Whenever I have a dinner party planned but also a day or week full of modern-life nonsense, I stop at my rotisserie shop for a perfectly roasted chicken. I transfer from paper bag to platter to table, adding a generous side of doctored mayonnaise and a green salad.

This recipe is almost as simple as the semi-homemade version and leans just as hard on the mayo assist. Season the store-bought mayo with garlic, lemon, and mustard (or make your own!). Rub half the mixture all over the bird and save the rest to serve alongside. During roasting, the mayonnaise plays a dual role by helping keep the meat tender and rendering the skin crisp. Honestly, do this once a week and be happy with your choices.–Rebekah Peppler

A spatchcocked mayo roast chicken on a blue and white plate with a salad and a bowl of salt and pepper nearby.

Mayo Roast Chicken

4.75 / 4 votes
Mayo roast chicken takes your everyday chicken and kicks it up a notch. Spatchcocked for speed, then basted with a tangy mayo, you can have this crisp-skinned and ultra-moist beauty on the table in under 2 hours. A worthy upgrade to those grocery store rotisserie birds.
David Leite
Servings4 servings
Calories459 kcal
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time45 minutes
Total Time1 hour 40 minutes


  • One (4- to 5-pound) chicken, spatchcocked
  • Fine sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated
  • Zest of 1 lemon (about 2 teaspoons), preferably organic
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons smoked paprika


  • Preheat the oven to 450°F (230ºC).
  • Place the chicken, breast-side up, on a rimmed baking sheet or roasting pan and pat dry with paper towels. Season all over with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and let rest for 30 minutes at room temperature.
  • In a small bowl, stir together the mayonnaise, garlic, lemon zest, and mustard. Rub the chicken all over with 1/2 cup of the mayonnaise mixture, reserving the rest. Season the coated chicken with salt and pepper.
  • Roast until cooked through and a thermometer inserted at the thickest part of the thigh registers 165°F (74°C), 40 to 55 minutes. Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes before carving and serving.
  • Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir the lemon juice, chives, and paprika into the reserved mayonnaise mixture. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Arrange the chicken on a serving platter and serve the mayonnaise alongside.


*Why does mayonnaise keep chicken moist?

Chicken, breasts in particular, dry out pretty quickly and often need a little help to retain any moisture they can. Mayonnaise is brilliant for a lot of things and this is one of them. The fat and moisture in mayo keep the moisture in the chicken from drying out—it’s the baste that evaporates instead. And as an extra perk, the fat in the mayo renders the skin even crispier than usual.

Adapted From

A Table

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Serving: 1 portionCalories: 459 kcalCarbohydrates: 2 gProtein: 7 gFat: 47 gSaturated Fat: 8 gTrans Fat: 1 gCholesterol: 48 mgSodium: 1556 mgFiber: 1 gSugar: 1 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2021 Rebekah Peppler. Photo © 2021 Joann Pai. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

Flavorful, moist, and easy, this recipe for mayo roast chicken is a winner-winner chicken dinner. The mayo (I used Duke’s) imparts a nice lemony garlic flavor while also making for tender meat. My only challenge was the timing of this recipe was off for me. After 40 minutes, the thickest part of the dark meat was already at 165°F, but when I checked the breast, it was only at 125°F. I, therefore, let the chicken cook for an additional 15 minutes so that the breast meat could reach 165°F. Fortunately, when we ate the dark meat a day later, it was still very moist. The sauce was pretty delicious for a few simple ingredients—paprika gave it a kick and I didn’t feel like I needed to add additional salt or pepper after tasting it. I served this chicken with crispy parmesan potatoes and the two were perfect together.

This method of roasting chicken produced one of the most perfect roast chickens I have ever had! Spatchcocking gives the chicken a nice, flat surface allowing all the parts of the chicken to cook evenly and be ready to come out of the oven at the same time. The mayonnaise mixture gave the chicken the perfect flavor and helped it retain moisture. It also allowed the skin to get really crispy. The flavor was totally enhanced by the lemon and garlic, both classic complements for chicken in any preparation.

If I didn’t have the second half of the mayonnaise sauce ready to serve, I could have used all of the pan liquids and the fond to make a perfect gravy for the chicken which I may do the next time. It made me sad to discard all of that, knowing that with a little bit of effort it could have produced a fantastic gravy to pour over the chicken as it was plated and perhaps over some nice, mashed potatoes.

This is a very versatile mayo roast chicken that can be used for a casual meal with simple sides or enhanced with more elaborate sides for a special occasion. I served it with grilled sliced zucchini marinated in olive oil, garlic and parsley, and potato salad.

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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