Lemon & Thyme Roast Chicken

Perfect roast chicken with crispy skin and delicious gravy – If you, too, have this as a dream, well, stuff gets better. This roast chicken has a lemony tang along with the taste of roasted and caramelized garlic and onion.

The fat renders from the skin make a thick delicious gravy also infused with the aroma of thyme.

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Anybody that eats this bird would love a whole roasted chicken. But how do you get a perfect roasted chicken with crispy skin and tender meat inside? Cooking roast chicken is not be feared and is easy to do. There are a few basic steps to follow, and you get the best roast chicken that will make you proud.

I shall also let you know all the tips to get the most flavor and crisp skin to make it a perfect roast chicken.

Picture of chicken roasted on a pan with lemon wedges inside and thyme and gravy in the pan.

Roast full chicken in oven

The best roast chicken made in an oven needs three things to go right for it: first, crispy golden skin, second, tender chicken throughout, and third, a rich gravy made from it. The important thing here is to get the same tenderness in both the breast and other parts of the bird.

Different parts of the bird get cooked at different temperatures. So the temperature and the time to roast are both critical. This pairing of temperature set for the right time is crucial to get a slice of tender meat in each cut.

The gravy produced from the fat and butter and infused with thyme, garlic, onion is simply delicious. I had swiped it clean with a few bread slices more than I intended. I couldn’t stop.

Roast chicken needs a rack in an oven. For any question leading to ‘Do I need a rack?’. Absolutely yes. Please place it in the middle like you do for most bakes.

Herbs and seasoning

One can make a spicy, tangy, or sweet roast. I love all three flavors and enjoy what each brings to the palette. For this roast, I have gone for a tangy taste from lemons. I also wanted it to have those aromatics from herbs like thyme.

For any savory taste, one cannot do without the flavor of garlic. Add butter, onion, pepper, and thyme to this. You need to take in the smell while the chicken gets roasted. It is a wonderful aroma filling the kitchen.

So just a simple seasoning for this wonderful savory, tangy and aromatic chicken roast.


  • Whole Chicken – You can choose size of the bird to roast as you would like. Bigger birds need more time in the oven. Refer to the next section for oven time. Make sure to leave the skin on.
  • Chicken stock – Gives body to the gravy and enriches the flavor.
  • Garlic powder – Provides the savories to compliment the tangy taste of lemon.
  • Onion – Provides the flavor to the gravy. Used big ones that can serve, along with garlic, as a bed for the chicken to rest on, in the pan.
  • Pepper – Gives heat and flavor to the chicken and gravy.
  • Butter  – Serves as a source of fat and flavor to get the skin crisp. Some of it will trickle down to the stock below and help make the gravy rich in flavor.
  • Thyme – Herb to bring a nice aromatic element to the chicken.
  • Lemon juice – Gives the tangy taste to the skin, chicken and gravy.
  • Lemon zest – To be placed inside the chicken to infuse the citrus aroma and taste to the chicken.
Close up picture of perfectly roasted chicken leg with the skin looking crispy and delicious gravy around in the pan.

Time and Temperature to roast chicken

The time a chicken needs to roast and the temperature set to do it depends mainly on the size of the bird.

How to get the best roast

Prep the buttery tangy juice

Mix the butter with lemon juice. Pour it all over the chicken, including inside the cavity.

Prepare Dry rub with aromatics.

Mix the lemon zest, thyme, garlic powder, and pepper to make a dry rub seasoning.

Prep the chicken

An important tip here – Using the back of a spatula or a spoon, loosen the skin and rub the juice and butter mixture all over the inside of the skin. This single step shall elevate your chicken to become super tender and the skin to have flavor and turn nicely crisp because of the butter that helps it roast so well.

Next, sprinkle the dry seasoning all over the chicken. Start doing it on the belly part and then flip the bird. Sprinkle again on the back.

Insert two lemon wedges into the cavity of the chicken. When it gets hot, this extra lemon will release more lemon juice and flavour to the chicken.

Tie the chicken

Now to the vital step of Trussing, which is about tying the chicken properly. Trussing is a technique to tie the legs and wings of the chicken tight to its body, so these parts get roasted and browned evenly like that of the rest of the chicken.

Use kitchen twine or string and tie the legs crossing each other. Refer to the section below on how to truss a chicken the right way.

Roast in Oven

Arrange the chicken on the pan by placing it over a bed of onion and garlic. You might need to adjust the bed a little bit to have the chicken stable on top.

Place the pan in the middle rack for 1 hour and 15 minutes.


While the chicken roasts, its skin renders fat. At the same time, the chicken stock in the pan gets cooked with juices of garlic, onion, herbs, seasoning, and chicken fat.

To maintain the moisture in the chicken and not lose flavor, it is essential to keep basting the chicken regularly.

Basting is a technique in which we let the meat cook in its juice or a marinade formed with its renderings. This method helps the chicken lock onto its moisture and retain flavor. Take a spoonful of juices and pour it all over the body of the chicken every 30 minutes.

This single step is crucial for a moist and flavorful chicken.

Gravy from all the delicious droppings

There is some delicious juice leftover in the pan infused with flavour from garlic, onions, thyme, seasoning, and the fat drippings from the chicken after all the roasting.

Strain it and add some chicken stock along with cornstarch and water. Heat it until it thickens. You will love this gravy because of its complex flavours.

Picture of pouring gravy on a slice of roast chicken with mashed potatoes and green beans on a black plate.

How to truss the chicken

We need to have the chicken compact to achieve even-cooking on all parts of it. Trussing well ensures the legs remain snugly tied to the body throughout the roast.

To truss a chicken, you will need –

  • Kitchen twine / Butcher thread
  • Paper towels

Watch the video below to learn how to truss the chicken before roasting.

Tips for best roast chicken

  • Crisp chicken skin needs a dry skin for a start. The more dry the chicken skin is, the better shall be the crisp. So pat your chicken skin with paper towels so you dry out the excess moisture. A dry rub with aromatics will give a nice crisp and add flavor to the skin.
  • Do not throw away the juice in the pan. You can make delicious gravy out of it and use it over sides or rice or  have it with bread.
  • It is important to baste the chicken in regular intervals. Preferably every 30 minutes or even in 20 minutes.
  • While basting the chicken, take the pan out and close the door of the oven. Also baste the chicken outside. Keeping the door open lowers the temperature of the oven inside and you will have not have the chicken properly cooked in the suggested time.

Serve with

Roast chicken can be served with a simple salad or a side dish.

Roasted garlic mashed potato 

honey roasted carrot with pecan

Baked Ranch potatoes

Garlic butter rice

Airfryer Roasted Broccoli 

Asian Sauteed Green Beans

Store & left overs

You can keep a roast chicken in the freezer for up to 4 days. Since it has onion and garlic juices basted, it wouldn’t stay for too long in the refrigerator.

The gravy can stay for the same, and you can reheat it in the microwave.

Flavours of Kitchen Logo

Lemon & Thyme Whole Roast Chicken

Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 6 servings


  • 1.8 – 2 kg Whole Chicken with skin
  • 2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Pepper
  • Zest of lemon
  • 5-6 sprig Thyme
  • cup melted butter
  • cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 onion quartered
  • 1 head garlic cut into half
  • 1.5 cup Chicken Stock


  • Thaw chicken and bring to room temperature.
  • Preheat oven to 220C/450F (standard) or 200C/430F (fan/convection). Put the rack in the middle.
  • In a bowl mix garlic powder, salt, pepper, zest of lemon and thyme. This is the dry seasoning mix.
  • In another bowl mix melted butter and fresh lemon juice.
  • Pat dry chicken really well with a kitchen towel (lesser the moisture, more crispy is the skin).
  • Pout butter and lemon juice all over, inside the cavity. Loosen the skin with the back of a spatula and pour butter mixture underneath the skin as well.
  • Insert used lemon wedges inside the cavity.
  • Tie legs with a kitchen twine and tuck wing tips under the chicken. (watch video to see how to truss chicken).
  • Sprinkle the lemon thyme seasoning generously all over.
  • Place onion and garlic in the roasting pan, place chicken (breast side up) on the bed of garlic and onion. Pour chicken stock around. Place a couple of thyme sprig in the pan.
  • Place the roasting pan in the middle rack. Roast for 1 hour 15 minutes. Baste chicken with the pan juice every 30 minutes.
  • The chicken is done when the juices run clear when chicken thigh is pierced with a skewer.
  • At the end baste again and broil for 2-3 minutes for extra crispy skin.
  • Cover and let it rest for about 10-15 minutes before serving.

For making gravy

  • There will be around 1 cup of pan juice in the roasting pan. Add onion, garlic and all the drippings to a colander. Press with the back of a spatula and squeeze out all the juice.
  • To the strained pan juice add one more cup of Chicken stock. Heat it.
  • Make a slurry of 2 tablespoons of cornstarch with 2 tablespoon of water. Slowly stir into the stock. Let it simmer for a couple of minutes until it has thickened a bit and looks glossy.


Serving: 1g | Calories: 788kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 59g | Fat: 57g | Saturated Fat: 20g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 10g | Monounsaturated Fat: 22g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 257mg | Sodium: 1166mg | Potassium: 722mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 786IU | Vitamin C: 14mg | Calcium: 58mg | Iron: 3mg
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