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Lemon Rosemary Roasted Chicken

Lemon Rosemary Roasted Chicken

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I love Sunday night dinner and we have not had one in a very long time.  When I planned cooking this recipe Lemon Rosemary Roasted Chicken, I had hoped for a cold or at least crisp autumn evening.  Instead, it was warm and somewhat balmy.  Regardless it was still the perfect night for a little comfort food.  As well is always fun to have an actual professional photographer roaming your kitchen while you are doing the cooking.  Lenny was in charge of lights and Bryan worked his magic snapping away photos of me making Sunday dinner.

Rosemary Roasted Chicken 1109

This recipe is inspired by a Barefoot Contessa Lemon Roasted Chicken and it has become a favorite dinner party recipe.  The chicken is stuffed with lemons, onions and fresh rosemary and then roasted until golden.  There is really nothing like the smell of fresh rosemary roasting alongside lemons.  Kind of takes you away to a balmy Mediterranean village.  Ina uses yellow onions in her lemon roasted chicken recipe but I prefer to use red onions as they add a little sweetness.  And if I am being completely honest it is probably the only onion I had on hand when I first made this and it worked!

This chicken comes out fantastically moist and flavorful;  but, the favorite part of this recipe is the croutons that are served alongside the roasted chicken.  Pieces of bread are sauteed until golden with some olive oil and I use a little fresh garlic.  Once the chicken is plated with the croutons all that glorious chicken broth is poured over the everything.  The crispy croutons soak up the broth and it is out of this world.  


  • Use a Free-Range or Cage-Free chicken besides being the the right thing to do, the meat is more flavorful and I find the birds to be even juicer. 
  • Organic lemons are the best option when cooking with the skin on.  If you cannot find organic be sure to wash the lemons before using.  
  • Meyer Lemons are fantastic to use in this recipe and are my go-to lemon when in season.
  • No need to wash your chicken.  I learned from a few chef friends that if you cook your meat at the proper temperatures to the correct internal temperature there is no need to wash.  If you do decide to go away with bathing your chicken be sure to pat the bird dry.
  • Meat Thermometer is a MUST.  I never rely on cooking times when cooking any meat instead I go by the internal temperatures and have never ruined a good meal.  

I am sure this dish will become your signature dish after you serve it to your family and friends.

Lemon Rosemary Roasted Chicken

serves 4 – 6


1 whole chicken 3 – 4 pounds
2 – 3 lemons, cut in half & then into quarters – how many depends on the size of the chicken
1 red onion, cut in half & then into quarters
4 sprigs of fresh rosemary or another herb of your choice
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
kosher salt
black pepper
5 cups bread cubes, I use a ciabatta 
2 tablespoons olive oil
kosher salt
black pepper

How To:

Heat oven to 425.
Remove the giblets, heart and any other internal organs that may have come from the chicken.
Pat dry the chicken dry with paper towels.
Lay the chicken in a roasting dish.
Stuff the chicken with the lemons, red onions and rosemary.  I grab a piece of lemon, onion, rosemary and stuff them in an alternate this process.
Rub the chicken well with the olive oil and then gently lift the skin around the legs and breast and smear the butter under the skin.
Slide the chicken into the oven and let roast for 1 ½ hours  – may be a little less or a little more depending on the size of your chicken.  
I test the meatiest part of the chicken let by slightly cutting into it, if there is any sign of blood, cook longer. The internal temperature should be 165.
Remove from the oven, let sit on the counter for 10 minutes.  Slice into serving pieces and place onto a platter, and then put the croutons around the chicken and pour the pan juices over the chicken and croutons.  

Croutons – I start preparing these the last few minutes before removing the chicken from the oven.

Heat a large frying pan over medium heat until hot.  Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and lower the heat to medium-low.  Add the bread cubes, stirring often, until evenly browned;  about 8 – 10 minutes.
If needed add a little more olive oil as needed.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.




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Tuesday 10th of November 2009

Bryan's photo is beautiful! I love how simple this recipe is.

Mermaid Sweets

Monday 9th of November 2009

This looks amazing. I really need to get over my fear of cooking whole chickens. Great to meet you at the blogHer conference, sorry it has taken me so long to come around after that.


Monday 9th of November 2009

i absolutely love the simplicity of this recipe. I would have added a bit of cumin, cuz I'm obsessed, but it's still beautiful looking. great pic by your friend. Happy Fall

Jason Sandeman

Saturday 7th of November 2009

Right you are. The classics do not require much fooling, and this dish is no exception. In fact, it is the best seller on the Banquet menu at our hotel.

Deborah Dowd

Thursday 5th of November 2009

How fun to have a photographer at dinner- mainly because then you don't have to do the rushing around to get the picture before you serve! The chicken looks so amazing I can almost smell it!