Make Ahead

Slow Roasted Lemon Chicken

March 22, 2011
5 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Prep time 3 hours 15 minutes
  • Cook time 5 hours 10 minutes
  • Serves 4 to 6
Author Notes

This recipe is based on "sticky chicken" recipes you see on the internet, but I season the chicken differently and make a lemon pan sauce while the chicken is resting. This fall-off-the-bone roast chicken stays amazingly moist. It's remarkably good at room temperature and makes for great sandwiches!

Tip: Feel free to substitute the rub mixture for 3 tablespoons Cavender's Greek Seasoning. —inpatskitchen

Test Kitchen Notes

This chicken is seriously slow roasted. It takes about 8 hours from start to finish, but requires very little active time and no part is particularly difficult. The spice rub is fabulous, though I did find that I didn't need the full 3 tablespoons on a 4-pound chicken. The chicken is tender and surprisingly moist, and makes for wonderful picking at a picnic. It had all vanished before I got the chance to try making it into sandwiches. —Stephanie Bourgeois

What You'll Need
  • For the rub mixture:
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons granulated garlic
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • For the chicken:
  • 1 4- to 5-pound whole chicken
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons rub mixture (see above)
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 8 garlic cloves (up to 10)
  • 2 tablespoons flour (optional)
  • 2 cups chicken broth (optional)
  1. In a small bowl, combine all of the ingredients for the rub mixture until mixed well. Set aside.
  2. Wash and dry the chicken and rub all over with the juice of both lemon halves, reserving one used half.
  3. Rub the chicken with the olive oil.
  4. Sprinkle the rub mixture and the paprika all over the chicken and pat in a bit.
  5. Place the garlic cloves and reserved half lemon inside the chicken cavity. Cover and refrigerate for 1 to 3 hours.
  6. Roast the chicken for 5 hours (yep, that's right) at 250º F (that's right, too). After 1 hour, the chicken will start exuding some juice. Tip the chicken to drain juices from the cavity and baste with a brush. Do this every 45 minutes while the chicken is roasting.
  7. After 5 hours, remove the chicken and serve. Optional: Make a pan sauce in the roasting pan by adding the chicken broth and flour until thickened. Scrape up the fond in the bottom of the pan into the sauce. Sometimes I remove the garlic cloves and mash them into the sauce. Pour the sauce over the chicken to serve. This sauce is purely optional, but is wonderful on the chicken.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • jgk
  • Andee Cohen Kochavi
    Andee Cohen Kochavi
  • JanetFL
  • Agata Grau
    Agata Grau
  • Anthony Back
    Anthony Back

Recipe by: inpatskitchen

I think I get my love for food and cooking from my mom, who was an amazing cook. She would start baking and freezing a month before Christmas in order to host our huge open house on Christmas afternoon. I watched and I this day I try not to procrastinate when it comes to entertaining. My cooking style is pretty much all over the place, although I'm definitely partial to Greek and Italian cuisine. Oh yes, throw a little Cajun in there too!

36 Reviews

Nathan C. January 19, 2016
I made this last night and it was great - I used 2-1/2 meyer lemons for a 5lb chicken so it was stuffed full, herbs de prov for the spices, 4 hours at 325 because that's how much time we had, half way through covered it with foil heavily spread with butter to keep it from getting dry, last 45 minutes with root vegetables and brussels sprouts in the bottom of the roasting pan, kept adding water and broth to keep it moist, then at the end I removed the bird for carving, poured the liquid to a big bowl, mashed with the interior garlic, then put some in a small fry pan, some in another bowl with arrowroot for thickening, mixed and added that to the fry pan, then pour in just enough from the bowl as it cooks for gravy with the right thickness (turned out to be all of it). Very moist and flavorful! It was a bit too salty, so maybe next time I'll let it dry-brine over night.
inpatskitchen January 19, 2016
Thanks Nathan! I like your changes!
jgk October 30, 2015
I'll keep dry-roasting my chickens in the 400 degree range. I'm a huge believer ( and practitioner ) of the "low, slow braise" but this wasn't as tender as I usually get with a higher heat. Interesting idea, though.
inpatskitchen October 31, 2015
Sorry you weren't happy but thanks for giving it a try!
Jello1955 October 12, 2015
Would it be ok it let the chicken marinate overnight in the fridge, rather than the 1 to 3 hours?
inpatskitchen October 12, 2015
I think it will be just fine Jello1955.
Andee C. April 9, 2015
Hi! I'm excited to make this tomorrow. My oven is a convection oven and I will use the convection roast option, any suggestion on how I might need to adjust the temperature or time??? I have a 4lb chicken.
inpatskitchen April 9, 2015
I don't normally use my convection option on my oven, but I have read that you lower the temp by 25 degrees. Check the internal temp of the chicken at around the 4 hour mark just to make sure you're getting 165F internally.
Andee C. April 9, 2015
I am not a huge fan of the convection option either. I've done the research as well and it either lower the temp by 25 degrees or shorten the cooking time by 15 minutes.....honestly I've done both and I don't think either one is accurate!!! I will just use the good old fashion "bake" mode. Thanks for the quick response!
chef L. April 8, 2015
I've cooked this, and variants with different seasonings using this method half a dozen times, and have never had a problem.
Georgina B. April 8, 2015
Does the chicken stay at a safe temperature at such low heat for so long?
inpatskitchen April 8, 2015
I've never had problems..I think of this like cooking in a giant crockpot. I know the internal temp goes well above 165F when done. Maybe someone with greater knowledge will chime in...
JanetFL March 23, 2015
This chicken plus Merrill's creamy goat cheese grits equals one delicious dinner. Thank you!
inpatskitchen March 23, 2015
Oh yes!! Thanks Janet!
Agata G. March 23, 2015
Do you cover the chiken while roasting or not?
inpatskitchen March 23, 2015
Roast it uncovered..
Anthony B. March 21, 2015
For me a 4 lb chicken was done in 3.5 hrs (temp 180-190!) but my chicken was closer room temp than fridge temp when i started. Juices a little salty for my taste, so should have added the extra stock to make the pan sauce as directed. But the chicken itself had a lovely taste and texture.
inpatskitchen March 22, 2015
Thanks! Glad you liked it!
Sarah C. March 19, 2015
Could you cook this in a slow cooker?
inpatskitchen March 19, 2015
I suppose you can Sarah, but you won't get the crispy skin that comes with the basting and the drier heat from the oven.
chef L. February 11, 2013
As good as roast chicken gets. The seasonings, occasional basting and especially the low and slow roasting combine to make a perfect dish. Served with creamy goat cheese grits and a kale salad.
inpatskitchen February 11, 2013
Thanks so much chef lew! It's my favorite roast chicken. Sure hope you post the creamy goat cheese grits recipe....and Welcome to Food52!
chef L. February 11, 2013
Should have mentioned: the Grits recipe is from this site. And it's 'almost' as good as the chicken.
inpatskitchen February 11, 2013
Found it...thanks!
lovinangels January 17, 2012
I'm wondering how much longer you would recommend doing this for a larger chicken, and if the leftovers work- I kind of want to roast two chickens at once on Wednesday so that I can have leftovers for two days for my family while I work. I know sometimes with slow roasting the meat has a fabulous texture, but is a bit dry the next day.
inpatskitchen January 17, 2012
I've done 2 five pounders at once with the same cooking time and it works just fine. As for a bigger chicken, I'm not sure (most that are over 5 or 6 pounds are capons and I've never tried them) I don't find the meat dry the next day but then I use it for sandwiches, soup or with the leftover gray. Hope this helps a little...please let me know what you think if you try this.
lovinangels March 22, 2015
Yes! It's wonderful. I make this all the time now.
inpatskitchen March 22, 2015
So happy it's working for you!!
iowabaker October 8, 2011
I agree! Aroma is fabulous and the meat super tender and moist!
inpatskitchen October 8, 2011
Did you try it? I'm so glad...the aroma certainly does fill up the house doesn't it? Thanks!!
GreenChef July 11, 2011
This sounds absolutely wonderful. The weather is too hot for an oven to be on the 5 hours at this time of year. Perhaps in the fall or winter in at convection oven...
inpatskitchen July 11, 2011
Thank you GreenChef! I know the weather is warm...what I do sometimes is prep the chicken the night before and bake in the morning...
ellenl March 22, 2011
I love roast chicken so many ways. I can't wait to try this on a weekend so that I can tend to it.
inpatskitchen March 22, 2011
You do need all day..but the aroma after about 2 hours is fabulous!!
healthierkitchen March 22, 2011
Yum! Saving this with the potato recipe for the right dinner!
inpatskitchen March 22, 2011
Thanks healthierkitchen...this is the only way I do roast chicken anymore..