Simple Whole Roasted Chicken with Lemon
How to perfectly roast a whole chicken with aromatic lemon and garlic. With our easy recipe, the chicken stays juicy and becomes ultra-flavorful. Jump to the Whole Roasted Chicken Recipe or watch our quick video showing you how we make it.
Watch Us Make The Recipe
How to Roast a Whole Chicken
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 in our kitchen.
Making whole roasted chicken at home is simple and 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 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.
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 a 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 cut in half 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.
What To Serve This With
- Our Favorite Oven Roasted Vegetables — See how to roast vegetables in the oven, so they are tender on the inside and caramelized on the outside. Easy, no-fuss and adaptable recipe based on what you have in your kitchen.
- Quick and Easy Gravy — Serve this silky smooth gravy next to the chicken. The gravy takes less than 10 minutes and works wonders with the pan drippings in this recipe!
- Seriously Good Mushroom Stuffing — The stuffing is savory and soft in the middle, and perfectly crisp on top. It is naturally vegan and you can make it in advance.
- Coconut Oil Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Pecans — Sweet potatoes are a staple in our kitchen and can be found roasted or baked and on our plates many days of the week. Coconut oil works so well with the caramelized sweet potatoes. Pure maple syrup adds a little sweetness, and a little cinnamon adds spice.
- Our Favorite Potato Salad Recipe — Such an easy potato salad recipe. We love this stuff! We would be happy to hover over a bowl of it any day. It has few extras thrown in, too.
More Chicken Recipes
- Rosemary Roasted and Butterflied Chicken — Quick and easy whole chicken recipe with roasted root vegetables and a roasted lemon vinaigrette.
- Easy Pan Roasted Chicken Breasts with Thyme — How to perfectly pan roast chicken breasts with butter and thyme. Quick and simple!
- Easy Lemon Chicken Thighs with Herbs — The chicken is juicy, ultra flavorful, and easy to make. Add this one to your rotation; you won’t regret it!
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 with Lemon
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.
You Will Need
1 (5 to 6 pound) whole chicken, patted dry
Salt and fresh ground pepper
1 onion, sliced (optional)
1/2 cup chicken stock or water
1 lemon, quartered
1 whole head garlic, halved crosswise
Small bunch fresh herbs, such as thyme, rosemary and sage, optional
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 and cover them with the stock (or water). 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.
- Nutrition Facts: The nutrition facts provided below are estimates. We have used the USDA Supertracker recipe calculator to calculate approximate values.