The Best Roasted Lemon Chicken Recipe Ever - 2 Dads with Baggage
roasted chicken pieces with lemon, shallot, rosemary.

The Best Roasted Lemon Chicken Recipe Ever

This delicious and savory Roasted Lemon Chicken recipe is a family favorite. It is moist and delicious and makes the whole house smell like my grandmother’s kitchen. I’m telling you, throw out all of your other chicken recipes. This is the one you want to keep. It smells like home to me.

Why are people afraid of making a whole chicken? It’s actually very easy with this recipe. And I love making this Roasted Lemon Chicken recipe because it reminds me of family dinners I had growing up. Every Sunday, dinner was like a celebration. There was always lots of laughter and lots of people, loud and fun. And the food…oh the food! The food was always simple, plentiful and made with a Sicilian flair passed on through generations. 

plate of roasted lemon chicken with green beans and pasta
Serve this Roasted Lemon Chicken recipe with green beans and some farfalle pasta with cream and poppy seeds.

Roasted Lemon Chicken Recipe Based on Love

I have always tried to recreate those fresh, full flavors in my cooking. Although I may not always able to make dishes like my mother or my Nana, I love trying. This Roasted Lemon Chicken recipe is as close as I am going to get trying to replicate the love on a plate I grew up with. Before you make this dish though, check out some answers to common questions about cooking chicken.

Should you rinse your chicken?

There is a great cultural war going on regarding the rinsing (or not) of raw chicken. Experts have said washing raw chicken before cooking it can actually increase the risk of food poisoning. Water splashing onto work surfaces, cooking utensils, or your hands may contain bacteria. So if you do rinse your chicken, just be careful. The truth is that washing chicken doesn’t destroy germs anyway. That being said, I like to rinse my chicken in lemon juice. It helps to break down the raw chicken so the spice and marinade can better penetrate it. This will help to create chicken that is extra moist and flavorful.

My family loves it when I make this chicken because it’s juicy and flavorful.

How can you make your chicken moist?

Rinsing raw chicken with lemon juice is one thing you can do to make your chicken moist, but there are other steps you can take as well. If you are making boneless breasts or thigh filets, try pounding your chicken into thinner pieces to help break down the meat before cooking. This will also help it cook faster!

Cooking at the right temperature is important too. Don’t try to cook at a higher temperature to cut down the cooking time. High temperatures will create dry, overcooked chicken. And please only cook room temperature chicken. No frozen chicken! Using a marinade, brine or glaze will also help to infuse flavor and juiciness.

What’s the healthiest way to cook chicken?

Plain chicken is low in calories per ounce and super high in protein. There’s a reason why it has been a staple in family cooking for generations. However, there are ways to cook it (I’m looking at you frying pan) that can make it heavy, greasy and generally unhealthy. I’m a big believer in eating all foods in moderation and nothing being “off limits”. However, I have learned baking or grilling chicken or even adding it to a stir fry are all good ways to cook this poultry in a way that doesn’t add extra calories.

This whole chicken recipe I have for you below calls for baking. To be healthier, try to avoid adding tons of butter, oil or other fats. A little goes a long way.  

The Best Roasted Lemon Chicken Recipe Ever

Fresh ingredients help give this recipe for Roasted Lemon Chicken added flavor.

Serves 4


  • 1 whole chicken
  • 2 whole lemons, sliced into wedges
  • 3 shallots, coarsely chopped
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, halved
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, coarsely chopped
  • 4 Tbs butter + 1 Tbs, softened
  • 1 Tbs dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
Peel the skin back to stuff garlic and spices underneath.


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Coat bottom and sides of a roasting dish with 1 tablespoon butter.
  2. Place chicken in baking dish and spread whole bird with remaining butter to completely cover the skin all over.
  3. Stuff the cavity with combination of lemon wedges, shallots, garlic and rosemary.
  4. With remaining garlic and rosemary, wedge pieces under skin of chicken along cavity and push forward as far as you can. Repeat this process until garlic and rosemary are dispersed underneath skin.

    raw whole chicken stuffed and ready for the oven
    Stuffed and seasoned, your whole chicken is ready for the oven.
  5. Distribute remaining lemon wedges, shallots, garlic and rosemary on bottom of dish surrounding chicken.
  6. Sprinkle whole chicken with paprika, garlic powder, salt, pepper and oregano.
  7. Place chicken uncovered into oven to roast for 40 minutes.
  8. Remove and let stand for 5 minutes before cutting into serving size pieces.

What can you make with leftover chicken?

We LOVE leftover chicken because it’s so versatile. There are so many things we can make with it. This helps to stretch your grocery budget as well as make use of food that otherwise might be wasted. Plus, when you reimagine leftover chicken as a new dish your daughters won’t complain that we’re having “that” again. Maybe.

whole roasted lemon chicken in pan with juices
Roasting the whole chicken gives it extra tenderness and juice.

Here are some of my favorite recipes you can make with leftover chicken.

  1. Slow-Cooker Mexican Shredded Chicken Thighs Recipe
  2. Keto-Friendly Baked Chicken Flautas Recipe
  3. Hearty White Chicken Chili Recipe A Big Family Hit
  4. Recipe for Chicken Gyro Pita Wraps with Sour Cream Sauce
  5. Easy Asian Chicken Taco Recipe


Sign up for Cookbook Recipe Updates!

    Array We can book your trip! Let us help you plan.

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *