Lemon Garlic Roast Chicken

March 13, 2014

in Cook What You Like, Main Dishes

Lemon Garlic Roast Chicken

Just about everyone needs a “tried and true” versatile chicken dish – one that is simple to put together even for Sunday dinner.  Lemon Garlic Roast Chicken is one of those reliable standbys appearing in this kitchen often.  With only four basic ingredients, this succulent chicken dish can be embellished with the ingredients you have on hand.  Here’s how it works:

  • choose chicken pieces that are meaty – thighs or breasts. Cut breast halves in half crosswise so that they are similar in size to the thighs.  If chicken legs are popular in your home, put those in the middle of the baking sheet.  They’ll cook faster than the larger pieces and might need to be removed earlier. Roast the chicken skin side up;
  • smash 2 cloves of garlic per chicken piece.  Use the side of your French chef knife or cleaver to flatten the garlic – no need to chop;
  • scrub the rind of the fresh lemon well with the non-scratch side of a clean sponge to release the oils and clean the lemon.  If you have preserved lemons in the pantry or fridge, us those as they are delicious in this recipe;
  • toss everything together with sliced yellow onion and season with salt and ground black pepper.  Throw in fresh or dried herbs of your choice – cut sage, minced parsley, julienned tarragon or use only a couple of twigs of thyme.  Add oil and mix all together;
  • pour everything onto a baking sheet placing the chicken pieces in the middle, spacing the chicken pieces a finger’s width apart.  Arrange onions around the edges.  If desired, add cut potatoes, carrots or yams that have been coated in oil along the edges of the baking sheet.  A single layer is best;
  • Roast at 475º F for 45 minutes.  Roasting at high heat helps keep the chicken moist and juicy.

Recipe: Lemon Garlic Roast Chicken

Six chicken pieces is about all that’ll fit on a large baking sheet without crowding.  Increase seasonings proportionally.  If using two baking sheets, rotate sheets top to bottom and front to back 25 minutes into roasting and increase roasting time by 10-15 minutes.


  • 4 pieces chicken with bones and skin (thighs or 2 breast halves cut in half crosswise)
  • 8 cloves fresh garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 1 small yellow or white onion (cut onion in half and slice each half into 3 pieces)
  • 1/2 fresh lemon or preserved lemon, sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme and herbs of your choice for approximately 1 Tablespoon total
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • potatoes, yams or carrots, coated in olive oil, optional


1.  Marinate chicken: in a large bowl, add all ingredients except for potatoes, yams or carrots. Mix well, cover and let marinate for a couple of hours or a maximum of overnight refrigerated.

2.  Prepare for roasting: line a rimmed baking sheet with foil for ease of cleaning. Pour chicken mixture onto the prepared baking sheet, moving onions to the edges to let chicken sit directly on the pan. Place chicken skin side up.  If using, add vegetables along the edge of the baking sheet.

3.  Roast at 475º F degrees: preheat oven to 475º F degrees. Position wire rack(s)  in middle of oven.  Roast chicken for a total of 45 minutes, uncovered for 20-30 minutes and loosely covered with foil for the remaining time.  Check for doneness by sticking a fork into a thick chicken piece.  If the juices run clear, chicken is ready.  Removed from oven and let chicken sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Makes 2-4 servings.

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