The secret to making this honey lemon roast chicken is to rub the marinade under the skin before roasting. There’s no basting required and all the flavours penetrate the meat, giving you the juiciest, tastiest roast chicken ever.
Honey Lemon Roast Chicken Recipe
Honey lemon roast chicken is prepared by rubbing a mixture of honey, chilli, garlic and lemon juice on the chicken breast, underneath the skin before it goes in the oven. The flavour permeates the entire chicken, giving it a delicious lemony garlic taste. And this marinade combine with the juice from the chicken to form the most delicious gravy. You can add even more flavour by popping the squeezed lemons into the chicken cavity before you put it in the oven.
It’s baked in a dutch oven baking dish (or a large baking dish with a lid), which means you just put it in the oven and forget about it until it’s cooked. No basting required. The hot cooking liquid collects on the lid of the baking dish and drips down onto the chicken as it cooks. And you get the juiciest, most tender chicken you have ever tasted.
When the chicken comes out of the oven and you remove the lid, it will look as though it has burned patches on the skin. Don’t worry, it’s not burned … it’s just the marinade that has browned beneath the skin.
Ingredients for honey lemon roast chicken.
You can get the complete list of ingredients and full instructions on how to make this recipe on the printable recipe card at the end of this post.
To make honey lemon roast chicken you will need the following ingredients:
- Whole fresh chicken – sometimes chickens are sold with the giblets in a plastic bag. You need to remove this.
- Juice of 1 lemon – to cut through the sweetness of the honey
- Finely minced garlic
- Chili paste – not too much, just enough to provide a extra flavour
- Honey -brings out the flavour of the lemon
- Cooking oil – olive oil or sunflower oil is fine.
- Carrot and onion chopped into large chunks (not pictured). These are to rest the chicken on whist it is cooking so that it does not sit in the cooking liquid.
- Salt (not pictured) – optional to taste
How to make honey lemon roast chicken
Rinse the chicken inside and out and pat dry with paper towels.
Prepare the marinade
Mix the garlic, chilli and onion together, and squeeze in the juice of the lemon.
Loosen the skin of the chicken breast. I find the easiest way to do this is to gently insert my fingers under the skin and run them back and forth. Be careful not to tear the skin.
Now stand the chicken on end and carefully pour the marinade into the gap between the skin and the chicken and rub gently to cover the breast with the marinade. Sprinkle the chicken with salt.
Get the chicken into the roasting dish
Insert the squeezed lemons into the cavity of the chicken. This helps infuse the lemon flavour into the chicken. You can discard them once the chicken is cooked.
Peel and chop the carrot and onion and place them in the base of a dutch oven, along with 2 Tablespoons oil.
Place the chicken on top of the vegetables. This will keep the chicken out of the cooking juices and you get the additional advantage of having delicious honeyed carrots to serve as an additional vegetable.
Put the lid on the pan and place in a pre-heated oven (375F / 190C). Let it cook for the time calculated as per the instructions below. For example, a 2kg chicken will need 1 hour and 45 minutes.
No basting required
Because the chicken is cooked in a dutch oven, the moisture turns into steam, which turns back into liquid when it hits the lid of the pan, and drips down onto the chicken. So in effect, the chicken bastes itself, which makes for the juiciest chicken ever.
If you feel that the chicken needs to be a little more browned, you can put it back in the oven without the lid for a few minutes extra, just to add a little more colour to the skin. But keep your eye on it, so that it does not burn.
Cooking times for roast chicken
The ideal temperature to cook a roast chicken is 190C / 375F
Depending on the weight of the chicken you will have to calculate the time needed to cook it.
The chicken should be in the oven for 20 minutes per pound (or 450g) plus an additional 15 minutes.
I’ve included a handy chart to help work out the cooking time based on the weight of the chicken in either pounds or kilograms.
|Weight in lb||Cooking Time|
|2.5||1 hr 5 min|
|3||1 hr 15 min|
|3.5||1 hr 25 min|
|4||1 hr 35 min|
|4.5||1 hr 45 min|
|Weight in kg||Cooking Time|
|1.5||1 hr 20 min|
|2||1 hr 45 min|
|2.5||2 hr 5 min|
|3||2 hr 30 min|
Don’t forget the potatoes
No roast is complete without crispy golden roast potatoes.
This is how I make perfect crispy golden roast potatoes.
- Peel and quarter the potatoes. You will need approximately 1 medium potato per person.
- Put the potatoes into a pan of cold salted water and bring to the boil.
- Boil for 6 minutes (just to par-boil them), then drain and shake the potatoes in the pan to rough up the edges. Rough edges equals crispier potatoes.
- While the potatoes are par-boiling, line a baking pan with tin-foil (equals less washing up) and pour in about 2 Tablespoons olive oil, or sunflower oil if you prefer). Place in a hot oven and allow the oil to heat.
- When the potatoes have been drained, place them in the hot baking dish sprinkle with a little extra salt. The potatoes should sizzle as they hit the hot oil. Replace the baking tray in the oven and let the potatkes bake for about 30 minutes, turning them once or twice, until they are golden and crispy.
As an alternative to roast potatoes why not try Spiralizer Potato and Onion Bake. This is a new twist on dauphinoise potatoes, made with spiralized potatoes and onions, baked in cream. Or perhaps you’d like to try a potato frittata. A slice of this would go beautifully with the roast chicken and gravy.
If you don’t want to serve with potatoes, why not try spicy mushroom rice as an alternative.
Prepare the gravy
Let’s not forget the gravy!!! The cooking juices from chicken are packed with flavour from the honey and garlic marinade and you want to get all that flavour in the gravy.
Once the chicken is cooked, remove it from the pan and leave it to rest while you make the gravy. Place the carrots in a serving dish and keep warm. These will be served on the side.
- Place the roasting pan on a low heat on the stove, and bring the juices to the boil.
- Make a slurry of approximately 2 teaspoons of cornflour and 2 tablespoons of water and drizzle into the chicken juices, stirring continuously, until the gravy is nice and thick.
- You may not need all the cornflour mixture, so don’t add it all at once. The amount you will need depends on how much liquid you have from the cooking juices. Let it boil for a minute until the cornflour is fully cooked.
- I like to leave the onion in the gravy – the petals separate as you mix the gravy, and are so soft and delicious.
- You can remove the onion before making the gravy if you prefer.
Convert grams to cups
To help you convert your recipe measurements, I have created a handy Cookery Conversion Calculator which will convert ingredients between grams, ounces, tablespoons, cups and millilitres. I hope you will find it useful.
If you live at a high altitude you may find you need to adjust your baking recipes to compensate for this. You can read about how to do this in this post on baking at high altitudes.
Pin for later
Why not pin this recipe for honey lemon roast chicken so you can make it later.
Recipe – No-baste Honey Lemon Roast Chicken
No-baste Honey Lemon Roast Chicken
(Click the stars to rate this recipe)
- Dutch oven or large casserole dish with lid
- 1 2kg (4.5 lb) Chicken
- 1 Lemon juice only
- 2 cloves Garlic finely minced
- 1 teaspoon chilli paste optional
- 1 Tablespoon Honey
- 1 large Carrot
- 1 large Onion
- Salt to sprinkle over chicken
- 2 teaspoons Cornflour mixed to a thin paste with 2 Tablespoons water
- Pre-heat oven to 375°F / 190°C.
- Remove giblets from chicken and rinse the chicken inside and out. Pat dry on paper towels.
- Combine minced garlic, chilli paste and honey and add the juice of one lemon. Reserve the squeezed lemons.
- Carefuly loosen the skin on the chicken breast and pour the garlic mixture inside over the breast. Massage gently to spread evenly.
- Sprinkle the outside of the chicken with salt to taste.
- Insert squeezed lemons into the chicken cavity.
- Peel the carrot and onion and chop into large pieces. Place these pieces in the base of a dutch oven (or use a large baking dish with a lid).
- Place the chicken on top of the vegetables, and cover the dish with the lid.
- Place in the pre-heated oven and allow to cook for 1 hour and 45 minutes. If you have a meat thermometer the internal temperature should be 165°F / 75°C.
- Remove from the oven and pierce the thigh with a skewer. The chicken will be cooked if the juices run clear. If there is any trace of redness in the juices return to the oven for another 5 minutes.
- Remove the chicken from the pan. Cover with a tent of tin-foil and allow to rest for at least 20 minutes before carving.
- Remove the carrots from the roasting pan and keep warm while you make the gravy.
- Place the roasting pan, containing the onions and cooking juices, on to the stove over a low heat and stir the cornflour mixture in slowly to thicken the gravy.
I am not a nutritionist. The nutrition information has been calculated using an on-line calculator, and is intended for information and guidance purposes only. If the nutrition information is important to you, you should consider calculating it yourself, using your preferred tool.
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