaigrette.

Get Free Recipes by Email

Get insanely delicious FREE recipes and cooking videos in your inbox. Enter your email address below:

10 comments… Leave a Comment
  • Susan McErlane November 6, 2015, 4:38 pm

    Loved this recipe, it was wonderful hot and cold. . The vinaigrette put the finishing touch to a great meal

  • Lori March 21, 2015, 7:55 pm

    Delish. Loving your recipes – they all turn out perfect and your instructions are so helpful and easy to follow. Thanks – more, please!

    Five stars

  • Kathleen November 20, 2013, 2:09 am

    We don’t do turkey anymore as you can’t find a 8-10 bird anywhere.
    We get together and figure out what we’d like as the entree, then make the usual Thanksgiving sides, salads and desserts.

    This year it will be your chicken….looks so good I;m ready for it now.

    Happy T-day!

    • Joanne November 20, 2013, 9:00 am

      Hope you love it 🙂 Enjoy your holiday!

  • Sondra November 3, 2013, 8:09 pm

    This was excellent! Normally I only butterfly a chicken for chicken-under-a-brick. The rosemary crusting gave a much better flavor than just stuffing the chicken with rosemary. I can’t wait to try this again with cornish hens, or maybe even turkey if I can find a really small one.

    • Joanne November 4, 2013, 10:43 am

      Both sounds great! Cornish hens would be wonderful (and quick).

  • Robyn November 3, 2013, 4:16 pm

    Nice and simple, but delicious. The roasted lemon vinaigrette is a nice twist. Thank you!

    • Joanne November 4, 2013, 10:48 am

      So glad you liked it — the roasted vinaigrette is our favorite part to this. (Which is an achievement since Adam loves his gravy).

  • Chloe April 5, 2013, 1:14 am

    I will be trying your recipe for the rosemary lemon chicken this weekend. Thank you, and good luck with your new business : ) I have used and belong to allrecipes.com and really use them a lot for ideas. Hope to see you again tho.


  • Bev @ Bev Cooks March 5, 2013, 9:26 am

    Ooooooo I’m digging theeeeez!


Leave a Comment or Review

All comments are moderated before appearing on the site. Thank you so much for waiting. First time commenting? Please review our Comment Policy.

If you are visiting from a mobile or tablet device, our star review system can be tricky for some devices. If you plan to leave a star review, please write the number of stars (1 to 5) in your comment and either Adam or Joanne will amend your comment with your star review. Thanks!

Did you make it? How was it?:  

Previous Post: Next Post: