This lemon chicken is stuffed with quartered lemons, then roasted; gremolata (a lemon-zest mixture) rubbed under its skin gives the chicken tender, perfectly perfumed flesh.

Martha Stewart Living, May 1999


Recipe Summary



Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • In a small bowl, combine salt and lemon juice. Loosen the skin of the chicken from the flesh. Rub mixture under the skin and in the cavity of the chicken. Place chicken in a large resealable plastic bag; chill at least 4 hours and up to 48 hours, turning occasionally.

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Rinse all of the salt off the chicken with cold water; pat dry with a paper towel. Set aside.

  • In a small bowl, combine gremolata and softened butter. Rub two-thirds of the gremolata mixture under the chicken's skin; rub the rest on the outside. Stuff the cavity with the bay leaves and the quartered lemons.

  • Place chicken in a large roasting pan, breast-side up. Tuck the tips of the wings under the bottom of the bird. Transfer pan to oven. After 40 minutes, baste. If using lemon halves, place in pan, cut side down. Cover chicken with a 14-by-18-inch piece of aluminum foil. Reduce heat to 375 degrees.

  • Cook, basting occasionally, until the skin is crisp and golden, 40 to 45 minutes more. The juices should run clear when the chicken is pierced; an instant-read thermometer should register 170 degrees in the deepest part of the thigh when done. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Cook's Notes

Marinate the chicken for at least four hours and as long as two days for the best flavor and texture. A salt rub not only seasons the meat but tenderizes it as well.


Reviews (6)

47 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 12
  • 4 star values: 10
  • 3 star values: 15
  • 2 star values: 8
  • 1 star values: 2
Rating: Unrated
I made this for Easter dinner (2008) as we were tired of glazed ham or lamb. It was absolutely sensational. We made two roasters to enjoy leftovers. My hint? Try to have the chickens in the salt/lemon mixture for up to 48 hours before roasting. The flavors are wonderful and this is an easy recipe. Even beginners who try this recipe will be emboldened. Pino Grigio is a terrific accompaniment.
Rating: Unrated
This is the best roasted chicken recipe I've ever made. To-die-for! Next time I'll add potatoes to the roasting pan...
Rating: Unrated
Add some garlic when marinate with the lemon juice , serve with roasted potatoes and a green salad. It will be a perfect delight.
Rating: Unrated
I plan to try this recipe for our 'ohana's (extended family in Hawaiian) Sunday tree-trimming dinner - hoping to impress my darlings - identical twin gandsons aged 18 months! They call me NA-NI - until they can pronounce Grannie Jan.
Rating: Unrated
A side of Roasted Potatoes, Tossed Green Salad and a glass of Pinot Griglio. Sunday dinner couldn't get any better............SJBob.
Rating: Unrated
One of the best recipes I have ever tried!!!