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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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.

  17. 5 stars
    I love this recipe. After 15 minutes I turn the oven down to 325 degrees for the remainder of the cooking time. The chicken comes out really moist and delicious! Baste often.

  18. oops…just saw it. Apologies! Just paranoid. My boyfriend is the cook and I need to step it up and at lest try. (I never, ever cook!)

  19. 3 stars
    I’m not sure if I did something wrong, but 450º seemed way too high. The garlic burned after the first 15 minutes. This is the 2nd time I have made this recipe and the same thing has happened. Flavors and everything else is delicious. I’m wondering if anyone else has experienced a similar situation with the garlic burning. I am basting every 10 minutes and adding liquid.

      1. If I do it on a rotisserie on the bbq with lid closed would this still work. And why 450? Just making sure as I’m about to do it soon

  20. 5 stars
    This was VERY good. I tossed a couple cloves of garlic inside the cavity, too, just because I wasn’t sure there was already enough garlic. lol! I also squeezed a bit of the lemon juice into the garlic butter mix so there was lemon on the chicken skin.

    I love the smell of garlic, and my apartment was filled with it.

  21. I have never made a whole chicken before. Do I need to cover it with foil? I am excited to try your recipe!

  22. Tried it today, first time I made my own chicken! Great recipe. I covered my chicken with foil and the last 15 minutes I took it off. Instead of mincing my garlic I roasted it for 40 mins on gas mark 5 and added softened butter in a bowl which I left on the window sill on a sunny day for 15 minutes. I feel it really makes a difference. All ideas came from this recipe though thank you!

  23. I made this tonight and it was so good!! I added a little white white to the bottom of the pan to sort of deglaze it when I felt like it was getting too dry to baste! It worked great. I also needed to cook it for an hour and 15 because my chicken was about 5 lbs. I’ll definitely be making it again. My boyfriend loved it!

  24. I am cooking it in my roster over not in my stoveas my stoves broken at the moment , it smells amazing . My kids and hubby cannot wait for it to be done. Thank u for the recipe

  25. I ended up loosely covering the chicken with foil because it smoked up my entire kitchen. So far it looks delish, and lovely and brown, but still needs some cooking. I’ll check in again later!

      1. I’m not sure I would do this recipe in a slow cooker. I’ve read recently that using a Crock Pot for large pieces of meat or whole chickens can be dangerous because the slow cooker may not kill all the bacteria. Suggestion might be to split the chicken in two.

  26. Tried this tonight with a 5 pound chicken. It was delicious and a hit at my house. I didn’t have a lemon, so I used a lime. We couldn’t taste the lime, but the rosemary added great flavor. The rosemary was from my herb garden, so very fresh. The meat was very juicy. Convection roasting at 450 degrees, the five pounder took 1 hour and fifteen minutes. Thanks much for the recipe.

    1. Hi Lace – I haven’t tried that so I can’t say for certain what the results will be, but my initial thought is that it should work. Just be sure to rotate the pan after every time you baste the chicken to guarantee even cooking, and make sure each chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165ºF. Let me know if you give it a shot!

  27. I cooked this chicken for a party of 4 & everyone LOVED it.
    It was so juicy and tender. I am adding this to my dinner dishes!

  28. I used your recipe last night because I’ve never made a really crispy-skinned and deliciously flavoured roast chicken and it was divine! The skin was so crispy and delicious, and the lemon flavour throughout was subtle and just right.

  29. Can’t find recipe for garlic lemon roasted chicken, nothing happens when I click on it, the reviews sound great & want to try, help

    1. Hi Lisa – If you’re viewing the site on a mobile device, click TAP HERE TO READ THE FULL POST and scroll down to view the recipe.

  30. Hi! The recipe looks amazing and simple to work with:) I was wondering if this would also work for chicken drumsticks. If so what temp and time would i be able to leave it for? Thanks you.

    1. It should! I haven’t made this recipe with that substitution though so I’m not sure what the bake time would be.

  31. do you really roast this chicken for one hour at 450? or do you turn down the heat after 10 minutes or so? Looks delish!

  32. It’s all good Susan. Pope Francis says we can make the choice whether or not to eat meat on Friday during Lent. We just need to love one another as He has loved us.

  33. When a pan causes food to cook too fast add just a little water my dad taught me that trick when he didn’t have good quality pans during his bachelor days. It help me during mine.

  34. I made this last night. It was incredibly easy and omg so moist and so much flavor. It was perfect until my husband reminded me it was good Friday and we shouldn’t eat meat -____- we’ll make it up next Friday

  35. Simple yet robust with flavor. I forgot to buy fresh rosemary, so I just used garlic and lemon. It was amazing! My six lb chicken took about 1 hr and 25 mins in addition to 15 mins of rest. Will repeat recipe again!

    1. Hi Sabrina – I wouldn’t recommend doubling the time, but it may be closer to 90 minutes than 60 minutes. You’ll want to start checking the temp of each chicken at the 1-hour mark and then continue as needed until they’re fully cooked.

  36. Oh, My, Goodness. This looks absolutely divine. I love the simplicity of a simple roasted chicken. Bonus is you have bones for stock!

  37. Just a tip we find makes the breast more tender (as it can have a tendency to be a bit dry): turn the chook over (on its breast) while resting for 10 mins. It really works!

  38. There is NOTHING like a good roasted chicken, and yours looks absolutely perfect. Brown, crisp and SO juicy!

  39. I have only once successfully cooked a whole chicken. Something always seems to go wrong! Maybe I need to try again…

  40. Roast chicken is always impressive! This one is gorgeous! Love that you baked it in a cast iron skillet! Pinned!

  41. hmmmm is fantastic i like roast chicken it’s great taste with herb of garlic and rosemary thanks alot for your share this recipe

  42. Mmmmm, I love a good roast chicken. It was one of the first “impressive” things I learned to cook. This version looks really tasty. Especially with the garlic and rosemary. Well done!