Roast Lemon Pepper Chicken

Prep: 10 min | Cook: 60 min | Rest: 20 min | Serves: 4


1 4-pound whole chicken, rinsed and patted dry (discard the giblets, or save them for gravy)

1 stick salted butter, room temperature

1 tablespoon sea salt

1 teaspoon coarse black pepper

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 lemons, quartered

2 tablespoons of lemon zest


Preheat the oven to 425°F.

Place the chicken on the rack of roasting pan that has been filled with 1/2" of water. The water will serve two purposes, to keep the drippings from burning as the chicken roasts, and also to make a great gravy base. Tuck the wings under the body of the chicken. Stuff the cavity with the lemon quarters.

Mix the butter, salt, pepper and lemon zest together in a small bowl.  Gently slide your hand under the skin atop each breast to create two pockets. Spread 1/3 of the butter mixture under the skin on one side, then smooth it out by rubbing the top of the skin. Repeat with the second side.

Spread the remaining butter mixture on top of the chicken, taking care to coat the drumsticks and sides of the chicken. Drizzle with olive oil.

Roast the chicken for about 60 minutes, or until the skin is crispy and the juices run clear. Temperature with an instant-read thermometer should read about 170°F when taken deeply in the thigh.

Let the chicken rest for about 20 minutes before carving.


Liza Hawkins | (a)Musing Foodie | August 2012