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Roast Chicken with Lemon

Roast Chicken with Lemon

Servings 4 servings
Author Brandon Matzek


  • 1 (4 to 5 pound) chicken
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 lemons


  1. If your chicken is refrigerated, let stand at room temperature for 1 hour before cooking.
  2. Preheat an oven to 400°F.
  3. Remove and discard the neck and livers from the cavity of the chicken. Give the chicken a quick rinse under cold, running water then thoroughly pat dry with paper towels (inside and out).
  4. Place the chicken in a baking dish then drizzle a little olive oil into the cavity, using your hands to evenly coat the inside. Season the cavity with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Pierce each lemon several times with a fork then place into the cavity of the chicken.
  5. Lightly drizzle the outside of the chicken with olive oil. Massage the oil into the chicken making sure all parts (top and bottom) are evenly coated and glistening. Season outside of chicken with a generous amount of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  6. Tuck the tips of the wings underneath the chicken. This will keep them from burning before the rest of the chicken is done cooking. Using kitchen twine (or string), tie the legs together (see image above).
  7. Roast chicken in the preheated oven for approximately 20 minutes per pound. After 1/3 of the total time, carefully flip the bird over and roast breast side down. After the another 1/3, turn the bird breast side up and cook until the internal temperature reaches 165°F. Test for doneness 5 to 10 minutes before calculated time. For example, I estimated the bird shown above would take 1.5 hours to roast based on its weight. After 30 minutes, I flipped it breast side down. After another 30 minutes, I turned the chicken breast side up. I tested for doneness after 1 hour and 20 minutes. The chicken had just reached the correct temperature.
  8. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and let rest for 10 minutes before carving.

To make a quick "gravy", carefully cut the lemons in half and squeeze out the juice into the baking dish. Use a fork or small whisk to mix the lemon juice with the other juices left in pan. Transfer to a fat separator and serve with chicken.