I can’t think of a more soul satisfying meal than this lemon garlic roasted chicken. Chicken pieces are baked until golden and crispy in a vibrant lemon marinade that does double duty as a sauce. It’s a no-fail roast chicken dinner that I think you’re going to LOVE. With only 35 minutes of cooking time, it’s quick enough for weeknights, but elegant enough for special occasions! Don’t miss the step-by-step VIDEO below. 

Close up of roasted lemon garlic chicken in a baking dish.

Easy lemon roasted chicken

I absolutely love roast chicken (the crispy skin! the tender meat!). But do you want to know what I don’t like? Dry, flavorless chicken (yech). Don’t worry, with a few easy techniques, you can get juicy, delicious roast chicken every single time

Roasted chicken pieces

Instead of roasting a whole bird, we’re going to roast a quartered chicken. Cooking chicken pieces instead of a whole bird not only cuts the cooking time in half (!), but it also ensures that the meat stays juicy and tender. 

All of the ingredients for the baked lemon garlic chicken on a marble surface.

You can ask your butcher to quarter a chicken for you, or you can buy chicken pieces. You’ll need two bone-in breasts and two whole chicken legs (drumsticks + thighs). OR you can use four bone-in breasts or four legs (you can even use bone-in chicken thighs—see the Tips below!).

Baked lemon and garlic chicken

The chicken gets its incredible flavor from an easy lemon garlic marinade, which does double duty as a sauce. Half of the sauce is poured over the chicken before baking, then the other half is added halfway through cooking. 

As the sauce cooks, it turns caramelized and rich, yet it maintains a bright lemony flavor. It’s heavenly over the chicken (and if you’re anything like me, you’ll want some crusty bread on hand to sop it up!).

Slices of roasted lemon chicken breasts on a plate drizzled with the pan sauce.

How to make no-fail roast chicken with lemon:

Whisk together a quick marinade using lemon zest, lemon juice, grated garlic, dried oregano and olive oil.

Hand whisking the lemon marinade in a measuring cup.

Season a quartered chicken with salt and pepper. Arrange the chicken pieces in a baking dish, then pour half of the marinade over the chicken. Let the chicken sit while you preheat your oven. 

Process shot showing a hand drizzling the lemon marinade over chicken pieces in a baking dish.

Roast the chicken at 450˚F for 20 minutes. Remove the baking dish from the oven and stir the sauce on the bottom of the pan (the sauce might look quite dark in places, but don’t worry – those dark bits equal flavor!). Continue roasting the chicken until the juices run clear (an instant read thermometer inserted into the thigh meat should read 165˚F), about 15-20 minutes longer. 

Process shot showing the finished lemon roasted chicken in the baking dish with the sauce.

Transfer the chicken pieces to a cutting board or plate and let them rest for 10 minutes. Stir the sauce on the bottom of the pan. Transfer the chicken back into the baking dish and spoon some of the pan sauce over top (or you can transfer the chicken to a serving platter and serve the sauce alongside). 

Close up of the roasted chicken in the baking dish, garnished with parsley sprigs and lemon slices.

FAQ

What is the difference between roasting and baking a chicken?

While roasting and baking are sometimes used interchangeably, roasting refers to higher heat cooking (typically 400˚F and above).

How long does it take to bake 4 pieces of chicken?

The cooking time will depend on the size of the pieces, but it generally takes 35-40 minutes to bake a quartered chicken at 450˚F. 

What herbs are best with chicken?

Any hardy herbs pair wonderfully with chicken. This recipe calls for dried oregano, but other herbs that work well include fresh or dried rosemary, thyme and/or sage. 

Roasted lemon garlic chicken on a serving platter with serving spoons, with the pan sauce alongside.

Tips for making this recipe:

  • You’ll need a quartered chicken for this recipe. You can ask your butcher to quarter it for you, or you can buy chicken pieces. You’ll need two bone-in breasts and two whole chicken legs (drumsticks + thighs). OR you can use four bone-in breasts or four legs.
  • You can also use 6-8 bone-in chicken thighs instead! Roast the thighs for 15 minutes, stir the sauce as directed, then roast them for 10-15 minutes longer, or until the juices run clear.
  • This chicken gets baked in a large baking dish (it will need to be at least 9×13-inches). If your chicken pieces are quite large and don’t fit, use two smaller baking dishes instead. 
  • You can serve the chicken pieces whole or you can cut them into smaller pieces. To do that, let the chicken rest after cooking, then use a sharp knife to cut the breasts in half crosswise and separate the thighs from the drumsticks.  
  • I love to serve the chicken straight from the baking pan, right in sauce, but you can transfer it it to a serving platter if you prefer.
  • If you prefer to skim the sauce of fat, pour it into a measuring cup, let it sit, then spoon off and discard the fat on top. 
  • Try this roast chicken with a one-bowl green salad or a pear and gorgonzola salad (pictured below)!
Roast chicken and salad on a plate with a fork and knife.

What to serve with roasted chicken:

Don’t forget dessert! Easy sweets to try:

Watch the video!

Get the recipe!

Easy Lemon Garlic Roasted Chicken

This is the ULTIMATE roast chicken dinner! Chicken pieces are baked until golden and crispy in a vibrant lemon marinade that does double duty as a sauce. With only 35 minutes of cooking time, it’s quick enough for weeknights, but elegant enough for special occasions. You’ll need a quartered chicken for this recipe, or you can use 4 bone-in chicken pieces (see the Tips below). The sauce will turn quite dark as it cooks, but don’t worry, those dark bits give it incredible flavor. Serve this chicken alongside homemade grits, creamy mashed potatoes and/or a simple green salad (see above for more serving ideas). If you’re anything like me, you’ll want some crusty bread on hand to mop up the lemon sauce!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time35 mins
Total Time45 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: baked lemon garlic chicken, lemon garlic roast chicken recipe, lemon garlic roasted chicken
Servings: 4 -6 people

Ingredients

  • Oil or cooking spray, for baking dish
  • 1 3 1/2 – 4 lb whole chicken, backbone removed and quartered (or 4 bone-in chicken breasts or 4 whole chicken legs)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Zest from 1 lemon
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (from 1 1/2 – 2 large lemons)
  • 1 large garlic clove, grated
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1/3 cup olive oil

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 450˚F (230˚C). 
  • Lightly oil a large baking dish (9×13-inches or larger). Season the chicken generously with salt and pepper. Arrange the chicken in the dish.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic and oregano. Whisk in the olive oil. Drizzle half of the marinade over the top of the chicken pieces. Let sit 15-30 minutes.
  • Roast the chicken for 20 minutes. Remove the baking dish from the oven and stir up any brown bits on the bottom of the dish with a rubber spatula (some of the juices will look quite dark but don’t worry!). Drizzle the remaining marinade over the top of the chicken. Continue roasting the chicken until the juices run clear (an instant read thermometer inserted into the thigh meat should read 165˚F), about 15-20 minutes longer.
  • Transfer the chicken pieces to a cutting board or plate and let them rest for 10 minutes. Stir the sauce on the bottom of the baking dish (it will look dark in places).
  • Transfer the chicken back into the baking dish and spoon some of the pan sauce over top. Serve the chicken straight from the dish, or, if you prefer, transfer the chicken to a platter and serve the sauce alongside.

Notes

Storage: Leftover chicken can be refrigerated for up to 4 days. Use it in salads, sandwiches and/or soups!
Tips:
  • You’ll need a quartered chicken for this recipe. You can ask your butcher to quarter it for you, or you can buy chicken pieces. You’ll need two bone-in breasts and two whole chicken legs (drumsticks + thighs). OR you can use four bone-in breasts or four legs.
  • You can also use 6-8 bone-in chicken thighs instead! Roast the thighs for 15 minutes, stir the sauce as directed, then roast them for 10-15 minutes longer, or until the juices run clear.
  • This chicken gets baked in a large baking dish (it will need to be at least 9×13-inches). If your chicken pieces are quite large and don’t fit, use two smaller baking dishes instead. 
  • You can serve the chicken pieces whole or you can cut them into smaller pieces. To do that, let the chicken rest after cooking, then use a sharp knife to cut the breasts in half crosswise and separate the thighs from the drumsticks.  
  • I love to serve the chicken straight from the baking pan, right in sauce, but you can transfer it it to a serving platter if you prefer.
  • If you prefer to skim the sauce of fat, pour it into a measuring cup, let it sit, then spoon off and discard the fat on top. 
  • Try this roast chicken with a one-bowl green salad or a pear and gorgonzola salad!

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