Simple Garlic and Herb Lemon Roast Chicken

Simple Garlic and Herb Lemon Roast Chicken


Deliciously tender roast chicken on a weeknight?  Yes please.  Almost no work involved?  Yes please, again!

For this chicken, I created a simple, fresh, pesto-esque marinade.  It’s garlicky, lemony, and herb forward with a slight kick.  This marinade is a great way to use up the fresh herbs you have in your garden (or those small, insanely overpriced containers of herbs you have left over in the refrigerator).  I used fresh parsley, basil, and rosemary.  Oregano or thyme would work as well.  Just be sure to use a heaping 1/2 cup of herbs.

I like to get my bird marinating before heading off to work for the day. When I arrive home, all I have to do is let it come to room temperature and pop it into the oven to roast.  As always, the thought of minimal work in the kitchen on a weeknight makes me a happy camper.  No need to stop at the store on my way home.  No need to give dinner much thought (other than how delish it will be).  This is my idea of an easy, healthy, comforting, and satisfying weeknight meal.  Kick off your shoes, have a glass of wine, and let the oven do the work while you unwind for the day.

Simple Garlic and Herb Lemon Roast Chicken



  • 3 1/2 – 4 lb chicken, butterflied and split in half (breastbone removed)
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary (about 1 tbsp chopped)
  • 1 hot pepper (I used a hot banana pepper), seeds removed and roughly chopped
  • 9 garlic cloves (4 chopped for marinade, 5 left in skins for roasting)
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 lemon sliced into rings
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Rinse your chicken under cold water, dry with paper towel, and remove any extra fat.  Set aside in a large bowl or ziplock bag.  (Side note: When you pick up your chicken from the butcher, ask to have it butterflied and split in half.  I also asked my butcher to pound the chicken so it flattens to an even thickness and allows the chicken to cook evenly).

Make the marinade by combining parsley, basil, rosemary, hot pepper, 4 chopped garlic cloves, olive oil, lemon zest, and lemon juice in a food processor.  Blend until all ingredients are incorporated and it looks like a chunky pesto.

Add marinade to chicken, making sure to get some of the marinade between the skin and the meat.  Simply run your fingers under the skin to make a small pocket for the marinade.  Spoon some of the marinade into the pocket and rub into the meat.  This helps to season the meat, not just the skin.  Cover bowl or seal ziplock bag, and allow chicken to marinate in the refrigerator for a minimum of 3 hours and up to overnight.

Preheat over to 350 degrees.  Pull chicken out of the refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature.

Lay lemon slices and 5 garlic cloves (don’t remove the skins) on a baking tray.  (Side note: Leaving the garlic in the skins allows the garlic to roast and become soft).  Remove chicken from the marinade and place skin side up on top of the lemon slices and garlic.  Pour any additional marinade on top of the chicken.  Salt and pepper your chicken (remember there was no salt or pepper in the marinade so be liberal).

Roast the chicken until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 165 degrees F, about 1 hour and 10 minutes.  Remove the chicken to a cutting board, cover with foil, and allow to rest for 15 minutes before carving.  Carve the chicken into pieces and drizzle with some of the cooking juices leftover in the baking tray.
Serve with roasted garlic cloves, fresh bread, and a nice salad.   (Hint hint: take a piece of fresh bread, dunk it into some of the cooking juices, top with some roasted garlic, and a nice chunk of chicken.  YUM!)
Servings: 4 (Serving Size: 1/4 chicken)

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