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Lemon Roasted Chicken

Cook Time:
1 hr 20 mins
Prep Time:
20 mins

Chef notes

Roasted chicken is one of my favorite dishes and it is easy to make. Chicken is also one of my favorite proteins. I grew up with chickens on my grandmother's farm and loved going to get the eggs. We used every part of the chicken, but a whole-roasted chicken was always for a special occasion.

Technique tips: Tuck wings and legs to hold the shape of the bird while roasting. Collect the bones, skin and remaining vegetables and freeze in a zip-top bag and when you roast another chicken combine all the bones and vegetables and make a larger pot of stock, which you can freeze in 1-quart containers for future meals.


  • 1 (5-pound) roasting chicken
  • 2 lemons, zested and cut into quarters
  • teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 3 medium onions, peeled, cut in sixths but left attached at the root end
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, plus more for garnish
  • 1 cup dry white wine



Preheat the oven to 375 F.


Gently slide your fingers under the skin of the chicken breast to loosen it.


Spread the grated lemon zest under the breast skin.


Season the chicken with 1 teaspoon of the salt and rub it all over with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil.


Set the onions and lemon quarters in a roasting pan and toss with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 2 tablespoons olive oil.


Stuff some of the lemon quarters in the chicken cavity, along with the rosemary.


Set the chicken, breast side up, on the onions and lemons. With a paring knife, cut a small slit in the skin at the tip of the breast.


Stick the drumsticks in the opposite sides' slits, to keep the chicken together and hold its shape while roasting.


Pour the white wine into the pan and roast the chicken, basting once or twice with the pan juices, until the meat between the thigh and breast reaches 165 F on an instant-read thermometer and the skin is crispy and golden, about 1 hour and 20 minutes.


Remove the chicken to a cutting board, and let it rest 10 minutes.


Fish out the onions from the pan and set it in a sauté pan large enough to hold the chicken breasts and legs. Strain the pan juices, pushing on the solids to extract all of the sauce, let the juices rest, then skim off any excess fat. Reserve the strained solids.


Carve the chicken breast and legs taking them off the bone, reserve the bones. Slice the chicken breast into slices and the leg meat into serving pieces. Return the slices and pieces of chicken to the pan with the onions. Add the strained sauce, bring all to a simmer, and serve. Decorate with fresh sprigs of rosemary.