This is easy chicken roast with butter, lemon, and herbs. It creates a moist and succulent roasted chicken. A perfect Sunday dinner!

Lemon herb chicken roast garnished with lemon and sage on a platter.

I almost died of heart attack last Sunday.

I don’t know why chickens in Asia are giving me such a hard life.  All I asked for was a “well-cleaned-whole chicken” ready to be adorned, but instead, my chicken opened up with a surprise. A surprise that I really, really don’t like…

I wanted a nice Sunday dinner with my family after church last week. I planned to make my Sunday meal, the lemon & herb roasted chicken. Everything was ready to go. All I needed to do was to get the chicken ready to roast. Sometimes.., life brings you unexpected surprises.

Here is Holly’s chicken trauma, part II; the Malaysian chicken.

A whole chicken in a bag.

So I bought this so called the “clean chicken”, grass-fed and free-range organic. Everything looked normal and well groomed from what I saw on the package. Then I opened…

A whole chicken showing the chicken feet.

Oh, my Lord!

I literally dropped my scissor that I used to open the package when I discovered these.

“What in the world are these?”  I had to take a deep breath, a real deep breath…, with one hand holding on my chest to make sure my heart is still there.

When I lived in hong Kong a few years ago, I once bought a whole chicken. It came with a head (but no feet), eyes half-opened. I never bought the whole chicken again in Hong Kong ever since then.  I developed a chicken phobia.  I don’t know which one is worse, the chicken with a head or chicken with two feet attached. Do you see the nails? They are H-U-G-E, look at that!

My husband was a lucky guy not to be home at the scene. I DID NOT want to cook this chicken. I had to make a choice. Either to let my family starve on Sabbath day or feed them peanut butter & Jelly sandwich for supper.

Oh, Lord! Why art thou giving me such a tribulation…!
Julia Child and Ina Garten, what would you do if you are here?
I decided.  Closing one eye of mine…,  I proceed…,  and amputated the feet.  My family should be eternally grateful to me for doing this.

Okay, so that was my diary of a wimpy cook. How do you like that?
I better move on with my life. Straight to the recipe.

If you like chicken roast and want your chicken to be juicy and succulent with lemon/herb flavor without using the brine, try this method. I guarantee that your chicken will be moist without being dried out especially on the breasts. And with this recipe you can get your chicken ready to eat within an hour.

fresh sage and thyme.

I used sage and thyme. You can use rosemary, marjoram or other type of herbs that are good for poultry.

Shallots and garlic.

Cut onion (or shallot) in half and break up garlic cloves into a few section from the head.

Minced garlic with lemon zest and butter.

Cut cold butter into pieces. Sprinkle lemon zest (reserve lemon juice), chopped garlic, and 1 teaspoon salt evenly on top.

A hand lifting the skin off the cavity of chicken.

Lift up the skin of chicken from the bottom end to loosen up. Basically you are separating meat from the skin. Be careful  not to tear the skin.

Lemon garlic butter inserted under the skin of chicken.

And just insert the butter pieces under the skin.

A whole chicken with lemon garlic her under the skin.

There we go. Your *Darth Maul* chicken is just created. The butter mixture pieces will prevent the meat from getting dry out and keep them very moist.

Fresh herbs inserted to chicken.

Insert the sprigs of herbs over the breast under the skin as well.  I like to keep the herbs between skin and the meat so they will infuse the chicken with aroma without being burnt.

Chicken cavity stuffed with lemon and herbs.

Sprinkle salt and pepper to the chicken cavity and stuff it with onion, garlic, and lemon wedges.

Stuffed chicken placed on a rack in a skillet.

Truss the legs with kitchen twine and place your chicken in a roasting pan. Tuck the wings under the breasts so they don’t fly out while roasting.

Seasoning sprinkled on the skin of stuffed chicken.

Drizzle olive oil on top, then sprinkle salt, pepper, and paprika all over. Don’t be shy on salt. I like the skin to be crisp and salty.

Now, this cock-a-doodle-doo is ready to enter to a hot oven, preheated to 400F. Roast for 30 minutes.

Lemon juice drizzling over roasted chicken.

Drizzle lemon juice and put it back to oven, reduce the temperature to 350F and continue to roast for another 20-25 minutes. Your chicken should show its beautiful brown nude.

A sharp knife poking near the chicken thigh.

I don’t use meat thermometer. One way to tell if your chicken is done is to jiggle the leg to see if they are willing to separate from the body. Also poke the thigh. If the juice runs clear, then your chicken is ready.
Let your chicken rest for 15 minutes, then carve.

Lemon herb roasted chicken pieces garnished with lemon slices and herbs on a platter.

Dinner is ready.  And this will be the first and the last chicken roast I will ever make in Malaysia.

A man passing a bowl of mashed potato.

“Come on, are you done taking pictures, mom?”

“Yeah, Let’s eat”

The Last (chicken) Supper went really well.

“Amen” to my cock-a-doodle-doo and a salute to the wimpy chef!

Chicken roast companied by mashed potato, green beans and dinner rolls.
Chicken roast is garnished with lemon slices and sage herb on a platter.

Lemon Herb Chicken Roast for Sunday

This is easy chicken roast with butter, lemon, and herbs. It creates a moist and succulent roasted chicken. A perfect Sunday dinner!
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  • 1 whole chicken
  • 1/2 stick butter, cut into 8 peices
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 garlic clove, finely minced
  • 2 lemons, zest and juice 1 lemon, the other cut into wedges
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • a few sprigs of sage
  • a few sprigs of thyme
  • 1-2 onion, halved or quartered
  • 1 head of garlic, loosened
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • kosher salt
  • freshly cracked pepper
  • paprika


  • Preheat the oven to 425ºF
  • Loosen the skin of chicken above the breast area.
  • Sprinkle 1/2 tsp salt, lemon zest, and garlic over the butter pieces and insert to chicken under the skin evenly distributing above breast and thigh area, if you can. Insert 2-4 sprigs of each herb in the same manner.
  • sprinkle salt and pepper inside chicken cavity and stuff with onion, garlic, herbs, and lemon wedges. Truss the legs if you wish.
  • Place chicken in the roasting pan. Drizzle olive oil to chicken and rub evenly all over. Sprinkle generous amount of salt, then pepper and paprika.
  • Place the pan to the hot oven. If your oven is convection, reduce the heat to 400ºF and roast for 30 minutes. Pour the reserved lemon juice over chicken and continue to roast on 350ºF for another 20-25 minutes.
  • Let the chicken rest for 15 minutes before you carve.
Did you make this recipe?Tag @beyondkimchee on Instagram. I love to see your masterpiece.