Lemon and Garlic Roast Chicken

Our oldest daughter is what some might call a picky eater, but I like how others refer to it as selective eating. Same thing really, with a better name. It doesn’t sound quite as harsh or even wrong. She claims her favorite food is bananas, to me that doesn’t sound quite right but I won’t argue with her about it. She protests eating mashed potatoes and refuses to eat pickles. For those two reasons alone, I swear she’s not my kid. I love potatoes of almost any variety and can eat dill pickles by the jar. I may or may not be known for eating sliced pickles straight from the jar with a fork. Okay, it’s true. Even in my past life working retail, I kept a jar with my name on it for such a purpose. A quick snack or a tangy addition to my meal.

This same kid use to eat pickles when she was a wee little thing. She’s only occasionally eaten mashed potatoes, specifically in recent times! That’s a huge accomplishment. Where do we stand on chicken? Well, that completely depends on the night. From her perspective, cooked chicken breast has a skin. That sometimes crisp and wonderfully flavorful outer portion of the meat, simply because it has a different texture and color… she thinks it’s skin. She’s pulled apart pieces for the sole purpose of removing the ‘skin’.

Skip to my first adventure roasting a chicken many months ago. I’ve cooked plenty of turkeys but never a whole chicken, strange I know. She also wasn’t old enough to be aware of such thing previous to this. I had the chicken in the sink rinsing it down and preparing to fill it with extra flavor and goodness… perfect time for a teaching lesson! I got to show her the skin vs the meat. She thought it was really neat and even wanted to touch it. I may have even had the chicken do a little dance. I can’t be held responsible for the strange things I do.

Now, well… mostly, she loves chicken. She isn’t weirded out by the faux outer skin. She’ll even chow down, assuming it’s cut just right. Such a learning curve in figuring out how to get your kids to eat what you want them to. Even if it’s crazy delicious, they don’t want to believe you. For example, the skin on this particular chicken is so amazingly good you have to eat some. It gets nice and crisp with loads of flavor. An absolute must for snacking while you plate dinner. While the skin has a perfect bite and crispness, the meat is tender and juicy. I’m not usually one for juicy meat but this is beyond good. Best of all, you can create two dishes at once by layering your favorite vegetables on the bottom of the pan. The juices from the chicken create soft and flavorful veggies, for a perfect side dish. Cook this in your favorite cast iron Dutch oven or a classic roasting pan.

Lemon and Garlic Roast Chicken

Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time1 hr 15 mins
Total Time1 hr 25 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Chicken
Servings: 5


  • 4-5 lb whole chicken giblets removed
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion
  • 1 lemon
  • 6 cloves garlic smashed
  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter melted
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • Red pepper flakes optional
  • Vegetables for the pan carrots, celery, potatoes, etc
  • Kitchen twine optional


  • Preheat oven to 450°F. Prepare your desired pan with a thick layer of chopped vegetables.
  • Remove giblets from chicken, reserve for another use or discard. Carefully rinse chicken well and pat dry with paper towels. Sprinkle the inside of the chicken well with salt and pepper.
  • Cut onion into quarters, cut lemon in half and quarter each half. Add onion, lemon and 4 smashed cloves of garlic to the cavity of the chicken. If desired, tie legs together with kitchen twine. Add chicken to roasting pan.
  • In a small bowl, melt butter with 2 cloves garlic. Brush butter over the entire bird. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and optional red pepper flakes.
  • Cook until the thigh meat registers 170°F or the breast registers 165°F. This will vary depending on your chicken size.
  • If the skin begins to darken too much, cover for remainder of cook time.
  • Carefully transfer chicken to a carving board, let sit for 5-10 minutes before cutting.
  • Reserve chicken carcass for soup; add to a large freezer safe bag (even double bagging if necessary). Freeze for up to several months or store in the refrigerator for several days before making soup or chicken stock.


An original recipe from Baked by Rachel
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24 Responses to “Lemon and Garlic Roast Chicken”

  1. #
    Julie @ Table for Two — March 29, 2012 at 8:54 am

    what an easy and flavorful dish all in one! I love the lemon and garlic combination! The skin on the chicken DOES look super crispy and good. I’d happily take what your daughter doesn’t want hehe, more for the rest of us, right? ;)

  2. #
    Cassie — March 29, 2012 at 8:56 am

    This chicken looks mouthwatering. I love the seasonings…and the story about your daughter! I can be picky about certain things, but I do enjoy the skin, especially when it’s crispy and so flavorful!

  3. #
    Angie @ Big Bear's Wife — March 29, 2012 at 9:21 am

    I love that pot that you used! is that the cast iron Dutch oven? Love it! The chicken looks wonderful! Chicken is probably my favorite thing ever!! I will be trying this soon!

    • #
      Rachel — March 29, 2012 at 10:10 am

      It is my new Dutch oven! I was so excited to use it. :)

  4. #
    nicole @ I am a Honey Bee — March 29, 2012 at 2:03 pm

    I had some issues with chicken skin when I was younger too.

    Your roasted chicken looks so good!!!

  5. #
    Erin @ Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts — March 29, 2012 at 4:56 pm

    Kids are impossible! I can never figure my 6 year old out. He has finally decided to try more things recently. But even that takes some work!

  6. #
    Tracey — March 29, 2012 at 5:59 pm

    Crispy chicken skin is a major weakness of mine, it’s SO, SO good!! Love the things you used to stuff your chicken, looks delish!

  7. #
    JulieD — March 29, 2012 at 7:40 pm

    I love roast chicken! I put lemons inside both chicken and turkey too!! Don’t you just love your Le Creuset French oven? :)

    • #
      Rachel — March 30, 2012 at 8:02 am

      I absolutely love it Julie! Can’t wait to use it more. :)

  8. #
    Baker Street — March 30, 2012 at 1:41 am

    Easy peasy and SO delicious. Love it.

  9. #
    myfudo — March 30, 2012 at 2:42 am

    I bet the kitchen will smell really heavenly with this in the oven…A must try.

  10. #
    Katrina @ In Katrina's Kitchen — March 30, 2012 at 8:42 am

    I thought I was the only person in the world with a child who won’t eat mashed potatoes! How weird. :) The chicken looks great.

    • #
      Rachel — March 30, 2012 at 10:55 am

      We had a partial success with mashed potatoes the other day. If I don’t put pepper in them, she’ll eat at least some.

  11. #
    Winnie Mom — March 30, 2012 at 12:57 pm

    Don’t usually buy whole chickens but I do have some cornish hens in the freezer so think I will do them this way. Sounds and looks so delish!

  12. #
    amanda @ fake ginger — March 30, 2012 at 10:16 pm

    Love the purple!!

    My husband loves when I do whole chickens. I never do butter – I’ve gotta try that next time.

  13. #
    Erin — April 3, 2012 at 10:38 am

    This looks perfect! It’s nicely browned and I love the combination of flavors. I just bought a dutch oven and this is on my list to make this week!

  14. #
    claire @ the realistic nutritionist — April 5, 2012 at 1:34 pm

    What a beautiful bird!!

  15. #
    Erin @ Texanerin Baking — April 9, 2012 at 8:37 am

    I LOVE roasted chicken! We’ve been buying a lot of them lately but they kind of disgust me. I don’t know why. The homemade ones are always delicious. Thanks for the inspiration. The next time they’re on sale, I’m getting one. :)

    I sound like your daughter when it comes to food. I hope she grows out of it! I never did and it’s always torture to go to a dinner party or even just dinner at a friend’s place.

    • #
      Rachel — April 9, 2012 at 4:20 pm

      I’m just as bad with certain things but I think we’re all allowed to have a dislike for certain items.

  16. #
    natalie (the sweets life) — April 9, 2012 at 7:06 pm

    ahhh i need a dutch oven! love how simple this sounds!

  17. #
    Erin @ Texanerin Baking — April 11, 2012 at 12:55 pm

    That’s definitely true. I guess it’s only in cases like mine where it’s bad. I basically only like sweet things, bread, pasta, rice and meat. I have to force myself to eat other things and then it’s a challenge to get them down without choking. So basically I wish *I* could grow out of this. :(

  18. #
    Caren — February 4, 2013 at 12:12 pm

    I am going to make this tomorrow night for dinner, finally. I have been eyeing this recipe. Bought a whole chicken at the store this weekend. I do not have a dutch oven though. Maybe a throw away roasting pan will work?

    • #
      Rachel — February 4, 2013 at 12:34 pm

      You definitely can use a roasting pan instead, just remember to check the internal temperature before slicing and serving. :)

  19. #
    Caren — February 4, 2013 at 12:50 pm

    I will check the temperature, do not worry :-) I am so excited to finally try this recipe!

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