Great Tastes of Manitoba

Roast Chicken with Lemons

2 hours
Prep: 30 minutes | Cook: 75-90 minutes + stand time | Servings: 6-8


  • 2 whole chickens (about 3lbs/1.5kg each) from Cantor’s Quality Meats & Grocery
  • 4 medium Peak of the Market onions
  • 3 lemons
  • ½ cup butter at room temperature
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp (30 mL) minced fresh herbs (oregano, sage, rosemary etc)-
  • 1 green onion, minced-
  • ½ tsp (2 mL) salt-
  • ¼ tsp (1 mL) pepper


  1. Remove chickens from the fridge and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before roasting.
  2. Meanwhile, cut 2 lemons in half, and the remaining lemon into 8 wedges.
  3. In a small bowl combine all the Herb Butter ingredients and mix well.
  4. Preheat oven to 400F.
  5.  Place onion halves on the bottom of a large cast iron skillet, or foil lined roasting pan.
  6. Loosen the skin on the chicken breasts.  Spread some of the Herb Butter under the skin of each chicken; spread the remainder of the Herb Butter on top of the skin.
  7. Tuck 4 lemon wedges in the cavity of each chicken.
  8. Using cotton kitchen string (butcher string), tie the legs together and secure the wings to the body.  Place the chickens, breast side up, on top of the onions (move onions around until each chicken is balanced on the onions).
  9. Scatter lemon halves around the chickens.
  10. Roast chickens until a meat thermometer inserted into the chicken breast reads 180F (about 1 ¼ hours). If the skin is browning too quickly, cover the chickens loosely with foil.
  11. Remove pan from the oven. Transfer roasted lemons and onions to a serving dish and keep warm.
  12. Transfer chickens to a cutting board and cover them loosely with the foil; let stand 15-20 minutes before carving.
  13. While the chickens are resting, skim the fat from the pan juices then strain the juices into a sauce pan. Just before serving, bring the juices to a boil and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  14. Serve the carved chicken with the roasted lemons and onions, and the pan juices.

Nervous about carving your roast chicken? Check out this how to video from Manitoba Chicken!

Pairs well with One Great City Mad Scientist IPA or Limoncello Spritzer: Equal parts Il Tramonto Limoncello & Soda/Sparkling water (2.5 oz each), ice, garnished with a lemon wheel and served in  a wine glass.

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