Roast Chicken with Citrus

This roast chicken with citrus is made by stuffing a whole chicken with orange, lemon, garlic, and herbs and then roasting it until the skin is crisp and the meat infused with the lilt of citrus. Simple and elegant.

A whole roast chicken in a roasting pan with halved citrus fruits around it

Roast chicken just got even more impressive. This riff on classic roast chicken with lemon swaps in sweeter orange for a crisp-skinned, tender chicken infused with the lilt of citrus. The pan sauce, too, is suffused with orange and is blissfully less heavy than traditional gravy. Originally published April 24, 2013.Renee Schettler Rossi

Is This Orange Chicken?

This isn’t the sort of orange chicken that you find on Chinese takeout menus that comprises battered and fried chicken chunks drenched in a gloppy, cloying sauce. This is the sort of orange chicken that’s an easy, aromatic riff on roast chicken with lemon that will have both you and your family clamoring for it again. No lie. And unlike its sadly Americanized Chinese counterpart, it’s bathed in a smooth, silken pan sauce. The recipe makes a gracious plenty of the thin, lighter-than-gravy pan sauce, so spoon it over rice, potatoes, polenta, or whatever you choose to serve on the side.

Roasted Chicken with Citrus

  • Quick Glance
  • (4)
  • 40 M
  • 2 H, 40 M
  • Serves 4
5/5 - 4 reviews
Print RecipeBuy the The Supper Club cookbook

Want it? Click it.



Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).

Pat the chicken dry inside and out. Season the inside with 2 teaspoons salt and the pepper. Place as many of the orange and lemon quarters, garlic cloves, and herb sprigs in the cavity as will fit. Cross the legs one over the other or tie them together with kitchen string to hold the contents inside. Tuck the wings underneath the chicken as if it was putting its arms behind its head. Squeeze a lemon quarter over the the chicken and rub the juice into the skin, then sprinkle the chicken with the remaining 1 teaspoon salt.

Place the chicken, breast side up, in a roasting pan. Toss any remaining orange and lemon quarters, garlic, and herb sprigs in the pan. Roast until the chicken’s juices run clear when a thigh is pierced with a fork or an instant-read thermometer registers 160°F (71°C) when inserted into the thickest part of a thigh, 1 1/2 to 2 hours, depending on the size. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board, cover loosely with aluminum foil, and let rest for 10 minutes.

While the chicken rests, pour 1 cup stock into the roasting pan and stir to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom. Strain the pan juices through a fine-mesh sieve into a saucepan and place over low heat. Add the butter and the remaining 3 cups stock and swirl the pan gently until the butter melts. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the flour over the liquid and whisk until it dissolves and the juices have thickened a little, 3 to 5 minutes. If a thicker sauce is desired, sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons flour, or more as needed, and whisk again.

Squeeze the juice from the orange and lemon quarters into the pan and cook, stirring, until the juices have thickened a little more and are glossy, about 5 minutes. The pan sauce should be thinner than a gravy and just lightly coat the back of a spoon. Stir in the chopped thyme. Taste and adjust the seasoning. (You’ll have ample pan sauce, but it’s lovely spooned over rice or potatoes or virtually anything else you can think to put on the same plate as this citrus roast chicken.)

Carve the roast chicken and arrange on a platter. Serve with the warm juices on the side.

Print RecipeBuy the The Supper Club cookbook

Want it? Click it.

Recipe Testers' Reviews

This roast chicken will make you a star with very little fuss or time. I really enjoyed this recipe, as did my entire extended family. Filling the cavity with citrus and herbs lent itself to a very flavorful and wholesome roast chicken. This roast chicken is a definite winner and will be a regular on my table whenever I need to impress friends or family.

I’d suggest using a bit less chicken stock unless you’ll be making 2 chickens or wish to have some for a later meal. You’ll probably need 2 to 3 tablespoons of flour, if you do make 4 cups of pan sauce. You may wish to make the sauce in a skillet over a large burner to help it thicken faster.

Somehow the title of this recipe just doesn’t do it justice, as it’s one of the best roast chicken recipes I’ve ever made or eaten. It took me a very long time to find this roast chicken recipe and my poor husband had to endure some embarrassingly rubbery (not cooked enough) and/or rubbery and dry (overcooked) dinners. Finally I found a method from Patricia Wells, and it was the gold standard by which all other recipes were judged, until now.

This recipe is easy and required no exotic ingredients. The instructions are straightforward. I used a 4 1/2-pound kosher chicken and didn’t brine it first. The sauce was easy to make but it did make a very large quantity. I think the amount could be reduced by half and there’d be plenty. The bird was moist and well seasoned with just a hint of citrus. Loved it! The sauce was tasty again with the citrus being subtle but adding great flavor. We’ve a new winner.

By the way, since there are only two of us we had leftovers. The sauce, thinned with water, made a fantastic base for chicken soup with miniature dumplings. An added bonus!


#leitesculinaria on Instagram If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.


  1. It reminds me of the chicken they roast here in Colombia. It´s delicious. I reckon this is something different but I just wanted to let you know that there´s a great popular Gourmet in every-corner Colombian restaurants.

  2. I roast chicken all the time and will have to give this a try. I can almost smell it! I usually butterfly my chickens because they roast faster that way. I put any flavor augmentation, in this case citrus, underneath the chicken with a little broth. Excellent pan sauce and chicken in one pan. Am I lazy? You bet. 😉

    1. I’m thinking that the citrus, herbs, etc., would ensure that roasting in cast iron would not be a problem, that is, causing a pronounced metallic flavor. If the concern is the added iron intake and cardiovascular issues, the occasional use of citrus in iron is probably negligible. That being said, middle-aged men probably will not wish to do it every day….

      1. Yeah, I think you’re probably right on all counts, Larry. A little citrus in cast iron is, I dare say, probably safer than simmering tomato sauce for hours on end in cast iron. And yet, as my dear dad says, everything in moderation….

  3. This looks wonderful and I’m certain it fills the house with a fantastic aroma. It’s a “patchka” however. If you don’t know what that is, ask someone Jewish. Why not just put the chicken on a rack in a roasting pan seasoned like you said. Put the broth in the pan with lemon and orange slices, extra thyme and rosemary stems, butter and maybe mixing in a little flour and when the chicken is done the sauce is done too. You just need to press a fork down on the citrus and you have extracted the essence of the lemon and oranges into the sauce. I would buy a roll of polenta and serve that as a side or maybe buy a nice Kishka and slice it up into 1 inch slices and spoon the sauce over that….a little bit of heaven. I am making this dish either tonight or tomorrow night.

Have something to say?

Then tell us. Have a picture you'd like to add to your comment? Attach it below. And as always, please take a gander at our comment policy before posting.

Rate this recipe!

Have you tried this recipe? Let us know what you think.

Upload a picture of your dish