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Lemon Garlic Roast Chicken

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 4 reviews
  • Author: Abbe Odenwalder
  • Prep Time: 20 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 75-90 Minutes
  • Total Time: 95 Minutes
  • Yield: 4-6 Servings 1x
  • Category: Main Course
  • Method: Roasting
  • Cuisine: American


Lemon Garlic Roast Chicken is a classic recipe that everyone should have in their repertoire. This spatchcocked chicken with an amazing aroma is so worth it!



1 3 1/2 to 4 lb chicken, preferably fresh
1 1/2 T chopped garlic
2 T chopped fresh thyme or 4 t dried
3 T fresh lemon juice
Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper
1 T Olive Oil
2 lemons
1/2 t brown sugar
Chopped Green onions for garnish


Rinse the chicken and pat dry. Remove giblets and all visible fat. I always cut off the tail, though I know some people eat it. Get to know your chicken by loosening its skin. Slide your hands underneath the breast and carefully working your way to its legs.

Now turn the bird over and using your shears, start on one side of the backbone and cut up the side of it to the other side. Now do the same on the other side of the backbone. Discard the backbone. Flatten the bird out a bit by pressing a bit on the breast bone.

In a food processor, puree the garlic, the thyme, the lemon juice and 1/2 t salt and 1/2 t pepper. (If you want you can also puree this with about 4 T butter. This makes a very rich chicken, but it isn’t necessary. Just good.)

Now lift up the skin that you loosened and rub this into the breast and legs. Rub the remaining mixture over the outside of the chicken on both sides. Sprinkle with additional salt and pepper. I  love lots of seasoning on chicken. It is hard to over season. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least four hours and up to overnight.

About 30 minutes, before you are ready to bake the chicken, remove from fridge and bring to room temperature. Preheat oven to 400.

Use a 12″ cast iron skillet rubbed with 1 T of oil. ┬áThinly slice the lemons, discarding the seeds. Arrange the slices evenly on the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle with brown sugar. Turn the heat to medium high and cook for 5 minutes. Add the chicken, skin side down and continue cooking for 10 minutes. Slide a wooden spoon under the chicken to prevent it from sticking to the lemons. Peek under the chicken to make sure your chicken is turning a nice golden brown.

Place the skillet, chicken side still down, in the preheated oven. Roast for 30 minutes. Leaving the layer of lemons on the bottom of the skillet, if possible, turn the chicken skin side up.

Continue roasting for 30-55 minutes longer, until the juices run clear, when the thigh is pierced with a skewer or a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the leg registers 165 degrees F.

If the chicken needs additional crisping, run it under the broiler for a few minutes, though this doesn’t happen to me. Let the chicken rest for about 10 minutes and then using your shears, slice this big bird into serving pieces. I usually quarter it to serve 4, but you can also slice the breast into slices, or into two pieces, and serve up to 6.