Make Mine a Citrus Chicken

When cold season is knocking on the door, a little extra vitamin C, found in abundance in citrus fruits like oranges and lemons, is a welcome dinner guest. What’s more, the tangy flavor and bright colors make lemons a cheerful addition to any kitchen. Considering that lemons are versatile flavor powerhouses that can perk up every course from crisp salad to sweet dessert, this is one fruit your pantry should never be without. The simplicity of this roast chicken makes it the perfect dish to start playing more with lemons while they’re in season this winter.

Roasted Lemon Chicken Atop Rosemary Carrots & Potatoes
Roasted Lemon Chicken Atop Rosemary Carrots & Potatoes / I Believe I Can Fry / CC BY 2.0

Lemon Garlic Roasted Chicken

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Traditional, simple, and delicious, this recipe uses a classic poultry cooking technique called spatchcocking, or butterflying, to open the chicken up. It’s a good technique to learn, because it lets you roast a whole chicken in under an hour!

Tip: While the chicken is cooking, roast a pan of your favorite veggies on the lower rack to make the best use of the hot oven.

Servings: 6 (189 g )

Prep Time: 5 min.

Cook Time: 35 min.


  • 1 (3 lb.) chicken
  • 3 lemons, divided
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary


  1. Preheat oven to 450ºF. Using kitchen shears, butterfly the chicken by cutting along either side of the backbone and removing the bone. Place the chicken breast side up and press down firmly (you may hear a snap) until it lies flat. Place it in a baking pan, breast side up.
  2. Thinly slice 2 lemons. Lift the skin up from the breast and work half of the lemon slices under the skin along the breast meat, along with the garlic and rosemary. Lay the remaining lemon slices on top of the chicken.
  3. Slice the remaining lemon in half. Squeeze the juice of both halves over the chicken.
  4. Roast the chicken for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 400ºF and continue roasting until internal temperature of the thickest part of the breast reaches a minimum of 165ºF (30-35 minutes).
  5. Tent with foil and let rest 5-10 minutes.