Lemon Roasted Chicken

Posted: December 17

Time: 1 hour 20 minutes

Yield: 6 servings

recipe image

Lemon Roasted Chicken is a golden treasure of a main course that tastes as rich as it looks. Layer upon layer of butter infuses the chicken with luxurious flavor, from the herby, zesty butter rubbed directly onto the meat to the melted butter brushed on the skin. Bright, garlicky, savory, and juicy, Lemon Roasted Chicken is chicken elevated to its highest heights. This is the kind of dinner you'll be dreaming of making and tasting long after you try it.


• 2 teaspoons lemon zest, finely grated • 2 cloves garlic, pressed • 1 teaspoon thyme leaves, chopped • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided, at room temperature • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste • 1/2 teaspoon pepper, plus to taste • 1 (4-5 pound) whole chicken • 1/4 cup water, plus more as needed


Step 1

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Step 2

In a small bowl, mash together the lemon zest, garlic, thyme, 2 tablespoons butter, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper until they are thoroughly combined into a compound butter.

Step 3

Using clean fingers, lift the skin from the meat of the chicken breasts and thighs, creating space between them.

Step 4

Evenly spread the compound butter mixture under the skin of the chicken.

Step 5

Truss the chicken, tying the legs of the chicken together and tucking the wings behind the breast. This helps the chicken cook evenly.

Step 6

Place the chicken on a rack in a medium roasting pan.

Step 7

Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter.

Step 8

Brush the melted butter on the outside of the chicken.

Step 9

Sprinkle the outside of the chicken with salt and pepper.

Step 10

Pour the water into the bottom of the roasting pan.

Step 11

Roast the chicken for 50 minutes.

Step 12

Increase the oven temperature to 425 degrees F.

Step 13

Continue roasting the chicken, making sure the water at the bottom of the roasting pan does not completely evaporate, adding more as needed, until the chicken reads 165 degrees F in its thickest part with a thermometer, about 15-20 minutes.

Step 14

Remove the chicken from the oven and let rest for 15 minutes before carving and serving.

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