If I had a dime for every person who comes to see me and says they have no idea how to cook a chicken, I would be at Holt Renfrew buying shoes right now instead of writing this blog. So many people are intimidated by this dish, and it’s a shame. A whole roasted chicken can provide meal after meal for lunch and for supper, and being prepared is the number one issue for many of my clients.

This is why I frequently recommend a simple roasted chicken, cooked on a Sunday, to feed them for the next few days.

Really, there’s nothing to it. You get a chicken, season it, and put it in the oven for around an hour. Nothing scary about that, right?

This recipe can be done a million different ways, but this way is as easy as any and it tastes amazing. It’s also great done on the BBQ  instead of the oven; just put the chicken in a Corningware dish and elevate it about 2-3 inches above the flames. I explain about that later.

Serves 4

1- 3lb chicken (approximately – don’t stand in the store all day weighing chickens)

1 lemon

1-2 cloves of garlic, crushed

3-4 sprigs of fresh thyme – you can use dried if you want, or none at all

Salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 400F.

Slice up the lemon like this:


Season the chicken – rub it all over with the crushed garlic clove, and sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Put it into an oven-proof dish. You might want to line the dish with foil to make clean-up really easy. I did not, as you can see in the next picture. Bad move.

Loosen the skin on the top of the chicken and slip some of the thyme and lemon under it. If you’re squeamish or just don’t feel like doing this, you can lay the lemons and thyme on top of the chicken. I usually do it this way. I always shove the ends of the lemon and some thyme up the chicken’s bum so they permeate the meat.  Poor guy!


To make sure that the lemony-thyme goodness goes all over the chicken, lay the chicken on a bed of lemon slices and thyme like this:


Cover the chicken with foil and put it into the oven for 60-75 minutes depending on your oven. During the last 20 minutes of cooking (so at around 45 minutes in), remove the foil so that the chicken gets all brown and yummy.


The chicken is done when juices run clear. The best way to tell if a chicken is done is really just to cut into it. I have put many a chicken back in the oven to cook more…it’s sort of a trial and error thing. A thoroughly cooked piece of meat will feel firm to touch but sometimes with whole chickens it’s hard to tell.


For those of  you who want to make this recipe on the BBQ, I find a muffin tin, invert it, and place it on the BBQ so the bottoms of the cups are facing up. Then, lay the oven-proof dish with the chicken on top of that. The muffin tin will provide a bit of height so that the bottom of the chicken won’t burn. Cook it on high for the first 30 mins or so, then lower the flame.