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Perfect Roast Chicken with Lemon Herb Pan Sauce

  • Serves: 6
  • Prep Time: 10 min
  • Cook Time: 1 hr 25 min
  • Calories: 576
cast iron skillet with whole roasted chicken topped with butter and lemon pan sauce

This perfect roast chicken will soon become your family’s favorite weeknight dinner. It’s juicy and flavorful, with a bright and buttery lemon-and-herb pan sauce.

A Winner of a Chicken Dinner.

Dinner doesn’t get much more classic than roast chicken, and making it is really quite simple. But, the question that looms over this simple supper is how do you make the best roast chicken? And how do you make it as simple as possible, so that you can enjoy it over and over again for any occasion, with very little fuss? Well, our easy roast chicken with lemon and herb pan sauce answers these questions. It’s simple, delicious—it’s a platonic ideal roast chicken. End of story.

whole raw chicken in a cast iron skillet seasoned with salt and pepper
whole roasted chicken in a cast iron skillet

How Do You Make the Best Roast Chicken?

Roasting a whole chicken is not at all difficult to master, so don't let it intimidate you.

The perfect roast chicken is as easy as:

  1. Buy a chicken—any size will do! If you’re not sure how much to buy, just ask the butcher for advice.
  2. Prepare your bird by removing any leftover bits in the cavity.
  3. Season the chicken with salt, pepper and garlic powder.
  4. Bake the chicken in a preheated oven. Roasting a whole chicken in the oven doesn’t take terribly long, but the cook time does depend on how large your bird is.
  5. Turn the chicken’s pan drippings into the most fabulous “gravy” by adding a few simple ingredients, including our favorite...BUTTER.
a spoon in a skillet of lemon herb pan sauce for easy roast chicken

Roasting A Whole Chicken—Let’s Talk Temperature.

Many recipes suggest cooking your chicken in an oven that is set to 350°F to 375°F, and then increase the temperature at the end of the cooking to crisp up the skin. While that certainly works, we prefer to have the oven set to a hot temperature at the start so the chicken doesn’t become over cooked and dry. Here’s what we want you to do instead:

  • Begin by cooking your chicken in a 450° F oven for 10 minutes.
  • After 10 minutes, crank the heat down to 375° F.
  • After that, the remaining cook time depends on the size of your bird. The general rule is 15-20 mins per pound, but you can also check for doneness using an instant read meat thermometer.

When the internal temperature reaches 165° F and the juices run clear, your chicken is ready. Rest the chicken for 10 minutes before slicing into it to keep all those delicious juices sealed inside. This method results in a chicken that’s perfectly juicy on the inside, with deliciously crispy skin on the outside.

whole roast chicken in a skillet with a carving knife

How to Make the Perfect Pan Sauce from Roast Chicken Drippings:

This recipe for perfect roast chicken with a lemon and herb pan sauce is so easy to make. For the “gravy” you’ll want to these simple ingredients on hand:

  • A dry white wine such as Sauvignon Blanc.
  • Fresh or dried thyme and parsley
  • Plenty of fresh garlic
  • Lemon
  • Butter (and a lot of it)

Pan Sauce 101

Making a pan sauce is really pretty easy to do, and a wonderful way to keep those delicious pan drippings from going to waste. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Remove the cooked chicken from the roasting pan.
  2. Carefully tip the pan and skim off the fat from the drippings.
  3. Put the pan over medium heat, pour a little wine into the pan and deglaze the pan—in other words, scrape all of the flavorful dripping bits from the bottom of the pan.
  4. Add the herbs and garlic and bring the wine-garlic-herb mixture to a simmer.
  5. When the mixture is fragrant, turn off the heat and whisk in the cold butter. This will create a luscious and creamy butter pan sauce to accompany your chicken- which is our favorite way to serve it.
cast iron skillet with whole roasted chicken topped with butter and lemon pan sauce

What To Serve with Roast Chicken

spoon pouring lemon herb pan sauce over a whole roast chicken in a pan.

Love Roast Chicken? An Herb Pan Sauce Fan? US TOO.

We hope this perfect roast chicken with lemon and herb pan sauce makes you a believer in a simple weeknight dinner that is fancy enough to serve to any guest, on any occasion. If you make this dish we’d love to hear about it! Be sure to snap a photo, add it to your Instagram feed or stories and tag @themodernproper and #themodernproper if you do!

Perfect Roast Chicken with Lemon Herb Pan Sauce

  • Serves: 6
  • Prep Time: 10 min
  • Cook Time: 1 hr 25 min
  • Calories: 576

Ingredients

  • 1 (4-5 lb) Whole chicken, gizzards and neck removed
  • 3 tbsp Kosher salt
  • 1 tsp Freshly ground pepper
  • ½ tbsp Garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp Thyme (fresh or dried)
  • 6 Garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup Dry white wine, such as sauvignon blanc
  • 3 tbsp Flat leaf parsley, minced
  • 1 tbsp Lemon juice, from 1 small lemon
  • 6 tbsp Butter, cold

Method

  1. Heat oven to 450°F.
  2. If you'd like to truss your chicken, HERE is a good tutorial.
  3. Season with salt, pepper and garlic powder.
  4. Set the seasoned chicken into an oven proof skillet, we prefer cast iron or roasting pan that can be placed over heat while making the pan sauce. Place it in the heated oven for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, turn the heat down to 375° F and roast for 15 minutes per pound. Check for doneness with a meat thermometer when there is roughly 20 minutes left.
  5. When the internal temperature of the thickest part of your chicken reaches 165° F and the juices run clear, you can remove the pan from the oven. Remove the chicken onto a plate to rest for 10 minutes while you make the sauce.
  6. If you are baking your chicken in a cast iron pan, simply move it to a burner and turn the heat to medium. If you are using a baking dish or roasting pan, transfer the drippings to a small saucepan.
  7. Tip the pan slightly and skim the oily fat off the top of the drippings.
  8. Add in garlic and thyme and saute over medium heat until fragrant.
  9. Add the wine and bring to a simmer until reduced by half.
  10. Remove the pan from heat and working with 1 tbsp at a time whisk in cold butter. Once incorporated add in lemon juice and parsley.
  11. Serve the pan sauce warm with the sliced roasted chicken.