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Lemon Garlic Roast Chicken

A classic Sunday night dinner is roast chicken. We eat chicken one to two times per week because it's an easy and affordable way to get a good quality source of protein.
Nov 10, 2018 | Joy McCarthy

A classic Sunday night dinner is roast chicken. We eat chicken one to two times per week because it's an easy and affordable way to get a good quality source of protein. It's also so versatile because there are many ways to cook chicken, from Dijon Marmalade Chicken to Orange Chicken but roasting a whole chicken is simply the best because of the many things you can do with it.

A roast chicken is definitely my favourite way to enjoy chicken because it's the easiest (in my opinion), comforting and always juicy – assuming you don't roast it too long!

When I say it's easy, I mean EASY! All you have to do is chop some vegetables and season your chicken nicely and throw it in the oven! I just set it at 350F (180C) and let it work its magic. I typically buy a chicken that weighs around 2kg because that serves my family of three, plus some leftovers. Depending on the size of your chicken, it will take around an hour or longer to cook. As I mentioned in my recipe, you want the internal temperature of the chicken to be 165F. 

My preference when buying chicken is certified organic.

The animal welfare standards for certified organic in Canada are higher than conventional (including double the barn space) and many farmers go beyond the basic standard organic requirements. Chickens must have access to sunlight, fresh air and outdoor pastures. Additionally, organic farmers cannot feed their chickens any GMO foods or any animal by-products. The food they are given must also not be contaminated with pesticides or herbicides. Most importantly, use of antibiotics is prohibited.


One of the most significant ways that people often consume pesticides is from eating animal foods. So if you want to avoid pesticides (which I recommend you do as much as possibl), then choosing organic when consuming animal foods is essential.

Many people feel confident buying "steroid/hormone-free" but this claim is marketing rubbish. In Canada, hormones are not allowed in chickens. As for antibiotic-free, there are laws around this claim in Canada but you can read more here. If you cannot afford certified organic then at the bare minimum look for "antibiotic-free". The other option is to buy directly from a farmer you know and trust. The best way to do this is to shop at a farmers market. 

Health benefits of chicken

  • High protein content: 100g contains a whopping 18g of protein! 100g is about the size of the palm of an average adult's hand and the thickness of a deck of cards.
  • Rich source of vitamins and minerals including: calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, vitamin C, D, E, K as well as B-complex vitamins including B12 and folate. 
  • Helps fight the common cold: This is why chicken noodle soup is my go-to! It contains a wide range of immune-boosting nutrients; protein being one of them, because it's responsible for making antibodies that fight infection. I often make this soup but with chicken instead. It's delicious and I always make my own broth. 

I highly recommend making the lemon garlic ghee or butter on top because it's delicious! It helps the skin crisp up nicely and talk about mega-watt delicious potatoes and carrots! But if you want to skip that step, just season with salt and pepper – easy peasy!

Let's get to this delicious recipe!

Mains & Sides
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  • 2 kg (4lbs) whole organic chicken
  • 2 lemons, halved
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 4 tbsp ghee, butter or olive oil
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp rosemary or oregano
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 4-5 medium carrots, unpeeled if organic, roughly chopped,
  • 5-6 medium potatoes, any kind, unpeeled if organic, roughly chopped
  • 2 small onions, roughly chopped
  • 1-2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  1. Place chicken on roasting pan or baking sheet breast side up and let sit for 25-30 minutes to come up to room temperature.
  2. Preheat oven to 350F (180C). Remove chicken from fridge, rinse both the inside and the outside with water and pat dry.
  3. Melt ghee or butter on the stovetop over a low temperature. Add the minced garlic and juice from half a lemon. Mix together.
  4. Pour the lemon garlic ghee mixture over top of the chicken. Season with dried herbs, sea salt and pepper.
  5. Stuff chicken with remaining lemons and half of the chopped onion.
  6. Place carrots, potatoes and remaining onion around the chicken. Drizzle vegetables with olive oil and season as you like.
  7. Place in oven and roast until internal temperature reaches 165F (74 C)*. It will take anywhere from 50 minutes to 1.5 hours, it really depends on the size of your chicken and your oven. Baste chicken and veggies halfway through cooking.
  8. Once it's finished cooking, remove from oven and place on cutting board to rest for 15 minutes before carving.


Serves 4.
*I don't have a meat thermometer and it usually takes about an hour and a quarter but if you want to be really sure it's done a thermometer is the way to go!

Now you're probably wondering what to enjoy this delicious Lemon Garlic Roast Chicken with. As always, I've got plenty of yummy ideas for you! 

Roasted Root Veggies

Juicy & Crunchy Kale Salad

Kale Salad

Stuffed Acorn Squash

For Dessert:
Mini Apple Tarts

Pumpkin Spice Cake

After you've enjoyed your chicken, don't toss the carcass out. Be sure to make bone broth for future soups or purely to sip on for the immune-boosting benefits.

Chicken bone broth

Have a joyous week!

Joy xo

Linda   •   November 18, 2018

Hi Joy, here in the UK we are warned not to wash chicken as the splashes that land on the sink, taps,

Joy McCarthy   •   November 18, 2018
Linda   •   November 18, 2018

Kin   •   September 28, 2019

Washing a chicken according to science spreads tons of bacteria around your counters sink etc. The oven heat will kill all bacteria. So a step to save. Thermometer is essential. Start chicken upside down, flip after half time. Breast will be moister and whole chicken browned.

Joy McCarthy   •   September 30, 2019

Janet   •   September 28, 2019

I've also heard it's better not to rinse off the chicken. Keeping it dry and then roasting at high heat kills anything potentially bad and keeps the skin crispie. We do the first 20 minutes at 425 then lower the over to 350 until it's done. Always a winner!

Joy McCarthy   •   September 30, 2019

Anna   •   December 1, 2019

I made this a couple weeks ago and it was awesome. The chicken was SOOO juicy, yumm! I think the ghee and onions made a big difference. I will make this again this week. Thanks Joy! I love your recipes :-)

Joy McCarthy   •   December 1, 2019

Melissa   •   December 17, 2022

Can you eat the veggies too or are they just for cooking?

Joy McCarthy   •   December 19, 2022

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