Simple Roast Chicken with Garlic and Lemon

from 20 votes

A top-down view of a whole roast chicken with fresh rosemary sprigs and a lemon wedge in a cast-iron skillet

There are 474 recipes on this site, and not a single one of them is for roast chicken. I don’t know what’s taken me nearly (gulp) six years to share one of the most classic recipes of all time, but I suppose it’s better late than never. And so here we are: Simple Roast Chicken with Garlic and Lemon.

As simple as a roast chicken is to prepare, there are some definite do’s and don’ts when it comes to poultry perfection:

  • DO dry off the skin of the chicken as thoroughly as possible. Extra-dry skin = extra-crispy skin.
  • DON’T skip the step of tying the chicken legs together. It keeps them closer to the body of the chicken and guarantees more even cooking. If you don’t have kitchen twine, use unflavored (I repeat, unflavored!) dental floss.
  • DO baste the chicken every 15 to 20 minutes. Basting is the real secret to roast chicken success.
  • DON’T carve the chicken immediately after removing it from the oven. Just like a roast turkey, it needs time to rest so the juices collect and the chicken remains moist.

Ready to roast a chicken like a pro? Preheat your oven, grab the garlic and baste on with your bad self.

Simple Roast Chicken with Garlic and Lemon Recipe

Simple Roast Chicken with Garlic and Lemon Recipe

Simple Roast Chicken with Garlic and Lemon Recipe

Simple Roast Chicken with Garlic and Lemon Recipe

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Main Course

Simple Roast Chicken with Garlic and Lemon

Ready to roast a chicken like a pro? Preheat your oven, grab the garlic and baste on with this recipe for Simple Roast Chicken with Garlic and Lemon.
Author: Kelly Senyei
4.85 from 20 votes
Simple Roast Chicken with Garlic and Lemon Recipe
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings 4 servings


  • 1 (4- to 5-pound) chicken
  • 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary


  • Kitchen string


  • Preheat the oven to 450ºF with rack in center.
  • Remove the giblets from the chicken then trim the excess fat from around the chicken cavity then rinse and thoroughly dry the chicken. (The drier the chicken, the crispier the skin.) Place the chicken in a roasting pan, baking dish or cast iron skillet.
  • Melt the butter with the garlic in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Brush the melted garlic butter all over the chicken. Season the chicken liberally all over (including inside the cavity) with salt and pepper. Place the two lemon halves and the sprigs of rosemary inside the cavity.
  • Tie the legs together with kitchen twine. (Keep it simple with a loop around each leg and knotted in the center.)
  • Roast the chicken for about 1 hour, basting it every 15 minutes by using a spoon and tilting the pan to collect the juices then spooning them atop the chicken, until the internal temperature reaches 165ºF. (When testing the temperature with a meat thermometer, insert it into the breast but do not touch the bone for the most accurate reading.) Rotate the pan after every time you baste the chicken to guarantee even cooking.
  • Remove the chicken from the oven and transfer it to a cutting board. Allow the chicken to rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Kelly's Note:

  • It's important to baste the chicken every 15 minutes so that the minced garlic stays moist and doesn't burn. If you don't want to baste the chicken as frequently, simply smash the cloves of garlic (rather than mince them) and place them inside the cavity of the chicken then baste the chicken two to three times while it's roasting.
  • The total cooking time will depend on a variety of factors, including the weight of your chicken and how heat circulates within your specific oven.
  • ★ Did you make this recipe? Don't forget to give it a star rating below!


Calories: 458kcal, Carbohydrates: 3g, Protein: 30g, Fat: 35g, Saturated Fat: 14g, Cholesterol: 150mg, Sodium: 115mg, Potassium: 352mg, Vitamin A: 595IU, Vitamin C: 17.8mg, Calcium: 33mg, Iron: 1.7mg


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Recipe by Kelly Senyei of Just a Taste. Please do not reprint this recipe without my permission. If you'd like to feature this recipe on your site, please rewrite the method of preparation and link to this post as the original source.

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4.85 from 20 votes (2 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    My Grandson helped me make this recipe. His comments were: “The flavor reminded me of the ocean” because of the lemon. It was very good and easy to make. We all enjoyed the chicken very much.

  2. 5 stars
    This is without a doubt the best roasted chicken I’ve ever had. I use my meater reader thermometer and it comes out crispy and juicy every time. The only problem I have is my smoke detector going off every 15 minutes when I baste it! Delicious!

  3. 5 stars
    Fussy partner loves this recipe. And she’s not the only one! Simple and so tasty with a Freeranger. (Do try the brand,)

  4. This recipe looks delicious. Thinking about cooking the chicken on a spit rather than roasting in the oven. Do you know how long we will need to cook the chicken on a spit. Chicken is just under 2kg.

  5. 5 stars
    We loved the chicken…just delicious. Use extra fresh lemon and garlic and pan juices to the lemon rice I made as a side dish. Can’t stop eating it. Now you know what to do with the juice. It’s a 5 STAR

  6. 5 stars
    Absolutely delicious!!

    Have followed this recipe a couple of times now and each time has been awesome, simple but incredibly effective

    I cooked at 170 degrees celsius in a standard, pre-heated fan assisted oven for 1hr 35 (1.6kg chicken) leaving it to rest as directed

    Any recommendations for what to do with the delicious juices left in the pan? Will they keep long? I’m not looking to make a gravy for the roast, as I tend to serve this with salad or chips

    1. Hi Paul! You could use it as a salad dressing! Brighten it with a little lemon juice and toss with salad. Or, another idea is to toss it with cubed bread before baking into croutons.

  7. 5 stars
    I made this chicken tonight for my family for Easter, it was the BEST roast chicken we’ve ever had! I roasted in a pan on my bbq, basted regularly and rested it upside down on the breast so the juices drip down and keep it moist. AMAZING, thank you!

  8. This recipe looks delicious and all the reviews rave about it so excited to try but wanted to know could I use olive oil instead of butter.?

    1. Hi Lisa – Olive oil’s smoke point would make the chicken much more likely to burn, so I wouldn’t recommend it :)

  9. Absolutely delicious! However, the oven at 450 was WAY TOO HOT (yes, I use an oven thermometer). Resulted in all the butter smoking like crazy and filling my entire house with smoked butter! Vastly better to lower the oven temp and roast it longer. Otherwise, scrumptious. Now, to clean my oven.

  10. 5 stars
    A friend of mine suggested a variation of this recipe using chilies and limes, or oranges and a complementary herb. He also told me that he scaled up the “stuffing” with two to three lemons and used this method for his turkey.

  11. I’m going to try this in my cast iron skillet…I see in your pictures that you did too? I’ve only ever made a roast chicken in a shallow roasting pan. It’s probably all the same, but I love tryin new methods. Thanks for the recipe!

  12. 5 stars
    Great simple recipe thank you. We both enjoyed a very tasty chicken dinner. You suggest ‘unsalted butter’ which I used but why not salted butter and less salt seasoning ?

    1. So glad you enjoyed it! You can go either way :) I like using unsalted butter so I can better control the quantity of salt.

  13. 5 stars
    Thank you so much for sharing this recipe my partner cooked it for me tonight (his first roast) and it was delicious

  14. 5 stars
    I used to think making roasted chicken was hard or it would be dry. Found your recipe and it is so full of tips and easy to follow. Never made a full chicken when I was raising children. Now, it’s just hubby and I and I will make this once every two months as a Sunday dinner. Thanks so much

  15. 5 stars
    This recipe is awesome! My sister in law made it for me after having my third baby shes the best. Anyway I asked for the recipe cause I liked it so much!! One little thing though…I’ve always been told that the breast reaches temperature before the thigh so you have to measure the temperature of the thigh to make sure it’s done or else it may end up undercooked. Anyway I am sooo making this for supper!

  16. 5 stars
    The BEST roast chicken I have ever made. I used an organic 5 lb. chicken and opted to stuff smashed garlic cloves inside with the rosemary and lemon in order not to risk burned garlic, and I used about 6 T of butter. If you opt for basting every 10-15 minutes it lets heat escape and can alter the cook time, especially if you’re not using a thermometer (which you should always do with meat). I basted about every 20 minutes, lowered the heat to 350 after 30 minutes, and covered the wing tips with foil before it went into the oven. I moved the cooked bird to a cutting board and let it rest for about 15 minutes while I made pan gravy with the drippings right in the skillet I cooked the chicken in. My husband is not a big chicken fan, but he raved about how succulent and juicy this was. It will go on my GO TO list for an easy, delicious meal. Thanks for the recipe Kelly!

    1. Hi Jeannie! I’ve never tried that but it should work. You’ll want to adjust the cooking time and make sure to thaw the chicken correctly.

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