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Mom’s Roast Chicken

December 30, 2020 | By Jeremy Scheck | 19 Comments

This roast chicken is what I crave the most when I am away from home. The spice rub is so good (although you can switch it up with whatever spices you have on hand), and the vegetables and lemon slices cook down and caramelize under the chicken.

I love to serve this roast chicken with fluffy white rice so I can spoon over the juices. Do not miss out on the caramelized lemon! The sweet, sour, and bitter pairs amazingly with the savoriness of roast chicken.

If you can’t find za’atar at the grocery store, it’s fine just to leave it out. Also, I like to use shallots, because I find they have more flavor than onions, but you can use either.

This chicken feels really exciting and looks impressive, but it’s really so easy to make. You also don’t need to tie up the legs, but if you have butcher’s twine, it can help cook the chicken more evenly.

Depending on whether or not you have a convection oven, the temperatures can vary. Convection ovens work slightly differently and generally make the same temperature feel 25° F hotter. So if you are using a convection oven, go with the lower temperatures.

The brown sugar in the rub can make the chicken look darker than it might otherwise, but it will not actually taste burnt unless you REALLY over do it. It’s okay if it gets kinda dark.

Video Tutorial


the caramelized lemon and shallot ???? [get the written directions on] roastchicken chicken chickendinner cooking dinner

♬ Blue Blood – Heinz Kiessling & Various Artists

Mom's Roast Chicken


First, prepare:

  • 1 whole chicken (remove giblets, pat dry, sprinkle with kosher salt 30 minutes before starting)
  • 1 head garlic, sliced in half
  • 1 lemon, sliced in half (one half kept as is, the other sliced again into thin slices)
  • 2-4 sprigs fresh rosemary (half will be used for the spice mix)
  • 3-4 shallots, sliced
  • 2-4 carrots, sliced into little strips
  • 2-4 parsnips, sliced into little strips

Spice Mix:

  • 1.5 teaspoons freshly grated black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon za'atar (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon paprika (I like Szeged variety)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dry oregano
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1-2 teaspoons seasoned salt or kosher salt

Final Preparation:

  • ~4-6 tablespoons oil (such as avocado, canola, or olive oil)


  1. Preheat the oven to 425° F convection or 450° F not convection.
  2. Place the chicken into a large roasting pan and pat dry. Stuff with the head of garlic, half a lemon, and 1-2 sprigs or fresh rosemary.
  3. Lay the sliced shallots, other half of the lemon (in thin slices), carrots, and parsnips around the chicken.
  4. Chop up the rest of the fresh rosemary to mix into the spice mix along with the black pepper, za'atar, paprika, garlic powder, oregano, brown sugar, and seasoned salt (or kosher salt).
  5. Pat the chicken dry one more time with paper towels. Drizzle on and around the chicken with the oil, then massage in the spice mix all around the chicken.
  6. Roast at 425° or 450° F depending on the oven for 15 minutes, then lower the temperature by 125° F to 300° or 325° F and roast another 60-75 minutes, or until the juices run clear when you cut where the leg meets the breast. You may want to mix around the surrounding veggies a couple times as it roasts and rotate the chicken in the oven so it cooks evenly.
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  1. This is excellent, especially the spice rub. I used it to dry brine the chicken, Zuni Cafe style, which brought it to the next level: two days in advance, I thoroughly dried the chicken and coated it with the spices + .75 tsp of Diamond Crystal kosher salt per pound, and covered it loosely in the fridge. The chicken skin dried out and roasted up super crispy and the salt worked its way all the way to the center. A keeper for sure.

    P.S., I served it with the Internet Famous potatoes and my partner said it was the best chicken/potatoes we’ve had.

  2. THIS IS BY FAR MY FAVORITE WAY TO MAKE CHICKEN!! I absolutely love the spices, especially the za’atar, it gives the dish a different flavor than what I’m used to. I also add white wine to the pan after the chicken has been cooking for an hour (Jeremy did this for another roast chicken video) and oh myyyyy it is delicious! Thank you for this recipe Jeremy!!

  3. Wow. This was my first time making a whole chicken. And I have to say it DID NOT DISAPPOINT!!!! The chicken was juicy and flavorful. The recipe was straightforward and easy to follow. I can’t wait to make this dish over and over again. You MUST try it. And my goodness the veggies and juices — you could just drink it!! Thank you, Jeremy, for an amazing recipe!!

  4. This was great! I wish I would’ve loaded more veggies in. I can’t wait to get some za’atar and try with that too.

  5. We did a oven vs air fryer challenge for this amazing chicken…. Oven won hands down! This is a wonderful comfort food served perfectly with those amazing famous potatoes! You are quite a sensation! My family is grateful to have found you and your incredible recipes on Instagram!

  6. Great recipe. I swerved it with a rice pilaf with roasted almonds and Green Beans with Harissa and Preserved Lemon.

  7. I made this for my boss and she said it was the best chicken she’s ever had, for sure a regular recipe for me now!

  8. This was amazing! I made it like the recipe said and the only problem I found was that the lemon slices and veggies outside burnt a little, but that may be just my oven.

  9. I just made this tonight for myself and my housemates and it was honestly the most flavorsome perfectly cooked chicken iv ever made! So so yummy and glad I added the Zatar 😊

  10. This was my first chicken roast, and it was UNBELIEVABLE!!! That rub omg. I’m so pumped, fantastic recipe Jeremy! I served this with mashed potato’s and a salad to celebrate the first day of fall!

  11. Wow! This was the best roast chicken we have ever made (and we make a lot of roast chicken). We added potatoes too it was all so juicy and flavorful. Definitely adding this into our regular rotation.

  12. This recipe is was an absolute hit! Fresh rosemary isn’t available where I live so I subbed with parsley, the chicken was amazing.

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