Roasted Greek Lemon Chicken

by Mary Papoulias-Platis

Post image for Roasted Greek Lemon Chicken

Every week I make my Roasted Greek Lemon Chicken for a family dinner, a dish almost every Greek family enjoys. Serving it with the popular pasta orzo (manestra), my family’s favorite, it can also be served with rice, couscous, bulgur, or quinoa – just adjust the cooking time. I buy my free-range organic chicken from a company called Mary’s Chickens or purchase any organic chicken from your local store.  If a whole chicken is not available, cut up chicken parts will also work in this recipe. This recipe is easy and can be made in one large pot or oven-proof casserole dish.  The lemon is very important is this recipe, so please don’t leave it out. There are many ways to add flavor to this chicken, try and use fresh herbs of your choice, or dried spice mixes such as Herb de Provence. Serve this with asparagus, broccoli, or a green salad.

If you are having trouble finding orzo in your supermarket, you can substitute rice, bulgur or any small pasta. Here, is an example of the orzo I use from Barilla or Delallo. These are both available online.



Roasted Greek Lemon Chicken with Orzo

This Greek-Lemon Chicken is a common weekly dish, but also the perfect comfort food in many Greek homes.
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Greek
Keyword california greek, chicken, lemon, roasted
Servings 4
Author Mary Papoulias-Platis



  • 1 whole chicken 4-6 lbs, cleaned, insides removed
  • 5-6 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano, fresh herbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper


  • 1 cup orzo
  • 2 cups water or chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • salt and pepper



  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Wash chicken thoroughly with cold water.(remove the bag inside the cavity) Place breast side up in a deep baking dish.

  2. Slowly lift the breast skin carefully with your fingers not to tear it, and gently stuff the whole garlic cloves under the skin. At this point you may want to add thyme stems, parley leaves, or basil under as well under the skin. Sprinkle with olive oil, juice, juice of half a lemon, oregano, and salt and pepper. Place the other half of lemon inside the bird.

  3. Add 1/2 cup water to the pan. Place in oven at cook for 1-1 1/2 hour, or until internal temperature reaches 140 degrees.

  4. When done, remove the chicken and place on a platter, cover, and let it rest.


  1. Adjust your oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Leaving the juice in the pan, use a spoon or strainer and lift out any bits of fat in the juice.
  3. Add the water (chicken broth) and tomato sauce, place pan back in the oven and let it come to a boil.
  4. Pull the pan out slightly and add the orzo, salt and pepper and stir to combine.
  5. Place the pan back in the oven , checking it often to stir and add more water if needed.
  6. Bake until softened for 15-20 minutes.
  7. Pull the orzo out when little juice remains, once it's cooled orzo will be nice and thickened.
  8. Serve with the roasted chicken.
  9. Orzo can be sprinkled with parm or feta cheese.

Recipe Notes

You can substitute rice, bulgur, couscous, wild rice for the orzo. Chicken Cooking Tips: I use an instant thermometer to test the internal temperature of chicken.Letting the chicken rest, it will continue to cook, cover, and let it rest at least 20-30 minutes.



Yo may enjoy more chicken recipes on my blog:

Spatchcocked Greek Lemon Chicken with Potatoes

Greek Braised Chicken with Artichokes

Greek Chicken Lemon Soup with Orzo

Bring on the dinner,



© 2012 – 2023, Mary Papoulias-Platis. All rights reserved.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Eri

Oh my Gosh Helen, I love this recipe! I will make it really soon!

2 Alana

I make this quite a lot for family meals – my partner can’t get enough of the orzo!

3 Mary Papoulias-Platis

We make this weekly, and change it out with lamb. Enjoy!

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