If there is one recipe you learn to master, it should be roasting a whole chicken. Whether its Sunday dinner for the family or you want to impress your friends at a dinner party a roast chicken is always a show stopper. And this citrus and herb roasted chicken really brings its A game to supper time.
My first bird I ever roasted was the big bird, a Thanksgiving turkey. I was hunched over my kitchen table with a legal pad and a sharpie (because where are pens when you need them?) writing down the instructions my Father-In-Law, David, was relaying to me over the phone. Arms with my instructions and knowing that he was only a text message away I managed to roast a gorgeous turkey. If you can’t tell, I have really amazing in-laws. I love talking about recipes and cats them.
Cooking this citrus and herb roast chicken is very similar to cooking a turkey except less time and less preparation. The secret is to blend the herbs into the butter and get them all up under the skin. If you are on a Whole 30 or dairy free you can just substitute ghee or olive oil in place of the butter. Just use your fingers or a spatula to break the skin from the breast and work it all the way through. It will come up much easier than you would imagine. Then use the remaining butter to cover all the outside skin.
You might notice that I don’t truss (that means tying the legs together) my chicken. This is mainly because I never have kitchen twine around and I’m really bad at tying knots. If you want, you are more than welcome to truss it. People usually truss a chicken to make sure that the breast doesn’t dry out from too much hot air going through the cavity. You can prevent this by making sure the cavity is fully stuffed with the aromatics. Let me know if you have more questions about this and I’d be happy to help.
Tips for making the best citrus and herb roast chicken:
- Fully dry the skin. It took me a while when I was first learning to cook to understand that I wasn’t drying my proteins enough. Wet skin will not crisp properly. No need to break out a blow dryer, but just be sure to not skip this step.
- Use a meat thermometer. I will never stop preaching about the incredible invention that is a meat thermometer. It is invaluable in making sure your chicken is at the perfect temperature and completely cooked through. You will want to measure the temperature in the thickest part of the chicken, the thigh.
- Let it rest! I know it is hard to wait, but seriously let your chicken rest before you begin cutting into it. At least 15 minutes. I promise it will still be plenty hot, but all the delicious juices won’t just spill out if you give it a few minutes.
My inspiration for this recipe comes from my Father-In-Law, Ina Garten’s perfect roast chicken, and reading ridiculous amounts of recipes over the years. The best way to learn how to be a good cook besides actually cooking is to read lots and lots of recipes. I believe in taking the things that work and trying to make them work even better the next time. I hope that you take this recipe and find your own special way of making it.
If you’ve been scared to try roasting a chicken, now is the time to do it! And please don’t forget to comment and rate this recipe and share your pictures with me on Instagram with #thesimplesupper.
- 3-4 lbs Chicken thawed
- 2 Tbsp Butter
- 1/2 Tbsp Thyme minced
- 1/2 Tbsp Rosemary minced
- 1 Tsp Parika
- 1/2 Tsp Salt and Black Pepper
- 2 Sprigs Thyme and Rosemary for stuffing
- 1 Onion chopped into even pieces
- 2 Carrots chopped into even pieces
- 2 Lemons Sliced
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Mix the butter, herbs, and spices to create a compound butter mixture.
Remove giblets from chicken and set aside or freeze to use for stock later. Rinse the chicken and pat it dry with a paper towel.
Using your fingers or a spatula gently loosen the skin from the meat starting at the back end. Be very careful to not tear the skin. Once you have loosened the skin take half of the butter mixture and work it across the breast under the skin.
Use the remaining butter mixture and rub it over the body of the chicken covering all of the surface area. Place chicken into cast iron skillet or roasting pan.
Place the sprigs of rosemary and thyme into the cavity along with the slices of one lemon and 1/4 of the onion.
Take the remaining onion and carrots and arrange around the chicken. Place the slices of the remaining lemon over the the vegetables.
Cook chicken at 500 degrees for 20 minutes to help the skin brown. Then turn heat down to 350 degrees and continue to cook for another 45 minutes or until the chicken has reached at least 170 degrees all over. If it over browning but not yet cooked through, cover the breast with tinfoil loosely. Let rest for 10 minutes and then serve!
If you are on a Whole30 substitute the butter with ghee or olive oil in an equal amount.
You may need…
The following are affiliate links which means that at no cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you click through and purchase. I only recommend products I have used myself or that I believe are highly reliable. You can learn more about this here.
- Lava Tools Meat Thermometer: This isn’t the exact one I use as it is not available online, but it’s very similar and sooooo helpful.
- Lodge Cast Iron Skillet: I’m obsessed with making everything in cast iron. It’s incredible. Lodge is a terrific brand that makes really good quality products. But vintage is always best if you can find it!