just lemon roast chicken – short & sweet!

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Is there anything more delicious like a roast chicken hot & still bubbling with a tantalizing flavour filling kitchen & dining room – crackling skin, juicy meat falling from the bones…? Really amazing: it’s a roast to be made fast & effortless!

Roast chicken is one of our favourites – while my better half prefers chicken breast I enjoy nibbling chicken legs… It’s no surprise that we roast a chicken now & then!



We like it – well:

  • pure – just the chicken w/o any filling & stuffing
  • filled w/ fresh lemon slices (our favorite flavour!)
  • Mediterranean style w/ lemon & lots of Mediterranean herbs.

(I admit that we didn’t venture in any spicy versions from India or Southeast Asia or… so far, but the day for such a dish may come!)

Let’s start w/ the basics!

The point of origin is always a nice chicken i. e.:

  • a free-range chicken or even an organic chicken
  • it should weigh at least 1500 g (absolute minimum!) & max 2000 g: I usually opt for a chicken of about 1800 g (if available in my trusted food store).
  • it should be clean (no fat lumps in the belly (well: this is more usual for ducks & goose…), no giblets…)


For the record:
I advise strongly against these little chicken of about 900 g or even less, having no real bones & never seen a green pasture. Chicken meat is more flavorful & tasty & tender & juicy when coming from a full grown chicken w/ appropriate feeding.



Don’t forget to preheat your oven to 200° C w/ fan (later you’ll reduce it to 170° C).

When deciding for the „full approach“ we prepare some lemon & some herbs. In this case we had lemon w/ bay leaves for the filling & chopped basil for the stuffing.

Yes – we make room between the skin & the chicken breast by inserting very carefully some fingers & detaching the skin w/o ripping. The chopped basil mixed w/ oil will be stuffed into the gap.



Finally we rub some oil & salt & pepper on chicken breast & back – afterwards we can put the chicken on an oiled roasting tray in the preheated oven.

…& only somewhat later:



just lemon roast chicken – short & sweet!

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Servings: 3-4

just lemon roast chicken – short & sweet!

Is there anything more delicious like a roast chicken hot & still bubbling with a tantalizing flavour filling kitchen & dining room - crackling skin, juicy meat falling from the bones...? Really amazing: it’s a roast to be made fast & effortless!


  • 1 chicken (1500 - 2000 g)
  • 1 lemon in slices or quartered
  • 4-5 bay leaves - optional
  • 2-3 sprigs of rosemary - optional
  • a handful roughly chopped fresh herbs (like parsley, basil, thyme, oregano...) - optional
  • 2-3 tbsp oil (like olive oil)
  • salt & pepper

How to...

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C w/ fan.
  2. Clean the chicken; remove anything that shouldn’t be roasted (like giblets in little plastic bags...).
  3. Rub some oil (about 1 tbsp) in & on the chicken (especially breast & back) & add salt & pepper.
  4. Shove the lemon slices or quarters into the chicken.
  5. Optional: Add bay leaves and/or twigs of rosemary to the lemon.
  6. Optional: Mix the chopped fresh herbs with some oil (less than 1 tbsp!).
  7. Optional: With your fingers carefully detach the skin of the chicken’s breast & shove the herbs-oil mix into the cavity. Be careful not to rip the skin!
  8. Optional: Add any leftover herbs to the lemon.
  9. Oil a roasting tray w/ the rest of the oil.
  10. Put the chicken (breast on top!) on the roasting tray & put it in the preheated oven.
  11. Let it roast for 20 min at 200 degrees C.
  12. Lower the heat to 170 degrees C & let it roast for another 10 min.
  13. Next step: Turn the chicken (back on top now!).
  14. Let it roast for 30 min.
  15. Then turn the chicken (breast on top again!) & let it roast for another 20 min.
  16. Let it rest afterwards for about 5-10 min before serving.
  17. Discard the lemon as well as the bay leaves & the twigs of rosemary before serving.


Test the chicken at the end of the roasting: a wooden skewer should be easily going in & out; any liquid should be clear. If you think the chicken will need some more time add about 5-10 min to last roasting session.

If you like it less crispy lower the oven temperature from 200 degrees C to 180 degrees C w/ fan when starting & from 170 degrees C to 160 degrees C w/ fan afterwards. It may took some more minutes to get well done.

For the stuffing: You may use any (mediterranean) herbs you like & mix them as you like. You may even add some pressed garlic to the herbs-oil-mix.

For the filling: Lemon alone is fine. Rosemary & bay leaves qualify more for filling than stuffing. It’s the same for twigs of thyme or twigs of oregano.



My roasting tray is able to host a big chicken (about 1800 g or more) together w/ some vegetables or 2 slightly smaller chicken (about 1600 g or so). Oven times do not change.



You should think about 1,5 h for the chicken:

  • preheating… (about 15 min or so): not included!
  • doing the 1st chicken breast session: 30 min
  • doing the chicken back session: 30 min
  • doing the 2nd chicken breast session: 20 min (on average – maybe only 10 min, maybe also 30 min…)
  • let the chicken rest for about 10 min after the oven session…

So: if you like to serve a roast chicken at 7 pm sharp start preheating at about 5:15 pm & put the prepared chicken in the oven at 5:30 pm. If everything goes well you’ll keep the deadline (including cum tempore (for RoW territories: 15 min late)).

You should do the wooden skewer test: if the skewer goes in & comes out softly it’s fine – if the liquid of the skewer test is clear it’s fine…


For the record:
Never serve any chicken which isn’t well done!


My proposal of oven temperatures leads to a rather crispy chicken – we like it! If you like it less crispy just reduce the temperature by 10-20 degrees (i. e. starting w/ 180° C & reducing to 160° C later). In general it’s always a cooperation of heat & roast time & weight that leads to a well done chicken more or less crispy. Pls take my timetable as a sort of reference point when starting roasting chicken.

Coming back to the dinner event…
If you serve a chicken of about 1800 g you may be sure that’s enough for 4 people when going together w/ some sort of potatoes & 2 different vegetable dishes. If you like to emphasize the chicken part think of 3 people for such a chicken. (Therefore 2 chicken (of about 1600 g) may feed up to 5-7 people.)

If roasting only 1 chicken there’ll be enough capacity to add small potatoes to the roasting tray. Think about 45-60 min for roasting potatoes depending on their size. In addition you may position your roasting tray in the oven so that you’ll get enough space for 1-2 casseroles (remember: we use an oven w/ fan!). So you may prepare the chicken & casseroles w/ vegetables beforehand & just slide them into the oven at the appropriate time slot.


The businesswoman with too many office hours thinks

Great – it’s just a task of planning like launch planning in a project. I can use my oven for the chicken as well as for the vegetables at the same time – so I’ve more time for my friends.

However, the chicken… lemon chicken sounds good… I can use different herbs (whatever I’ve got recently) meaning different overall flavors. I may adjust the chicken flavour & the vegetables.



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