Simple Lemon Basil Roasted Chicken

by zesty on October 29, 2008 · 26 comments

Happy Wednesday everyone!  It is time to share an old classic – roasted chicken.  Yesterday proved to be a busy day all around.  Not only did I have a tonne of real work to do at the office, I also had to cram my blogging duties into a smaller window.  Tough I know, but what is a guy to do?

As I was preparing in the morning for what to post for today in conjunction with what hairstyle to go with, I thought that a roasted chicken would be the answer.  I had a chicken sitting in the freezer that was aching to be roasted in the oven.

There is nothing better than the smell of your house while a chicken is roasting.  I opted for a lemon basil mix for this bird.

So lets dust off the counter, grab the cutting board and prep this bird for some lovin’.


  • 1 Tbsp. Basil
  • 1 Tbsp. Thyme
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 3 garlic cloves, whole
  • 1 Tsp. grated lemon peel
  • 1 3-pound roasting chicken
  • 1 lemon, quartered
  • Salt and Pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 500°F.
  2. Mix basil, lemon rind, salt and pepper in bowl.
  3. Rinse chicken; pat dry. Place chicken in roasting pan. Rub all dry spices all over the chicken and then top with pat of butter. Place lemon in cavity of chicken.
  4. Roast chicken 15minutes ( without the lid).
  5. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F and cover. Roast chicken until legs move easily to the touch and the top is golden brown.  Usually about 20 minutes per pound.
  6. Lift chicken and tilt slightly, emptying juices from cavity into pan.
  7. Transfer chicken to serving platter.
  8. Tent chicken with aluminum foil to keep warm (this will allow the juices to flow back into the center of the chicken).
  9. ENJOY!

Zesty Tip: When roasting chicken, it is best to place the breast side down to ensure the chicken will be moist once the cooking time is complete.  Also, don’t go poking the meat to see if it is cooked.  Use your sense of smell and the leg test.  If you grab the chicken leg and it moves very easily  – that bird is cooked!

What a bird… so juicy and flavorful! What do you like to eat with your chicken?  Are you a gravy lover? Let me know – I love to hear everybody’s ideas.  Keep smiling everybody and I can’t wait to hear your comments.

Have a great Wednesday!


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{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Megan

I love the smell of roasted chicken filling the house. This one would smell especially great with the basil and thyme wafting in the air! Great recipe and I am loving the Zesty tips!


2 coco

I love roasted chicken but I never made it at home because I could never finish a entire chicken by myself. I guess we need more recipes for the leftover roasted chicken.


3 Alea

There is always chicken pot pie….


4 ZestyCook

@Megan – Thanks – yeah the smell is so nice.

@coco – I will post a left-over chicken recipe for you… or a great idea would be to use some left-over chicken in the mexican salad. Would be delicious!


5 Juliet

Roast chicken is such a good, comforting food. I like to get my money’s worth and use the leftover chicken to make sandwiches or in soup or stew, and then boil the carcass to make chicken stock.


6 Gera

Hi Cory!

For me roasted chicken is a classical in my kitchen, several times per month. I like also the same to do it with a soft white wine or with chimichurri sauce turns great!… like your very tasty photos!!


7 Live.Love.Eat

Hey there! Thank you for the bday wishes!!!!!!!!! I just realized I may have been making a mistake. If I have not come by before & commented I am sorry. I think I was opening your profile and accidentally going to Sunday Baker under Blogs you follow. That was a good thing because I like her too but didn’t want to skip over you. I am adding both of you to my blogroll. Has anyone told you you look like Chris Daughtry? Chicken looks awesome!!!!!!


8 Bob

Drool, roast chicken rules. I like potatoes with my chicken, but I like them seasoned instead of with gravy. Of course, I won’t turn my nose up to gravy either. I’m totally with Juliet too, stock from the carcass is the best.


9 maggie

Oo what a great idea! I haven’t roasted a chicken in a long long time. Since I was living with my parents in high school probably. I’m a gravy girl :)


10 Michelle

Next time you roast a chicken, try mixing your herbs into some softened butter to make a compound butter. Then separate the skin from the breast meat and spread the compound butter between the skin and the meat. The flavor will be so fantastic, I just know you’ll love it!


11 lauren

this looks great! I have one of these babies sitting in the freezer at home and needed an idea on how to make it! now I just have to motivate and do it!


12 Krista

That bird’s a looker! Great job!


13 chadnpam1

A comforting and delicious favorite of mine. I love how good my house smells when I am roasting one.


14 heather

I agree… nothing smells better than a home with a roasting chicken in the oven!! great tip, too! i’ve never thought of doing it breast side down, but it makes sense!


15 rubybean77

I want to come to your house for dinner!


16 Mrs Ergül

I’m gonna try this the next time we have company for dinner! Thanks for the recipe!


17 Laurie

Your chicken looks great! I made almost the exact same thing the other night only I used rosemary instead of basil. My favorite sides for this are smashed potatoes with gravy, of course! and butternut squash with a little maple syrup.

Meant to tell you I love the new banner you made for Megan! Is there anything you can’t do?


18 Cathy-wheresmydamnanswer

Perfect timing for this recipe as sitting in my fridge is a lonely naked whole chicken anxious to be dressed up and spiced up and cooked. You have solved my dinner dilemma for tonight!! Thanks


19 Culinary Cory

Chicken is such an easy meal to make. Just throw it in the oven and let it go. Perfect with roasted carrots and green beans.


20 Julie

That looks great, I’ll bet the lemon basil combo is a knockout! I like to throw my whole chicken in the crockpot…nothing could be easier :)


21 Tastes of Home

this roast chicken looks great! thanks for the tip on ‘testing’ the ‘cookedness’ of the chicken


22 Kait

I love how simple this one is. And… it taste exactly the way a roast chicken should taste! Thanks!!!!


23 Ishan

Hi !
I am 12 and I just cooked a roasted chicken with ideas from yr blog ! Hope our chicken is as great as yours was !


24 zesty

That is great to hear Ishan. Keep up the good cooking!


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