Lemon and Thyme Roast Chicken


March 21, 2014 by Sarah


DSC_6156I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve made this roast chicken in the last few months, I figured it was about time already to share it! I’m all over this new way of doing chicken, I think my favorite part is how economical it is. We’ve been buying organic meats as much as possible these days, and the price per pound of a whole chicken is just substantially lower than paying for pieces. Then, the chicken just seems to last for days. For us tonight, it started as roast chicken with pesto pasta. The leftovers are ready for the weekend and as I type, our slow cooker is simmering the chicken bones along with leftover vegetable scraps and some herbs, to greet us with rich, homemade chicken stock in the morning. Part of that stock will be frozen for future use, the other part will be turned into shrimp risotto for tomorrow night’s dinner. Not so bad for one chicken, right?



The recipe is pretty simple. Generously salt the chicken, up to 24 hours in advance. Stuff it with lemon, thyme and garlic. Brush on some melted butter, then pop it in the oven for about an hour and a half.

DSC_6150And don’t forget the add veggies underneath! That’s the BEST part. Just toss sliced yellow onion and chunks of carrot with olive oil, thyme, salt and pepper. The chicken goes on top of it, and as it cooks, bastes the vegetables in its incredibly flavorful juices.

DSC_6149I cook the whole thing in a cast iron skillet and mix the cooked, cut chicken back into the vegetable mixture to serve. It’s delicious. And I should also add how forgiving I’ve found this recipe to be. I have a spastic oven. It regularly heats 35 degrees higher than what you set it to, I can only use the convection oven setting, and on any given day, it decides to decrease or increase it’s temperature by up to 50 degrees. And with just a slight tinkering of the cook time in my head, given how much the chicken weighs and what the oven is doing, we always end up with moist chicken. I’m learning that the cast iron skillet is a big part of this.

Lemon and Thyme Roast Chicken, adapted from Ina Garten and Weelicious.

1 whole chicken, 4-5 lbs
salt and pepper
1 bunch thyme
1 lemon, quartered
small handful of garlic cloves
1 tablespoon melted butter
1 large yellow onion, sliced
5-6 carrots, cut into 2 inch chunks
olive oil

Wash and pat dry the chicken. Liberally salt and pepper the inside of the chicken and stuff with the thyme, lemon, and garlic. Rub the outside of the chicken with a generous amount of salt. Tie the legs together with kitchen twine. Place in a cast iron skillet and refrigerate uncovered for up to 24 hours.

Remove chicken from refrigerator 1-2 hours before cooking. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Toss the onion and carrots in a mixing bowl with olive oil, salt, pepper, and thyme. Remove the chicken from the skillet and set it aside on a plate, and pour the vegetables into the bottom of the skillet. Place the chicken back on top and brush the top with melted butter. Put in the oven and roast for 1hr 20min for a 4 lb chicken. Every half a pound, I would add about 5 more minutes. If you want to be sure it’s done, check that the juices run clear when you cut between the leg and thigh. Clear = done!

Remove from the oven and let rest for 20 minutes. Slice the chicken and serve with the vegetables.



  1. I’ve made a version of this. So easy, so delicious. And whole chicken is wayyyy cheaper. It became a staple, so quickly.

  2. love this recipe. the past couple times i served it with with porridge/congee. the veggies and sauce were do good in it!

  3. not feelin the fennel? thats my favorite part of the veggies.

  4. Ina Garten is my absolute go-to for just about everything. I’ve never been disappointed yet. Have you done her turkey sausage lasagna?

  5. Sarah Ku says:

    Natalie Lerza Lin Nope, I haven’t been into fennel! I might give it one more try… I hear it’s good roasted. Lindsey Tavares I LOVE Ina Garten, she’s also my go-to. I haven’t tried her lasagna but I’ll add it to my list of recipes to try.

  6. Though I’ve done her perfect roasted chicken recipe before, I tried this one in the skillet yesterday and it came out beautifully – thanks for the tip!

  7. […] I’m making this tomorrow for lunch, another great iteration of roast chicken […]

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