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Easy Roast Chicken with Lemon - with tips for preparing your bird

Updated on October 28, 2012

I have baked many a chicken. I generally go with the standard: rinse, pat dry, season, bake at 350° for 20 minutes per pound.

One day I was looking for a recipe to save me from my boring old chicken. I managed to combine ingredients and techniques from several different recipes to come up with one that worked for me. The result is below.

This is a simple recipe for a roast chicken rubbed with spices and lemon. It is cooked at a high heat to make the skin dark and crsipy.

For those of you that shy away from handling raw poultry, this recipe is not for you. By the end, you will be very aquainted with your bird.


  • 6-7 lb whole chicken
  • one whole lemon
  • olive oil or softened butter
  • italian seasoning (or similar dry herb mix)
  • poultry seasoning
  • garlic powder
  • black pepper
  • string (soaked in water)

Preparing the Seasoning

Preheat the oven to 425°

Mix the seasonings with just enough softened butter or olive oil to make a loose paste.

The amounts of seasoning are up to your tastes and the size of your chicken. I generally use at least a few tablespoons of herbs, a generous amount of garlic powder and poultry seasoning, and just a touch of pepper. A little pepper goes a long way.

Preparing the Chicken

Rinse the chicken inside and out with cold water. Pat dry.

Tuck the tips of the wings underneath the chicken.

Cut the lemon in half and squeeze the juice on the outisde and inside of the chicken. Put the squeezed lemon aside.

Loosen the skin of the chicken by sticking your fingers between the skin and meat. Apply the seasoning "paste" everywhere: under the skin, the outside of the bird, AND the inside. Put the lemon halves inside the chicken. Tie the ends of the legs together with the string (this keeos them from falling apart).

Cooking Instructions

Place the chicken in a roasting pan or shallow baking dish.

Place in a 425° oven for about 1 1/2 hours. Or until a meat ther mometer or pop-up timer indicates it is done.

Keep an eye on your bird. I cover my chicken loosely with foil about halfway through, then remove the foil for the last ten minutes. This keeps the skin from burning and keeps it crispy too.

For those of you who are like me and tend to skip steps, Don't!: Seasoning the bird on the inside and stuffing with lemon really make a difference. And trust me, tie the legs together or they could easily fall off. If you have never done this beore it is easy. This it how this untrained cook does it: Use regular string or twine: no dies, no plastic! Tie the string around the end of one leg, leaving plenty of string at both ends. Pull the legs together. Loop sopme string around the other leg and then tie the two together. Relax, it doesnt need to be perfect. Whatever works is just fine.


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    • DanaTeresa profile image

      Dana Strang 5 years ago from Ohio

      alcosin - thanks! i was really surprised how much this tastes like the rotisserie chickens they have at the supermarket. only much less salty and much fresher tasting! hope you like it. :)

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 5 years ago from Orange County, CA

      Sounds and looks delicious. I'll forward this to the family cook. Voting this Up and Useful.

    • DanaTeresa profile image

      Dana Strang 5 years ago from Ohio

      lovedoctor926 - when I tried itI was surprised at how much better the lemon and seasoning inside made it! hope you like it. thanks for that vote!

    • profile image

      lovedoctor926 5 years ago

      looks delicious. voted up!

    • DanaTeresa profile image

      Dana Strang 5 years ago from Ohio

      Mary615 - thanks for reading. I always read about seasoning the inside of the chicken and stuffing with lemons and things, but i never tried it. i didn't think it would do much. boy does it make a difference! thank u for the vote and share!

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 5 years ago from Florida

      My family loves chicken! This looks very good, too.

      I voted it UP, and shared.

    • DanaTeresa profile image

      Dana Strang 5 years ago from Ohio

      Mel, I will come over and teach you how to make it. Though I think you might be one of those "I dont like to touch raw chicken" people. We will get you some gloves.

    • profile image

      Me 5 years ago

      You will have to come over and make it for me ;)