Lemon Roast Chicken

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This is a French dish that is just sublime in its simplicity and elegance.

Perfect for a special Sunday dinner, or one of those special occasion dinner gatherings. The lemon, garlic, and white wine deliver a truly delectable sauce, and the slow cooking delivers the juiciest bird you can possibly imagine.  But, it’s so easy to prepare, it makes a spectacular weeknight meal.  You just need to allow time for the roasting. 

A large oval baking dish filled with lemon roast chicken pieces and lemon slices.

How To Make Lemon Roast Chicken

We cannot stress enough that the preparation of this amazing dish is not complicated at all.

If you’re comfortable with your knife skills, then cut up a whole chicken, but if you’re not…no worries! Simply ask your butcher to do it for you. Or, simply go with whatever chicken pieces you happen to have on hand, or what is available at the supermarket.

We love going with chicken legs and chicken thighs. We do recommend selecting skin-on, bone-in for the best flavor.

This oven-roasted chicken can be prepped hours in advance of serving.

For the white wine, we recommend going with a nice dry white wine that you would serve as well for the big feast. A French Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay works well.

Simply toss all the ingredients together and then you’re ready for roasting in an oven preheated to 350°F.

A person using two wooden spoons to mix up uncooked chicken pieces, lemon slices, and herbs in a glass bowl.

How Long to Roast a Chicken

After giving all the ingredients a quick mix in your large bowl, simply transfer it all to a large baking dish or roasting pan.

You’ll need to cover the dish/pan with aluminum foil to maximize the braising process.

EXPERT TIP: Roasting the chicken low and slow will produce extremely tender and juicy chicken. 2 hours at 310 F, covered, is exactly what you want. Remember, covering the dish with a tight-fitting lid or aluminum foil is a must!

A person placing a piece of foil over a baking dish filled with uncooked chicken pieces, lemon slices, and herbs.

Roasting allows the steam underneath the foil to gently cook the roasted chicken to create deeply flavorful and tender meat.

After the chicken has roasted for 2 hours, it’s time to remove the foil and increase the heat.

Carefully remove the foil and stand back from the escaping steam.

A person removing a piece of foil off a a baking dish filled with cooked chicken with sliced lemons, white wine, and herbs.

You’re almost ready to serve the most amazing baked chicken with white wine sauce in the world!

But, now, we need to get the skin nice and crispy.

You won’t believe the amazing aroma your kitchen will be filled with during this process!

A large oval baking dish filled with lemon roast chicken.

What to Serve With the Chicken

We absolutely love to serve this incredible dish with a side of Whipped Yukon Golds with White Cheddar and Chives.

A nice leafy green salad is a lovely addition, as well, but you could also go with our Beet Salad with Dill.

Of course, as we mentioned before, a nice dry white wine is the perfect pairing for the glorious meal. Doesn’t this all just love so incredibly delicious and appealing?

A white plate filled with two roasted chicken pieces, a lemon slice, and mashed potatoes next a glass of white wine.

The gravy, or sauce, that this oven-roasted chicken recipe produces is just divine.

After you have removed the chicken pieces from the dish, you’ll want to strain the leftover sauce.

EXPERT TIP: As the chicken cooks, the skin will render some fat. Once you have strained the sauce, you can pour the liquid into a fat separator and then pour into a gravy boat. Or simply use a spoon to skim the fat from the surface of the sauce. The sauce is ready to go once you’ve removed the excess fat!

A glass gravy bowl pouring gravy over a roasted chicken thigh on a white plate.

Are you ready to make one of the simplest, yet most impressive French meals this side of Paris? Go for it!

And when you make it, be sure to take a photo, post it on Instagram, and tag @HowToFeedaLoon and hashtag #HowTofeedaloon!

A white plate filled with two roasted chicken pieces, a lemon slice, and mashed potatoes next a glass of white wine.

Lemon Roast Chicken

This Lemon Roast Chicken is heavenly. Slow-cooked, covered, for 2 hours, and then uncovered at 400 F for 30 minutes. So amazing! Serve with creamy mashed potatoes and a crusty loaf of bread. French cooking made easy in your very own kitchen!
5 from 6 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Entree
Cuisine: American / French
Keyword: Lemon roast chicken, roast chicken recipe, roasted chicken thighs
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 45 minutes
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 541kcal

Equipment

  • Roasting pan or large roasting dish (3 QT)

Ingredients

  • 1 whole chicken cut into pieces (or use a combo of bone-in breasts, thighs & legs)
  • 6 cloves garlic peeled and roughly sliced
  • 2 large lemons sliced
  • 1 tbsp thyme fresh, chopped
  • 1 tbsp rosemary fresh, chopped
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • ¼ cup dry white wine
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • ½ tsp fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp parsley fresh, chopped, for garnish (optional)

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 315°F.
  • Place the chicken pieces in a large bowl, and all other ingredients, except the parsley. Mix with two large spoons until the chicken is well coated.
  • Transfer to a large roasting pan or baking dish. Sprinkle salt and pepper over the tops of the chicken pieces. Cover tightly with a lid, or aluminum foil, and place in the oven for 2 hours.
  • Remove from the oven, take off the foil, and raise the oven temp to 400°F.
  • Place chicken back in the oven and bake for another 30 minutes, or until nicely browned.
  • Remove from oven, and place baked chicken and lemon slices onto serving dish. Transfer the chicken pieces to a platter and then strain the sauce, discarding any solids. Pour into a fat separator, or use a spoon to skim off any fat that is on the surface. Pour sauce over chicken and pass the remaining at the table. Garnish with chopped parsley. Serve at once!

Video

Notes

We love going with eight pieces from a whole cut-up chicken. But, we also often use whatever we have on hand.  We like using a combination of chicken legs and thighs, but breasts are great, too.  If purchasing a split chicken breast, we recommend cutting it into two pieces to allow for more even cooking across all chicken pieces.
Go with a good dry white wine.  We use a nice Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc and love the taste it delivers. 
You can mix the chicken with the marinade ingredients up to 8 hours in advance. Simply cover the bowl that you mixed everything together in with plastic wrap and then place it in the refrigerator.  This will actually make the chicken taste even better.  But, marinating in the fridge is definitely not required. You can mix everything together, transfer immediately to your roasting pan, and cook the chicken, and the results will be amazing. 
The cooked chicken will keep in the fridge for 4 to 5 days and can be frozen for up to 2 months. 

Nutrition

Calories: 541kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 36g | Fat: 32g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 143mg | Sodium: 427mg | Potassium: 474mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 376IU | Vitamin C: 36mg | Calcium: 61mg | Iron: 3mg
Tried this recipe? Take a Picture!Mention @HowToFeedALoon or tag #HowToFeedALoon!

POST UPDATE: This recipe was originally published in April 2014, but was updated with improved tweaks to the recipe with new tips and photography, and a fabulous new video in September 2020!

22 Comments

  • 5 stars
    I just pulled this out of the oven. OMG it is beautiful and my house smells like a bistro and it was so easy. I didn’t wait for it to marinate, I just put it in the oven and worked in the yard for a couple of hours. Today the store only had bone in breasts, no cut up whole chicken. Next time I’ll go for a Mary’s Organic Chicken and cut it up myself. I definitely need to invest in the fat separator. Someone else said it, the flavors are indeed delicate. This is a keeper and I love the video-you guys are great!

    • Hi Morgen!! We are so so thrilled you loved our lemon roast chicken! It really is heavenly, right? We are so happy you had such great success and it sounds like you made it perfectly!! Thanks so much for letting us know and for the wonderful review! That honestly means so much to us!! Please stay in touch! All the best, Kris & Wesley

  • 5 stars
    I made this last week and it was the best Lemon Chicken I have ever had. So juicy and perfectly scrumptious! Thanks again for another wonderful dinner!

    My next indulgence is going to be your shrimp scampi and that awesome looking lobster tail recipe you have shared with us….

    Judy P

    • Hi Judy!! Woo hoo!! We are so super excited that you love the lemon roast chicken! We love that dish so much, too! And please let us know how the shrimp scampi turns out and what you think! We hope you like it as much as we do!! xoxo Kris & Wesley

  • Made it last night! The flavor was very delicate and loved how meat just fell off the bones. I will definitely buy that fat separator you have so I can make this again! So worth waiting for 2hr and 30mins. Thank you for such a wonderful recipe.

    • Hi Ayako! That is so awesome to hear! Sorry for the late reply, but we wanted to let you know how happy we are that you had such success with the lemon chicken! And when you get a chance, pick up a fat separator! They are really amazing and inexpensive!! Thanks so much for letting us know your results with the recipe! We appreciate that so very much!! Best, Kris & Wesley

    • Hi Ann!
      Absolutely! I use my 6QT Dutch oven for this type of dish all the time. Everything should fit just fine, and it’s okay if there’s a little overlap. Everything will cook down as it braises. Let us know how it turns out and what you think!! Best, Kris & Wesley

  • I concur with all of the previous comments. This is a superb recipe that is very easy for anyone to put together and enjoy. Thank you for your steady posting of wonderful recipes!!!

  • 5 stars
    Thanks so much for this recipe Kris & Wesley …it was a HUGE hit for Sunday night dinner with my hubby & my 86yo mother! I cut up some yellow potatoes and threw them in with the chicken thighs too and everything was so lemony tasty …especially with the drippings added at the table

  • 5 stars
    Dear Kris and Wesley,
    This recipe was indeed a Winner Winner Chicken Dinner! The chicken was incredibly tender and flavorful. Your recipe was easy to follow and make. We had 4 chicken thighs so I made a few minor measurement adjustments, and served it with rice, baby carrots and broccoli. This recipe is a keeper and I plan to make it with mashed potatoes next time which my husband will love!
    Lemon Roast Chicken scores right up there with your Best Ever Salad Recipes, which I have shared often. Thank you very much for your many excellent and entertaining posts!

    • Hi Glo!! You make us so happy!! We flip for this lemon roast chicken, too!! We are so so so happy you love the recipe, and as always, thank you from the bottom of hearts for your ongoing love and support!! We send it right back to you, too!! xoxoxo Kris & Wesley

  • :))))) sorry i meant … above , in the picture above…
    one piece of chicken, one leaf i presume is arugula and the side dish is mashed potato or what?
    thank you! 🙂

  • Hy, i’m Daniela
    i was wondering in the picture bilow appears a piece of chicken, a leaf and …mashed potato or what?

  • Hi there! Love your recipes! Above the recipe during the body of the blog, it says to place the “marinated” chicken with the garlic and lemons but I am not seeing the marinade recipe? I was looking to make this tonight… if I can…

    • Hi Jenn! Sorry for the confusion! The marinade is really just the oil with the herbs and the lemon slices. After tossing them in those ingredients, you’ll want to cover with foil. Then bake until chicken is cooked through, typically about 2 hours. Hope this helps but let us know if you have any other questions! And let us know how it turns out!!! All the best, Kris & Wesley

      • That’s what I figured, just wanted to make sure… and found a beautiful bottle of Macon-Village Chardonnay to go with it for tonight! 🙂 We are super excited to bring some “fabulous” to a mid-week meal! Keep those awesome recipes coming!

      • 5 stars
        IT WAS INCREDIBLE!!!!! I made sure to tag you on Instagram with the picture. I used whole chicken legs since they were on sale at a steal $ and fresh rosemary & thyme out of the garden. Served with herby smashed yukon golds and sautéed garden zucchini. Such a lovely dinner especially on a (cooler) summer evening. This will be one of my go-to recipes for lemon roasted chicken. 🙂

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