Recipe: Lemon-Thyme Chicken


8-minute risotto, stir-fried vegetables and Lemon-Thyme Chicken. Tangy!


My two adult sons live on their own now. At least once a month I will get a text message from them saying “Can you give me the recipe for <insert meal here>?” Of course, they want it right then because they are in a grocery store and in a hurry. Would I mind texting it to them?

After tapping a roast turkey recipe into a little text box, I promised myself I would never do that again. Emailing them the information isn’t a good solution, either, because they forget and repeat requests. That’s one reason I am recording my recipes on my blog. Now, all I have to tell them in the future is “Look it up in my blog!” It’s becoming my recipe wiki.

Both of therm have asked for this recipe twice now, so it’s time to get it down. And for you, too. Lemon-Thyme Chicken is a cinch to prepare. This is a great meal for your Sunday Roast. Impress your family and friends, and fill your house with the warm, savory kitchen aroma of herbs and chicken. Try it!






  • 1 whole chicken, no more than 5lbs, at room temperature

  • 1 onion

  • 2-3 sprigs of thyme

  • 1 whole lemon

  • Kosher salt and pepper

  • 3 tablesoons butter at room temperature





  1. Wash chicken. Discard gizzards, hearts and any other offal they stuff into the bird. Cut off the tail. Pat dry. Set aside.

  2. Pre-heat the oven to 425 F (218 C).

  3. Peel and slice the onion into rings about a half-inch (1 cm) thick. Set aside.

  4. Press on the lemon and gently roll it across the countertop a few times to soften. Cut the lemon in half.

  5. Grate some lemon rind off one of the halves. Set aside.

  6. Pull the leaves off of two springs of thyme. Add lemon rind. Mix with the butter in a small bowl. Set aside




  1. Place onion slices at the bottom of a small roasting pan.

  2. Using an upside-down teaspoon, loosen the skin above the breast. Work a few thyme sprigs between the skin and the breast meat. Be careful not to tear the skin.

  3. Rub the butter-thyme mix all over the outside of the chicken. Tuck the wing tips behind the back of the bird and rest it on the onion slices.

  4. Squeeze the lemon halves over the skin. Put a lemon half in the body cavity.

  5. Cover the cavity with a small piece of aluminum foil.

  6. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.



  1. Put the chicken in the oven, uncovered, and bake for 1 hr, 15 mins.

  2. Remove the chicken from the pan. Discard lemon and onions. Reserve juices from the pan to make a sauce, if desired (see Notes).

  3. Put chicken upside down in a large bowl and cover with foil. Let it rest for 20 mins to let the juices set.

  4. Carve the chicken. Serve warm


Some Notes:

If you want to make a sauce, strain the juices from the pan into a Pyrex measuring cup. Let it sit for five minutes. Spoon off the fat on top. Put the juices into a small saucepan. Stirring constantly over medium heat, cook the juices down into a thicker sauce.

Thyme is such an all-round garden plant. I grow my own thyme outside my front door as an ornamental. It’s a low, little plant with tiny purple-pink flowers in the summer. Thyme reseeds itself in a non-invasive way, so I am never out of it. I cut bunches in the fall for drying. Fresh thyme is great in homemade pasta sauces, risotto and roasts.



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