Classic Family Dinner: Lemon Herb Roasted Chicken

Around Thursday of every week, I start thinking about a big weekend meal. What will I make? Chicken? Beef?  Pork? What sides? Do I make dessert? Will I just skip the big meal this weekend? While this may sound like a lot of thinking on a Thursday, this is what I love to do. Sometimes I enjoy the planning as much as the cooking, but never as much as the eating.

Last weekend I wanted something simple that wouldn’t make my kitchen look like I had imploded the house. Roasted Chicken…a simple meal that appears more complicated than it actually is. I take just a few steps to ensure crispy skin and an amazingly moist chicken.  The lemon and herb flavors are very mild and definitely in the background but the lemon plays an important role in keeping the chicken moist. And for those of us looking for a stunning main dish that can feed a few people while keeping the cost down, this is the dish for you. Watch your grocery store for the next time whole chickens go on sale (about every other week right now) and pick one up. I really think you will enjoy the results!

Lemon Herb Roasted Chicken 


1 Whole chicken, about 3.5 lbs

2 Sprigs Rosemary

2 Sprigs Thyme

2 Lemons

1 Tbsp Vegetable oil

2 Tbsp Butter



  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Rinse chicken and pat dry with paper towels. Squeeze lemons into cavity of chicken. Stuff squeezed lemons, rosemary and thyme in cavity. Season liberally with salt and pepper.
  3. Truss chicken. Note: I don’t always do this. Trussing is good for presentation and for protecting parts of the chicken from drying out. You make the call here.
  4. Heat oil in large oven proof skillet. Brown both sides of chicken (not breasts or back), about 7-9 minutes each side. Set chicken on back with breast side facing up. Transfer pan to oven to roast for 25 minutes. Note: if your chicken is larger than 3.5 lbs, add 20-25 minutes of cooking time to this step for every additional pound.
  5. After 25 minutes, add butter to skillet and continue roasting, basting with pan liquids every 10 minutes for another 25-30 minutes.
  6. Chicken is done roasting when a meat thermometer inserted in thickest part of thigh reads 170 degrees. Remove skillet and allow to rest for 15 minutes.

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