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Citrus and Herb Roast Chicken

A delicious, tender, savory roast chicken that is perfect for any day and the holidays!

Course dinner
Keyword dinner, holiday, Paleo, roast chicken, whole30
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Author Linda Spiker


  • 1 4 1/2-5 pound organic roasting chicken
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter (or ghee) room temperature
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme, 4 left whole, three stripped of leaves and chopped
  • 4 sprigs rosemary, 3 left whole, 1 stripped of leaves and finely chopped
  • 1 lemon, zested then quartered
  • zest of half an orange
  • 1 teaspoon coarse or flaked sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 red onion, peeled, cut in half, then quarter each half


  1. Remove chicken from refrigerator, rinse inside and out with warm water, pat dry with paper towels. For best results allow to come to room temperature on counter (about an hour)

  2. While chicken comes to room temp prepare herbed butter: 

  3. Zest 1/2 an orange and 1 lemon, place zest in small bowl. Quarter the lemon and set aside. Use a fork to mash soft butter with chopped herbs, lemon zest, orange zest, sea salt and pepper. .

  4. Preheat oven to 425 degrees, Place oven rack in lower third of oven

  5. Place 3 thyme sprigs, 3 rosemary sprigs, and lemon slices into cavity of the chicken. Gently use fingers to separate skin from the meat of the chicken breast being careful not to rip skin. Use your fingers to place half the herb butter mixture under the skin. To get the herbed butter all the way to the top of the breast you can rub the outside of the skin in an upward motion pushing the butter toward the neck

  6. If you have a small wire rack for the bottom of your roasting pan, place it in the pan and set the chicken on top of rack, breast side up. If you don't have a rack, that's fine, just set the chicken in the roasting pan, breast side up (I didn't use a rack and mine was delish, so no worries)

  7. Melt the remaining herbed butter and brush onto chicken, front, back, legs and wings. Tuck wings behind the back of the chicken and try legs together with trussing string. Add onions to pan around the chicken 

  8. Place roasting pan into oven and cook for 1 hour turning the pan a half  rotation halfway through cooking time (30 minutes:). After chicken has cooked for one hour start basting chicken every few minutes for another 15 minutes (Please note: ovens are very different, cooking time may vary. Thigh juices should run clear and internal temperature should read 165 degrees. If you want to take the guess work out of it, use a meat thermometer)

  9. Remove from oven, cover with foil and allow to "rest" for ten minutes before carving. Spoon onions and juices over chicken, serve.