Thyme and Lemon Roasted Chicken (Whole)

I am on a mission this week to cook some healthy food for us. Unfortunately, hubby dearest doesn’t care about healthy food and he loves ordering in. Yes, pizzas and burgers. So I have to keep thinking of ways to keep our meals exciting. With that mission on my mind, I decided to cook up a whole roasted chicken with thyme and lemon for that yummy zing. Hope he doesn’t order a pizza today and kills my healthy goals.

Whole roasted chicken with thyme and lemon
Roasted Chicken


Serves: 4
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cooking time: 1 hour 15 mins
Marination Time: 4 hours atleast, but its best when left overnight
Expertise Level: Easy
Ingredients Availability: Easy
Food Mood: 

  • Taste Palate: Delicate and Subtle
  • Ambiance:  Best for Sunday Lunches with family or friends – Laughter, Chatter, wine.


  1. 1.1 Kg Whole Chicken, skin and insides removed
  2. 2 tsp Salt
  3. 2 tsp Kashmiri Chili Powder
  4. 1 tsp Cumin/Jeera, toasted and then freshly ground
  5.  3 Lemons
  6. Handful of Thyme Sprigs
  7. 7 Sage leaves
  8. 1 tablespoon butter
  9. 2 tablespoon Olive Oil
  10. 1 Tablespoon extra virgin Olive Oil for the final dressing
  11. 2 pods of Garlic intact in their white skin casing, cut in half while in their casing
  12. 1 Onion, Peeled and Quartered


  1. Wash the whole chicken thoroughly including the cavity to remove any excess fat, blood or hair.
  2. Now drain all the water and pat the meat dry with a kitchen paper towel
  3. In glass or steel bowl, keep the chicken and add salt, cumin powder, chili powder, 2 lemon juice and 1 tbsp of Oil. Rub the marinade all over the chicken and even inside the cavity. Put a cling wrap around bowl to cover the chicken and refrigerate overnight or at least 4 hours
  4. Preheat your oven at 175 degrees celcius for 10 mins
  5. Now, on your baking tray, place an aluminium foil to avoid the meat sticking to the tray. Grease it lightly with oil
  6. Now place the chicken at the center of the baking tray with its back on the tray and the breast on top. Look at the picture above for reference. Insert half a pod, a whole lemon, butter, thyme sprigs and all the sage leaves inside the cavity to boost the flavour. You can also add an extra tsp of salt and rub it inside the cavity.
  7. Tuck the wings under the chicken so it cushions itself under the weight of the chicken. Tie the legs together with a thread or using a wet skewer. This helps the keeping the chicken together and doesn’t let it dry while roasting apart from aesthetic reasons.
  8. Place the onions around the chicken, in the gaps between the legs and the breast. Basically wherever you can find some empty space.  You can also add carrots and potatoes if you wish. I ran out of carrots so didn’t add them.
  9. Sprinkle the remaining thyme leaves on top of the chicken. Drizzle the remaining oil (not the extra virgin oil) on top
  10.  Now place the tray in the center rack of the oven and bake for 1 hour 15 mins. I inserted my thermometer which read 74.5 degrees. 75 degrees Celsius is the right internal temperature for a roasted chicken.
  11. Remove the tray using your baking mitts and let it rest for 10 mins
  12. Carve the chicken. First slide your steak knife through the centre of the breast vertically. The idea is to take off the meat piece over the rib cage the rib cage. Then remove the wings at the joint. Finally, remove the legs with the thighs intact and then finally cut off the neck. Peel off the remaining flesh that will look like shredded chicken. Either serve it or use it for later use in making some salad.
  13. Serve this with the roasted onions (and/or carrots and potatoes). You don’t have to serve the garlic but I love roasted garlic. Take a spoon and lift of the juices left in the baking tray and drizzle over the chicken before serving. Finally drizzle some extra virgin olive oil and some more lemon if you like.

Food Marriage Tips:

  1. Chicken, lemon and thyme go very well together. And then you drizzle some olive oil, its a match made in heaven. You can use this combination for cooking potatoes and fish too.

  2. Use salt and lemon in chicken marination. Salt adds flavour and lemon tenderizes the meat. The same feat can be achieve using salt and yogurt but this is not that recipe.

  3. Preserve the left overs from the roast. Peel out all the flesh from the remaining roasted chicken. Reserved all the left over juices from the baking tray as well. You can use them the next day in your salads, or a chicken roti roll. You can also even mixed it with some yoghurt dip and spread it over your bread/sandwich for breakfast

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