Simple Whole Roasted Chicken Recipe with Lemon

How to easily roast a whole chicken with lemon and garlic. Jump to the Whole Roasted Chicken Recipe or read on to see our tips for making it.

Simple Roasted Chicken Recipe with Lemon and Garlic

The moment I smell chicken roasting away in the oven, it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. It makes me think of home and my Mom. Here’s how we make it at home.

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How to Roast a Whole Chicken

Making whole roasted chicken at home is easy and definitely something you should know how to do. We’re sharing a basic method for how to do it. Find our best tips for making it below.

Depending on where you buy your chicken, the weight will vary. For our recipe, we call for a 5 to 6 pound chicken, which is quite large. That said, the recipe will still work for smaller chickens (3 1/2 pounds). The bake time will just be slightly less.

That’s why we love having our instant-read thermometer handy. This way, we can accurately check the doneness of the chicken — you want it to read 165 degrees F when inserted into the thickest part of the thigh. If you do not have a thermometer, don’t worry, another good test is to slice between the leg and thigh. If the juices run clear, you should be good.

How to Roast a Whole Chicken

You can roast a chicken at almost any temperature. It all depends on what you are looking for. For extremely tender, fall off the bone meat and soft skin, roast between 300 and 350 degrees for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, depending on the weight. For firmer meat and crisp skin, roast the chicken around 425 degrees F for 45 minutes to 1 1/2 hours, depending on the weight. In our recipe below, we roast a 5 to 6 pound chicken at 425 degrees for about 1 1/2 hours.

You will need a pan to roast the chicken in — a roasting pan with rack, large baking dish, rimmed baking sheet or an oven-safe pan will all work.

When it comes to seasoning, we like to keep things simple. We season the whole chicken plus the cavity with salt and fresh ground pepper.

By the way, if you have the time, refrigerate the seasoned chicken, uncovered, for an hour, or overnight. This is basically dry brining which will help the skin become extra crisp and the meat extra juicy.

Then we stuff the cavity with a whole garlic head that has been halved as well as a lemon cut into quarters. You can stick with our method or try adding a spice rub or fresh herbs to the cavity as well. Finally, you can roast the chicken on top of vegetables — in our photos, we roasted ours on top of onions.

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Recipe updated, originally posted September 2009. Since posting this in 2009, we have tweaked the recipe to be more clear. – Adam and Joanne

Simple Whole Roasted Chicken Recipe with Lemon

  • PREP
  • COOK
  • TOTAL

You can roast a chicken at almost any temperature. It all depends on what you are looking for. For extremely tender, fall off the bone meat and soft skin, roast between 300 and 350 degrees. For firmer meat and crisp skin, roast the chicken around 425 degrees F. In our recipe below, we roast a 5 to 6 pound chicken at 425 degrees for about 1 1/2 hours.

If you have the time, refrigerate the seasoned chicken, uncovered, for an hour, or overnight. This is basically dry brining which will help the skin become extra crisp and the meat extra juicy.

Makes 4 to 6 servings

You Will Need

1 (5 to 6 pound) whole chicken, patted dry

Salt and fresh ground pepper

1 onion, sliced (optional)

1 lemon, quartered

1 whole head garlic, halved crosswise

Small bunch fresh herbs, such as thyme, rosemary and sage, optional

Directions

    Generously season the chicken inside and out with salt and pepper. If you have time, refrigerate the chicken, uncovered, for an hour, or overnight.

    Heat oven to 425 degrees F. Scatter onions in the bottom of a roasting pan then place chicken breast-side up on top of the onions. Stuff the cavity with halved garlic, lemon wedges, and herbs. Use kitchen twine to tie the legs together. (If you don’t have twine, leave the legs as they are.)

    Roast the chicken for 1 hour, then spoon pan juices over the chicken several times. Continue roasting until an internal thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reads 165 degrees F or when the chicken juices run clear when when you cut between a leg and a thigh, 20 to 30 minutes longer. Let rest 10 minutes before carving.

Adam and Joanne's Tips

  • Depending on where you buy your chicken, the weight will vary. For our recipe, we call for a 5 to 6 pound chicken, which is quite large. That said, the recipe will still work for smaller chickens (3 1/2 pounds). The bake time will just be slightly less.

If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #inspiredtaste — We love to see your creations on Instagram and Facebook! Find us: @inspiredtaste

AUTHOR: Adam and Joanne Gallagher

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10 comments… Leave a Comment
  • Maret April 5, 2017, 10:08 am

    Juicy with Great Flavor!

    I’m in the group who “made this 2 times before reviewing” and have enjoyed a flavorful and moist chicken both times. While I am used to making a gravy with roast chicken, this one is so moist, it doesn’t need it! The first time I made it, time did not allow for the dry brining, but it was still good. I have used a bunch of thyme, parsley, and sage as the herbs. What amazes me is how the leftover meat remains moist and great for sandwiches, etc.

    I’m wondering what exactly makes this chicken so juicy? Is the lemon a factor? Your comments mention a range of oven temperatures. I’ve only used a 425 oven as stated in the recipe, but would I get the same moist meat from a lower temperature bake like 325-350? In other words, is the higher temperature critical to seal in juices?

    I forgot to mention that I did NOT baste the chicken and still got great results.

    Thanks for another keeper recipe!

    Reply
    • Joanne April 5, 2017, 12:47 pm

      Hi Maret, I do love the lemon in this recipe and personally feel it helps with keeping the chicken moist. The higher temperature does’t really seal in the juices, but it does help with getting the skin browned and crispy (my favorite). If you were to use a lower oven temperature, the chicken will still be moist, but the meat will be much softer. The key to the best roasted chicken is to not overcook. I’m so happy you have tried our recipe and thanks for leaving your comments.

      Reply
  • Bernardine Ligthart March 15, 2017, 6:34 am

    Hello, I am a big fan of you, and made several recipes with success.
    Would it be a big bother to give the temperature also in Celsius?
    And maybe put the cups in grams?
    I live in Holland and I am sure you have more fans in Europe.
    Cheers and keep up the good work..
    Bernardine

    Reply
  • Heather Eagleson January 18, 2017, 6:33 pm

    This came out super golden and juicy! This will be the second time I stuffed a lemon and celery in the cavity of a chicken. I also stuffed a large clove of garlic in there with some pearl onions. I didn’t have carrots on hand (DARN), but I did have some organic Russet potatoes that I seasoned with salt & pepper, olive oil and thyme, which I mixed with some more pearl onions. I liked your idea of roasting the bird over some veggies. That takes care of a side if you’re short on time/lazy, lol. I seasoned the outside of the chicken with olive oil, cracked black pepper/sea salt lemon mix from a grinder and sprinkled organic garlic powder on the outside as well. I also had some brine left over from the Thanksgiving turkey (not homemade), which I used to brine the chicken in overnight, or about 12 hours. I will remember this one. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  • Niki Marie October 25, 2015, 6:55 pm

    Wonderful

    Reply
  • Paola June 1, 2013, 11:27 pm

    Made this chicken for the second time tonight, and again it was delicious. Probably the best roasted chicken I have made. I’ve tried about 5 or 6 of your recipes and all have been great! Really enjoying your website!

    Reply
  • Lauren Shehan (Bowers) February 18, 2010, 6:22 pm

    I haven’t tried this recipe yet, but I’m certainly excited to. Alton Brown (probably my favorite chef on food network) did an episode for Thanksgiving on a wonderfully tender turkey which is cooked similar to this chicken but rested in a brine overnight. In not wanting to waste the rest of the brine I experimented by placing a chicken breast in with the turkey. It turned out fabulously moist and tender. Perhaps you could try that with this recipe as well, creating your own blend of spices to compliment the flavor for the brine. Just a thought. 🙂

    Reply
    • inspiredtaste February 19, 2010, 8:16 am

      Lauren – We have seen that episode too and have tried it a couple Thanksgiving’s ago, it is a fantastic recipe. The brine works really well, especially for turkey. I think the key is a high oven temperature to seal in all those juices. Thanks for commenting!

      Reply
      • marie agnes February 1, 2016, 5:38 pm

        Hi I am roasting a 6 pound chicken tonight which has been brining all day in a salt water bath. I will roast at 425 because it seems at 350 it takes almost 3 hours to roast. Also i am using a V rack and will roast breast side down. Is 425 too high for this way of roasting? And how long should I roast? Thanks, Marie Agnes

        Reply
        • Joanne February 2, 2016, 4:30 pm

          425 should still be fine.If you are worried, reduce to 400, it shouldn’t change too much.

          Reply

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