The Best Roasted Chicken

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  • ¼ cup butter, softened
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 lemon, zested and halved
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper, divided
  • 1 whole chicken
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil


  • Step 1: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
  • Step 2: Mix butter, garlic, thyme, rosemary, lemon zest, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper together in a bowl.
  • Step 3: Loosen skin on chicken breast; rub butter mixture between skin and breast meat. Press on the skin to distribute evenly. Rub oil, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper all over; place lemon halves inside cavity. Set in a baking pan.
  • Step 4: Roast in the preheated oven, basting after 30 minutes, until chicken is no longer pink, about 1 hour. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh, near the bone, should read 165 degrees F (74 degrees C). Let rest before carving, about 15 minutes.

Cook’s Notes:

I like to let the chicken rest in the refrigerator for a few hours or a full day after placing the herb butter under the skin to let the flavors mingle.

Basting really enhances the color and flavor and creates nice drippings for a gravy.