Roasted Lemon Chicken with Crispy Sage Leaves


I love roasting chickens. They can be done in so many ways and are always so satisfying!

This recipe came about in the usual way – me poking around my kitchen to see what I have around. I had just bought a beautiful sage plant, and had some lemons and thyme on hand. The result was delicious!


Roasted Lemon Chicken with Crispy Sage Leaves

Time to cook 45 minutes, makes 4–6 servings


  • 3 lb whole roasting chicken, preferably organic
  • 2 lemons, one sliced into rounds, one quartered
  • 1 yellow onion, quartered
  • 1 bunch fresh sage, save about 10 leaves



  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Rinse the chicken with cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Season the inside of the cavity generously with salt and pepper. Stuff the cavity with the quartered onion, the quartered lemon, and ½ of the sage and all of the thyme.
  3. Tie the legs together with twine so they are snug against the bird. Place the bird breast side up onto a roasting rack.
  4. With your fingers, gently loosen the skin from the breast meat. Slide in the lemon rounds, 2-3 per side. Then season the outside of the chicken with salt and pepper, and rub with olive oil.
  5. Place in the 450 degree oven and cook until the skin turns a beautiful golden brown, about 20 minutes. Then turn the oven down to 350 degrees.
  6. Cook until a thermometer placed in the deep part of the thigh registers 160 degrees, about 45 more minutes. Take the chicken out and allow to rest at least 5 minutes.
  7. While you are waiting for the bird to rest, try this. Melt the butter in a shallow pan. When it bubbles, add the remaining sage leaves and cook until crispy, about 2 minutes. Be careful not to burn them!
  8. Slice the chicken and garnish with the crispy sage leaves. If you happen to get a drizzle of the brown butter on the chicken as well, all the better!