Lemon & Herb Roasted Chicken

If you’ve got a hungry family to feed, there’s nothing better than a whole chicken roasting in the oven with that irresistible aroma of lemon and fresh herbs driving everyone in the house crazy with anticipation… 

whole30 compliant recipe markI know roasted whole chicken is nothing new…but I wanted to make this one a newbie-friendly recipe anyone could pull off like a gourmet chef.

Choosing the right chicken for this recipe is important if you want the best nutrition and taste. I chose an organic, free-range whole chicken. It really makes a big difference – it’s just so much more tender and juicy than those from the big commercial feedlots. I know not everyone can stretch their paleo budget to pay full price for a whole organic chicken, but I would suggest watching for them to go on sale. Many stores give shoppers a break on the price at least once a month. I paid $13.00 for a 4.5 lb whole organic chicken. And when you add some sweet potatoes and veggies to your shopping cart, you’ve got an amazing meal for under 20 bucks that will feed the average-sized family. For my hubby and I, we had plenty of leftovers which makes me super happy! [av_sidebar widget_area=’Lockerdome’ av_uid=’av-1y75wq’]

For this one I made an herb butter with lemon zest and garlic. I took a rare detour from the paleo rulebook and used a little Kerrygold butter (from grass-fed cows) for this recipe – but if you want to keep it 100% paleo, just use ghee instead of butter.

I also scattered onions and lemon around the chicken and even stuffed the cavity to really ramp up the flavor. Then I covered that bad boy with the herb butter and even got my brush under the skin of the breast. Baste it halfway through the cooking time if you like. Just be sure to keep an eye on the skin of the chicken while it cooks. When it reaches the golden color you want but still has some cooking time left on the clock, just tent it with foil until it’s done.

Oh, and one more thing…I highly recommend investing in a digital meat thermometer like the one I use (Amazon.com link). It’s not very expensive and it really does take the guesswork out of your cooking so you’ll always know when your bird or roast is done!

Enjoy this savory, lemony, moist and awesome paleo and gluten-free roasted chicken! It’s a simple recipe I know everyone in your family will love.

Lemon Herb Roasted Chicken Recipe

Lemon Herb Roasted Chicken Recipe


  • 3 Tbsp butter or ghee
  • 4 minced garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • 1 whole organic chicken (about 4 lbs.) cleaned and dried
  • 2 lemons, zest both
  • 1 small onion, cut into wedges
  • Salt, pepper and paprika to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 425º F
  2. In a bowl, mix the butter or ghee, garlic, thyme, rosemary and zest from 2 lemons. Add a little salt and pepper
  3. Place chicken (patted dry) inside a roasting pan
  4. Slice one of the lemons and place inside cavity along with the onion wedges and a few extra rosemary and thyme sprigs
  5. Tie legs together (optional) with water-soaked twine
  6. Brush chicken with the butter/ghee and seasoning mixture you prepared in the bowl. Place some under the breast skin if possible.
  7. Squeeze juice from the remaining lemon over the chicken, then sprinkle skin with salt, pepper and a little paprika
  8. Roast in 425º F oven for about 1 hour (using a meat thermometer is highly recommended – when the temperature reaches 165º F, the chicken is cooked through)
  9. Remove from oven and let rest for 15 minutes before slicing and serving
  10. Important Tip:
  11. If skin starts to darken too much while roasting, lightly place aluminum foil over the chicken and leave in place for the remainder of the cooking time

Join the Conversation

  1. Tried this today and it was amazing, I had a baked sweet potato and some grilled green beans. The chicken looked exactly like the picture. Thank so much for a new yummy recipe to add to my books!

    1. Thea, You are most welcome! Your meal sounds delicious! thanks you for taking the time to comment. :)

  2. This may be a dumb question, but I’ve never made a whole chicken, so I’m wondering do you eat the skin and do you eat any thing that inside the bird? Or just legs, breasts, and thighs? Thanks!

    1. Made this for dinner tonight and it was amazing! I ate a little of the skin but I don’t care for it as much as skinning the chicken first. My whole family loved the chicken. I also roasted carrots, zucchini and onions along side the chicken. OH, and this took much longer than 40 minutes! I had a 3.75 lb chicken and it took over an hour to cook. I have a very good, fast digital thermometer too.

      1. Hi Megan, I’m so happy you enjoyed the chicken! Love roasting veggies with it as well. I agree with the timing on the Chicken. It has taken be 40 min to over an hour. I think part of it depends on how cold the bird is before you start roasting. But since you have a great thermometer, it will always be perfect! :) Thanks for stopping by to comment!

    2. Megan, I just eat the chicken. I roast veggies along side sometimes and use the leftovers for chicken salad or soup. And the bones are great for bone broth!

  3. Have you ever made chicken broth from the bones after making this recipe? I’m wondering if the bone broth would taste overly “lemony” as opposed to a more basic roasted chicken? Have you had any experience with this? Thanks!!

    1. Megan, it will not be overly lemony. It will be awesome! I have done it a few times already! :)

  4. This was so delicious! I have made lemon chicken before that was good but this is beyond that. I think it was the zest that put it over the top. Sorry to say I was not at home to use fresh thyme so I used dried with the fresh rosemary and it worked great but would much rather have had the fresh. I might also add to those tempted to substitute, use butter only. It is a good fat and has flavor you can’t get otherwise.

    1. Thank you so much! I agree on the butter, but stuck to ghee as many people can’t tolerate the dairy and is not considered paleo. I’m so happy you enjoyed the recipe and really appreciate you taking the time to let me know! :) It’s one of my favs too!

  5. The cooking time is definitely not right (at least not for my oven)- the chicken is still in the oven and I’m cooking it for already an hour and 15 mins. I’m afraid I’m gonna overcook it, but it doesn’t look ready.
    Could the reason for this long cooking time be that my oven is not a conventional one?

    1. I have done this several times with about a 4 lb whole chicken and the cooking time is always about the same. It could be your chicken is larger. Or the internal temp of your oven might be off? I always mention this because it happened to me until I checked and realized the internal temp was 15 degree less than it was reading. Also using a thermometer is the best indicator if the bird is done. If it starts getting too brown, lightly tent with foil until cooking complete.

      1. Thank you for the reply!
        The total cooking time at the end was 1 hour and 50 minutes. And the size of the chicken was about 3.3 lbs, so this should not affect the cooking time.
        It’s definitely my oven , I think I need to increase the temperature next time.

        Nevertheless, the chicken turned out delicious, I’m for sure making it again :)

  6. Could I use an oil of some sort instead of butter? My children are allergic to dairy. This looks so yummy ?

    1. Ghee would be great Amber. It has all of the flavor of butter with no dairy! :) (It’s simply clarified butter-the milk solids are removed)

  7. Hey there! If I were just going to do 2 breasts instead of a whole chicken, what would you suggest changing for temp/time/ amount of spices?

    1. If they’re big bone in breasts, the spices won’t should be fine. Cooking time will be less. If you don’t have a meat thermometer, I suggest you get one. I never trust oven times, because they vary so much. And the thermometers are so inexpensive! :)

  8. This looks so good! If I were to roast 2 small birds at a time, should I double the time you’ve recommended?

    1. Hi Sabrina, I would a meat thermometer to get to 160º-165ºF internal temperature for each bird. I’d also make sure the heat can circulate around each bird. It might take a bit longer with two, but not all that much.

      1. I don’t have a meat thermometer, my chicken is almost 5 lbs, do you have a guesstimate on how long it might take?!

        1. Probably about 2 hrs?

  9. Is it okay to use olive oil instead of butter?

    1. Hi Kelsey, you sure could!

  10. Can you marinate it over night?

    1. Sure! :)

  11. This is so delicious! I make it at least once a month :) Thanks for sharing.

    1. You are welcome Tara! I’m so glad you enjoy the recipe! I love it too! :)

  12. Any tips to keep the bird from getting mushy? Every time I have tried to roast in the oven or crockpot I get mushy chicken.

    1. Carrie, that’s why I don’t like a crockpot for roasting. It’s not the same. Roast it in the oven with a meat thermometer. If you use the oven, it should never be “mushy” and a meat thermometer is a must for a whole chicken or turkey. Also, check the internal temp of your oven to make sure it’s reading the correct temp. Mine was off by 15 degrees for a while before figured out what was up. Hope this helps!

  13. The chicken turned out so juicy and was bursting with flavor. Another winner from the Paleo Newbie!

    1. Yay! Thank you Jen! I love this recipe because it’s so easy and gives you awesome chicken for a couple of days! :) Thanks for letting me know you like the recipe! :)

  14. This was delicious! So flavorful and juicy!

    1. Thank you! I’m glad you enjoyed it. I happen to LOVE this recipe. So easy! Thanks for taking the time to let me know!:)

  15. The picture looks awesome, can’t wait to give this a go, sounds like a great way to get chicken tasting less bland!

  16. This look beyond awesome!!

  17. This looks delicious.

  18. This looks delicious.

  19. Wow. That looks delicious!

  20. Wow. That looks delicious!

  21. In Portugal… we call that “churrasco” yumm

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