As I wrote in my on Roast Chicken 101, my kitchen hasn’t seen much action since I was traveling over the holidays. To kick off the week (and get my kitchen smelling delicious!) I spent Sunday afternoon making this deliciously simple Lemon Thyme Roast Chicken. It only takes about 10 minutes to prep the chicken and ingredients, then it slowly roasts in the oven for 90 minutes. You basically can just forget about it…although the the amazing scent of garlic and thyme will remind you of what’s cooking.
I usually make this roast chicken on Sunday nights, so I have plenty of leftovers for the week. Once it’s done roasting and cooled, I pull the chicken meat off the bone and store it in a Tupperware in the fridge. The leftover chicken is perfect for sandwiches, salads, pasta dishes – you name it! Invest the time to buy and prep this roast chicken, and it’ll save you so much time throughout the week.
And, did I mention it’s really healthy? I use a light brushing olive oil to coat the chicken and give it a golden color while it roasts. The rest of the ingredients include lemon, garlic, fresh thyme, salt and pepper. It can’t get more simple and tasty than that!
Some people like to add carrots, potatoes and onions to the pan and have them roast along with the chicken. While I’ve tried this many times, I usually don’t eat them and prefer to prepare a vegetable side separately. I think the quartered lemons make a beautiful presentation and help flavor the outside of the chicken too.
- 1 whole chicken (~4-5 pounds)
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 bunch of fresh thyme, a few sprigs reserved for garnish
- 1 head of garlic, cut in half cross-wise
- 3 lemons - 1 lemon cut in half cross-wise, 2 lemons quartered
- 2 tablespoons butter, softened
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
- Rinse inside and outside of chicken with cold water. Trim off excess fat and pull off any feathers. Rest the chicken on a cutting board or large cookie sheet. Use paper towels to pat the chicken dry.
- Generously sprinkle salt and pepper inside chicken, and add thyme, garlic, and 2 lemon halves.
- Using kitchen twine, tie up the chicken legs (see video link in Notes) and tuck the wings under the chicken.
- Brush the outside of the chicken with butter, and liberally sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Transfer the chicken to a baking dish or small roasting pan. Arrange lemon quarters around the chicken and extra thyme for garnish.
- Roast for 90 minutes or until a food thermometer reads 170 degrees F when inserted in the thickest part of the chicken's breast.