Lemon & thyme butter-basted roast chicken & gravy

Lemon & thyme butter-basted roast chicken & gravy

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(22 ratings)

Prep: 15 mins Cook: 1 hr, 40 mins


Serves 4
Smoothing butter under the bird's skin helps to baste the chicken and herbs add a delicious flavour to the gravy

Nutrition and extra info

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal610
  • fat42g
  • saturates15g
  • carbs11g
  • sugars6g
  • fibre2g
  • protein47g
  • salt0.8g


  • 50g butter, softened



    Butter is a dairy product made from separating whole milk or cream into fat and…

  • bunch fresh thyme or lemon thyme, leaves picked, stalks reserved, plus extra to serve


    This popular herb grows in Europe, especially the Mediterranean, and is a member of the mint…

  • 4 garlic cloves, 1 mashed, the other 3 left whole but squashed
  • 2 lemons, halved



    Oval in shape with a pronouced bulge on one end, lemons are one of the most versatile…

  • 1 chicken, about 1½ kg



    While it's the traditional Christmas bird, turkey is good to eat all year round, though…

  • 2 carrots, roughly chopped



    The carrot, with its distinctive bright orange colour, is one of the most versatile root…

  • 1 onion, roughly chopped



    Onions are endlessly versatile and an essential ingredient in countless recipes. Native to Asia…

  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 250ml chicken stock
  • splash soy sauce (optional)
    Soy sauce

    Soy sauce

    soy sor-s

    An Asian condiment and ingredient that comes in a variety of of varieties ranging from light to…


  1. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. In a small bowl, mash the butter with one-third of the thyme leaves, the mashed garlic and the juice of half a lemon. Mix everything together with some seasoning and set aside.

  2. Use your hand to loosen the chicken skin away from the breast, then push most of the butter mix into the gap. Rub the rest of the butter all over the outside of the chicken, then stuff the cavity with the lemon halves, remaining thyme leaves and stalks, and the garlic.

  3. Scatter the chopped carrot, onion and bay leaves over the base of a small roasting tin. Sit the chicken on top, breast-side up, and roast on the middle shelf for 1 hr 30 mins, basting with the buttery juices after about 40 mins. When the chicken is dark golden, crispy-skinned and the juices run clear, remove from the oven and leave in the tin for 5 mins. Use a pair of tongs to pull the lemons, garlic and thyme out of the cavity and into the tin. Lift the chicken up, letting any juices dribble into the tin, and transfer the chicken to a serving platter to rest for at least another 15 mins.

  4. To make the gravy, squeeze the juice out of the cooked lemon halves and discard the skins. Place the tin on a low heat, stir in flour and sizzle until light brown. Gradually pour in the stock and cook for a few mins. If you like a darker gravy, add a splash of soy sauce to the tin. Strain the gravy into a jug and serve with the chicken.

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Comments, questions and tips

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Jodie Hickey's picture
Jodie Hickey
7th Jun, 2020
lovely for a summer roast
7th Dec, 2018
This was beautiful! I did two mashed garlic cloves in the butter, but that was the only real modification I made. The gravy was divine, though I had to dilute it quite a bit because it was incredibly sharp even for a lemon fanatic like me. One thing I will suggest is not to discard the veg used for the gravy! If you cut them into big chunks, they won't burn, and the carrots tasted absolutely amazing after taking on the flavours of the lemon and the chicken.
21st Feb, 2015
We love this recipe. One to make you lick the plate the gravy is SO good. And once you've made it once it's easy to shop and cook from memory. PERFECTION.
adam-hancock's picture
30th Jul, 2013
i am trying this for the first time at te moment, should be ready in about an hour, I shall leave my feedback afterwards. wish me luck :)
21st Jan, 2013
Chicken was delicious, really moist! Gravy was nice but a bit tangy for my taste, might be because some of the carrots and onions burnt.
2nd Jan, 2013
Tried this and it was brilliant. Will definitely be doing it again!
28th Oct, 2012
when it says pour in the stock, does this mean stock you make and add it to the other liquid in the tin, what stock do i use?? : / xx
mollymango's picture
20th Oct, 2012
The chicken was perfectly cooked and moist, so I would do this again. Am going to use the left over chicken for chicken and stuffing baps tomorrow! Mmmmm! However I haven't given it 5* as some of the onion and carrots burnt.
4th Apr, 2012
used rosemary instead of thyme. was pretty good
25th Mar, 2012
Gorgeous flavours and so easy! The gravy was also very yummy but doubled up on stock as me and the other half like a lot of gravy, highly recommended even of just for something a little different X


21st Jun, 2015
What do i do with the carrots and onions at the end? Or do they disintegrate in the cooking process?
goodfoodteam's picture
12th Aug, 2015
Hi there, thanks for your interest in this recipe. The carrots and onions are strained out of the finished gravy at the end and discarded. During the cooking they impart lots of great flavour in the bottom of the tin which makes its way into creating a delicious gravy.
20th Apr, 2014
Delicious flavour, could really taste the lemon and the thyme in this. Used a 2.2kg bird and found it was ready in 2 1/2 hours. To prevent burning the carrots and onions, I kept them as close under the bird and in the buttery juices as possible. Use a roasting pan that fits the bird neatly to do this. Wonderful method of keeping the bird moist with crisp skin
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