Chicken with a Lemon Inside

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

Hazan Family Favorites

Hazan Family Favorites

By Giuliano Hazan

Published 2012

  • About

This is probably one of my mother’s most famous dishes. She has heard from so many people who have made this chicken when they proposed that its been dubbed “engagement chicken.” It makes a regular appearance on our family table. Few recipes are this simple, and except for turning the chicken once, kids can do almost everything else. If you are using a different size chicken, figure on a total cooking time of approximately 25 minutes per pound.


  • 1 whole chicken, about pounds
  • Salt
  • 1 lemon
  • Freshly ground black pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F on the regular bake setting.
  2. Rinse the chicken inside and out and pat it dry. Sprinkle some salt inside the cavity.
  3. Wash the lemon and roll it on the counter, pressing down to crush the inside without breaking the rind. Use a toothpick to puncture the lemon in at least 20 places. Put the lemon inside the chicken and close the cavity using one or more toothpicks. Turn the chicken breast side up and sprinkle all over with salt and pepper. Place the chicken, breast side down, in a roasting pan, preferably with a grate on the bottom. Sprinkle again with salt and pepper.
  4. Bake the chicken for 30 minutes (or one-third of the total cooking time), then turn it breast side up and bake for another 30 minutes. If you have a convection even, change the oven setting to convection heat and raise the temperature to 400°F, or to 425°F in an oven without convection heat. After another 30 minutes, remove the chicken from the oven and let it rest for 2 to 3 minutes.
  5. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board, preferably one that has grooves along the edges to catch the juices as you carve. Cut away the legs at the thigh joint and remove the wings. Slice the breast and place it along with the dark meat in a serving dish. Remove the grate from the roasting pan and pour the juices the chicken has released back into the roasting pan. Put the pan over medium-high heat. Loosen the browned bits at the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon and let the sauce reduce until it is thick enough to coat the spoon. If there was not enough juice from the chicken, add a little water. Pour the sauce over the chicken in the serving dish and serve at once.