Lemon-Thyme Roast Chicken


Rubbing a simple lemon-and-butter all over a whole chicken before roasting creates super juicy, flavorful meat and crisp skin. Slideshow:  Roast Chicken 

Lemon-Thyme Roast Chicken
Photo: © Con Poulos
Active Time:
15 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 15 mins


  • 1/2 stick plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons thyme leaves

  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

  • Kosher salt

  • Pepper

  • One 3 1/2-pound whole chicken, patted dry

  • 1 lemon, quartered


  1. Preheat the oven to 450°. In a small bowl, blend the 1/2 stick of butter with the thyme and 2 tablespoons of the lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper.

  2. Season the chicken cavity with salt and pepper and tuck the lemon inside. Spread one third of the lemon-thyme butter under the skin of the breasts and thighs. Rub the remaining butter all over the chicken and season with salt and pepper.

  3. Set the chicken breast side up in a large cast-iron skillet. Roast for 40 to 45 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the inner thigh registers 160°. Transfer the chicken to a carving board and let rest for 10 minutes.

  4. Meanwhile, skim off all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the pan juices. Stir in the remaining 1 tablespoon of lemon juiceand cook over moderate heat until hot, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter. Season with salt and pepper.

  5. Carve the chicken and transfer to a platter. Spoon the pan sauce on top and serve.

Suggested Pairing

Citrusy Sauvignon Blanc pairs nicely with this lemony chicken. Look for one from New Zealand.

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